Report Updated May 20, 2013
Shad, stripers & spearguns
The American continues to be low but there are plenty of shad from Gristmill on down despite that. Windy evenings lately have hampered the fishing a bit, but there enough fish around to make a trip worthwhile. The shad are eating pink and chartreuse flies and grubs.
Stripers are around too, but fishing for them has gotten increasingly difficult with the presence of spear fishermen swimming around in the lower stretches. While legal, the watergunners are making it tough for the rod and reel guys as the fish get spooked more easily now.
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American River map
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.
Species of the American River