The Sacramento Pikeminnow is a large native minnow species found in California's great central valley. This burly, torpedo-shaped fish reaches lengths close to 30 inches and weights of over ten pounds. A big-mouthed predator, the Sacramento Pikeminnow feeds mainly on small fish, although large crustaceans, frogs, insects, lizards, rodents, and birds are also devoured. The Sacramento Pikeminnow is one of the great gamefishes of the West Coast, and is probably the closest thing to the nearly-extinct Colorado River Pikeminnow that an angler can still pursue in modern america.
When pursuing these fish with lures, think big. A decent-sized Sacramento Pikeminnow can swallow a rat whole, so don't be afraid to chuck something big enough to draw their attention from a distance. You can hunt for Sacramento Pikeminnows in the deep, dark pools of the central valley's larger rivers, preferably those with woody debris, undercut banks, or other ambush points for these explosive predators. Bass tackle is probably appropriate for these fish - meaning an eight-weight flyrod or a medium spinning combo with a good backbone and line in the 10-pound class. When the water is calm, Sacramento Pikeminnows respond well to surface lures, so a good tactic would be to throw a classic surface lure like a jitterbug, hula popper, or scum frog up against rocky or brushy banks around nightfall. Try not to drop your pole when a ten-pound pikeminnow explodes on your bait at the surface.