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Reel Deal: Tourists thin, but salmon keep coming on Klamath

Klamath River fishing is better than last week, although still relatively hit or miss, but the biggest change has been an exodus of the out-of-town anglers who flocked to the lower Klamath in recent weeks.

As for other bites, the ocean has been mostly too rough for fishing, the Smith River is under a low-flow closure until rains bump the main stem above 400 cubic feet per second, and the Trinity River is very crowded with anglers while producing steelhead.

Lower Klamath R.

Although fishing pressure has died down significantly, the lower Klamath continues to produce a few salmon here and there.

“The fish are still coming in. It’s finally slowed down a bit, but the few fresh fish being caught are bright and moving quickly upriver,” said Sara Borok, environmental scientist with the Klamath River Project, in an email.

There have been 7,760 adult chinook harvested for the season below the Highway 96 bridge in Weitchpec. Only 2,751 adult salmon have been caught below the Highway 101 bridge, therefore a mouth closure isn’t likely, Borok said.

“There are a lot of fish in the river going through,” said fishing guide Gary Whittaker, who was having the best luck casting and retrieving with a red rooster tail spinner.

Trinity River - Willow Creek

The Trinity River has been producing a decent mix of steelhead and salmon. Although roughly half of the salmon are very dark, many are still bright chrome. Fishing pressure has been heavy.

“I tried fishing upriver but there was so many fishermen, it was tough,” said fishing guide Ed Duggan, whose group of fishermen were able to hook three small adult steelhead weighing 3 to 6 pounds. Spinners and plugs were the most popular gear anglers were using, Duggan said.

From Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, 346 adult fish were counted at the fish weir two miles below the town of Willow Creek.

As of Wednesday, temporary permits giving sport anglers limited access to fish in the Hoopa Reservation are available, Duggan said.

Duggan has been working with the Hoopa Tribe on an arrangement to provide anglers with access since last December when the closure first went into place.

Sport anglers should contact Darin Jarnaghan, acting forestry manager for the Hoopa Tribe, at 530-625-4284 ext. 101.

Crescent City ocean fishing

The seas were too rough for fishing most days this past week, but mellow surf for the weekend should open up more bottom fishing before the season closes at the end of October.

“It’s been rougher than a roller coaster,” said Captain Craig Strickhouser of Tally Ho Sportfishing, who was only able to catch black rockfish lately. “Hopefully the lingcod and blacks will be back when the surf goes down.”

Fishing guide contacts: Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Gary Whittaker of Wild River Fishing at 707-498-4491 and wildriverfishing.com; E.B. Duggan “D” Fishing Guide at 530-629-3554.

Reach Adam Spencer at 
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