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Sac River fall steelhead fishing picking up!

Article and photos by Jeff Goodwin
11/06/16 -- Last week's storms brought some of our first significant rainfall totals to the foot hills and valley here in the Redding area. Rainfall is always welcomed this time of the year, especially with 4 years of drought that is still haunting the region. Local lakes have seen level increases and tributaries continue to provide a slow, but steady, amount of run off. Both Whiskeytown and Shasta Lakes look great, and the Sacramento River is holding its own with a steady supply of water coming in from all directions.

One of the best fishing opportunities on the Sacramento River now includes the hatchery steelhead run and wild trout fishing. With a fresh shot of dirty water in the Sac, both fall run salmon and steelhead have started to show up in good numbers in the river above Red Bluff. In addition to these new fish in our area, spawning salmon are providing the annual "egg drop" bite and the resident rainbows are currently locked in on spawning salmon waiting for a chance to gorge themselves on protein rich salmon eggs.

Jeff Goodwin with one of many wild steelhead he caught this week, by Jeff Goodwin
Jeff Goodwin with one of many wild steelhead he caught this week.

This can be one of the best times of the year to get out and chase these steelhead and trout in the Redding to Red Bluff area. There are sections of the river now that are literally stuffed with these actively feeding fish and it can make for a great day of fishing with double digit hook ups being the standard. I've had limited opportunities to get out due to a family vacation and a boat thats up at Willie Boats getting some upgrades, but that's ok because this fishery is just getting good!

Sacramento River wild steelhead like the one pictured is, pound for pound, one of the hardest fighting fish in Northern California., by Jeff Goodwin
Sacramento River wild steelhead like the one pictured is, pound for pound, one of the hardest fighting fish in Northern California.

I've been eagerly anticipating my upcoming "late fall" season and will be running trips on the Sacramento River again beginning 11/15. I still have openings available, but I'm booking a trip every few days now so booking sooner than later is recommended. Not only will we be catching numerous steelhead and wild trout, I will be running trips for the late season King salmon as well. It's a smaller run than the summer/fall run, but the quality of these salmon makes the cold mornings and slower action worthwhile. Bigger, brighter King salmon make this run of salmon something special for sure. In addition to favorable water conditions currently, it should be noted that the 2013 class of "late fall" Coleman Hatchery salmon smolt were NOT trucked to Rio vista in 2014 and we will not lose these fish to "straying" like we did with our early season salmon. Time will tell, but this could be a great finish to the 2016 salmon season for us up here in the Battle Creek area.

So in wrapping up this week's report, look for some good-very good steelhead/wild trout fishing on the Sacramento River this week! With that being said, here are a few tips for success; Find the spawning salmon and you'll find steelhead/wild trout. Fish the shallows, not the deep sections of the river. Finally, match the hatch! Steelhead/wild trout are eating salmon eggs. Cured roe, Glo Bugs, and 8mm-10mm pegged (egg color) beads will catch you fish!

Jeff Goodwin is a full time Northern California fishing guide. He guides year round for salmon, trout, steelhead, Kokanee, and bass on Northern California rivers and lakes. He fishes many bodies of water in the Redding area, but also guides the Sacramento River as far down as Colusa during certain seasons. Jeff can also be found on the Klamath River chasing ocean fresh King salmon and steelhead in August each year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff has to offer, please visit Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service at You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.

Fishing Reports

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Art work by Isabella Langaman
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Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


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