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.



ledge fishing tips and tackle

Summer Ledge Fishing With Elite Series Pros

Ledges are open water reservoir structures targeted by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, particularly during the summer tournaments. These offshore structures often hold large numbers of lunker bass that can be caught with a variety of lures and presentations. Use these pro tips when probing ledges on your home waters.


Locating Ledges:

“A ledge is basically the old river bank in a reservoir,” says Elite Series pro Pete Ponds, of Mississippi. “If you look at a topo map of the lake, you’ll see the river channel and major tributary channels snaking throughout the system. The shallower areas immediately adjacent to these channels are ledges, and they’re major holding and feeding stations for bass.”

“The defining feature of a ledge is its rapid descent into deep water,” Ponds notes. “Many of the ledges we fish in competition are around 14 to 22 feet deep on top and drop off quickly to 60 feet or more when they hit the channel. Bass, often big schools of them, will move on and off these structures throughout the day, and if your timing is right, you can often load the boat quickly.” Ponds and other B.A.S.S. pros use sophisticated electronic units with side scan technology to pinpoint ledges. “But even a $99 graph will clearly show these structures,” he says. “They’re relatively easy to find – just idle your boat out away from the bank toward open water while watching your graph. When you see the bottom drop rapidly into a deep channel, you’ve found the edge of a ledge. Idle along that edge and drop several marker buoys near the dropoff as you follow the structure; the markers will to give you a visual casting target.”

“Ledges are often large structures, and bass aren’t everywhere on them,” says KVD. “They’ll stack up in key places along ledges that we call sweet spots. These might include isolated pieces of cover, like a big stump, a sunken tree or a rockpile, or some structural irregularity in the ledge, such as where it makes a sharp bend or indentation. Finding these sweet spots is what ledge fishing is really all about, because bass often gravitate to them from a wide area and in large numbers. If you can pinpoint these key places and figure out how to fish them correctly, you’ll have some of the most memorable bass fishing moments of your life, whether you’re casting for cash or fishing for fun.”

Lure Selection & Presentation:

Elite Series pros use several lures and presentations when probing ledges, including the following:

Deep-diving crankbaits: “Big diving plugs like Strike Kings’s 6XD are my No. 1 ledge lures during summer tournaments,” says Elite Series pro Kevin VanDam, of Michigan. “I usually fish them on a 7-foot medium action cranking rod with a 5.3 baitcasting reel and 14-pound fluorocarbon line.” VanDam positions his boat in deeper water, makes a long cast onto the ledge, then grinds the crankbait along the bottom of the structure, trying to “crash the lure” into bass-holding cover to provoke a reaction strike.

Football jigs: “These are big fish baits that are perfect for ledge fishing in hot or cold weather,” swears Mississippian and Elite Series pro Cliff Pace. “I’ll use either a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce V&M Living Image Football Jig with a craw trailer, depending on the depth of the ledge I’m fishing. I’ll make a long cast past my target, let the jig hit bottom, hold my rod at a 45 degree angle and use my reel handle to crawl it slowly along the bottom, like a live crawfish.”

Big worms: “In hot weather, a big (10- to 12-inch) plastic worm, like my signature Yum Big Show Paddle Worm, either Texas or Carolina rigged, is an awesome ledge lure,” says Floridian and Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins. “Cast it past fish-holding cover or structural irregularities and bump it slowly along the bottom. Worms are slower to fish than crankbaits but often work better when the bite is less active.”

Flutter spoons: “These metal spoons are big – often 5 inches long – and displace a lot of water, so they flutter to the bottom erratically, like a dying shad,” claims Elite Series pro Kelly Jordon. “I really like ’em on ledges because they’ll catch the bigger, lazier bass that are often holding under a school of smaller fish and are used to preying on injured baitfish.” The Texas pro fishes spoons on heavy baitcasting gear. “Cast to your target, let the spoon flutter down, then stroke it off the bottom with a sharp, upward sweep on your rod. As the spoon falls back down, lower your rod while reeling up slack line, then stroke it again. Most strikes occur as the spoon flutters back to the bottom, so watch your line and set the hook hard if you see it move.”


Pro Ledge Fishing Tactics June 2012 Bassmaster (Don Wirth pg. 68 – 69)

Strike King Pro Model 6XD Crankbaits
Strike King Pro Model 6XD Silent Crankbaits
Quantum Tour KVD Cranking Casting Rods
Quantum Tour KVD Cranking Classic Casting Reels
V & M Living Image Football Jig
V & M Mudbug Trailer
Zoom Ol’ Monster 9pk 10.5″
Nichols Lake Fork Flutter Spoons
Strike King Sexy Spoon
Talon Custom Lures Lake Fork Flutter Spoons

BPS Bass in the Grass Tips on Fishing Aquatic Vegetation (Kevin Van Dam)

BPS Bass in the Grass Tips on Fishing Aquatic Vegetation (Kevin Van Dam)

Skeet Reese Fishing Videos

Skeet Reese Videos


Drop Shotting


LV-500 Lucky Craft Video


Skeet Rippin


Pointer 78


Lucky Craft Pointer 100


Pointer 128

Flippin Big Baits

Post Spawn Plastics

Clear Lake Jigs

SKT mini MR/DR Lucky Craft



Bub Tosh Pro Angler Paycheck Baits Videos

Bub Tosh Pro Angler Paycheck Baits Vidoes

Snell Knot


Barb Melting


Punch Skirt riggin


Punch Skirt Carolina rig


Drop Shot Punch Skirt

Punch Skirt Carolina rig with Bub Tosh

Tackle Tour Video Paycheck Baits

Bub Tosh Punchin

Punchin the Delta Under Water with Miller Punch weights

Punchin the Delta Under Water with Miller Punch weights

Punchin Delta lay-down tulies

Punchin Delta lay-down tulies

Miller punch weights going thru the mat

Miller punch weights going thru the mat

Fishing a Miller Punch weight

Fishing a Miller punch weight

Delta Fishing Report

Fished the Delta on Saturday and Sunday for the Berkley Big Bass event. Windy conditions made for a tough bite for most. I fished both stained and clear water with the clear water being more productive in the morning on the Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait in the Tennessee Shad color. Fish slow around weed flats but only small fish were willing to eat. Did have a giant decide to take it on Saturday but after setting the hook and not being able to even move the fish…snap goes the line. Fish also came off the Heavy Weight worms in Breen and Black/Blue and the hand poured worms in oxblood/lt red flake. Water temps were from 62 to 63. A wide range of baits from 10″ power worms, hand poured, swimbaits, creature baits and jigs all helped in bringing fish to the scales on both days of the event. The larges fish caught by Russ Meyer was 13+ on a Hollow Belly swimbait in the Blueback Harring color. Zack Thompson had the smallest hourly winning fish at 4+ pounds, which not only netted him $500 bucks, but also allowed him to be one of the 12 finalists for the Toyota Tundra, which Zack’s key started. It was a tough day on the water for most anglers, some not catching a fish and others catching small fish…but there were still plenty of nice fish caught and brought to the scales this weekend.   Good Luck, Randy Walker ~