My favorite steelheading venue and God’s prefect 6wt steelhead! The 12 or so miles between Iron Gate dam and I-5 is where we concentrate. Large riffles and runs characterize this stretch of the Klamath. Classic steelhead water on a classic river from California’s steelheading heritage.
Best fished from a drift boat, we fish the Klamath in the same style as the lower Sacramento; ‘side drifting’ weighted flies under an indicator. The Klamath is much smaller in size than the lower Sac but about twice as large as the Trinity for reference. The K’s controlled flows normally allow for excellent, reliable fishing through most of the year.
Winter Season: October – February. The winter steelheading on the Klamath is the most reliable fishery we fish and the UN-crowded days spent on the K turn most trips into great, relaxed memories. The Klamath steelhead are arguably smaller than the coastal fish or those found on the Trinity however, what they lack in size, they usually make up for in numbers and fight. Averaging 3-5 pounds, the Klamath steelhead make their home in a big river and they know how to use it! God’s perfect 6wt fish! A typical day is 4-8 adults (over 20″) a day and 6-12 half-pounders (immature fish) per boat.
Spring Season: late May – late June. Salmonflies!! ..by the millions. I know of nowhere else in California where we can reliably expect 20-40 grabs/day on dries. We also fish the Salmonfly hatch from the driftboat going down the banks – “Montana style” casting tight to the banks where the naturals drop from the willows and the fish stage waiting. Big, bushy dry flies rule this time of year. Slap it on the water into the willows…no need to be delicate here. The fish are expecting a splash and will generally rise with abandon often returning to your fly several times before getting hooked. The fish at this time of year are mostly half-pounder steelhead although I’d imagine there are a few resident wild trout in the mix. Most fish average 10″ to 16″ at this time of year but expect 1-3 BIG grabs from much larger (adults??) during the day. Just enough to really keep you on your toes!
Read more at The Fly Shop’s Klamath River page
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