Salmon Fishing on the Sacramento River

The Sacramento River… how can one even describe it? The largest river in California rises from the Klamath Mountains and flows 400 miles south, eventually reaching the San Francisco Bay. This gorgeous body of water creates a wildlife paradise unlike any other river in the state and is popular among boaters, campers, swimmers, and of course, fishers. The fact is, there’s nothing better than a Sacramento River fishing trip. Here’s everything you need to know about the river’s fishing industry and how you can get in on the fun.


Photo Source: Captain James Stone 

Salmon is the name of the game, and what a game it is. The Sacramento River is a hotbed for salmon fishing—in fact, over 70% of California’s salmon catches are from this spot. Sacramento River king salmon, also known as Chinook salmon, are the most common fish in the river. They live in the Pacific Ocean and the West Coast river systems and like to migrate upstream at different times of the year, with the fall and late fall runs open to fishing. They begin this particular migration in early July with a massive influx by September and October. The December run of king salmon is when you’ll find the biggest catches.


 Photo Source: Captain James Stone

King salmon are the largest species of their genus, and the Sacramento River is undoubtedly where you’ll find the biggest specimens. They’re powerful fish—hard to hook, and harder to haul in. 20 to 40-pound salmon are caught regularly with 50 and 60-pound catches possible in late fall runs. The record 88-pound king salmon was caught in the Sacramento River in 1979. King Salmon attract visitors from everywhere in the US, and there’s no shortage of runs and holes packed with salmon. A surefire strategy is to follow the salmon upriver, trailing their path as they migrate.


The record 88-pound king salmon was caught in the Sacramento River in 1979.


The easiest way to ensure a successful fishing expedition on the Sacramento River is by securing a guided fishing trip. You can trust that local guides will know the best tricks and locations for Sacramento River salmon fishing. Not only do they have top-of-the-line fishing equipment, but they possess knowledge of the river that visitors just can’t match. They’ll clue you in to the right bait, tackle, and casting techniques. This is world-class salmon fishing; make sure you do it right and land the biggest possible catch with a guide or charter. You can book a Salmon Fishing Guide by clicking here.

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