American River Fishing Guide

The American River is located in downtown Sacramento and is approximately 23 miles long. The best fisheries on the American River are salmon and shad. The American River also has some steelhead and stripers that you can catch, but it can take many hours to hook just one of these fish.

The salmon fishery is very special on the American. One unique quality of fishing on the American River is that I can take you on a night salmon trip. This is a trip that requires different methods of fishing from the day trips. For those of you that have mooched in the ocean, it is very similar. Another bonus this river offers is its size. Since the American River is short, it is easy to locate the schools of fish for a successful day on the water. The best time to fish this river for salmon is end of August through the end of November.

The shad fishing is also known as the poor man’s tarpon. These fish are fierce-fighting-fishing that don’t give up. This is one of the best trips to get kids hooked on fishing. Kids or not, if you want lots of action this is a sure bet. Shad start entering the river in April and usually head back to the ocean by the end of July. The best time to fish for shad is May through the middle of July.

For those of you wanting to catch a really big striper, this is where you have your best chance. The American River is known for big fish. My biggest striper on this river was 50 pounds and I saw a 55 pounder landed many years ago. The big ones take many hours if not days to get one chance, but if you want to catch a trophy, this is the place.

The steelhead in the last thirty years has declined to the point where the hatchery only gets back 1000-2000 a year. Steelhead in this river take a lot of patience to catch but once you have landed one you know the wait was worth it.