Decker Island story

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FX

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Sep 28, 2005
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Anyone know the story behind Decker Island?  Drove around it yesterday and saw numerous old vehicles parked there, and old factory looking building and several old docks.  Didn't look to close but did not see any power lines going to it.  What was the old factory building, and why would they put it on that little island? 
 

Tom

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I don't recall seeing lots of old vehicles and docks at Decker Island, although we've anchored and fished in that area many times. (Maybe I wasn't paying attention). Just to be sure we're talking about the same place, leaving the launch ramp at Brannan Island state park, head along Three Mile Slough towards the Sacramento River. Once under the draw bridge, turn left into Horseshoe Bend. Decker Island will be on your right and the highway 160 levy road will be on your left. Here's the story:

The "island" was originally attached to the shore on the west side of the river and the river itself snaked around Horseshoe Bend, which was quite a bottleneck, both for boat traffic and for water flow. Around 1918 a cut was completed to bypass Horseshoe Bend, creating the Island. It's hard to believe when you see it today that the Island was originally part of the far (west) bank of the river.

For more information, refer to Hal Schell's Guide to Cruisng California's Delta, available from Hal's web site. Rats, just read that it's out of print.

BTW the waters between the island and the west bank, on the main Sacramento channel, are prime striper fishing. Horseshoe Bend is good sturgeon fishing when they come back from the bay, but you'll also find them on the other side of the island.
 

caltex

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Maybe Tom can provide a more complete answer, but my memory thinks that the channel around Decker Island is the original river channel. The island being formed when they straightened the river for freight traffic. Have no idea what the building was, but maybe it was built before Decker became an island.
 

Tom

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Robert, you're right about the original channel. I'd forgotten the story until I looked at Hal Schell's book.
 

FX

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How'd I know one of you guys would know the answer to that question! 
Yeah, there are at least 4 cars there, 2 of which are 40's or 50's models, or so says my buddy. 
Thats hard to believe this has been an island for so long.  On the east end of the island (facing the Sac river) there is a newer row of trees which have been stratigically planted to shield the old factory from view (or at least thats what I think).
Well thanks for answering another one of my Delta questions.  But the most important one has still not been answered...How/when I'm ever going to catch that giant striper. ;)
 

Tom

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I vaguely recall seeing the title "Dairy" on old maps/charts, referring to the west bank of the Sacramento River, opposite Decker Island. I wonder if that building on the island was once a dairy on the "mainland" (?)

As for your monster striper, you won't catch it sitting behind your computer screen. BTW we have 45mph winds in the Delta this afternoon. Not a good day to be on the water in a small boat.
 

FX

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Sep 28, 2005
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One more ?.  The last 2 times out we have though of bringing tents and camping on the island, leaving the boat tied up to the old dock.  Is this allowed?  Who owns decker Island?  I would assume if it is some government entity, then camping would be allowed, just as in boondocking in the National Forests. 
 

Tom

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I have no idea who "owns" the island. Why not camp at Brannan Island and berththe boat overnight in one of their slips?
 

FX

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Sep 28, 2005
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Since I would be in the tent, it would be nice just to be on an island...no one else around, no quiet time...
 
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