WON Big Fish Challenge


Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Anglers scoring stripers, shad, and even steelhead on the American River

BY JIM JONES/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 12, 2012

RANCHO CORDOVA — Fishing on the American River was quite good again last week with anglers still catching some nice shad in the upper end of the river, although the run is definitely tapering down, and finding great action on striped bass in its lower half.  

An added bonus has been the arrival of summer-run halfpounder steelhead to 22 inches joining numerous smolts from 8 to 14 inches, according to Mike Powers of American River Flyfishing.  

There’s still some life left in the American River shad season. Good fishermen were still doing well in the evenings, especially around Sailor Bar Park, and this is the time of season when the big females dominate the catch. American Fly Fishing has a derby going on right now, and the biggest entry so far is 21 inches, caught by a 7 year old. You do have to fish with an American Flyfishing guide, but you have a good chance of winning a Sage fly rod worth $800.

As for the striped bass, Powers said that stripers are chasing shad, and that fishing for them has been “off the hook.” Most have been schoolies to 8 pounds, and Powers was talking about catching them on big Clouser streamers in gray and white and green and white, but ripbaits, swimbaits, jumbo minnows and especially soft-shelled crawdads are also effective.  

As for the steelies, hardly anyone is targeting them, but anglers dead-drifting rubberlegs and small caddis imitations from Sailor Bar to Watt Ave. are catching a combination of small steelhead that haven’t made to the ocean yet, and half-pounders to about 20 inches.  

AMERICAN RIVER STRIPERS frequently get as big as this one from the nearby Sacramento River, caught by guide Maury Hatch of First Hatch Guide Service. The big striper hit an olive-colored Pike Minnow imitation fly.

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