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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fishing Trip - Klamath River 11-09


My son Zack and I ventured to Northern California to fish the Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam on November 1st. My wife, Laura, had purchased me a gift certificate with Craig Neilson of Shasta Trout for Christmas last year. What a sweetie! I had planned on going up in the spring to catch the salmonfly hatch but unfortunately I was tied up with work. When being a building contractor you have to as they say, make hay when the sun shines.

Zack had a soccer game on Saturday so we headed up to the town of Mt. Shasta that afternoon and stayed at the Best Western Tree House Hotel, This is a nice place, although I will say go eat dinner in town if you choose to ever stay there. We got to the hotel at about 8:30 or so had dinner, goofed off a little and then hit the sack.

We met Craig Neilson in the morning at 8:00 and talked through the question of whether Zack needed a steelhead report card. We know that he doesn't need a fishing license as he's 11. The regs say anyone fishing the Klamath river is required to have one. So, we bought one to be safe. We then headed north towards the Oregon border on Highway 5 and took the Granada/Montegue exit. This drive on the back road to the Klamath was just spectacular. You sure don't feel like you're in California. We got to the river put the boat in and then did our shuttle. We were good to go.

There were quite a few boats on the river and we were the last boat down. Craig said he likes it that way and doesn't like "crowding". We had the river pretty much to ourselves all day and being the last boat down sure didn't seem to slow down the fishing. We also ran into my old buddy Jack Trout. He was putting his boat in right next to us and I walked over and stood next to the boat until he looked up and held my hand out to shake his hand. He looked shocked to see me. It was a classic Jack Trout moment. Anyone that has met Jack will know what I mean.

Craig rigged us up with his methodology for the Klanmath. We rigged with a "thing-a-ma-bobber" and dropped down about 7 feet to a single AAA shot. from there we went 18" down to a size 10 pegged egg, and then another 18" to a size 8 or 10 prince nymph. On Zack's rod he rigged the same from the indicator down to a rubberlegs that looks similar to a SALT stone (Check out the Fly Shops' Flies) with a reddish egg at the nose and then down 18" to the same pegged egg. That was pretty much the flies all day except the depth of the indicator was lowered and then raised depending on the depth and we added or took off shot as required.

The fish on the Klamath are some of the quickest hitting fish that I've encountered. you have to be right on the set and have good line management to keep a fish hooked. Zack struggled with this and got a little frustrated. But he kept it together. We managed to hook up steadily all day.

Craig stated that the larger winter fish are just arriving and that the fishing will typically get better for the larger winter run in late November and into December. It sort of depends on how the winter storms come in. We managed to land some nice steelhead although the 2 or 3 larger winter fish we hooked out foxed us.

There were quite a few salmon in the system and the resident trout and migrating steelhead were always in close proximity. There are some really good runs that you could probably have fished all day long in you wanted to, but you do have to get to the takeout.

If you ever care to fish the Klamath give Craig Neilson a call at Shasta Trout, 530-926-5763 or check out his website at He is a quality guide and person that has intimate knowledge of the waters in Northern California.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.