Sacramento River fall salmon season fishing report.

Justin Bonito with a great Sacramento River King salmon.

It seems like its a bit early for a multi day storm system to be rolling through Shasta County, but I guess a little rain this time of year never hurts, or does it?  Typically, the section of the Sacramento River below Battle Creek in Cottonwood, Ca. would be loaded with King salmon this time of year.  In my experience, only two things will change this at this point in the season.  First, salmon are very keyed in to their environment, and when it rains, its like the salmon get a green light to move up stream to their spawning grounds.  The second thing that would create a situation where there just aren't very many salmon in the river would be due to low numbers of returning salmon.  Well, this year we experienced both of these things and its left most salmon anglers and fishing guides alike, shaking their heads in disappointment.

The first rains of the season a few weeks ago sent most of the salmon that had populated the Sacramento River near the Barge Hole, up into the low reaches of Battle Creek and stacked at the base of the ladder into Coleman National Fish Hatchery.  Prior to the rains, there were only about a dozen salmon at Coleman, but that rainfall we did get pulled an estimated 3,000 salmon out of the Barge Hole and other holes below, up into Battle Creek where they remained out of reach for salmon anglers on the river.  It was thought that there may be more fish in the system below and that the loss of the 3,000 salmon in the river would quickly be replaced by fresh salmon moving up river.  Well, that didn't really happen as was hoped and King salmon fishing in the area really took a nose dive.

The next two weeks were a grind, and although some salmon were being caught daily, the hopes for some appreciable numbers of salmon to settle into the Barge Hole quickly dwindled.  So, that brings us up to current day conditions and with the arrival of the first series of significant rain storms in the area this weekend, it is expected that any remaining salmon headed for Coleman will be headed there in a hurry and any salmon that were laying in the holes below Battle Creek will surely be gone.  I've personally cancelled all of my remaining salmon trips until late November when we will start to see the "late fall" run salmon in decent numbers. Currently, I just don't believe there will be enough salmon available for my clients to catch on a daily basis. After all, the main reason people hire my services is so that they can not only enjoy a day on the water, but they can also have a reasonable chance of catching a fish. 

Its pretty clear now what has happened to our 2016 Coleman salmon, but thats a subject that will best be addressed when the season is officially over and the data is collected and documented for release.  All is not lost at this point though and there are still some opportunities to catch some wild and hatchery origin Sacramento River steelhead from Redding to Red Bluff.  Anglers are catching steelhead drifting egg beads, roe, and glow bugs through the shallows.  It can be very productive steelhead fishing up here this time of the year and when the rains subside and the river starts to drop, thats where you'll find me!  Who knows, there is always a chance you'll hook a straggler King salmon still too!


Fall fishing continues to provide some great trips for our clients!

With our fall season in Shasta County now in full swing, we are finding plenty of fishing opportunities on Redding area lakes, and on the Sacramento River.  I have spent a lot days on the water this week, and its been a good time to wet a line for many species in our area.  In fact, many of my clients this week have caught fish they have never caught before.


King salmon fishing on the Sacramento River in the Barge Hole area has been tough and only some boats are seeing even one fish per rod.  I've fallen short on limits for my boat this week with the exception of a salmon trip I had with two clients on Friday.  We were able to haul in 3 King salmon, catch and release a Green sturgeon, and land several rainbow trout.  For Nicholas Graham of South Africa, Friday was a childhood dream come true.  Nicholas has always wanted to catch a river King salmon.  On Friday, not only did he catch one, but he caught two great Sacramento River Kings.  It was a great day on the river and I was honored to help fulfill a dream for Nicholas.

Other trips this week resulted in a salmon for Jonnni Smith of Wisconsin, and a salmon for Dave Barrett of Fresno, Ca.  By weeks end, we were catching River rainbows and some late season Kokanee limits as well.  All in all, it was a good week for us and its a good thing because change is on the horizon.  

It looks like a wet weather system is headed our way and by next Thursday we could be seeing some rain.  This will likely change the current fishing conditions, and maybe substantially depending on how much rain we do get.  Any measurable amount will surely send our salmon up Battle Creek and our fall salmon season my see its final days before we get into our "late fall" salmon season in November.  Rain will also send the Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee up into the tributaries to spawn as well, and the Kokanee fishing will surely see its end there for the season.  If and when any of this happens, I'll be turning my attention to Shasta Lake where the Spotted bass fishing and trout fishing will likely improve with rainfall and cooler water temps. Until then, I still have a lot of salmon fishing to do through the end of next week so lets hope we don't see to many major changes before my Sac salmon season ends!


New week for Sacramento River King salmon!

Last week I wrote a salmon report that communicated a down turn in the fishing in the upper section of the Sac near Cottonwood, Ca.  Well, its a new week and I'm guardedly optimistic about what I'm seeing on the river with our salmon over the last few days.  New fish have been arriving and the catch rates are up a bit from last week.  I guess thats good news for local salmon anglers and guides, but until the fish load up below Battle Creek and fishing is fairly good in coming weeks, I'm not going to get too excited just yet.  

It is still too early to tell just exactly what the end of this run will tell us, but with only a dozen or so salmon said to be waiting at Coleman National Fish Hatchery ladder, we have a long ways to go before we can say we haven't seen a complete collapse in the 2016 salmon run on the Sac.  Realistically, we still have 4 solid weeks of salmon fishing ahead of us here in Shasta County, and thats a lot of time to see an improvement.  There are reports of fresh fish entering the system still and with the flows dropping on the Feather river now, the Sac still has a chance to see improved numbers of salmon swimming past the high flows and cool water the Feather had to offer these clearly wayward salmon.  

Shaun Montgomery of Palo Cedro, Ca. fight one of two King salmon he hooked while fishing with us!

Shaun Montgomery of Palo Cedro, Ca. fight one of two King salmon he hooked while fishing with us!

Salmon fishing improved for me on Friday with a score of a fish per rod in the boat.  I took the weekend off to catch up on some much needed sleep, but Chris Schertz of C&A Guide Service called in a report yesterday indicating that a bunch of salmon had moved into the Red Bluff to Cottonwood area and that there was good fishing to be had!  Thats a positive report, and one of its kind I haven't heard of much this season.  Todays rain will certainly have an effect on fishing in coming days.  Either it will help the fishing or it may hurt it.  Surely it will get the fish moving, but we don't want the fish below Battle creek to disappear just yet.

I'll be back on the water for the next two weeks and my strategy will likely be to hang out in the productive holding waters working on holding fish and on fish that are moving through the holes.  With salmon on the move, you will find fish resting after a push up river and you will intercept pods of fish moving through as well.  Theres really no need to run up and down river all day looking for fish.  Every hole is holding them, you just have to be patient and wait for the bite to turn on.  I am fortunate to be booked solid through the remainder of the season, but if you want to get out and would like to hire a salmon fishing guide for a day, I have some great guides that I work with and can help recommend one for you.

Larry Lange of Bayside, Ca. holding his catch of the day on the Sacramento River!

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 http://www. jeffgoodwinfishing.com./  You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.