The Sacramento River in Northern California has become the buzz as of late, when it comes to fishing for the giant striped bass that take up residency in the Sacramento River for the majority of the year. These big mature striped bass are no secret on the Sacramento River and have been around for decades. Generally the months of October and November are synonymous with big striper fishing on the Sacramento River here in Northern California. As big striped bass are found in large hunting groups from Red Bluff, Ca all the way down river to Colusa, Ca. Due to winter weather condition that generally put the kibosh on fishing for these river monsters because of higher, muddier water brought on by Pacific Ocean storms that are typically taking place at this time, the fishery on the Sacramento River is seldom fishable during the months of December and January. Under these current drought like conditions the Sacramento River had remained fishable to say the least, until yesterday January 9, 2018. The river at its current state remains, dropping but muddy still,l from the runoff of Mondays storm. The fishery may recover with no more rain in Northern California's future for almost a week. It's totally up in the air at this point!!
What happened last week on the Sacramento River was one for the books. The Sacramento River came alive as the 86,000 juvenile steelhead released a few weeks ago by Coleman National Fish Hatchery made their way down the Sacramento River. Reluctant to out migrate (head for the Pacific Ocean) due to record low river flows on the Sacramento River at the time of their release, the juvenile steelhead have slowly moved down stream. Only moving at night and seeking refuge in the rip rap, gravel bars and back eddies of the river during the daylight hours. For the most part. The afternoons river wide came alive as striped bass in all sizes started chasing the juvenile steelhead as they came out from hiding and gathered in the middle of the river, letting the current help migrate them toward the Pacific Ocean. As the masses of striped bass gathered into hunting groups and positioned themselves in the narrow river funnels and bowl ups, and tail outs of the rivers bigger holes, the striper bite blew wide open. Throughout the river system the striped bass were instantly on a feeding frenzy as a constant and easy food source became available. Striped Bass could be seen chasing the 7" to 10" juvenile steelhead across the tail outs of the deeper holes, where the stripers use the shallowing water to their advantage. Running their bait (juvenile steelhead) to the surface where it is much easier for them to catch. The super smart and resourceful striped bass have one major down fall when it comes to them gorging themselves on a bountiful food source. The stripers become pigs, and almost blind as to the ongoings around them. Reluctant to allow anything that remotely resembles food to get by them without them inhaling it. And these are the conditions that have existed for the striped bass anglers throughout the Sacramento River in this new year.
The few recreational striped bass anglers and even fewer striped bass fishing guides who were on the Sacramento River chasing these line sides as the bite blew wide open, were not talking much about the fast and incredible action. And being even more tight lipped about their exact locations. With river conditions as low as legally possible, river navigation became very tricky. Even in a jet boat. Private anglers like Paul Young, who caught many large striped bass in the 20+ to 30+ pound range, a couple big bass over 40 pounds, and weighing in what I believe to be the biggest bass of the season. A large sow striper weighing in at just under 54 pounds. Sacramento River fishing guide Dakota Deines got in on the action putting several 25 to 35 pound fish on the deck since January 1, 2018. Other recreational sport fishermen targeting this phenomenal striper action such as Oscar Nerey, John Patterson, and Cole Barnes all from Corning, Ca reported their own successes landing many striped bass of all sizes up to 30 pounds. Recreational angler Greg Cromer who targets large stripers year round on the Sacramento River put his fair share of time in on this epic bite. Landing 30 plus striped bass to 30 pounds in one hole on a afternoon outing in this new year. Also a special thanks to Greg as he gave me one of his favorite glide bait patterns, when I first showed up unprepared for the river's ongoings. Thanks to the use of that 13" Dockrat glide and the Dockrat 7" lipless bait (www.dockratlures.com), I was able to put several dozen double digit striped bass in the boat.
