Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Steelhead fishing good on American River

BY JIM JONES/WON Staff Writer Published: Jan 16, 2013

FAIR OAKS — Fishing for American River steelhead was good last week — and by “good,” decent fishermen can expect to hook one or two nice adult steelhead plus several halfpounders in the 14–inch class.  

Rick Soto has been catching a couple of adult steelhead each trip out to 10 or 12 pounds plus halfpounders on back-trolled Hot Shots and drifted roe with a Puff Ball.

STEELHEADING HAS BEEN great for big American River fish, like this 10-pound chrome caught Jan. 4 by guide Jerry Lampkin of T.N.G. Motorsports Guide Service while friend Mike Peckham was on the oars. This one was 28 inches and 10 pounds and hit a Blue Fox spinner. He also caught an 8 pounder on a chrome Little Cleo, both of them just below Sailor Bar.

Yee Vang of Broadway Bait Rod and Gun said that other anglers are drifting small jigs in pink, orange, black and purple under floats. The best action has been from Sunrise to Sailor Bar, but it can get crowded, especially on weekends. The fish have been a mix of bright, newly-arrived steelies plus fish that have been in the river for awhile.  

Flows are being reduced to 2,500 cfs, which should ease wading, but waders should still exercise great care. Unfortunately, steelhead will be more vulnerable to unethical anglers who attempt to snag them off of spawning beds.  

Also, there are some bright salmon showing up in the American River. They must not be targeted, even for catch-and-release.   

HATCHERY FISH — Greg Gunby used a No. 30 Hot Shot to entice this nice hatchery steelhead from the American River on Jan. 6 while fishing with Rick Soto, who sent in the photo.

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