Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam

 

Fly Fishing on the Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam

In the State of Jefferson, things are about to change. If Yerka represents the State's historic capital city, then certainly the Klamath would be the State's crown river. Even though the flame to have a half dozen counties from Oregon and California form a new state has burned for over 70 years, not much has changed. Well, the same may not be true for the Klamath River.

Getting ready to float the Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam.

Four dams on the Klamath (including Iron Gate) will be coming down in 2 years. That train has left the station -- finally. Unless the U.S. Government derails the train, the flows and the upstream habitat will be much different. And the current "word" from the Trump Administration seems to be keeping the dam removal on track. Fingers crossed, the removal will be huge for the Klamath water quality, and of course, salmon and steelhead. The migration won't just stop at the current location of Iron Gate (Iron Gate - meaning no passage beyond this point.)

Fishing the Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam in the fall requires selecting the right color of egg to peg.

Things will also change dramatically for anglers. CDFW operates a steelhead hatchery just downstream from the Iron Gate Dam. Chinook salmon and steelhead won't be forced to stop at base of the hatchery. Of course, the fish raised in the hatchery will want to, but I'm betting any freedom loving, State-of-Jefferson supporting fish will march on. But I digress...

Directly across from the Iron Gate Hatchey is a small boat ramp. From the ramp to 3500 feet downstream the river is closed to fishing year round. A major tributary to the Klamath, Bogus Creek enters the river on the south side and is also closed to fishing. The section below Iron Gate Hatchery requires a boat to fish it effectively and legally. Most of the land along the north side of the river is privately owned with only a few public access spots.

Getting ready to float the Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam.

The Klamath River below the hatchery during the fall gets a solid run of half-pounders and adult steelhead. With constant flows and good reports, floating this river late October and early November can get congested. With a limited number amount of good holding water, expect to either fish early and fast, or later and slower.

Getting ready to float the Klamath River Below Iron Gate Dam.

Normally around the first week in October, huge numbers of salmon arrive throughout this section. Not far behind, the steelhead take up position behind the salmon by the middle of October. Obviously, drifting egg patterns will be the most productive while the spawn is on.