You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.


View All Fishing Reports

Klamath Basin: , by Dylan Woodrum: Summer Synopsis for the Klamath Basin : 3 stars

Summer Synopsis for the Klamath Basin 

Williamson River:

The Redband Trout of the Klamath Basin are well into their annual spawning season at the moment of this writing. Redband, have migrated out of the lake and into several tributaries to pass on their genes- many of those fish choose to migrate up the Williamson River. Klamath Basin Redbands have been documented spawning 11 months out of the year, however the majority of fish tend to spawn in late winter and early spring. Many of these fish choose to stay in the river after their spawn to feed on Shortnose Sucker eggs, who have also migrated into the river system to reproduce. This double run of both trout and Shortnose sucker is the key to understanding fishing the Williamson in the first couple weeks of the season.  This year the season opens May 22nd, and from late May through most of June trout can be found in the riffles of the Williamson River feeding on sucker eggs, golden stone nymphs and mayfly nymphs. June can be an extremely productive time to fish the Williamson, especially if one enjoys nymphing. 

When the weather warms, the temperatures in the Upper Klamath Lake rise to a level that Redband are forced to make a second run into cold water tributaries. July and August fishing on the Williamson River is dictated by this second run of lake fish. Like most of the West we are in the middle of a terrible drought. Upper Klamath Lake has broken another record for low water intake this winter. Unlike other fisheries, the harsher the drought and hotter the weather, the better the fishing is in the Williamson River. If the lake warms earlier than usual, that simply means that there are more fish in the Williamson River earlier. Also, unlike other fisheries that are at the whim of mother nature, the Williamson River is spring fed. Meaning: cold water, year round! Fish in the Williamson are hot and healthy throughout the summer. Never have I had to deal with “Hoot Owl Rules” and if played correctly, and handled with care, these fish swim off after the release with gusto no matter the temperature outside. 

July and August are prime time to fish the Williamson. We spend a lot of time swinging small leeches, damsels and streamers using a full sink intermediate line during this time of year. It can be challenging, even to the experienced fly caster, but the rewards are well worth it. It is truly the pinnacle of blue ribbon streams in the lower 48 if one is looking for a trophy Redband Trout. 

Wood River: 

The same story can be told of the Wood River with weather, drought, spawning and a second run of fish making the great escape from the harsh water temperatures of the lake. The Wood River, however, has a completely different makeup that is characterized as a true spring creek that meanders through marsh, meadow and pastures. Undercut banks aplenty provide ample opportunity for a Redband or Brown trout to take refuge and feed on PMD’s, Grasshoppers or a well placed streamer. One of the more idyllic places in the Klamath Basin, it is one of my favorites haunts.

Upper Klamath Lake:

Not to be left out, the mythical stillwater enthusiast has a place in the Klamath Basin. Pelican Bay is located on the Northwest portion of Upper Klamath Lake and is fed by several cold water springs that provide a sanctuary for Redband Trout throughout the Summer months. June, July and August we target these picky fish with leech, damsel and minnow patterns, primarily using a full sink intermediate line. Pelican Bay is the birthplace of the renowned seal bugger and is still a go-to pattern used while fishing this water. Few stillwater fisheries can compare with Upper Klamath lake, where a 20” fish is not a trophy, but the norm. Here, anglers measure not in inches, but in pounds. Every Summer multiple ten-plus pound Redband Trout find their way into the net at Pelican Bay. If you style yourself as a stillwater fisherman and have not yet fished Upper Klamath Lake, this place better be on your bucket list!

Klamath Basin Redband
Klamath Basin Redband
Next 10 open days for Dylan Woodrum: Jun 20, 21, 26, 27, Jul 6, 7, 10, 16, 18, 19
Book our Guides Online!