Sacramento River Trout Fishing Season


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Lake Shasta Trout Fishing Season

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Northern California Trout Fishing

The morning air was brisk and a subtle breeze nipped my face, as Bryan and I boarded the Vicki Ann. I was going to live my dream, winter fishing for wild rainbow trout on the Sacramento River.

Ken launched the boat, and started a short run up river. He explained to us how we were going to fish for trout, and the techniques we would be using. Soon he throttled back and we cast our lines out. We had hardly started our first drift when I felt the strike of my first fish.

The adrenaline began to build, and Bryan looked over at me in awe, as a nice trout leaped into the air, one leap after another, as it tried to dislodge the glo-bug it had mistaken for food.

The battle went on, as this pretty rainbow trout leaped and danced on top of the water, until at last Ken netted him, close to the boat. This was a beauty in my book, 3½ pounds of acrobatic fun!

The trout here in Northern California, are not at all like the lethargic ones back home. They fight much harder, and jump time after time.

We caught a load of fish on that trip, and had a great day, thanks to Ken. His patience and expertise have given us a much better understanding of how to find and catch trout on all the waters we fish at home.

Still, we can’t wait for the chance to come back and fish with him again, and to experience the raw beauty of the Sacramento River.

– Jim McIntyre

Dec 22, 2003 Mark posing with his beautiful 3 lbs Pit River Rainbow strain caught in the Sacramento River
Dec 22, 2003, Matt cradles a handsome Pit River Rainbow trout caught in the Sacramento River. One of 32 fish caught that day.

Sacramento River Trout Fishing

Unlike many trout rivers, the fish biomass density in the Sacramento River is measured in thousands of fish per mile. Through careful management, the Sacramento River now boasts as one of America’s great trout fishing rivers. It is not uncommon for fishermen to catch sometimes as many as 50 fish in a single outing!

A robust year round fishery, trout fishing peaks however, in January and February.

In addition to the Sacramento River Rainbow trout, the “Sac” as locals fondly call the Sacramento River also has the Pit River Rainbow strain. This is a particularly pretty trout with white frontal rays on all its fins.

The German Brown Trout is the other trout species found in the Sacramento River, and is not as prevalent as it was some years back. But they are still around.

Trout in the Sacramento River measure between 14 and 18 inches on the average.

However, fish of 10 – 12 pounds are not uncommon either. On a cold and rainy February day, a few years back, a 19 pound trout was landed.

Dec 20, 2003, Sal with a 6 pound rainbow trout. This slugger hit a K-16 Kwikfish salmon lure.
Oct 26, 2003, Tom Dawson and his kids, Tommy and Anna. Tom landed 2 Salmon, while Tommy and Anna boated 8 trout.

Beginner or Pro to Trout Fishing?

Trout are aerobatic fish. They leap and walk on water to dislodge or “spit” the hook. As they mesmerize you they are also enlarging the hook’s hole. Play them too long and you will loose them. “Horse” them and you snap the line.

It takes skill and graceful technique to consistently boat these highly prized game fish in numbers. There is more to it than just reeling like crazy.

If you’re a beginner or a pro wanting guidance, your Pro-guide Ken Hoffman will be happy to teach you the techniques and help you hone your skills.

He can coach you through the fight, from the initial hookup, to the waiting net, and improve your hookup to catch ratio.

Sacramento River Trout Fishing Guide

The Sacramento River watershed’s constantly changing water levels peak and recede in annual cycles. This flux is both natural and man-made. Knowledge and experience of these rhythms can mean the difference between a productive steelhead fishing trip and a waste of valuable fishing time. Having someone who can pinpoint the best time and place to fish is what makes guided trout fishing so productive.

The River Pirate’s Pro-guide, Ken Hoffman, has over 30 years’ experience trout fishing in the Sacramento River. Ken knows the river thoroughly and will enjoy showing you the best trout fishing Northern California has to offer.

Your Master Guide, Ken Hoffman, will be at the boat ready and waiting for you. All the tackle and gear will be prepared for your fishing day.