LOWER AMERICAN RIVER
Lower American River
Updated - 1/15/20 @ 8:04 pm
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Current River Conditions: 2040 CFS and clear.
(scroll down for real time flows)
Fishing Conditions - Good: We are now starting to get some good reports from the Sailor Bar area. Staffer Paul Thick repors that on a float with guide Happy Nguyen the saw a large school of adult Steelhead between Sailor Bar and Gristmill. I spoke to a hatchery employee who stopped by the shop and he said that they have spawned over 400 fish so far. Now's the time to go! Check out our Facebook page to see a couple of bruisers caught by a client of our guide Joe Vasquez .
Want to know where the best spots on the AR to fish? Call the shop for information about our Lower American River Tour hosted by staffer and author Greg Vinci and guide Happy Nguyen
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 (916)483-1222 or click here to let us know of your preferences online.
Generally Recommended Flies
Click here to go to our Fly Catalog
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
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.