LOWER AMERICAN RIVER
Lower American River
Lower Mokelumne River
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Tours of Local Waters
Updated - 4/6/21
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Lodging Information, Map and Fishing Regulations
Current River Conditions: 1740 CFS (4/6/21 @ 10:06am)
Fishing - Fair to Good: There are more and more spring spawning fish moving into the upper river. Floated from Sailor Bar to Sunrise the other day with guide Ethan Busch and stuck a couple of 20" fish at the island. Ethan landed his and mine unbuttoned itself. We also stuck quite a large Striper just upstream of the Sunrise Bridge but it got off before we could see him/her. We should hear about some Shad arriving at the log hole down by River Park shortly and we will post it here as soon as that happens.
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 (and more)
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.