LOWER SACRAMENTO RIVER
Lower Sacramento River
Current Conditions: 5000 CFS
Fishing Report - Fair to Good: Fishing has slowed down a little on the Lower Sac just as it has on most of the other valley tailwaters. The Fly Shop in Redding reports that the section between Bonnyview and Anderson seems to be holding the most fish. Best flies are midges and mayfly patterns #18 and smaller. Black and olive are the best colors. Throw an egg if you see Salmon on redds.
Recommended General All Around Patterns
Nymphs: Bead Head Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Bead Head Golden Stone Nymph #8,, #10, & #12, Copper John/red or copper #14, #16, Bead Head Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red, Mercer's Z Wing Caddis #13 & #16, Bubble Caddis #14
tungsten bead Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #14 & #16 tan and olive, Scud/pink #14. Black Rubber Legs #8
Stimulator #8-#12, Adams Parachute #14 & #16, PMD Parachute #16, Elk Hair Caddis #14 & #16, Parachute PMD #14 & #16, Quigley Cripple #16.
About the Sacramento River
The lower Sacramento River or locally known as the Lower Sac. flows from the base of Shasta Dam, into Keswick Reservoir and once it emerges from the base of Keswick dam it courses south through the cities of Redding, and Red Bluff and then another two hundred miles to the Sacramento Delta where it meets several other northern California rivers to eventually dump into San Francisco Bay.
All of the rivers that flow into the northern portion of the central valley (also known as Sacramento Valley) flow into the Lower Sac. The Lower Sac is known around the globe as a world premier trout fishery, particularly the section between Redding and Red Bluff, and guess what, it has steelhead and Salmon too!
Cool water assures lots of aquatic bug life in the river that keep the fish fat and healthy. From the city of Redding to Anderson, and on to Red Bluff (some thirty miles away) the water of the Lower Sac stays cool enough to support its great Rainbow Trout fishery.
Except in the winter, the flows are generally too high for wade fishing so drifting in some kind of watercraft is necessary. The river, particularly between the the Posse Grounds (put in) near downtown Redding and the Bonnieview Park (take out), has so many drift boats competing for the best slots that going it alone in a personal watercraft is extremely difficult. If you do it without a guide you pretty much need to float that section in a two man watercraft so one can row while the other fishes.
The other popular stretch of the Lower Sac, which incidentally gets much less traffic, is between Bonnieview Park (put in) and Anderson Park (take out). You will find fewer guides along this section, though I still wouldn’t recommend you float it alone. Float time here is also about 7 hours. In the winter you can wade fish at Anderson Park.
The Lower Sac steelhead runs start in late September and run into February of the following year. This early run happens for one specific reason, “the egg drop” that results from spawning Salmon.
Every time you have salmon coming into the system you will usually find steelhead and resident Rainbow Trout holding just downstream. The summer run of Salmon and the winter run Salmon are the two largest fish runs seen on the river. The colder months that range from November through February seem to be the best for Steelhead and they sometimes outnumber the resident rainbow trout population. Trying to identify them from the local natives is hard to do even for the experience guides.
The winter is when big fish, both Steelhead and local Rainbows come out to play. Salmon on redds draw large groups of hungry fish eager to eat and become reckless in their feeding habit simply do to the fact they seem to be frantic to eat as many eggs as possible.