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Sacramento River trout love Dick-Nite spoons

Jeff Goodwin author photo,

By Jeff Goodwin
08/16/15 -- Trout fishing continues to be very good in the Redding area. All summer long, trout fishing has provided plenty of action for anglers who enjoy fishing for them. Early on, our lakes and reservoirs were producing very well, but as the summer heat warmed the waters in our region, we began to see things slow down a bit.

The cooler water in the Sacramento River has become the best option now because it has stayed pretty consistently cool. Trout thrive in waters with steady flows and steady water temperatures

Since early summer this year, the flows of the Sacramento River have held steady at 7250 cfs and have been sitting at about 55-56 degrees. The steady flows are great because you always know where the fish will be holding, which is usually the same place that you found them on your last outing. This really helps take some of the guesswork out of finding fish on subsequent trips.

Sacramento River rainbow trout, photo by Jeff Goodwin
Sacramento River rainbow trout, photo by the author

When flows increase or decrease, often the fish will move into water flows they find most suitable for feeding, maintaining cover, and also resting. This can be a game changer for you during fluctuating flows because the trout won't necessarily be where you found them on your last outing. Steady cool water temperatures are also very helpful because the trout generally maintain the same level of activity with consistent temperatures. Rising or falling temperatures will often increase or decrease their activity and this can affect how well they bite on any given day. So, we really are lucky to have these optimum conditions for the Sacramento River here in Redding and the trout most certainly agree. These trout are very healthy and their size and vast numbers are a testament to the rich environment in which they live.

Techniques for catching these beautiful wild rainbow trout vary from fly fishing to fishing with bait. I've used both of these methods, but I've found that drifting small spoons is very effective for catching trout and it has become the preferred technique for Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service while running guided trout fishing trips. Side drifting or even boondoggling #0-#1 Dick Nite spoons has proven to be a very effective method for the catch and release trout fishery here on the Sacramento River. Dick Nite spoons have been around since the 1930's and have proven to be a super spoon that will catch a variety of fish species. Dick Nite spoons are "American made" in Lake Stevens, WA. The owner, Dick Figgins, is an exceptional man who puts his heart and soul into his business and believes in his product 100%. I was first introduced to Dick Nite spoons in the late 80's while residing in Washington State. The Dick Nite spoon happens to be a proven producer while fishing for both Silver and Pink salmon in the Pacific Northwest and that was my first introduction to them. I used them for many years before re-locating back to California in the late 90's and have have had great success using Dick Nite spoons over the years fishing for salmon, kokanee, steelhead, brown trout, and even bass on the west coast.

Using Dick Nite spoons is quite easy actually, but there are a few important things to remember while fishing them to make them more effective. First, Dick Nite spoons are made of very light gauge brass and their design requires that they be presented very slowly.

*Important: Remember to tie your line directly to the solid ring on the spoon and "do not" attach a swivel or any additional hardware to the spoon itself! Doing so will change the action of your spoon. The desired action could be best described as a flutter or a slow wobble. You do not want the spoons to"roll", because they somehow lose their desired appeal to the fish. They just weren't designed to be fished any other way. Dick Nite spoons come in many, many finishes, but I like the metallic finishes for the Sac. I use the spoons in the Sacramento River primarily while drift fishing from a jet boat. I find that I catch a lot more fish if I present the spoon as if it were a piece of bait. Let the river current provide the action on the spoon as it drifts along the bottom. I always keep the spoons drifting at a 45-90 degree angle from the side of the boat, never letting it swing below the boat. Also, I find that a cast and retrieve method puts too much action on the spoon in the river current and it doesn't fish quite as well, so just "cast it and leave it". Dick Nite spoons are also very effective when used under a bobber, or when used behind a diver while back trolling your boat through holding water.

I like to use a 36" PLine fluorocarbon leader and a sliding pencil lead or slinky for a drift fishing rig. While bobber fishing, I run the above drift rig with a sliding Cleardrift bobber and a bobber stop attached to your main line. The bobber stop allows you to adjust the depth of your spoon as the water depth you will be fishing varies. Remember, you want your spoon near the bottom where the fish are. Back trolling a #30 metallic Hot Shot can be very effective, especially for the drift boat anglers. I take the hook off the Hot Shot and tie a 48" leader to a swivel on the belly of the plug. These three set ups will surely cover the techniques needed to successfully catch rainbow trout on the Sacramento River with Dick Nite spoons! Order your spoons at or call them at 1.888.321.5873. Ask for #14 (nickel, brass) spoons in size #0-#1. That color works best for the Sacramento River.

Jeff Goodwin specializes in guiding and fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead in Northern California and Southern Oregon rivers. He also has many associates who work with him and/or guide on other waters in this region. To learn more please visit or contact him at or at (707) 616-1905.

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