Sacramento River Fishing Report For Striped Bass. March 7, 2018

    The striped bass action exploded this week on the Sacramento River here in Northern California. On all fronts! The trophy striped bass from 20-50+ pounds and the large groups of "schoolie" (much smaller) sized striped bass, both went on the chow this week. With ongoing releases of salmonoids and steelhead from Colman National Fish Hatchery https://www.fws.gov/coleman/ a constant food source has developed and the striped bass have gathered in great number, in strategic locations on the Sacramento River to make feeding much easier and more successful.  The bite blew wide open as suspected by Sacramento River striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service.  The recent rain event of last weekend didn't do a lot for California and its current drought situation. What it did do was produce enough rain runoff to give the Sacramento River a small river level rise. Which was just enough to trigger the out-migrating juvenile steelhead, late fall run chinook salmon, and the federally endangered winter run chinook salmon to head down river as mother nature intended (on a rising river). The good news for striper fishermen of California is the fact that the Sacramento River never got as high and muddy as projections called for. In fact it never got dirty at all and the river rise brought the waves of juvenile salmon and steelhead who had been residing up river near their release point, down river very rapidly. With the abundance of food, and a little color, in the very low and clear Sacramento River, the striped bass went into a feeding frenzy. Gorging themselves on the taxpayer bought baby salmon and steelhead.  This was only more good news for Northern California anglers fishing the Sacramento River for striped bass. Needless to say the bite was wide open by the weekend and scores of river monsters were brought to awaiting anglers. Along with easy limits of keeper sized schoolie stripers. Who gathered in large groups and started eating everything in site. 

 These baby salmon were taken from the stomachs of schoolie sized striped bass on March 5, 2018 by Sacramento River striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen. 

These baby salmon were taken from the stomachs of schoolie sized striped bass on March 5, 2018 by Sacramento River striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen. 

 These baby salmon won't be making it to the Pacific Ocean. Fishing guide Mike Rasmussen snaps a photo of all the baby salmon in the stomachs of his clients striped bass that were retained for consumption on March 6, 2018. 

These baby salmon won't be making it to the Pacific Ocean. Fishing guide Mike Rasmussen snaps a photo of all the baby salmon in the stomachs of his clients striped bass that were retained for consumption on March 6, 2018. 

 This example shown by Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service, depicts the piggy nature of the schoolie striped of the Sacramento River. This 19" striped bass had a full stomach at the expense of poor hatchery release practices. This picture was taken on March 4, 2018 on the Sacramento River near Red Bluff, Ca.

This example shown by Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service, depicts the piggy nature of the schoolie striped of the Sacramento River. This 19" striped bass had a full stomach at the expense of poor hatchery release practices. This picture was taken on March 4, 2018 on the Sacramento River near Red Bluff, Ca.

      Striped bass fishing guides and recreational anglers took to the river after last weeks storms had passed and weather conditions returned to favorable. Anglers from four different boat ramps on the Sacramento River reported a great day on the water as multiple trophy striped bass were caught by each individual at each boat launch location over the weekend. Striped bass enthusiast Paul Young from Anderson, Ca took out Eric Robbison from Las Vegas, NV and together three trophy sized stripers were brought to Paul's boat for pictures, before being released. Cole Barnes and Logan Jennings from Corning, Ca  fished up the Sacramento River a bit farther then the rest of the anglers, and found great success. Bringing a total of four trophy stripers to the boat. The smallest one weighing in at 25 pounds and the other three trophy stripers went over 30 pounds with one of them weighing 38 pounds. Just two pounds shy of making the 40 pound club. The pair of striped bass anglers reported loosing or missing as many as they had caught. The most astounding report this past week came from Chris Tacatlian of Sutter, Ca. When he sent in a picture of a rare triple hook-up, where all three striped bass weighed from 22-28 pounds. A monster triple hook-up by anyones standards. And again proof the striper bite was wide open on the Sacramento River. 

 Cole Barnes and his fishing partner and friend Logan Jennings hold up a big sow striped bass for a quick picture before releasing the big girl back into the Sacramento River on Sunday March 4, 2018.

Cole Barnes and his fishing partner and friend Logan Jennings hold up a big sow striped bass for a quick picture before releasing the big girl back into the Sacramento River on Sunday March 4, 2018.

 Chris Tocatlian and company hold up a rare trio of mid 20 pound striped bass they landed and released after their triple hook-up on March 5, 2018 on the Sacramento River. 

Chris Tocatlian and company hold up a rare trio of mid 20 pound striped bass they landed and released after their triple hook-up on March 5, 2018 on the Sacramento River. 

      Although the trophy class stripers seldom join in on the predation of juvenile steelhead and salmon, when a frenzy gets going and the schoolie fish are stuffing themselves silly, the giants will occasional join in. But truthfully the bigger sow stripers over 20 pounds seldom partake in this type of slaughter. The big girls like big bait, and generally prefer suckers, pike minnows, american shad and adult Sacramento River Steelhead. Something they only have to catch one of to be filled up. The schoolie sized striped bass are a completely different story! These fish are so smart and dedicated to feeding veraciously. They gather in huge groups and find the choke points and funnels, using the river itself to feed them. The smaller and much faster swimming keeper sized striped bass are exceptional predators and will eat until their food is coming back out their throat. When they get this crazed, insatiable appetite for salmon or steelhead babies they become blind to their surroundings and are only concerned about feeding. Targeting the big schools of taco grade stripers was also a wrap the last couple days. As the frenzy style feeding is currently on going, while the big pushes of bait move toward the California Delta, the groups of stripers gather in numbers and will likely follow the migration down the Sacramento River. Striped bass fishing guide Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service reports limits of schoolies to 10 pounds doesn't take but minutes once the groups of fish are located. It is very likely that every rod in the boat will get bent over, on the first drift through the big groups of schoolies. 

 Limits for three customers are shown in the Mike's Guide Service fish box on his Koffler jet boat. This limit of striped bass was caught on the Sacramento River on March 6, 2018.

Limits for three customers are shown in the Mike's Guide Service fish box on his Koffler jet boat. This limit of striped bass was caught on the Sacramento River on March 6, 2018.

      More wet weather is predicted to move into interior Northern California by the end of this week. Next weeks forecast looks ever more wet. With the uncertainty of the river condition in near future, playing it by ear, and staying on the water is all that can be done right now. With limits of a great grade of keeper schoolies and the shot at a giant trophy class fish everyday, days spent on the Sacramento River are enjoyable and very productive. With only more and bigger action in the near future as the big masses of schoolies will start showing up later this month. Another excellent week of striper fishing in Northern California should be expected as their food will continue to move down river to them. Despite weather conditions fishing guide Mike Rasmussen plans on staying on the fish daily until they get beat up or move down river. But for the time being ripping lips is on the agenda. Stay tuned....

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