Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Klamath River In
The Klamath River starts in southern Oregon and
flows into the state of California and finally into the
Pacific Ocean. It is one of the best steelhead rivers in
California. It also has a good population of resident
rainbow trout. Fly fishing the Klamath River can be
good year-round. It is a big river and you have to pay
close attention to where you fish it because it changes
with the seasons and the species of fish you're after.
The Klamath River fishing begins in California at Iron
Gate Dam below Iron Gate Reservoir and from there it
is un-damed for two-hundred miles to the Pacific
Ocean. After a short run from the dam, the river flows
along Interstate 5 from near the Oregon border
southward. The Shasta and Scott Rivers join this
section of the Klamath.
From Happy Hollow downstream is what's considered
the middle section of the river. The best fishing in this
section takes place during October. The Salmon River
is another tributary stream that enters it in this section.
The Trinity River joins in on the flow below Keitchpec.
The section from that point downstream to the Pacific
is considered the Lower section of the river. The
steelhead fishing is usually good in September and
October in the Lower section. Salmon come into the
river in small quantities during this time. The summer
runs of steelhead come into the lower river in July and
August but the water is warm. The fish tend to hold up
near the mouths of cooler tributary streams.
The older, mature steelhead average about six
pounds but the river is usually full of small ten inch size
younger steelhead. Most of the catch is likely to be the
smaller ones. These are very plentiful and easier to
catch than the larger, more mature fish. These are
hard fighting fish that offers a challenge on fly gear.
The steelhead fishing gets good in the Upper section
of the Klamath in the month of November and last on
through the Winter into March. Late September and
October can be okay but it's dependant on many
things. The run peaks in December and January. Get
ready for some typical cold weather steelhead fishing if
you plan on fishing the Upper Klamath River.
There are sections of the river that wading anglers can
fish but the best and most popular way to fish the
Trinity River is from a drift boat. Most of the steelhead
fishing is done with nymphs or swinging flies in the
current. The trout fishing is also mostly done with
nymphs in the Upper section of the Klamath River.
The season is open year-round but it's species
Spring is the best time to catch the Klamath River's
Summer is the best time to fish Lower section of the
river. Salmon come into the river during this time.
Fly fishing the Klamath River is great during late Fall
because of the steelhead runs.
The winter months are prime months for steelhead
fishing. The best fishing in done then in the Upper
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
For Steelhead and Salmon
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five or
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
The discharges and stream levels
are up to normal below Iron Gate
and good numbers of steelhead
are being caught. Eggs, steelhead
nymphs and swinging flies are
Send us an email for a fly list.
Perfect Fly Steelhead flies
01/06/16 The water is still maintaining fair visibility near the Iron Gate dam. We recommend
you fish near there. Downstream water rapidly becomes off color and get very dingy below
the Interstate.. Beaver Creek is adding a lot of off color water and it is stained below that
confluence. Both swinging and nymphing methods is working near the dam.
01/14/16 The flows are still low at 1010 cfs and 2.35 feet but there is a lot of rain on the way
this coming week. It is difficult to predict what the conditions will be for the coming week.
Keep a close check on the levels below. Iron gate may be releasing some water soon. We
will probably make and update in a day or two.
01/21/16 Flows below the dam are at 2430 cfs and 4.14 feet. That is a little high. We didn't
receive any reports form anyone fishing this past week. You can expect some more heavy
discharges with rain coming down from now until Saturday. You will just have to keep a close
check on the weather and river levels.
01/28/15 The stream flows are at 1900 cfs right now but a flood watch is in effect. That will
be followed with lots of snow for the next four or five days. You will need to keep a close
check on the discharges from Iron Gate and weather. You will have to keep a close check on
02/11/16 The upper river is at 1730 cfs, or back to normal flows for the is time of the year.
The water is clear and fish are being caught. The lower Klamath is turning on with half-
pounders and Coastal Cutts coming into the river. No reports of Winter steelhead being
caught there lately.
