Lower Sacramento River. Lower Sacramento River offers great fishing for large, native rainbows that is often overlooked. Salmons are taken from about September to December, but fat rainbows can be taken all year long.
Salmon hooked out of season must be released. The Lower Sacramento River is fished primarily with drift boats working from Redding to Red Bluff. Locals report that some of the best rainbow fishing can actually be found in and around the city of Redding and all the way up to Keswick Dam.
Lower Sacramento River Fishing Tips
Drift fishermen dragging lures consistently take some of the best stringers of rainbows on the Lower Sacramento River. Preferred lures include the #50 or #30 Hot Shot plug and Storm’s Wiggle and Wee Wart crankbaits in silver or gold with black backs.
The #F-4 and #F-5 Flatfish are also regional favorites which are drifted behind a sliding sinker to fish in 30 to 35 foot depths. Most drifters use spinning or baitcasting outfits with light 6 to 8 pound test monofilament.
Bait fisherman “mooch” offerings drifted along the river bottom. Nightcrawlers, salmon roe, or a large single salmon egg rigged on a dropper line with 3-way swivel and pencil lead will be the ticket.
From late April through mid-September, the Lower Sacramento River offers some exciting fly fishing opportunities, especially on 10 to 22 inch rainbows. Dry fly patterns – sometimes all the way up to a size of #10 – which are effective include Adams, Goddard Caddis, Henryville, and Elk Hair Caddis.
Many rainbows along this run will be taken by fishing flies “wet“. Because of the swift currents, consider using extra weighted patterns. Nymphs, such as the Bird’s Nest, Cricket, Prince and Hare’s Ear will work. a strike indicator is recommended.