I just got back from a week on the upper Klamath near Hornbrook/Yreka, Calif. Fishing was good for early in the season, as we landed between 4 and 10 fish a day, and had plenty more chances. A few boats are already catching 15-plus fish a day.
Hatchery salmon are staging in the deeper pools between Interstate 5 and the hatchery. While the run peaks in mid- to late October, the hatchery says it has a lot more salmon than normal for the last week of Sept., an indicator of a possible big run. When I talked to one of the hatchery workers on Tuesday, he said they were getting around 150 fish a day or more. Last year at the same time there were a total of 50 fish at the hatchery, compared to hundreds this year that have already run up the ladders.
The fish in this stretch of river are not chromers - it's 190 miles from the ocean, but they are hard fighters and some people like them for their smokers. A lot of people also come here to stock up on eggs for fishing the coastal rivers. Even though they are not all marked, most of the fish above I-5 are hatchery fish. The hatchery releases 900,000 smoles and 5 million fingerlings a years, so there is no reason to feel bad about bonking a limit of hens.
First salmon of the season on my boat on Monday, about 10 minutes after leaving the boat launch. Good way to break in the new drift boat.
Randy with a Klamath king.
Local guide Scott Caldwell gets a customer into a fish.
Our first fish on Tuesday, caught on a sardine-wrapped MagLips while one of my customers was letting his line out at the first hole below the fishing boundary.
Paul with another Klamath king on a MagLips.
Karen with her first Klamath salmon.
A fish box of upper Klamath chrome. Not as bright as coastal kings, but not bad for 190 miles upstream. Note the lamprey marks. Just about every fish has them once they get into this stretch of river.
Kash, a Yreka Police Department officer and big Oregon State fan, with his first salmon ever. He caught the fish on a gob of eggs cured in Pautzke's Fire Cure.
We caught lots of dark fish too (dark, dark fish) and released them to return that that big cement spawning riffle.
Saw a few ifishers on the river (Hey Pete), several guides from Medford, and the handful of local Siskiyou County guides.
I'll be back on the Upper Klamath for a few days after the ocean king season in Brookings, then gearing up for Chetco and Smith river drift boat fishing.
We caught lots of fish on MagLips plugs as well as roe. My customers were just learning how to back-bounce, so we used divers for a while until we got to some of the slower, deeper holes. Adding scents or other enhancements is big on the Klamath (tuna oil, sardine oil, Slamola, krill).