The best fly fishing near Sacramento

JT River GuideFly Fishing, Trout Fishing

Did you know the best fly fishing near Sacramento is only an hour and 45 min north on I-5?

Northern CA has some great options for fly fishing, and some of the best are within an easy drive north to the colder waters of the upper reaches of the scenic Sacramento River near the towns of Red Bluff and Redding. The Sacramento river hosts a thriving population of resident rainbow trout and migrating populations of steelhead, salmon, striper, and shad which all make great sport for the fly angler. There is great fishing available for a fly angler all year round.

large trout hooked up on the sacramento river

A large trout being played on fly fishing gear on the Sacramento River.

Is the best fishing location close enough for a day trip from Sacramento?

The region north of Red Bluff from Sacramento has an abundance of options for a flyfisher to make a day trip, overnighter, or multiple days long trip with ease. For example, when fishing on the ‘Lower Sacramento River’ (referencing the waters BELOW Shasta Dam), many anglers from the Sacramento area opt to drive up in the morning as we often start our trips around 9am. Due to the bug hatches and other variables, the best fishing is often mid-day… no reason to start our day in the dark. The reasonable drive back to Sacramento makes the Lower Sacramento River a great day trip option.

For the overnight anglers there are a number of good lodging options from hotels to RV parks and rental homes right on the river! Food and amenities are easily accessible and within convenient distance of river access. Clink here for some local info.

fly fishing for sacramento river trout

Comfortable, stable boats are utilized for guided fly fishing trips on the Sacramento River.

When is the best time to go? What can you catch?

For a guided fly fishing trip on the Lower Sacramento River the peak times are spring, summer, and fall. Each season has it’s nuances such as the spring bug hatches and mild weather, or the fall “egg bite” which occurs when trout begin gorging on the eggs deposited by spawning salmon. Wild rainbow trout are available all year long. Steelhead are present in the river fall and winter with the best time for Sacramento River steelhead being October-December, although we get great action for them in the heat of summer as well.

large sacramento river trout

Large trout like this are fairly frequently caught on the Lower Sacramento River.

Hire a fishing guide or DIY?

For the Lower Sacramento River you will be greatly handicapped as a bank angler. Big water and spotty access make things tougher. To maximize your ability to reach as much water as possible, we absolutely recommend access via watercraft. If you’ve never fished this part of the river before, or if you don’t want to be stuck operating the boat instead of fishing, we would obviously recommend hiring a guide for the day. Most stretches of the river are navigable by single man pontoon boats and that option opens up far more wading opportunity for DIY. For regional small streams it’s much easier to DIY, however, if you want to help with the learning curve the guided option or private access might be prudent. Either way enjoy the water and stay safe out there! Contact us here for more info.