Scary did a great job representing the Bay and Sacramento River sides. I’m printing and saving his post for future reference. Also, there are many good anchorages in Prospect, Miner, Lindsey and Cache Sloughs.
The only thing I’d add as a destination is a slow, careful trek up the Napa River and Napa itself. Maybe Mark or Ray can contribute details on this area.
Here are some good maps for general orientation:
California Delta Chambers and Visitor's Bureau - A Guide to the California Delta Waterways
Here’s is bridge info:
Cal Drawbridge Info
All bridges operate on Ch 9, except the Mare Island Bridge (Napa River) on Ch. 13.
A short note on Delta Navigation and anchoring: The levees were formed by dredging along the levee then piling the mud to form the levee. This results in the edges of the sloughs generally being deeper than the middle where shoaling often occurs. When in doubt, move slowly and favor the levee. Follow the deep channel cut by fast moving water downstream. If you find yourself aground, in mud/weeds, the first step should be to try BACKING out the way you came in. A local instructor advised me that sometimes alternating port and stbd reverse can free you more easily.
The prevailing winds of the summer are from the SW and normally kick up in the PM. It helps to keep this in mind when choosing anchorages. Generally, anchorage depths of 15-20 feet are ideal in weed-free mud. The areas of 12 feet or less in depth are usually filled with weeds.
Here are a few ideas for the San Joaquin and Mokelumne Rivers Central Delta Region.
Antioch, just east of Pittsburgh: Nice marina, new launch facilities, Humphrey’s Restaurant good food on the water. Also good fuel prices…sometimes even lower than Pittsburg, so it pays to call ahead via cell phone.
Antioch Bridge: :”Gateway to the Delta”, Lauritzen Harbor, New Bridge Marina, Big Break Marina, Oakley, CA. Marine repair and supplies available
False River and Washington Cut (along levee north of Frank’s Tract): Good shortcut toward Prisoner’s Point/Mandeville Tip with plenty of anchorages out of the wind. Look for bleach bottles in the tules marking established ‘secret’ moorings that allow you to ‘nose into the tules.’ More on Mandeville later…
Following the SJ past False River takes you past Santa Clara Shoal to Seven Mile Slough. Charts make it appear that Seven Mile Slough goes through to Threemile Slough, but its only access if from the SJ River. It houses several older marinas, many of which cater to the sailboat crowd. Just past Seven Mile along the north bank and behind the tule islands are Delta Bay, Spindrift and a couple other marinas. You are now on “The Delta Loop”, where many favorite Delta restaurants and bars are located.
Spindrift has a general store and restaurant/bar.
As you continue west on the San Joaquin, you approach the mouth of the Mokelumne River. Local knowledge to avoid the San Andreas Shoal: Pass close to Marker 45, then take a straight course to the gap between Korth’s Pirates Lair (on the point with all the trees and high wire catenary towers) and the tule island just south of the point (I call this ‘Beach Island due to it’s accessible beach on the east side). The shallowest you should see on this track is 11 feet and it opens up to more than 30 feet as you approach Korth’s.
Following the Moke upstream, you pass:
Korths Pirates Lair: nice place with tropical island flair, tiki torches, friendly folks, restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.
Moore’s Riverboat: Great food and bar. Thursday-Fri dinner special of Ribeye Steak w/ Lobster tail ($20) and Sat dinner special Prime Rib ($17). IMHO, the best delta food. Just don’t approach the docks straight on during low tide. There’s a shoal off the face of the docks and another just opposite the River House to the north of the restaurant. Approach along the tule’s south of the restaurant and then cut to the face of the docks within 20-30 feet of the docks.
Willow Berm Marina: Probably the nicest marina facilities in the delta.
Lighthouse Marina (private) with Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill: good lunch stop or light dinner. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza.
Perry’s Marina and B&W Resort: Just south and north of the Mokelumne River Bridge
Georgianna Slough: Oxbow Marina is a great sleepy marina with transient slips on a long, lazy slough that is mostly no-wake. Plan 45 mins from the mouth to Oxbow. Beautiful anchorages past Oxbow in this tree-lined section. IMO, one of the more scenic and relaxing of the delta for its natural beauty and no-wake traffic restrictions.
Further up the Moke takes you to the confluence of the Moke North Fork and the Moke South Fork.
North Fork past Miller’s Ferry Bridge to Guisti’s, a delta standard that has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV Show. Continue past Guisti’s into Snodgrass Slough watching the bottom at low tide. You can access Locke from the slough just north of the cross-channel gates via dinghy.
Go beyond that at your own risk. Lots of shoals and logs to catch on your way up to The Meadows and Lost Slough. (I’ve heard too many horror stories of late to ever go back. They stopped dredging years ago and it shows.)
You can’t traverse from here to the South Fork except via dingy, but it’s a nice dingy ride to Wimpy’s (casual food, bar, ice cream!!)
Back to the confluence to join the Moke South Fork. East to Terminous and stay left to continue further up the South Fork to lazy tree-lined sloughs and channels. Anchorages possible in Sycamore, Hog and Beaver Sloughs, just watch your depth. The bridge restricts further access past Wimpy’s.
Back to Terminous and join Little Potato Slough.
Tower Park Marina. Food, services, general store, KOA campground, bar. Nice place.
Make a 90 degree turn to stbd to stay on LP Slough (stay near the levees to avoid the shallows in the middle.) Ahead you will find “The Bedrooms” 3, 2 and 1. They are popular anchorages with good wind protection.
Now you’re back to the San Joaquin River, west of Mandeville Pt.
I’ll continue with the East and South Delta on a future post unless someone else jumps in.