02/11/16 The river is down to normal stream levels. Discharges from Iron Gate are steady
and the water stained some, but clear enough to fish. The weather is going to be much
warmer this coming week. Melting snow will continue to stain the water.
02/25/16 The discharges from Iron Gate are low and conditions about as good as it could
be. There are plenty of steelhead in the river and some being caught both swinging and
using nymphs. There is some stain from melting snow but mostly clear water.
03/03/16 There is a lot of rain in the forecast and that should bring the levels up later. Now
they are low but fish are still being caught. The higher water levels should bring in some new
steelhead below Iron Gate. You will just have to watch the levels. Blue-winged olives are
hatching and trout fishing should be good.
03/10/16 The river is a little high now and heading up below Iron Gate. There is a 70 to a
100 percent chance of rain or snow later on, for the next week. We don't think there is going
to be very much opportunity for fly fishing the Klamath in the near future.
03/17/16 The river has been blown out but is clearing and falling back down fast. It is still
badly stained in some sections. We think by Friday there may be some opportunity but more
rain is coming on Sunday, but not a huge amount. They are letting a lot of water through Iron
Gate right now and that's not an option either.
03/23/16 It looks like the steelhead season is over. You may find some fish still in the river
along with the trout. The water is still cold and midges and little Blue-winged olives are what
you need to imitate for trout. It will pick up in April with some hatches and even some good
dry fly action. Right now, the water is still a little high and off color.
04/07/16 The Klamath is back down to a normal level for this time of the year. There is a
chance of rain every day for the next week, and that is likely to change the discharges from
Iron Gate soon. Right now, midges, little Blue-winged olives, and Sculpin streamers will catch
some trout. The water is clear.
04/14/16 The flows and levels below Iron Gate are in good shape right now. You always
have to check that closely. Trout fishing should really pick up with the warmer water
temperatures. There is no rain in the forecast for the next week. March Browns, Little Blue-
winged olives and soon to be if not already, little Black Caddis should be hatching.
04/21/16 Steelhead fishing is done but the trout are doing good, providing those fishing with
some nice numbers and sizes. Several aquatic insects are hatching, like little Black Caddis
March Browns, Blue-winged olives and midges. Sculpin streamers like our White Belly
sculpin also work good.
04/28/16 We didn't receive any reports this past week. Conditions are good for trout fishing.
Steelhead fishing is done.
05/12/16 As long as the discharges are relatively low, our customers have been catching
some very good size rainbows on Brown Sculpin and the White Belly Sculpin streamers.
There are midge and little Blue-winged olive hatches but so far, not much dry fly action if
any. You just have to watch the discharges and levels.
05/19/16 Discharges and stream levels have been low and customers reporting some very
good action. This should continue as long as the levels remain in good shape. There is a lot
of rain in the forecast this coming week, and the discharges will likely increase at some point.
06/02/16 The river has finally straighten up and the levels are in good shape. There are a
lot of hatching taking place and our customers are giving some good reports on the numbers
and sizes of the trout they are catching. The most important insects are the BWOs, PMDs,
Spotted and Green sedges, Little Yellow stoneflies and Golden stones.
06/06/16 This is a good destination for those who want to avoid the crowds. There are plenty
of places you can catch trout and be alone. Lots of hatches are taking place and those that
are fishing are catching good numbers of trout. The stonefly egg laying activity in the late
afternoons is bringing the most action for our customers.
06/23/16 The upper Klamath above the Iron Gate is in good shape and our customers are
catching a lot of trout. There are several hatches taking place. Pale Morning duns, Pale
evening duns, Spotted sedges, Green sedges, little Yellows stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies are
hatching. The stream levels are fine and the water clear.
06/30/16 We continue to get some good reports coming from the river above the lake and
just below the dam. Below the dam, you will find Golden stoneflies, little Yellow stoneflies,
plenty of Spotted sedge caddis and some PMDs. All of this exist above the lake along with
Green drakes, Green caddis, lots of Pale morning duns and other insects.
