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Lower American River

Local Waters Orientation Clinics are Starting Now
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for info

Updated - 9/24/23

Scroll down to links for up to the minute Stream Flows,
Lodging Information, Map and Fishing Regulations


Current River Conditions: 2990 CFS (9/25/23 @ 1:30pm)
Fishing - Fair to Good:  If you haven't taken an hour or two swinging the riffles for our fall run half-pounders you are cheating yourself out of one of the advantages of living near one of California's most prolific fisheries.  The fish  are scattered here and there but are worth having a crack at them if you have some time to kill.  We just received a report this morning that the riffles near Paradise Beach all of the way up to Sailor Bar are holding fish.  We're also still getting positive reports about the Striper fishing, particularly in the lower half of the river.  The quality of Striper fishing depends on your expectations.  If catching five or six fish during a morning float sounds appealing to you then I would have to rate the fishing as "Very Good".  Most positive reports are coming from Howe Ave to just below Paradise.     

Generally Recommended Flies
Click here to go to our Fly Catalog

Swinging - Winter Steelhead: Andy at the shop recommends swinging, Wooly Buggers, Caddis Poopa/olive, Bird's Nest/olive, Slump Busters #10, Zonkers #10, Silver Hilton and Intruders.  If using a two fly set up, make sure one of the flies is an egg pattern. 


On Top-Half Pounders/Smolts:  Cut Wing PMD #18, Hackle Stacker Baetis #18 or #20, Hackle Stacker PMD #18. PMD Parachute #16, Trico Spinner #20, Drowned Trico Spinner #20, Adams Parachute #14,16,18, Elk hair Caddis #14, 16.  #18 Olive Parachute (for BWOs)


Indicator Nymphing-Adult Steelhead & Half-Pounders/Smolts: Bird's Nests #12,#14, Egg Patterns #12, Caddis Poopah #12, #14, Micro Mayfly/olive #18, Rubber Legs/black #8-#14, Prince Nymph #12, #14, SJ Worm/tan #12,

Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest/olive, natural or black.

Stripers: Clouser Minnows #1 white & turquoise/olive & turquoise/gray & turquoise and yellow & turquoise, white & gray. 

Shad: Bloody Maria's, Firecrackers, American River Pinky, Green Weeney, Andy's Lipstick, Jeff's Jefe Early Riser (new) and more.

See Anadromous Run Chart at the bottom of the page
Lower American River
Kiene's Fly Shop
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.


Hatch Chart
Anchor 1
Only 3 More Days !
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