Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Klamath River can spoil a steelhead guide. It stays in shape under all but the most severe storms and “greens-up quickly should a deluge knock it out. Both summer and winter fish extend the upper river’s season from October into March and its half-pounder component can make a day of steelheading seem more like a good day of trout fishing. From Iron Gate Reservoir to Klamathon Bridge, only Bogus Creek serves as a vital spawning tributary yet, surprisingly strong returns of wild steelhead fill its riffles and runs. Even with everything that makes the river great, it’s not always on fire. Over January 15th, 16th, and 30th, Craig Nielson (Shasta Trout) and I guided the upper beat with two groups of anglers and everyone landed fish each day; an impressive feat steelhead fishing anywhere.
Letitia’s first steelhead bit her bad. A wild, Trinity River fish of ten pounds that cart-wheeled its way into her backing, she fishes for nothing else. Early on in her pursuit of anadromous rainbows, she picked up a spey rod and, ever since, travels the Pacific Northwest into Skeena country with a quiver of them. She’d only driven over the Klamath en route to the Rogue, Deschutes, Hoh, and Kispiox and finally decided it was time to change that. After fishing through a couple of promising runs without a nudge a bright half-pounder stopped the fly mid-swing. Letitia took three more from the run and finished the trip with a tally similar to those fishing nymphs under indicators. Despite water temperatures in the low 40’s, large flies prompted aggressive responses and hooked fish often went airborne. If only I can get her to fish big flies in BC next fall!