By: Troy Barr

Salmon are in the Metro Sacramento area now and I’m expecting them to remain in the system through November. October and November and prime months in this area. These salmon are migrating through toward their spawning grounds, which could be on the Feather, American, Yuba and further up on the Sacramento River. Meanwhile, this far down in the system we don’t use eggs. We catch them trolling. I’m using scented tuna fish and plugs.

We fish the salmon here like we do stripers. That means fishing tides. I’m fishing Miller Park (near Downtown Sacramento) to Clarksburg, roughly a 10-mile stretch of water. We’ve come off a week of good fishing two weeks ago, followed by a full moon and more fish have come in with it. With another set of good tides I’m expecting more fish.


In this area we do best on the incoming tides. The best bite tends to be on the tidal change. Your best window is an hour and a half before and an hour and a half after the tide change. With the big plugs we’re using I’m trolling downstream, running 3.5 mph and trying to be within three feet of the bottom.

We are getting one to four fish a trip, which isn’t too bad for trolling a big body of water. It’s an ok year. It’s an average year. We are getting some fish that are 20-28 pounds, which tells me they are Sacramento River or Feather fish. However, the smaller 8-12 pound fish we’ve been catching are likely American River fish.


Trolling is the best method to success. I’m running a Brad’s Cut Plug with an 11-inch Pro Troll Pro Chip Flasher. My main line is 50-pound P-Line braid and my leader material is 30-pound P-Line. I run three different baits. I have a straight tuna with fresh anise, tuna soaked in Pautzke Red Nectar and Nectar with Liquid Krill. Each day is a different day and a different scent works daily.


These salmon are picky this year. Some days they went fresh tuna out of the can. Other days they want the Nectar scent and some they want Nectar with krill. I think once they get up into the river system it’s a reaction bite, but the scent we use with the tuna in the plug draws them in and then they hit it out of irritation.

Editor’s Note: Troy Barr operates T-Roy’s Guide Service. For more information on his guided Sacramento River trips please visit or