07/07/14 We received more very good fishing reports from our customers fishing below the
dam and heard from them that their buddies did well above the lake. Trout fishing is about
as good as it gets. The discharges and stream levels in the freestone section and below the
dam are in good shape. The weather is going to be much cooler this coming week.
07/14/16 The cool spell is over and the weather is going to return to normal this coming
week. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week, but we should soon.
We have two customers fishing there for several days and they sent in some good reports a
few days ago. Trout fishing below the dam and above the lake is good right now.
07/21/16 The Klamath is such a good steelhead river many anglers forget it is also a good
trout fishery. Trout are being caught in good numbers in the tailwater below the dam as well
as in the river above the lake. There are a lot of little Yellow stoneflies, Pale Morning duns,
Spotted sedges and other insects hatching.
07/28/16 Trout fishing continues to be good is spite of the heat. The water below the dam is
the coolest and provides the best opportunity. The further you fish downstream, the warmer
it gets. You can fish all day. There is no need to fish early and late except it is more
comfortable. Pale Morning dun, Little Yellow stoneflies and Caddis.
08/04/16 The tailwater continues to produce plenty of trout for the few anglers fishing. With
all the heat across the state, it should be a top destination. I guess its reputation as a
steelhead river keeps most anglers from paying it any attention when it comes to trout fishing.
08/11/16 The Klamath continues to be in good shape with good discharge rates and flow
levels below the dam. Our customers trout fishing sent in two more good reports this past
week. The continue to catch trout in spite of the heat. It is far worse on the guys fishing than
the trout in the tailwater. They are doing just fine. There are still plenty of hatches of PMDs
08/18/16 We haven't received any reports of steelhead yet. Trout fishing is still good below
the Iron Gate dam. We received another good report this past week for those fishing early
mornings with Sculpin pattern streamers. Keep up with the latest by clicking the above link to
08/25/16 The higher discharges from both Iron Gate and the Trinity is putting more water in
the river. We are still getting reports of good trout fishing below the dam but the higher flows
is making it a little tough. Steelhead are reported to be entering the river. Mid- September
usually begins the best action, so now is the time to be making plans for that next trip. Send
us an email and let us help you.
09/01/16 The flows are up and steelhead should soon begin to show up but so far, there are
no reports of any in the upper river. The weather is much cooler and that should also help.
09/08/16 The stronger releases from the Trinity and at the Iron Gate Dam should help bring
the steelhead upstream soon. Salmon are showing up in good numbers in the lower river
already. Send us an email and let us help you plan that next steelhead trip to the Klamath.
09/15/16 More steelhead are showing up. Both adults and half-pounders are present in
good numbers and this should only improve as the days go by. Now is the time to make
those final plans for your next steelhead trip. Conditions will get better and better each day.
09/22/16 There are good numbers of fish in the lower river and some moving upstream. Few
are upriver from the Trinity and few have moved into the Trinity so far. This will change and
change fast, so don't wait too long before setting those final plans.
09/29/16 More fish are being spotted coming into the river and they are moving upstream in
good numbers. Some of these will go into the Trinity as the levels are better there. Others
will head on upstream. This should be good very soon.
10/06/16 There are good numbers of steelhead in the lower river as well as plenty of
Salmon. Steelhead are moving upstream to the dam and some turning into the Trinity but
that is just getting underway. There are some guides paint a somewhat different picture but
we try to tell it like it is.
10/13/16 The river is going to pull a lot more steelhead in. The stream levels should go up a
lot and anglers should begin to catch them. We still don't have catch reports but it has to be
just anytime. You should be able to swing. There are reports of fish sighted throughout the
system. There is rain forecast everyday for the next week.
10/20/16 The rain brought lots of steelhead in the lower river and they are being caught.
