Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Steelheading holding up pretty well on American River

BY JIM JONES/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 23, 2012

RANCHO CORDOVA — The release from Nimbus Dam to the American River was reduced again to the lowest in a very long time — to 1,450 cfs — and that was both good news and bad news.  

The good news is that the river is very fishable for waders, and there has been an influx of fresh fish,  mostly small, but in great numbers. In the upper section of the river above Sunrise Blvd. to Nimbus Hatchery, there are lots of larger, dark steelhead spawning on redds. Unfortunately, they are quite vulnerable to outright snagging, as well as, the more subtle illegal method of lining or “flossing.”

Downstream, the river is loaded with small steelhead/smolts/native rainbow trout, according to Mike Powers of American Fly Fishing.

“I’ve had reports of guys catching 50 or 60 in an outing,” he said. “I heard this from more than one source, so I believe it. Most are 8 to 14 inches long, but I think some spring run fish are showing, because I’ve heard of fish to 22 inches being caught. And we had a report of a 26 incher taken this morning.”

Powers said that most of the fish are being caught on nymphs like caddis, baettis and pmd’s  dead-drifted under indicators. Spin and bait casting anglers are scoring drifting nightcrawlers, single eggs and roe, swinging Little Cleos and Blue Foxes, and backtrolling Hot Shots and Brad’s Wigglers.

Advertise with Western Outdoor News