Located just below the Shasta Dam, the Lower Sacramento River or the “Lower Sac” is considered to be one of the best wild trout rivers on the entire West Coast. It’s famous for its abundance of football-sized wild Rainbows, year-round fishing, and some stunning California wildlife and scenery. At Fish Habit Outfitters, we know this area quite well. For over a decade, our fishing guides have been leading expeditions and pulling fish out of these beautiful waters. In today’s blog, we are going to take a closer look at this river, its history, and how you can explore it with an experienced Sacramento river fishing guide.

Contact us to learn more about our fishing charters and to schedule your personalized fishing trip.


In the early 1940s, the Shasta Lake was created after a dam was built just north of Redding. This not only tamed the powerful waters that would regularly flood and damage the rural communities and farmlands of the Central Valley, but it also ensured that this area would now have a cheap and abundant source of water for agricultural irrigation and hydroelectric power. However, during this time the Sacramento River Delta began to see an alarming decline in Chinook Salmon. Despite efforts by hatcheries, the salmon population was decimated. Then, in the early ‘90s, the California Department of Fish and Game began extracting cold water from the depths of the Shasta Lake and sent it flowing downstream, in hopes that the cooler water would promote salmon spawning. Within no time at all, their efforts paid off but with a surprising twist. Not only did the salmon population improve, but unexpectedly the trout population began to soar. As the cool water temperatures remained constant, so did the population growth and fish size.

Nowadays, these optimal water conditions have spread, creating a viable habitat for trout that covers a massive stretch of the Lower Sacramento River—which means fly fishermen are not competing for the same space; they are able to spread out, avoid crowds, and snag huge trout consistently.

Ready to experience the excitement and tranquility of the Lower Sacramento? Join our Sacramento River fishing guides for an unparalleled fly fishing journey.

Lower Sacramento River Seasons

California has a lot to be thankful for. One thing our fishing guides are extremely grateful for is the fact that we have such an amazing year-round fishery in the Lower Sacramento River. Though the sizeable Sacramento River changes throughout the year and has very distinct seasons, more and more anglers are realizing that the Lower Sacramento offers the opportunity to catch trophy rainbows 365 days a year.

The following is a general description of each season:

  • Spring—These are the fairy tale days of fishing on the Lower Sac. Generally, these are the most productive days to fish with dry flies (it’s the perfect time for beginner fly fishing!).
  • Summer—The dog days of summer are hot, both in temperature and with biting fish. Because the days can be scorchingly hot, some of the best summer fishing takes place early in the morning and late at night.  
  • Fall—Perfect time to hook Chinook Salmon as well as massive trout that are looking to gorge themselves on eggs and insects aroused by spawning salmon. This time of the year also marks the arrival of the steelhead.
  • Winter—Fat trout, low river flows (i.e. ideal wade-fishing), and the limited number of anglers are all highlights of fishing the Lower Sacramento River during the winter.

How Can I Book A Trip?

At Fish Habit Outfitters, leading fishing charters to the Lower Sac is one of our specialties. Not only is it a river teeming with trout and salmon, but it’s also a stunning setting. We offer a number of fishing trip packages, including half-day and full-day guided trips as well as drift boat trips and walk and wade trips. Our expert fishing guides know how to tailor their trips so that regardless of whether you are a seasoned angler or someone new to fly fishing, they will work with you to make sure you have a splendid time. Learn more about our Lower Sac fishing trips and contact us today to reserve your spot.

As you’ve probably gathered, there is really no bad time to fish the Lower Sacramento River. This is especially true when you put a seasoned Lower Sacramento River fishing guide at the helm of your trip.