They are feeding on the salmon eggs and will continue to move upstream. This is what you
should have been waiting for and now is the time to get out on the water. Be sure to check to
10/27/16 Our customers are reporting some good catches below the dam. Most of them are
swinging flies but egg and nymphs are working as well. This should continue for the next few
days. Now is the time to be fishing the Klamath. The stream levels below Iron Gate are still
11/03/16 The levels are still running a little lower than normal below Iron Gate but otherwise
in good shape. Our customers are catching steelhead in good numbers and the forecast for
the coming week looks good. Nymphs under indicators are working best right now. Swinging
will work early and late in the day.
11/10/16 The discharges and stream levels jumped up for a day or so the past two days, but
it is back down. That should have brought more fish into the river. Our customers are
catching some nice adults and lots of half-pounders. Egg flies, like our Veiled Beadhead
Crystal egg fly is working best.
11/17/16 The discharges and stream levels are back down near normal for this time of the
season. We continue to get good reports from customers catching good numbers of
steelhead and lots of half pounders. Nymphing, eggs and swinging flies all seem to work well.
Now is the time to fish.
11/24/16 Lots of half-pounders are being caught along with plenty of adult steelhead.
Discharges and stream levels continue to be favorable for anglers.. Our customers are using
mostly nymph and egg flies but swinging is still picking up a good share of the fish.
12/01/16 The stream levels are running low, at 984 cfs at 2.26 feet. Our customers have still
been catching plenty of trout, but the low levels does slow things down. Nymphs and egg
flies are working best.
12/08/16 The stream levels are still low, flowing at 942 cfs at 2.19 feet below Iron Gate. This
makes is a little tougher to catch steelhead but some are being caught. Steelhead nymphs
give you the best opportunity.
12/15/16 The stream levels are 5.25 ft at 3520 cfs, or very high. It is falling. There may be
some opportunity prior to the next heavy band of rain expected next week. Just make sure
you want the levels. The fish are there in good numbers.
12/22/16 The water below the Happy Camp is messed up from runoff at the tributaries but
clear above there. Discharges from Iron Gate are down and a few steelhead are being
caught. Keep up with the latest by clicking the above link to our report.
12/29/16 No reports came in to us this past week, we assume due to the Holidays. The
discharges and stream levels at Iron Gate are back to normal and the river in good shape.
We recommend fishing the upper part of it within a few miles of the dam. Swinging and
nymphing should both work.
01/05/17 The stream levels are down to 2.23 ft, flowing at 966 cfs. In other words, for those
not familiar, that is low levels. That can make if tough catching steelhead. We didn't receive
any reports from the past week. There is a lot of rain and snow in the forecast for the coming
week, so watch the levels.
01/12/17 The stream levels are a little above normal.There's another frontal system moving
through the state the first of next week, so make sure you watch the levels. Swinging should
be the best method at this time. The stream levels are good right now but fish near the Iron
Gate dam. Downstream isn't in good shape. We did receive two reports from anglers fishing
this past week who caught fish.
01/19/17 The levels below the Iron Gate is high. Fish above the I-5 bridge. The stream is
really high and dirty below there. There is snow forecast everyday this coming week. Be sure
to check the road conditions.
01/26/17 Stream levels below the Iron Gate are a little low and in good shape otherwise. We
received one good report this past week. Nymphs and eggs are working better than swinging
flies right now it seems. The Green Sedge SH larva and Black Stonefly SH larva worked this
02/02/17 The flows below iron Gate are a little low right now, but that won't last very long.
There is a lot of heavy rain and some snow in the forecast everyday this coming week. Right
now, it is in good shape but we don't think it will last long if the high wind and winter storm
forecast turns out to be true.
02/09/17 The flows below Iron Gate are currently 5020 cfs at 6.48 feet, which is high. They
will probably continue to increase. You will just have to watch the levels. Our customers were
catching decent numbers of steelhead prior to the high flows. Nymphs and swinging
streamers and Spey flies were working good.
