Trout on the American River?

I'm doing a rafting trip on the American River (Middle Fork and South Fork) soon. I'd like to do a little fishing but I'm not sure where to begin. I have an Okuma 4-piece ultralight spinning outfit that I have used in lakes and ponds, especially when I backpack, but I don't know a thing about stream fishing. It's loaded with 4# Trilene XL.

I gather it's going to be C&R at least for any wild trout, and it's barbless hooks only. (I think.. deciphering what the rules are on this exact segment of river has been tricky.)

Any tips for what to use on my spinning outfit? I don't want to lay out a tremendous amount of cash since any fishing will be on the side. The rafting is the main thing.


Well-known member
smaller lures on light line are your best bet.
Be sure to have your fishing license with you.

Cast down river and slowly retrieve, especially if you are using lures with blade.
Panther Martins and SuperDuper (do they still sell those?) are good small spinners. Some people like Rooster Tails, but I never had much luck with those. A Panther Martin in the Bee pattern (orange with yellow spots) is about as reliable as you can get. Gold blades are better than silver if the water is slightly discolored. They come with treble hooks, so you will need to pinch the barbs really well for C&R.


Well-known member
I had good luck with red Rooster Tails and the original Agila Mepps.

I also would replace treble hooks with single. Owner makes special hooks just for that.