I've scheduled a short season on the coast this week and have been fishing the Klamath River for King salmon and steelhead. Fishing has been slow, but there are some fish in the system. Currently, the water levels on the Klamath are low and the in-river water temps are sitting at about 73 degrees. These are not the kind of conditions a guide wants to see when he's trying to put clients on some descent fishing. Another issue has been the periodic closing of the mouth of the Klamath and new fish can't enter the river under these conditions.
Klamath river flows are on the rise thanks to releases from Iron Gate dam on 8/20.
Things are about to change though, and I hope it brings in the salmon and steelhead everyone has been waiting for since mid July. Water managers on the Klamath River have increased flows from Iron Gate Dam by 600 cfs and the water has hit the lower system. This will surely help to keep the river mouth from closing off from the ocean every day and will give the salmon and steelhead the chance to enter the system. I understand the Tribes have curtailed their commercial season so the fish that enter the Klamath will not be swimming into any nets this year. Another bit of really good news is the proposed release of cold water from Trinity lake on Monday the 22nd. This water will provide much needed cooler temps in the river and additional flows as well. If this doesn't jump start this year's salmon and steelhead run on the Klamath, I fear nothing will.
When this water hits the mouth and the fish come in, I will be fishing the river from Terwer Riffle to Blue Creek most every day. The Klamath is unique in a sense that side drifting or boondoggling roe is the only acceptable method you can use on this system to catch fish. Plugging a hole to back bounce, pull plugs, or use any other technique will get you a lot of negative attention to say the least. Trust me, take a look around and do what everyone else is doing and your day on the water will be pleasant. There is, however, light pressure these day,s so finding your own little piece of the Klamath to fish with any method you chose is a possibility.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with fishing the Klamath, it should be noted that this river has a very "grabby" bottom and you can lose a ton of gear if you don't have an efficient weight system. Just about everyone that drift fishes the Klamath uses the Mad River Mfg. "Mad River Drifters". The most popular size are the 3/4" weighted balls. They are made of a high density rubber and sink and bounce along the bottom. They hang up less and keep you fishing, where slinkys and lead weights won't. They are the most important piece of terminal tackle you will need when fishing the Klamath. Oh, and they work very well on just about any other river as well.
I'll be on the Klamath through the end of the month and will be keeping everyone posted on the water conditions and productivity!