02/16/17 The discharges at Iron Gate are a little higher and the stream up some, but still low
enough to fish from drift boats. It may be the only river in the state in good enough shape to
fish. Swinging flies should be the best bet. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing
this past week.
02/23/17 The discharges and levels are high at Iron Gate, running 9300 cfs, at 8.96 feet.
That is very high and not fishable. They need to get back down to about 300 to 4500 cfs.
You will just have to keep checking the levels. It shouldn't be long.
02/29/17 The flows at Iron Gate are normal, running at 2310 cfs at 4.00 ft. The water is
clear. We didn't receive any reports from the previous week.
03/09/17 The Iron Gate is releasing a lot of water and it is high, muddy and blown out. It will
be a while clearing back up. The Trinity is in good shape. Fish it and check back on the
stream levels here.
03/16/17 The discharges and stream levels at the Iron Gate are still very high and the water
muddy to highly stained. Click the above link to get more information on the fishing report.
03/30/17 The flows are still very high, currently flowing at the Iron Gate at 6420 cfs at 7.39
ft. The levels will probable continue to be high all week. It is going to take some time for the
snow and ice to melt and the levels get back to normal. The water is ranging highly stained
to muddy. The weather forecast calls for better weather but warm, so this situation is unlikely
04/07/17 The discharges from Iron Gate and stream levels are very high, flowing at 6920 cfs
at 7.69 ft. Normal is about 3000 cfs. Fishing for rainbows should be good when the water
levels do get low enough to fish.
04/20/17 The discharges and stream levels below Iron Gate are still very high, too high to
fish successfully. Keep checking back with us.
04/27/17 The flows at Iron Gate are currently at 3140 cfs at 4.89 ft. Normal flows and good
levels for this time of the season are around 1820 cfs. In other words, it is still to high to fish
very well. Rainbow trout fishing should be very good as soon as the levels get down low
enough to fish.
05/04/17 The flow at the Iron Gate are at 3160 cfs at 4.91 ft. Normal is about 1750 - 1800
cfs. Rainbow trout fishing should be very good when the flows get lower. Hopefully, that won't
be much longer.
05/18/17 The stream levels are still too high to provide any opportunity to catch fish. They
should start getting into good shape soon. All you can do is to stay in touch. We will keep
you informed as to the conditions of the river.
05/25/17 The flows are still high, at 2500 cfs at 4.22 ft below Iron Gate. This is too high to be
worth fishing in our opinion. All you can do is to keep checking back with us.
06/01/17 Flowing at 1770 cfs at 3.36 ft. at Iron Gate. It is dropping. We didn't receive any
reports from anyone fishing this past week.
6/08/17 Flows at the Iron Gate are still 1740 cfs. We did not receive any reports from anyone
fishing this past week.
06/17/17 The flows at the Iron Gate are 942 cfs at 1.98 foot. The river can be fished but we
still don't have any reports from anyone fishing there lately. Trout fishing should be good
below the dam.
Sorry for the deleted reports:
08/10/17 The discharges and stream levels are a little high but we received one good report
from a customer this past week. He managed to catch several good trout. Fish sculpin
streamers like our Brown Sculpin. Pale Morning duns, Green Sedges, Spotted Sedges, Little
Yellow stoneflies and other insects are hatching. Few anglers are fishing.
08/23/17 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape, and the few anglers that are
fishing below the Iron Gate, are catching some good numbers of trout. We had two good
reports from customers the past ten days. There are plenty of hatches including PMDs and
little Yellow stoneflies.
08/31/17 There are lots of half-pounders in the river and we are getting good reports of
catches of them as well as some trout. The discharges are a little low, but sill in good shape.
Kings are being caught in the lower river.
09/14/17 Conditions are about the same. The discharges and stream levels are in good
shape, and there are a few half-pounders and trout being caught, but no steelhead. There
are salmon in the lower river being caught in good numbers.
