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Updated - 5/26/24

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Current River Conditions: Hovering around 7100 CFS at Orleans
Fishing - Poor
: We received some somewhat promising info from Terry Thomas at Fly Fishing Specialties in Citrus Heights CA who keeps track of the Klamath and he said that water clarity has improved and is actually fishable.  It's going to be very interesting to see what effect the dam removals will  have on the fishery over the next couple of years.  Eventually the fishery will rebound though the timing of runs might change. Stay tuned  

Scroll down to bottom of page to see Run Chart

About the Klamath River


The Klamath River is one of the longest rivers in California.  It stretches about 250 miles from south eastern Oregon to the Pacific Coast. Though the river is very long, two of the most popular and easily accessible sections are the Iron Gate Dam tail water accessed from
I-5 and from the community of Happy Camp down to the outlet into the Pacific Ocean. 


Because of private land adjoining the river, the Iron Gate Dam tailwater section requires a watercraft to fish it.  There is a dirt boat ramp near the dam where you can put in, and the takeout is about four miles downstream at Klamathon Bridge. 


The characteristic of the water is riffles and runs with a few deep pools.  Being that the dam is the location of the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery and it’s the furthest upstream the Steelhead and Salmon can travel, the fish tend to stack up in that area making for some wonderful fishing. 


The lower section of the Klamath from Happy Camp to the ocean draws the most fishermen .  Wading access is pretty good as Hwy 96 follows the river all the way to Weitchpec which is about 60 mi, so there is lots of river to explore.


Below Weitchpec most of the land is private or on Indian reservation, so no access is allowed.  For that reason and because there are no boat launches on the Indian reservation, jet boats are the preferred watercraft.


There are many launching sites upstream from Weitchpec at Capell Creek, Big Bar (just north of Orleans), Blue Heron (south of R Lyle Davis Bridge), Dolan Bar, Green Creek, Precido Bar, Coon Creek, Independence Forest, and Chambers flat. 


The last three are in the Happy Camp area.  Some of the RV resorts have launching too.  The more popular and productive runs are from Ullathorne (near Orleans) to Big Bar, Presidio (near Somes Bar) to Dolans Bar. Length of the runs vary from 5 to 8 miles. The section downstream from Happy Camp can be difficult to float due to roily water.


Most of the Steelhead on the Klamath are what are locally known as “half pounders”.  The name is a misnomer as the fish range in size from 2 to 4 lbs.  They are generally considered to be sexually immature fish that have spent a short time in the estuary or close to the river’s outlet and then returned for various reasons but generally to follow the Salmon as they enter the system in August through November. 


The half pounders feed voraciously on Salmon eggs during the spawn in November, but until then they eat whatever the river has to offer.  When the half pounders are in, there are usually a lot of them and the fishing can get silly.  In January and February the large Steelhead spawners come into the system, but unless it’s a low precipitation year, the river can be blown out during that time. 

Klamath River

Klamath River


Local Waters Orientation Clinics are Starting Now
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for info


Hatch Chart
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