Another sunny Northern California week has passed bye, and not a whole lot has changed here on the Sacramento River. Cold night time air temperatures have kept the Sacramento River water temperatures starting out around 47 degrees in the early am hours. And ending up almost hitting the 50 degree mark on the mercury by late afternoon. A little on the chilly side by most other fishes standards. But it hasn't seemed to phase the striped bass of the Sacramento River even a little bit. The giant striped bass are still providing just enough action to keep the few striped bass fishing guides that have been working the Sacramento River occupied. The best days of this years trophy striped bass fishing are behind us. Not to say the fishing isn't still worth showing up for. In fact the one to two fish, 30 pounds and over, is still a dream come true for most Nor Cal anglers. Which has been more of the average this last week for a days effort on the Sacramento River here in Northern California.
Finally a Pacific storm has found its way into interior Northern California. The amount of precipitation is still in question with several popular weather models having conflicting projections. One thing is consistent and that is we are going to get some rain in the Sacramento Valley and much needed snow in the Sierra's. How it will affect the fishing for the trophy striped bass will depend on how much run-off the Sacramento River will receive from the valley and the foothills as the storm passes through. The Sacramento River has reached the lowest level seen in recent history. Making navigation on the river very dangerous and hard to get around in. Unfortunately some jet boat owners have already found out the hard way as they got stuck in several locations on the river. Barely submerged sand and gravel bars are literally scattered everywhere currently from the Red Bluff Diversion Dam down river throughout its length to Verona, Ca. Hydrological flow levels of the Sacramento River have been under 4,000 cfs as Keswick Dam has been releasing the lowest level legally aloud. In addition to these unusually low flows for this time of year, irrigation districts and private water users have been drawing from the Sacramento River this past week. Putting Sacramento River levels at a all time low of 2,600 cfs below the Glenn-Colusa irrigation pumps. Just north of Hamilton City, Ca. The freezing night time temperatures have had sprinklers running all night long. In hopes of keeping the budding fruit from freezing through out the Northern California almond crops. Farmers in the North State have also had to start irrigating unusually dry Orchards as the trees start coming out of dormancy and need the water for new leaf growth and fruit production. With all this water being slurped out of the Sacramento Rivers and its tributaries it is again advisable this week to heed the warnings of a low and and mostly unnavigable Sacramento River at the current time. If you are interested in fishing on the Sacramento River for what remains of the trophy striper season (presumably until the second week in March), it is recommended to hire a local fishing guide that has been fishing the Sacramento River as it dropped daily to its current state. Even the professionals are using great caution and avoiding the dark hours just before and after sunset when running guided fishing trips on the upper Sacramento River.
A great deal of bait ( juvenile steelhead ) still remains up river from Woodson Bridge to the release sight at the Bend Bridge, in Bend, Ca. The storm that finally broke the two month dry spell may have dropped just enough precipitation to prompt the juvenile steelhead still in river, to migrate toward the Pacific Ocean under the cover of a wave of dirty water produced by recent Northern California rain run-off. If in fact this was to be the case, early next week may be wide open trophy striped bass fishing on the Sacramento River. As the wave of river water accompanied by the hatchery released juvenile steelhead, hits the lower Sacramento River the giant stripers (awaiting the spring spawn) will position themselves in narrow fast shoots or tail-outs of deep holes where the bait will be funneled right to them via Sacramento River hydrology. This of course has happened before under similar circumstances but is no guarantee that this weather related event will have the same results. Only time will tell as all the rain run-off is yet to completely hit the Sacramento Valley here in Northern California. Sacramento River hydrological predictions show about a three foot rise in river levels that will pass through the Sacramento River system this weekend. With little to no changes in river flow over the last two months this wave of fresh water accompanied by this months full moon should trigger a push of sturgeon to move up into the upper Sacramento River to their traditional spawning grounds. As well as a push of sow stripers who will move into the river ahead of the "schoolie" males who aren't due to show until the next full moon phase.
The much needed Northern California rain was a welcome sight indeed this week despite the fact that it made fishing conditions much more difficult for local Sacramento River striped bass fishing guides. Facing north winds to 30 mph on Tuesday, south winds winding up on Wednesday to 25 mph, and gusting to almost 40 mph on Thursday as the long awaited storm rolled in. Fishing guides struggled to produce the trophy class stripers that have been so consistently catchable for the past two months. Sacramento River fishing guides targeting these trophy striped bass faired well early in the week, but all have agreed the mid week bite got tough and a fish per outing became the daily average for the last couple days. The much awaited rain and river rise has the striper guides attention. A strong maybe even explosive bite may take off next week as we wind down into the final week or two of the trophy striper season that has made so many long lasting memories for those who booked trips on the Sacramento River this season. The few guides that have worked this fishery so far will continue to do so into the second week of March as long as the stripers and river conditions allow for the opportunity. If you haven't booked a trip, and have been on the fence about doing so, now is the time. And time is running out quickly as the spring spawn is only a month away from starting. Contact a local Sacramento River fishing guide and take a shot at the striper of a lifetime while the opportunity still exist.
Mike's Fishing Guide & Charter Service For Sacramento River Fishing targeting King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Striped Bass, Sturgeon, Shad And Trout the best Sacramento River Fishing guide and Sacramento River Charter on Sac River