Copyright 2017 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
Headlines: The flows are at 9820
cfs at 9.21 ft., which is very high.
The water is ranging highly
stained to muddy. The weather
forecast calls for more rain and
rain/snow mixtures, so this
situation is unlikely to change.
Check out our Steelhead flies.
10/15/15 Not much change yet but with cooler weather coming soon, things will change fast.
Some fish being caught below Happy Camp and some salmon moving in. We feel like some
good runs of adult steelhead and plenty of half pounders will be moving in within the next
week or two at the most. Keep in touch.
10/21/15 The good news is steelhead are showing up in good numbers below the Iron Gate
Dam. Anglers are scoring mostly with nymphs but some have been taken swinging flies.
October Caddis are at the peak of their hatch and the egg laying females are bringing trout
to the surface in the afternoons.
10/28/15 The "catching" seemed to have improved to some extent but it is still a little slow. It
should pick up day to day as more fish move into the river. Most are being caught near Iron
Gate. We will keep you informed.
11/05/15 Those making a lot of cast near the Iron Gate have been lucky enough to hook an
adult steelhead or two a day. We can't say the fishing is hot but it sure isn't poor. The much
cooler weather is helping but rain is needed to bring in more fish.
11/12/15 A few more adult steelhead have been caught but it isn't something you would want
to write home about. Well, I take that back. It could very well be. Everything is relative. There
are some fish in the upper river but you have to work for them. On the other hand, the first
cast may get one. The water is cool and that's a plus but more rain in needed for more fish
to show up.
11/19/15 The section near the Iron Gate dam has been producing some steelhead but it is
taking a lot of cast. Egg flies are still working, some have been caught swinging and some
using nymphs. It is requiring as much luck as it is skill for sure. I know you're tired of hearing
it, but more rain is needed for the situation to improve.
11/26/15 Anglers had some high hopes of rain and higher water levels to bring in more fish
the past few days but that just hasn't happened yet. They seemed to catch a few more this
past week. Two customers did okay on the Perfect fly Veiled Beadhead Crystal egg fly. The
weather is colder and that should help some.
12/03/15 The stream levels are still low but the good news is that it is snowing hard from a
winter storm warning and should continue to snow for the next week. The weather is going to
be colder but reaching a warm enough temperature during the day to melt at times. This
should help the levels and the clear water pools. Egg flies and nymphs are working best right
12/10/15 Our customers have been scoring on steelhead well. Fishing has been very good
and a lot of fish have moved into the upper river. It has started raining and will continue
heavily for the next few days. Expect high water levels and discharges. This will help, of
course, but take a while to clear up.
12/17/15 There is high water in the lower river but anglers are still catching a lot of fish near
the Iron Gate dam. Swinging flies is working best right now. There is some snow, so watch
the road situation.
12/24/15 Stream levels are good near Iron Gate Dam and a lot of steelhead are being
caught. The lower river is down a lot but still high. There is a lot of snow coming down today
and tomorrow, then clearing up for a few days. Make sure you have the proper vehicle.
Nymphing and swinging flies are both working.
12/31/15 Our customers are catching steelhead form the Iron Gate Dam downstream to the
interstate Bridge. They are doing better with the lower water levels using nymphs than they
are swinging. The Green Sedge larva and Black Stonefly nymphs are both working good.
Beaver Creek is adding a lot of off color water and it is stained below that confluence. Keep
up with the latest by clicking the above link to our report.
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.