How to Fish For Striped Bass in the Sacramento River

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In the spring of every year, anglers head to various rivers to catch bass during the spring spawning run. The aggressive and ready-to-bite Striped Bass in California is every angler’s aim during these months. However, big catches are for anglers who know how to fish for Striped Bass in the Sacramento River.

How to Fish For Striped Bass in the Sacramento River

This river in California is a hot spot for Striped Bass. The fish is ready to bite hungrily and can give anglers a long and tiring fight after it gets hooked. For this fun, anglers go to the river during spring and try various techniques to catch this fierce species.

There are many locations in the river where anglers go to catch bass because of the high number of fish swimming deep in the river. Moreover, some methods will get you closer to finding a big bass. Both the location as well as the process of fishing can make your striper fishing trip adventurous and a success.

An image of sunset in Sacramento river

Locations for Striped Bass in This River

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is a great spot to catch spring spawning bass that head up from the San Francisco Bay. This spot becomes the spawning bed for so many fish, and whether you go in Early March or later in April, you will find plenty of this species.

At the beginning of summer, fishing these spots will still be fun because as the bass travels south, it can stop for a bite, and if your lure is effective enough to make this migrating fish stop, then you are in for some big catches.

Another Hot Location

Another good location for bass fishing is the point where the American River and Feather River meet the Sacramento River. As the fish try to travel up the tributaries, anglers can lower live bait or use plugs to attract them. The deep holes at the mouth of both the rivers are where anglers should be in spring!

Within the city of Sacramento, there are numerous favorable angling locations such as Miller Regional Park, Discovery Park, and even the Matsui Waterfront. All these areas present a great opportunity for anglers who head down to this city for a big catch.

Methods of Fishing

The primary methods that have become popular for catching the fish quickly and in large numbers are

Bass fish is more abundantly found in the lake than at the shallow edges, and that is why anglers prefer to target bass from a boat. This particular species of bass travel up the river for spring spawning, which means that they are located deep in the water. However, they come up when they see the bait, so the use of lures and plugs is as good as live bait.

Speed Trolling

During the spring run, Striped Bass (also known as Stripers) are not concentrated in one place and are scattered in the river. Using a lure in a specific area might be a hit-or-miss trial, and there is no fun in that. Speed trolling can be an excellent way to catch hungry bass.

Speed trolling is the technique of tying the bait on numerous fishing lines and drawing them through the water as the boat moves. Stripers in the river will come up to eat. However, the number of fish you can catch with this method depends on the speed of the boat.

Best Trolling Speed for Offshore Fishing

The best speed for trolling in the river is between two to four miles per hour. This can vary from day to day because of the weather and water currents. Moreover, the direction of the boat upstream or along the flow will also determine the correct speed.

The right speed for trolling to catch stripers is to watch the bait and go faster until the bait starts spinning. As you achieve this speed, begin to slow down so that the bait begins to move like live fish swimming close to the surface.

The motive of any technique is to present the bait in a way that the target fish species believes it to be a live fish swimming on the surface. Natural movement is essential. Striped Bass will come up to eat fish only if it is convincing enough!

Equipment Needed for Speed Trolling

Rigging up for any method is an integral part of the adventure because if anglers are not well-prepared with the right equipment and lures, they will not be able to catch stripers in the river. Some of the necessary equipment includes

  • Fish finder
  • Bait like mackerel, eel, squid, and herring
  • A medium to medium heavy fishing rod and reel
  • A monofilament or braided line
  • The right size of hooks

Once anglers are prepared with all this, catching an aggressive fish will become easier, and the chase will become more exciting. Speed trolling is an offshore fishing technique that can get anglers more fish than other techniques. However, in this California river, lure or live bait casting can also be an effective method.

An image of Sacramento river

Inshore Fishing for Stripers

If you want to catch stripers in the Sacramento River, you can choose to fish on the shore. The technique for exploring the banks of the river includes the use of lures and plugs or live fish to attract hungry bass. Anglers will have to decide the best lures according to the natural feed of bass in the water at the time of the trip.

Some of the famous shore fishing lures and bait included

  • Minnow-imitation plugs
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Shad
  • Spooks

Anglers can use whole bait or cut them in pieces to let the smell get to bass and make it hard to resist. Whichever lure you use, the fishing rod and reel must be suitable for the action that you are going to get when the bass gets caught on the hook.

Equipment for Inshore Fishing

When fishing on these waters, you will need a seven-foot fishing rod with light action. As the fish gets hooked, a light rod will help in identifying the bite, and a compatible reel will efficiently pull in the fighting bass. An inshore casting rod and reel combo will work wonders with the right lures, and you will take home some trophy fish that will not only look good in pictures!

The tackle box for inshore fishing is different from offshore fishing as the use of plastic lures and plugs will not be fruitful for the latter. Many anglers prefer inshore fishing as they get to feel the excitement of catching bass and have to combat the fight with their technique of handling the rod.

The Impact of Time and Weather

When planning how you would catch this fish species in this particular river, you can maximize your catch by picking the right time of the day and choosing a day when the weather conditions are favorable.

Stripers are near the surface when they are feeding early in the morning or late in the evenings. When the light is dim, this fish comes up to fulfill its appetite. Anglers can plan a trip at dawn or dusk to catch big and hungry fish.

Keep a watch on the weather forecast because bass will hide when the weather does not allow them to come up for a bite. Before and during rain or even windy weather can be a good fishing period because these fish eat more than usual to store up if bad weather continues.


Anglers who know how to fish for Striped Bass in the Sacramento River can make their trip a success. There are numerous factors like location, the right equipment, and a comfortable method of fishing that add to the adventure and big catches.