American River Fishing Report

Report Updated March 27, 2015


With flows down to 500 cfs now, the American is a depressing mess. There’s very little happening here in this tiny trickle and without flows to induce them to come up, shad and striper fishing will likely be tough this season. :(

Salmon and steelhead need water! You can help by becoming a member of the Golden Gate Salmon Association: A non-profit group fighting to restore Central Valley salmon habitat and ensure both spot and commercial fisheries remain sustainable. Click for details.

DFG Fishing Regulations

American River map

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About the American River

The American winds its way 23 miles through the heart of California’s Capitol City from Nimbus dam to its confluence with the Sacramento River. Though it bisects a major metropolitan area, you’d never know it when you’re on the water. There’s a ton of wildlife in the scenic green belt along the river and surprisingly good fishing to be had as well.

The American’s once epic salmon runs have recently fallen on hard times but anglers still see some nice winter steelhead action from November through March on mostly hatchery fish that can sometimes reach 16 or even 18 pounds. In May, a huge run of shad hits the river and they are followed by striped bass that can occasionally top the 50-pound mark. Both species are present until mid summer and then things settle down here from mid July until the fall.

Photos from the American by JD
Spring steelhead on the American River

Species of the American River

Fall Chinook

Striped Bass

American Shad


Photos from the American:

Riffle below Ancil Hoffman Park

Riffle below Ancil Hoffman Park

The Lower American, just up from Watt Ave.

The Lower American, just up from Watt Ave.

Deer crossing near Goethe (River Bend) Park

Deer crossing near Goethe (River Bend) Park