09/21/17 We received two good reports from customers this past week. Trout fishing
continues to be good with some small BWOs, a few PMDs, lots of Spotted sedges and Little
Sister caddis. They also had a good time catching several half pounders. There's still no
reports of steelhead.
09/28/17 There are some good reports of trout being caught along with plenty of half-
pounders. Salmon and steelhead are also in the river moving up stream. Some steelhead
have been report caught in the middle river near Happy Hollow. This should get into high
gear very soon. Other conditions are good. If you fish the river, let us hear from you.
10/05/17 Lots of half pounders are being caught along with a few trout. Steelhead are being
caught in the middle river near Happy Hollow but none upstream yet. The Be sure to click
the link above for more information on stream levels and weather along with other conditions
and a list of recommended flies.
10/12/17 There are still a good number of half pounders but so far, no adult fish have shown
up in the upper river. Flows are still at 1180 cfs at 2.36 ft.
10/17/17 Conditions are much improved. Stream levels are in good shape and adult
steelhead are showing up in the upper river. Lots of half-pounders and some adults are
being caught. This should continue to improve each day.
10/26/17 Conditions are good below the Iron Gate dam. We received two good reports from
customers fishing this past week. They caught some nice adult steelhead and as many half
pounders as they wanted to catch. Now is the time to be fishing the river.
11/03/17 Good numbers of adult steelhead are being caught in the upper river. Lots of
salmon on redds. Eggs are working good and some are being caught swinging and nymphs.
The water is a little below normal levels. Send us and email and we will send you a list of
11/10/17 We received two good reports from customers catching steelhead in the upper
river. Eggs, swinging and nymhping are all working. Veiled Crystal BH eggs and Estaz eggs.
11/18/17 Stream levels are still a little below normal levels below Iron Gate dam. We are
getting good reports and two more from customers fishing this past week. Eggs flies are
working good. Nymphs are working such as our Giant Steelhead Stonefly, Green sedges,
Green butts and others.
11/25/17 Discharges and resulting stream levels remain the same below Iron Gate, and that
is a little low. We are still getting very good reports of numbers of steelhead being caught by
our customers. Fish are distributed down stream a long ways. Eggs and SH nymphs seem to
be catching the most but swinging is also working for some.
12/02/17 The stream levels are near normal flowing at 1275 cfs, or good rates. We are
getting more good reports from customers fishing. Conditions are ideal and fish are below
the Iron Gate for a few miles.
12/09/17 Stream levels are a little below normal but there are still good numbers of
steelhead being caught. Swinging, steelhead nymphs and eggs are all working.
12/16/17 More reports of steelhead being caught. Stream levels remain the same as the
past week and conditions are good.
01/02/18 Discharges from Iron Gate are still low and anglers are catching steelhead in
decent numbers. Nymphing is working best but swinging flies is also effective.
01/11/18 Stream levels are still low below Iron Gate but steelhead are still being caught by
those that work at it. The water is sill cold, in the high thirties to low forties, so smaller
streamers and nymphs are working better.
01/18/18 Low stream levels continue to exist but steelhead are still being caught in good
numbers. Fish SH numphs like our Black Stonefly SH nymph near the bottom in slower runs
01/24/18 The discharges and stream levels are up and lot of steelhead are being caught by
our customers. Both swinging and nymphing methods are producing.
02/15/18 The river is in very good shape with good discharge rate and stream levels and
good numbers of steelhead being caught.
02/21/18 The weather is going to be colder as most of you probably know. It should have
little effect on the "catching". It continues to be very good.
02/28/18 The discharges and stream levels from Iron Gate are very low. It has slowed down
the success rate. Eggs and SH nymphs are working to some extent.
03/07/18 The discharges and flows are low in the upper Klamath. Steelhead are still being
caught on eggs and SH numphs but the low water is making it tougher than normal.