LOWER SACRAMENTO RIVER GUIDED FLY FISHING TRIPS
From Redding to Red Bluff, the Lower Sacramento River is one of the most prolific tail-water trout fisheries in the country. The quantity and quality of native trout that swim this mighty river sets it apart from most other trout fisheries in the west. With robust hatches of aquatic insects, to egg laying salmon and fall and winter steelhead, this powerhouse of a trout stream delivers world-class fishing year round.
The Sacramento River is the largest watershed in the state and can be considered the life-blood of Northern California. There are more than 40 miles of productive trout water to explore, so finding solitude on this river isn’t difficult to achieve. Few other trout fisheries in the lower 48 boast the number and size of wild trout, averaging 16-17,” though fish over 20” are also common.
MARCH – MAY
Spring is our most consistent time of year to successfully fish dry flies to rising trout. This river isn’t known as a big dry fly fishery, but during spring, these windows will present themselves if you know where and when to look. Typically with lower flows, spring presents opportunities to hop out of the boat and wade fish select runs and riffles. By early March, we typically get our first big hatch of the year.
The spring Caddis (Brachycentrus) come off during the first warm spell in March, leaving the trout on full-blown feed mode. This is the same famous hatch that happens on Montana’s Yellowstone River, but ours takes place a little earlier in the year. We typically start seeing March browns and massive hatches of PMDs as we roll into early April, plus Stoneflies hatching by late April and into May.
JUNE – AUGUST
In our opinion, summer is the most underrated time of the year to fish the Lower Sac. While it’ll undoubtedly get hot, those triple digit days bring out the Hydropsyche Caddis in massive numbers. Our guides rely heavily on these bugs in the summer months to spark fishing. Our favorite time to fish is late afternoon and evening, when the Caddis really start to pop. This time is usually the golden hour, producing phenomenal nymph fishing as well as swinging emergers on a tight line and fish in the adult caddis in the riffles to rising fish.
We suggest fishing here in the summer from 4pm to dark, returning early the following morning to avoid the midday heat. Those evening sessions are fast and furious and one of our favorite times to be on the river.
SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER
Fall is a special time to be on the Lower Sacramento River. Days start to shorten, nights cool off, and the King Salmon start their migration upriver to spawn. This spawning event is commonly referred to as the “egg drop,” sending the big wild rainbow trout bonkers for eggs floating down the river. When the spawn is in full swing, it can bring some of the biggest fish out from hiding and up into the shallows to feed. We often spotrainbows in less than a foot of water that are chowing eggs right behind 20lb salmon.
With the salmon migrating back, we also get a push of steelhead in the lower portions of the river, which can make for some fun fishing. Fall has proven to be one of the more popular times of the year because of the spectacle that is the “egg drop,” so be sure to book your trip early.
DECEMBER – JANUARY
While winter may be the most underused time of year, we see some of the biggest fish during these months. As King Salmon shows up in the upper portions of the river, the trout will continue to feed heavily on eggs and a smorgasbord of bugs that the salmon kick up while digging their redds in the gravel. Our BWO hatches can be magical on those calm drizzly days and can provide for some excellent dry fly fishing when the stars align.
You can expect little traffic on the river during winter as most folks prefer the fair weather of spring and fall. Winter flows are typically very low coming from the dam, so there are opportunities to jump out of the boat and wade fish productive drops, runs, and riffles.
The Sacramento River is not only California’s largest river, it is home to the full monty of fish species that call Northern California, and all of its waterways, home. The mildly warmer waters flowing through the middle and lower stretches of this river are where the previously introduced East Coast Stripers migrate to to spawn and some will even hold up residency. The old-timers will tell you that you can catch stripers here year round and we believe them. Let one of our professional guides take you on a hunting experience for one of these monster predators, or a shoal of schoolies.
*Full Day Striper trips are $600