From the guiding aspect, the last two weeks have been enjoyable and fulfilling making the short winter days action packed, ending with big smiles and memorable days. Days that will likely never be forgotten as personal best accomplishments and trophy striped bass that are heard about but seldom seen, becoming a very real experience for the anglers that booked fishing guides looking for a striped bass of a lifetime. During this rarely seen, seasonal opportunity. For Sacramento River fishing guides such as, Anthony Crawford of Got Fish Guide Service, Billy Driessen of Driessen's Guide Service, and Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service ( SalmonSacRiver.com ) putting trophy sized striped bass on the lines of eager, die hard clients who are willing to make hundreds of casts and brave the chilly winter weather conditions. Well worth the effort and expense of having the big baits and big gear used to handle these monster striped bass available to their customers. Striped Bass fishing clients that were willing to book a guide and show up on short notice were greatly rewarded this last week as the striper fishing reached a "as good as it gets" peak on the Sacramento River. Adam Isaacson Sr. from Lake Co., CA got in on the action catching schoolie stripers up to ten pounds on the A-Rig before switching to a Gary Collins Jr. ( Gcj Custom Lures ) 11" glide that landed him a 20 pound class bass, and another 25 pound striper that took the Greg Cromer loner Dockrat glide just before dark last Friday January 5, 2017. Fishing guide Mike Rasmussen (SalmonSacRiver.com) sent a happy Adam Isaacson Sr. home with a hefty load of his favorite fish for consumption, and a personal best striped bass of 25 pounds. Also taking advantage of the rare opportunity to catch these trophy striped bass was client and nation wide striper angler Eric Robison, from Las Vegas, NV. Eric chases the monster striped bass in freshwater across our country. Visiting places like Arkansas, and Arizona. Fishing for giant stripers in different locations is a passion Eric has, as well as doing so throwing large custom glide baits, of which he has many. Having fought and landed fresh water striped bass to the excess of 60 pounds, Eric jumped at the opportunity to come out fishing here in Northern California on the Sacramento River with striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service. Coming last minute as a referral to Mike's Guide Service tel:530-722-8876 , Eric booked his flight into Sacramento, CA from Las Vegas, NV, rented a car and drove the remaining two hours to meet Rasmussen at daylight at the boat launch on the Sacramento River. All for a chance to catch a 40 pound class California striped bass. And thats exactly what Eric Robison from Las Vegas, NV did on Sunday, January 7, 2018. On the second and final day of his trip to Northern California. After the first day of his trip resulting in two 20+ pound encounters and a few sub grade line sides to the boat, it was decided to move locations in search of a the larger grade fish Eric was looking for. After a foggy sunrise on the Sacramento River the final day of Eric's trip had started. On the first cast of the second stop of the morning, Eric found what he had come all this way for. Hooking and landing a trophy striped bass of exactly 40 pounds sealed the deal for this grateful, respectful, hard fishing angler who just completed a serious personal goal on a whim. Before the day could end several other quality striped bass were landed and some were lost. "Sneaky Pete" a smaller more narcotic glide made by Garrett Dixon of Colusa, CA (g-ratthandcraftedbaits.com) got in on the action and made a strong showing, getting the oversized stripers to chase and wake the fast moving glide bait, when being burned ( retrieved rapidly ) across the tail outs of the bigger holes where the bass were visibly seen chasing the juvenile steelhead. Resulting in explosive action on contact with the smaller reaction glide. The day ended with another big striper hitting the scales at just over 30 pounds being landed at the take out at the end of the day.
If you somehow missed the photo barrage of monster striped bass pictures cycling social media sites like Facebook and Instagram early this week, and didn't see fishing guide Billy Driessen's ( Driessen's Guide Service ) post, boasting seven giant stripers over 30 pounds to the boat, closing the day with a 44 pound trophy caught by his client for the day Adam Benoit, from Vacaville, Ca, then you should surely check it out! Truly one of the most astonishing days of striped bass fishing imaginable. The photos and videos from there epic day on Sunday January 7, 2018 can be viewed on Billy's FB business page (Driessens Guide Service). Billy Driessen spends a great deal of time on the Sacramento River chasing these river monsters and having a day like Billy and Adam had on the water throwing big glide baits, is truly as good as it gets. I encourage you to check out the photos of the trophy stripers caught this Fall/Winter on the Driessen's Guide Service FB business page.
As of today January 10, 2018 the Sacramento River levels are on the drop although river conditions still remain muddy and not conducive to glide bait style fishing. The Sacramento River is expected to drop back into shape possibly by the weekend and low flows will again make the fishing excellent for these trophy striped bass. How long the fishable conditions will last is totally up in the air at this point. Contacting a fishing guide as soon as possible is recommended at this point, with striper fishing being as good as it is. The likelihood of this river rises changing a whole lot is not very high because of the very small influx of water this last storm delivered. More probably then not excellent fishing is to continue on the Sacramento River and contacting one of the couple Sacramento River guides offering these trips will be booked up before long.
To contact Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service use his email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the salmonsacriver.com website and filling out a booking submission form. Mike is awaiting the arrival of a new iPhone as his phone was lost during the netting process of Eric Robison's 40 pound striped bass. Sorry for the inconvenience of having a down phone number, it will be rectified shortly. For any and all inquiries about Winter Steelhead Fishing on the North Coast at this current time contact steelhead fishing guide Dave Jacobs sacramentofishing.com who is currently fishing the Chetco River in Southern Oregon and the Smith River in Northern California. Visit Dave's website or for reservations cal tel:530-646-9110 .
Mike's Fishing Guide & Charter Service For Sacramento River Fishing targeting King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Striped Bass, Sturgeon, Shad And Trout the best Sacramento River Fishing guide and Sacramento River Charter on Sac River