Sacramento River Trout on Fire

Sacramento River - CA

Guide Tom Phillips and angler Lou Hubert with quality Sacramento rainbow trout.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tom Phillips

by Gary Heffley

Wild, beautiful and hard fighting rainbow trout are on tap for anglers fishing the Redding area on the Sacramento River. Lou Hubert and  I had the opportunity to fish with Tom Phillips, Big Tom's Guide Service of Redding yesterday and had an outstanding day of fly fishing from Tom's drift boat.

Tom had us on trout throughout the day, drifting from the Posse Grounds just above the Sundial Bridge to the South Bonneyview Ramp in South Redding. A combination of small nymphs, caddis imitations and a peaches and cream bead under an indicator provided steady action. Tom kept us on seams, runs and drop off ledges that proved to hold trout at every turn.  

One thing that I was very happy to see is the amount of salmon in the river, every shallow riffle and run seemed to have a few spawning salmon swimming about.  By a non-scientific count, call it the old fashioned “eye test” this is the most salmon I have seen in this area of the river in my time fishing it.  Lou and Tom, both  experienced guides with more time on the water then myself were equally impressed by the number of salmon we spotted.  Of course trout love to follow spawning salmon picking off loose eggs as they float by.

There was also a nice hatch of caddis throughout the day providing a buffet for hungry trout.

We landed 25 trout with 5 over 20 inches including one right at 25 inches, a nice wild rainbow on any water. While any trout over 16 inches on this stretch of river is considered a steelhead by the CDFW and anglers must have a steelhead card when fishing this region very few have ever migrated to the sea. But the natural steelhead traits and genes are in these resident trout.  Many hooked bows went straight to the air and took off on line peeling runs. No passive stocked trout in these waters.

The Sacramento River is wide in this area and offers many avenues and angles in which to seek trout, some proving better for flies, drifting small spoons like Dick Nite Spoons or pulling plugs like Mag Lips. Tom keeps in tune for all types of angling and knows what water is best suited for each style.  Sometimes just a few yards  right  or left separate fly water from plug water, an experienced guide like Tom can keep you in the slot.  Tom's friendly demeanor makes him a great guide for anglers of all skill levels from beginners to experts and has quality gear to provide a great experience for all.

Give Tom a call at 530-209-1825 or visit to get in on this outstanding trout fishing.  With this many salmon in the river the trout fishing will be outstanding, don't miss out.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over 10 years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has a long history in the Sporting Goods field and uses that extensive experience to impart his wisdom in his writing. 

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