American River, Sacramento, California, June 27, 2019
A report from SteveT for

I made my annual visit to the American River in Sacramento, Calif., to fish for shad. From May through July, millions of these fish migrate up the American River to spawn and usually it’s typically very consistent fishing.On a good morning or evening you can easily catch 20-30 shad in a single outing, wading from shore.

One of the days during my visit I arranged a guided trip with
Andy Guibord from Kiene’s Fly Shop in Sacramento.Andy’s a great guide and I’ve fished with him for many years, just enjoy being on the water with him.He’s been guiding the American River for a very long time so he knows it intimately.

My plan was to do some shad fishing from Andy’s boat in the evening with my niece, Chloe, who’s never fly fishing before. Fly fishing for shad from a boat is pretty simple so we thought this would be a great introduction for her, and Andy’s a very patient teacher.
Since trip wasn’t until 5pm, I woke up early to fish for shad from shore. To my surprised I received a text message from Andy, “Want to do some striper fishing this morning?” Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I love fishing for stripers.

The American River is a notoriously a tough place to fish for stripers. Since it runs through downtown Sacramento it receives heavy fishing pressure. At this time, the river is load with shad so it’s even harder to get stripers to take a fly.

Andy and I fished most of the morning only picking up a couple of shakers. Fishing was slow and we were about call it a morning when Andy told me to throw one into a seam and let the fly drift into the calm water.

To my surprise, I got a hit and the fish instantly start moving down river. It wasn’t long before I was well into my backing and lost sight of my fly line. This was a big fish. After a 20 minute fight we landed the largest striper I’ve ever caught. It was so large it couldn’t fit in the net. We didn’t have a scale but Andy estimates it was between 30 to 40 pounds.

After a few quick pictures, the fish was revived and it swarm off to fight another day. What a memorable morning!

EQUIPMENT: For Shad — Sage TCX 6’11” switch rod with a Rio skagit shooting head and various tips ranging from 10-inch T-14 sink to floating tips. Airflo running line. For Stripers — Orvis Helios 2, 9 weight with 30 feet of LC-13 and Airflo running line. Clouser flies.

The American River in California is a 120-miles long and flows from the Sierra Nevada range to its confluence with California’s Sacramento River in the Sacramento Valley. And if you forgot your gear, need flies, line, a new shirt, or broke a rod or reel, Kiene’s Fly Shop is well equipped to fulfill your needs and is located at 9550 Micron Avenue in Sacramento. Phone: (916) 483-1222. River guide Andy Guibord can be found at his webpage or by calling Kiene’s.