Sacramento River Bass Fishing tips

The Sacramento River is an important river of Northern and Central California in the United States. The state’s largest river by discharge, it rises in the Klamath Mountains and flows south for over 400 miles (640 km) before reaching Suisun Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, and thence the Pacific Ocean. The Sacramento drains an area of about 27,500 square miles (71,000 km2) in the northern half of the state, mostly within a region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley.

This a huge stretch of river nearly untapped for bass fishing. The Sacramento River has Largemouth Bass,  Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass.  With all this river to fish where do you start you may ask? Keep it pretty simple narrow down the section of the river that is accessible from Sacramento to Walnut grove.  There are many launch ramps to choose from in this area.

Next lets narrow it down to what type of Bass do you want to target?  For Largemouth Bass think to stay away from the main current, any slough or river that is a bayou to the Sacramento river will hold Largemouth Bass such as the lower American River, Elk slough and the Sutter bypass.  Don’t forget to check marinas up and down the river as they will be good areas to find Largemouth Bass.  The Sacramento River and its tributaries provide three main types of cover for Largemouth Bass wood, rocks and grass.  Docks and Boats would be other forms of cover. Crawfish are the main food source along with shad and other small fishes. Fish the cover accordingly flip the wood and the grass, crank the rocks and use topwater lures such as Buzzbaits and smaller spook type baits during warmer months. Largemouth Bass average 1.25lbs and can be found up to 5lbs in these areas.

Show below is Elk Slough south of Freeport this area is away from the main river and offers grass,wood and other forms of cover for Largemouth Bass.


Shown above is Sutter slough and the Sacramento river these are great areas for Smallmouth Bass.

Next would be Smallmouth Bass. This is the abundant species that  dominates the Sacramento River.  Un like the Largemouth the Smallmouth Bass like current. These fish live every where on the Sacramento river and in its tributaries. Some good areas would be, Minor Slough, Sutter Slough, Georgiana slough, Steamboat slough and the Sacramento river points that enter these tributaries.  Crawfish and small fish are the main forage for these Smallmouth Bass. Use small crank baits,rattle traps, spinner baits, and small plastics or jigs for your best success. The Smallmouth bass like to hang around the rocks, ledges and wood that line the river so key in on these areas. “tip” many Smallmouth especially the bigger ones will be in front of cover facing the current rather than hiding from it.”tip” Smallmouth like baits moving fast!  Key areas would be irregularities in the rock walls including smaller or bigger rocks, any old docks or wood posts in or around current, and any points leading to other tributaries.  Smallmouth Bass average half a pound, but many 2-3lb fish can be taken.

Finally Spotted Bass would be the third species of Bass that live in the Sacramento river and its tributaries. These are the nomadic species of Bass they roam up and down the Sacramento river and chase shad and other small fishes. The Spotted Bass can be found from Walnut Grove north. They tend to stay in the cooler water. The American river holds some Spotted Bass  as well.   Small crank baits ,top water and plastics are your best bet for Spotted Bass. Spotted Bass average 1lb to 1.5lbs in these areas.