LOWER AMERICAN RIVER
Updated - 7/3/20 @ 8:21 am
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Current River Conditions: 3570 CFS.
(scroll down for real time flows)
Fishing - Fair to Good: The top action right now is Stripers that are spread out the length of the river from Sailor Bar to the mouth. Received word today that a bunch of them are concentrated in the Guy West Bridge area near Sac State. Still a fair number of Shad in the river too. Note that the flows have come up quite a bit and should stay that way until September. This is one of the best times of the year to fish for Stripers.
. . . and speaking of Bass: Bassmaster Magazine just published its list of the best bass lakes of the decade and our own Clearlake was #1 with the Delta ranked as #5. We are located in one of the hotbeds of Bass fishing in the world and yet most fly fishermen don't take advantage of this amazing year round fishery. We at Kienes are passionate about Bass fishing whether it be Stripers, Largemouth, Smallmouth or Spotted. Give the shop a call if you want to speak to an expert on what it will take to get into this great sport.
We specialize on Striper, Steelhead and Shad fishing and have guides on the water every day so if you would like to book one call us at (800)410-1222 or click here
Generally Recommended Flies
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On Top-Half Pounders/Smolts: Cut Wing PMD #18, Hackle Stacker Baetis #18 or #20, Hackle Stacker PMD #18. Trico Spinner #20, Drowned Trico Spinner #20
Stripers: Clouser Minnows #1 white & turquoise/olive & turquoise/gray & turquoise
Shad: Bloody Maria's, Firecrackers, American River Pinky
About the Lower American River
The lower American River begins near the town of Folsom, CA (yeah, the same Folsom Johnny Cash sang about) where it flows out of Lake Natoma (Nimbus Dam) and travels 24 miles to its confluence with the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento.
The riparian flood plane, on both sides of the river, is designated as the American River Parkway, which is one of the largest urban parks in the state. It’s a refuge from the stress of the adjacent two million person urban area. With only a short hop over a levee you find yourself in a pristine wilderness that has changed little in 150 years.
The American River hosts several runs of anadromous fish; half pounder Steelhead, winter Steelhead, (smaller and sexually immature fish), Striped Bass, and American Shad. Half pounder Steelhead appear in September and are generally spread out in the river. This is not a large run, but provide some fun fishing for these 18 to 20 inch fish.
The winter Steelhead begin to arrive in December (while the upper half of the river is closed to protect spawning Salmon) and build in numbers until February when they begin to spawn. Though a good population spawn naturally in the river’s gravel, most fish returning to the river are hatchery fish.
In April the Stripers begin to show in anticipation to their spawning in May. They feed on Steelhead. Shad and Salmon smolts that are abundant in the river at that time.
In late April the American Shad begin to arrive and build in numbers into May. Shad provide great sport for most fishermen through June though some of them actually hang around through the summer. Some Shad diehards fish dry flies for them in July.