sacramento river fishing
Sport Fishing
California Lakes
California Rivers

Sacramento River Fishing



The Sacramento River is the largest river in California, and flows from its headwaters near Mount Shasta over 400 miles into San Francisco Bay. The Sacramento River was dammed just north of Redding in the 1940's, resulting in the formation of Shasta Lake and separating the river into Upper and Lower sections. The Upper Sacramento River flows more than 45 miles from Box Canyon Dam at the base of Lake Siskiyou all the way down to Lakehead at the upper end of Shasta Lake. This remarkable trophy Trout river just about parallels I-5 from Lake Siskiyou to Shasta Lake. The Upper Sacramento River from Box Canyon Dam downstream through Dunsmuir is a classic pocket water mountain river. Crystal clear, fast flowing water tumbles over the boulder-strewn river beds creating holding pockets. From Sims Campground down to Shasta Lake the river flows in long pools divided by short riffles. Spinners and flies both produce and can be cast out, and retrieved or drifted in the current like bait. Some fly fishing devotees compare the Upper Sacramento River with the prime fly streams of Montana and Wyoming. It has a very diverse hatch of aquatic insects from July to mid-October. Dry flies like Humpys or Elk Hair Caddis in the evening and weighted nymphs during the day are popular fly fishing choices on the Upper Sacramento River. Wild Rainbow Trout are the mainstay here and some trophies to 10 inches are taken.




Sacramento River Map




Lower Sacramento River Fishing


The Lower Sacramento River is the largest and most important waterway in California. It runs from near Redding all the way down to Rio Vista in the Delta. A lot of water flows in the Lower Sacramento River since on its way south it takes in the flows of the Pit, McCloud, Feather, Yuba, Bear, and the American rivers. Almost 60% of all the king salmon caught off the coast of Northern California were spawned in the Lower Sacramento River. Of course, many Sacramento River salmon are not caught in the Ocean, and its these 3 or 4 year-old chinook that come back under the Golden Gate Bridge, pass through San Francisco Bay and Delta, and eventually provide such great sport all the way up to Redding. The major run usually begins in August and continues through October. Fish range from 12 to 50 pounds or more, with the average in the 12-20 pound range. King Salmon are taken all along the river, from Sacramento on up. The most productive and consistent salmon waters on the Lower Sacramento River are from Los Molinos north to the fishing cut-off line at the Deschutes Road bridge near Anderson. Anglers work the deep holes backtrolling Flatfish, Kwikfish or salmon roe are the usual techniques. Steelhead are also prevalent in the Lower Sacramento River. The best time of the year is mid-December through February. Riffles, cutbanks, pools, runs below feeder stream mouths, as well as heads of drifts and above tailouts, are the most sought after spots. Most productive approaches are backtrolling plugs and drift fishing roe from an anchored boat. Rainbow trout fishing on the Lower Sacramento River has blossomed into a marvelous sport. The best waters are typically from the Keswick Dam on down to Balls Ferry. These trout are resident and are caught year around, whenever the river isn't too high or too muddy. But spring, especially April and May when high water flows are reduced to a fishable level, produces prime rainbow trout action. Spring is the prime time for Striped Bass in the Lower Sacramento River above the city of Sacramento. Some of California's fastest and most consistent striper action takes place between mid-March and early June. The Sacramento River is the major spawning river for California's striper bass population, with the predominant stretch being from Knights Landing to Princeton. May is the main spawning month, but early arrivals usually reach the Knights Landing waters by the last week of March.



Sacramento River Boat Launch Ramps


Broderick Boat Ramp


Anderson River Park Boat Launch


Antler's Boat Ramp


Bend Bridge Park Boat Launch


Brannan Island State Recreation Area Boat Launch


Butte City Boat Launch


Colusa-Sacramento River State Recretion Area Boat Ramp


Discovery Park Boat Launch


Elkhorn Boat Launch


Garcia Bend Park Boat Launch


Irvine Finch Boat Ramp


Isleton Boat Ramp


Knights Landing Boat Launch


Red Bluff Recreation Area Boat Ramp


Mill Creek Park Boat Launch


Miller Park Boat Ramp


Ord Bend Park Boat Launch


Rio Vista Boat Launch


Sandy Beach County Park Boat Launch


Sherman Island Boat Launch


Tehama County River Park Boat Launch


Turtle Bay Boat Ramp





Check California Fishing Reports on Sacramento River Fishing