Klamath and Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Guide Trip Reports

Gabe Duran with a Lower Sac Hawg of Fame Gabe drifts into the green light Sunshine and steelhead, ahh winter in California! January 29th – February 6th

We continue to experience phenomenally fine weather in the shadow of Shasta which our guests have enjoyed to the fullest.  Daytime highs mean steelheading on the Klamath River in shirtsleeves midday while the Lower Sacramento River has required an extra layer of sunscreen while chasing trophy trout.  We are certain to get some more weather before winter (?) is over but we plan to savor the year round fishing and sunshine while we can.

The Klamath River continues to fish just fair to good.  Conditions are nearly ideal, but the fair weather seems to have confused the fish and they have gotten a bit stale and refuse to eat. We have not yet seen the wide open bite we most often experience when the winter temps increase like this.  Water temps continue to hover close to forty degrees and while we have managed to swing up a few fish dredging with sink tips, nymphing with legs and eggs continues to be the best bet.  Hopefully the next storm will bring in a few fresh fish and spark the bite.  The good news is that some of the steelies we’ve seen lately have been a bit bigger than the norm, including an exceptional big buck Gabriel Lopez enjoyed with Craig this past weekend.  Sorry it was camera shy and we failed to snap a shot of this red striped wild beauty.

We have also experienced a slow bite on the Lower Sacramento River most days and while the number of fish to net each day might not be what we hoped, the size of the fish has made up for it more than once, including a Shasta Trout Hawg of Fame entry by great local  guide Gabe Duran.   Gabe grew up on the banks of the Lower Sac and has fished it his entire life, so it comes as no surprise when finds a winter haunt and hooks a hawg.  Most of the fish have recently come on the midday caddis hatches, both some early spring time # 16 olives and some confused #14 tan summer caddis?  Early and late in the day local guide Fred Gordon’s Prince pattern, PT’s, and Micromays in #16’s & 18’s along with eggs continue to find a few fish.  The famed spring caddis is just around the corner, conditions couldn’t be better, and prime dates are still available, drop us a line to schedule one of the finest local guides.

Gabriel Lopez poses a nice winter buck Steelhead Gabriel Lopez mines some Klamath River wild winter chrome Sunshine and Steelhead: Winter on the Klamath River As mentioned previously, Craig hosted Gabriel Lopez, the gifted and talented creator of Lazy Lopez productions where you will find some of his exceptional photography and video.  Gabe is also a superb angler and enjoyed a weekend away from work, the big city and traffic, though he did admit missing is charming wife and new son.  I reminded him that his son would be fishing with us sooner than he thinks!  He enjoyed taking some time to swing a two handed rod on some of the most productive runs on the Klamath.  While he was unable to get a hook up he did fish some very good water well.  Fortunately he connected on several occasions nymphing both from the boat as well as from shore and the weather and sunsets were spectacular.  Look for an upcoming post on his website on his adventure.

Dennis with a Lower Sac winter gem Earlier in the week Craig enjoyed a reunion with Dennis for a trip on the Lower Sacramento River.  Dennis is a retired teacher and coach from Paradise High School, Craig’s alma mater.  Dennis coached a wrestling team that garnered a number of awards including state champions.  Dennis was just recently inducted into the Californias’s wrestling Hall of Fame.  They reminisced, discussed old friends and even managed to catch a few trout, including Dennis’ first fly caught fish on the Lower Sac.  They are planning another reunion soon.

Bright sun & bright fish on a winter day Klamath River Spey Masters, Richard, Donna & Dan Donna with a fine winter half-pounder Our good friends Dan, Donna and Richard returned to try their luck with their spey rods swinging for winter steelhead on the Klamath.  Each of them managed a few grabs, we had a couple hook ups but were a bit unlucky and didn’t manage to bring a fish to hand.  The following day, great local guide Jim Andras joined Craig for a day of nymphing and everyone found success, including a few very hot fish.  Again the weather was cooperative though the bite on the Klamath did not take off as we had hoped.  We are still waiting for one of those epic weeks we typically experience in these kind of conditions.

Steve celebrates his hard won first Klamath River SteelheadA beautiful buck in the last run on the last cast Brent mines some winter chrome on a gorgeous winter day Over the last weekend in January, guides Craig Nielsen, Alan Blankenship, Jim Andras, Gabe Duran and Chris King hosted a group of ten anglers from the Diablo Valley Fly Fishing Club at the Klamathon Lodge.  Again the fishing could not have been much better but the bite really turned tough.  While everyone was able to catch a fish or few winter steelheading, this is not the norm under these conditions on the Klamath.  Steve even managed to save and celebrate his first fish of the trip until the very last run, on the last day on what was likely his last pass!  This group understands the challenges of winter steelheading, and despite the slow bite, they appreciated the efforts of hard working knowledgeable local guides and the camaraderie of their fellow club members.  This is the third trip of the season for this club and they are certain to return.  Availability at Klamathon Lodge is limited and we still have a few openings for the Salmonfly Hatch this spring.  Drop us a line to schedule your group while they last.

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