Fly fishing for stripers on the Lower Sacramento River can be an exciting and challenging angling experience. Stripers, or striped bass, are a popular gamefish known for their strong fights and aggressive nature. The Lower Sacramento River in California is renowned for its healthy population of stripers, offering anglers the opportunity to target these fish with fly rods.

Here are some tips for fly fishing for stripers on the Lower Sacramento River:

  1. Choose the right gear: Stripers can be powerful fish, so make sure you have a suitable fly rod, reel, and line. A 9-10 weight rod with a fast-action tip is recommended for casting heavy flies and handling big fish. A large arbor reel with a strong drag system is also important for battling stripers.

  2. Use appropriate flies: Stripers in the Lower Sacramento River often feed on small fish like shad, minnows, and smelt. So, using flies that imitate these baitfish can be effective. Clouser Minnows, Deceivers, and Half and Half flies are popular choices for stripers. Make sure to have a variety of colors and sizes in your fly box to match the baitfish that stripers are feeding on.

  3. Pay attention to water conditions: Stripers are known to be more active during low light conditions, such as early morning or late evening, so timing your fishing trips accordingly can increase your chances of success. Also, keep an eye on water temperature and clarity, as stripers tend to be more active in cooler water and may move to different areas depending on water conditions.

  4. Look for structure: Stripers are often found near structure, such as rocks, submerged logs, or sandbars, where they can ambush prey. Look for areas with structure along the river channel or near drop-offs, as stripers are known to hang out in these locations. Use a fish finder or polarized sunglasses to spot submerged structure.

  5. Vary your retrieves: Stripers can be finicky at times, so it’s important to experiment with different retrieve techniques. Stripping your fly fast or slow, using short or long strips, or incorporating pauses can trigger strikes from stripers. Pay attention to the behavior of the stripers and adjust your retrieve accordingly.

  6. Be prepared for strong fights: Stripers are known for their powerful runs and can put up a strong fight. Make sure your drag is properly set on your reel and be ready to let the fish run and tire itself out before attempting to land it. Use heavy tippet material and play the fish carefully to avoid breaking off.

  7. Practice catch-and-release: Stripers in the Lower Sacramento River are often caught for their sport and should be handled with care. Always practice catch-and-release, and use appropriate landing nets and tools to minimize harm to the fish. Handle them gently and release them quickly to ensure their survival.

Fly fishing for stripers on the Lower Sacramento River can be an exhilarating experience for anglers. With the right gear, flies, water conditions, and techniques, you can increase your chances of success and have a memorable fishing adventure. Remember to always follow local fishing regulations and practice responsible angling practices to help preserve the fishery for future generations.


We’ll be running Striper trips through the summer. Give us a call if you want to hop in the boat and chase some of these badass fish with us this summer. 



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