Recent rains have now caused several spikes in the Sacramento River levels. Adding runoff water from all the major creeks draining the Sierra Nevada and Coastal Mountain Range surrounding the Sacramento Valley, here in Northern California. The contribution from local creeks in the north state, such as Battle Creek, Mill Creek, and Deer Creek draining runoff from the east side of the Sacramento Valley, in conjunction with the runoff from big west side creeks such as Cottonwood Creek and Thomas Creek draining the Coastal Mountain Range, all contributing to the delivery of local runoff into the Sacramento River. Which is geographically centered in the Sacramento Valley. In addition to Keswick Damns minimal 3,500 cfs release from Lake Shasta, the Sacramento River picked up another 10,000 cfs in local runoff. Tripling the flow rate of the river and sending a wave of fresh water heading down river for the Sacramento River Delta. Where scores of this years spawning White Sturgeon have been waiting for this occurrence. Triggering the next and final faze of their migration. Last weeks very similar rain event that took place in Northern California triggered the start of the migration. As this week sturgeon were visably seen and caught in the Knights Landing, Ca and Tisdale, Ca regions of the Sacramento River. Where most of the sturgeon fishing in the Sacramento River is done in low water years. Such as this one. Fishing only promises to get better for these prehistoric fishes of the Sacramento River. With another wave of water well on its way to the Delta. The migration and spawning rituals of the white sturgeon generally peak in early to mid March depending on water flows and water temperature in the river. Offering about a two month window of opportunity for those anglers who like to tackle California's largest inland fish.
Northern California fishing guide Mike Rasmussen of SalmonSacRiver.com reported catching a white sturgeon earlier this week for John Patterson, owner of Patterson Electric Co. in Corning, Ca and long time friend of Rasmussen. The local sturgeon fishing guide reported "trying his luck" after seeing dozens of the newly arriving white sturgeon breach the previous day while fishing for giant trophy striped bass in the Tisdale, Ca area of the Sacramento River. Rasmussen reported missing one fish almost immediately and picking up a oversized female after only about a hours time of soaking lamprey eel from Big Red Worm Bait Co. bigredwormcompany.com . Fishing for sturgeon on the Sacramento River for over two decades now, Rasmussen says he does things a little different when it comes to setting up terminal tackle and rod spreads when fishing up in the Sacramento River. Doing things a little different then most guides fishing the Bay and Delta for these diamondbacks. Rasmussen prefers a heavy action 8 foot rod ( Rasmussen currently fishes the Black Diamond series from Phenix Rod Company phenixrods.com ), with a standard Shimano Calcutta 400, lined with 50 pound Berkley Power Pro powerpro.com. The much thinner diameter braid has less resistance in the sometimes strong currents of the Sacramento River during the sturgeon season. Keeping your line tight and without any sag or bow in it. Accompanying the power pro is a 40 inch long, 80 pound monofilament leader, with a size 4 or 5 Gamakastu, Big River hook. Who's deep basket when barbless seemingly never loses a fish. All tackle for in river sturgeon fishing that Rasmussen uses when guiding the Sacramento River he picks up at Kittle's Outdoor & Sport kittlesoutdoor.com. Centrally located in the more popular sturgeon fishing grounds of the upper Sacramento River. Always stocked with the appropriate tackle and live or frozen bait, and only minutes away from three major launching facilities. It is a very convenient location for out of town anglers to stop and grab the slightly different tackle used for various reason when fishing up river. Don't forget to purchase your 2018 sturgeon report card, and be sure to remember to turn in last year's 2017 sturgeon report card to the Department of Fish & Wildlife or report your catches online at ca.wildlifelicense.com. Navigation of the Sacramento River above Colusa, Ca is not recommended and highly advised against unless you have spent a great deal of time on those waters. In these lower water years many, many, boaters have ended up on barely submerged gravel bars and/or ripped their boats up on the thousand of trees that lay in the rivers channels. The last 15 miles of fishable sturgeon water on the Sacramento River ( between Colusa, Ca and Butte City, Ca ) should be left for the locals who have traveled the river their whole lives, and the fishing guides that spend a great deal of time on this stretch of river at other times through out the year. Down river of Colusa, CA is where the majority of sturgeon fishing takes place. On low water years such as this year, the stretch of the Sacramento River from Grimes, Ca to Knights Landing, Ca is your best bet.
Striped Bass fishing on the Sacramento River for the winter time giants that have been on the "chow" for the last month, have been a little harder to catch this past week. Fighting a up and down river and clarity conditions due to the recent storms hasn't stopped the stripers from being targeted and caught, but it certainly slowed it down a touch. The glide bait bite that had been absolutely lights out, with phenomenal catches being posted up daily on social media sites, has come to a screeching halt this week. Higher and more silty water conditions leaving only a foot or foot and a half visibility for the anglers targeting the gargantuan striped bass. Other methods of catching these eating machines became effective this week when the glide bite stopped. Big trophy fish could still be seen on the fish finders of the anglers who went out looking for these fish that will remain in the Sacramento River until they spawn late this spring. More traditional style striper fishing came into play this week as big rubber swimbaits that give off a constant and repetitious vibration, making it easy for the very predatory stripers to find in the stained river conditions, got gobbled up. Large spoons came into play as well this week, as the flash and disturbance from a eight inch Nichols Lure Co. nicholslures.com spoon got striped bass fishing guide Billy Driessen of driessensguideservice.com on the fish this week. Putting up nice quality bass to 20+ pounds while yanking the spoon vertically, letting it flutter fall to the bottom before repeating the process. Being able to fish right below the fish finder when the giant bass appear gives you the advantage of at least putting a bait right at their noses when the stripers appear on your graph. There is a very positive outlook for river conditions to drop back into ideal shape this week ahead of us and red hot giant striped bass fishing is certainly going to be available again for those who missed out on the best big striper year in recent history. Maybe ever. The chance to book a trip with salmonsacriver.com fishing guide Mike Rasmussen or Sacramento River expert trophy striper fishing guide Billy Driessen driessensguideservice.com can both be contacted for open seats and availabilities to be had this week ahead and/or until the next major rain event comes through Northern California. Fishing guides Billy Driessen and Mike Rasmussen can be contacted by phone as well as on the web. Billy Driessen ( 530-520-3295 ). Sacramento River striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen can be contacted at callto:530-722-8876.
Plenty of angling opportunities are available for the angling enthusiast who doesn't mind the winter weather conditions, and have the patients to fish all day and just wait for the miracle to happen. If you are a newcomer to the area and don't want to jeopardize crashing your boat on your first outing. It is recommended that you hire a local guide who constantly is on the river, and its sometimes daily changing gravel bars, snags, and water levels. Making navigation a complete craps shoot, which can end tragically with people getting seriously hurt and even thrown from the boat. Remember the Sacramento River is ever changing and should be navigated with complete respect. Hope to see some of you die hards out their in the next couple weeks as the dino bite kicks all the way into gear and the trophy striped bass continue to feed heavily on this weeks final release of steelhead juveniles from the Coleman National Fish Hatchery.
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