September 16, 2014   Headlines

Lower Klamath Adult Quota Reached

Lights Out Action Despite Low Flows
Yes, the adult quota has been met but the fishing and catching has been excellent on the lower Klamath. Wally Johnson with Seiad Valley Guide Service reports the bite is only getting better the past few days. Wally has been working a small 8 to 12 mile area from the Glen to Blue Creek. He says that there are fish throughout this section and the only reason he is moving around is to give clients a different "view". On Monday 9-15 he didn't travel and instead ground out repeated drifts at Blakes. They got at least one single on every drift and had several doubles and triples. Wally says that every good guide on the river is sending their clients home with 1 to 3 jacks per stick (great sign for next year) and releasing 15 to 20 other adult salmon to 30 pounds and lots of native steelies.
Tony Sepulveda with Green Water Fishing Adventures reports "it's pretty awesome. We haven't hooked less than 30 fish a day in the past week. Everyone is going home with some jacks for the smoker plus getting to pull on some hogs". Tony said he watched as he and 5 other boats made a total of 19 passes in one spot and every boat hooked at least one and there were several double and even quads without one boat making a "dry pass".
This is the heart of the run but good action should last into October. Both Wally and Tony have spots open over the next few weeks but you need to call ahead. Contact info can be found at the links above.

Wally Johnson reported another banner day on Thursday 9-11. Fishing the lower river from the Glen to Blue Creek Wally says that the river is choked with fish. Four anglers released over 15 adults to 18 pounds and kept 6 FAT jacks averaging 5 to 6 pounds. Wally reports there are fish rolling, splashing and swimming by the boat in huge numbers. There was a big pulse of fish moving in today and it looks like the action is only getting better. It's too bad that we don't have any real time fish management on this river. Otherwise both tribal and sport anglers could be harvesting fish in what is a far better return than forecasted. Wally has dates open through mid October on the lower Klamath and will begin his upper Seiad Valley salmon and steelie trips on October 15th.

Wally Johnson with Seiad Valley Guide Service reported excellent action on Wednesday 9-10. Wally says that the top guides are releasing 8 to 20 plus adults and many are limiting out on jacks (three per angler) and releasing a number of mostly half pound steelhead.
The salmon are pushing in despite the warm and ultra low flows and guides are putting clients into steady action. The fish are holding in the deeper holes and faster riffles with most adults coming from spots like the Glen Hole, Starwein, Blue Creek. The jacks and most steelhead are holding in the faster riffles and all are biting roe. Water releases early this month dropped water temps a few degrees and brought in a fresh surge of salmon. Fishing pressure has been light and we expect both better action and  lower water temps as the days get shorter and the nights cooler.
Wally and Tony with Green Water Fishing adventures both have room available this month. We expect good fish on the lower river through early October and maybe incredible fishing in early October as water temps continue to drop.

While this is bad news for those looking to load up on salmon the following is good news for sport anglers targeting the Klamath over the next few weeks. The salmon fishing has been great this past week with another 800 adult salmon caught in the lower river. The bad news is that the lower river quota has been reached and the fishery will be closed to the taking adults over 22" as of Friday 9-5. Fishing remains open to catch and release adults and jacks under 22" may be retained as well as hatchery steelhead. I would expect fishing pressure to be light this month and this will only enhance the experience for those looking to fish less crowded waters. The spit area remains closed for the season to all fishing. The following is the weekly news letter we receive from Sara Borok who is in charge of the Klamath river project.  

It was a busy weekend. Not only did we close the spit fishery, but we met the lower Klamath Quota and will be implementing a size restriction from the Hwy 96 bridge down to the ocean on the Klamath starting Friday September 5th, 2014. Reports from the river are that there are lots of jacks (chinook under 22Ē) in the river right now. So those that continue to fish will have a good time.
Sara Borok
Environmental Scientist
Klamath River Project

So Much for the Pre Season WAG
So far it appears that the return of salmon is much higher than the preseason estimate given to the PFMC. We here at USAFishing like to call this "guess the number" while the fish are still out in the ocean a WAG. A scientific term meaning wild ass guess. It is beyond comprehension that in a river like the Klamath we are still using the WAG and not photo or sonar counters or weirs.
There are a couple of spots in the lower river where placing temporary weirs or sonar counters would be ideal Terwer riffle and the 101 bridge. Temporary weirs and sonar counters are used all over Alaska to MANAGE their fisheries in REAL time.  Not this 30 year old WAG "science" that is more often wrong than right. By counting the fish in real time, harvest could adjusted up or down. In Alaska I have seen first hand sport and commercial harvest limits dropped or increased in as little as 24 hours depending on REAL data not the WAG.
Many of Alaska's rivers are far larger with runs on some counted in the millions of fish.
In years of high return both sport and tribal fishers could safely harvest more and in low return years harvest could be suspended to protect the fish when the numbers are down. Adopting successful management practices from out of state makes sense with our current out of date methods.
Too often in California our fisheries are managed by politics. When you properly manage the fishery the fish thrive and that's good for salmon and anglers.

Major Step Forward For Klamath River Restoration
One of the nationís biggest dam removal and river restoration efforts got a major boost on Friday with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announcing that he will introduce legislation to authorize the Klamath River restoration agreements.
Elected officials, Tribal leaders, and farming, ranching, and conservation representatives gathered Friday to celebrate the signing of the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA). The agreement resolves water rights disputes among the Klamath Tribes and upper basin irrigators, and permanently increases river flows, protects riverside lands, and provides $40 million to the Klamath Tribes for economic development.
Senator Wyden announced that he will introduce legislation that authorizes the UKBCA, as well as the two existing Klamath settlement agreements, the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Together the three agreements will resolve long-standing water rights disputes, increase water supply reliability for upper basin agricultural communities, improve river flows and water quality, restore wetlands, and allow for the removal of PacifiCorpís lower four Klamath River dams. The restoration agreements are necessary to restore struggling Klamath salmon runs.
The agreements, the first of which was finalized in 2010, are the product of years of negotiations among more than 40 stakeholder groups including American Rivers, with the goal of restoring the river, reviving ailing salmon and steelhead runs, and revitalizing fishing, tribal, and farming communities.
Removing the four dams will open access to more than 300 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead. When dam removal begins on the Klamath Ėscheduled for 2020 Ė it will be one of the nationís largest dam removal projects. Before the settlement agreements can be fully implemented, Congress must pass Senator Wydenís legislation and appropriate funds, and California must contribute an estimated $80 million to augment the $200 million being collected from PacifiCorp ratepayers for dam removal and river restoration. No federal funds will be used for dam removal.
PacifiCorpís four dams, built between 1908 and 1962, cut off hundreds of miles of once-productive salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the Upper Klamath, which was once the third most productive salmon river on the West Coast. The dams also create toxic conditions in the reservoirs that threaten the health of fish and people.
The dams produce a nominal amount of power, which can be replaced using renewables and efficiency measures, without contributing to climate change. A study by the California Energy Commission and the Department of the Interior found that removing the dams and replacing their power would save PacifiCorp customers up to $285 million over 30 years.
Roughly 1,150 dams have been removed nationwide and 51 dams were removed in 2013.

Kamp Klamath
Our favorite campground Kamp Klamath "on the quite side of the river". They offer discounts for those anglers looking to park their RV for a month or more and enjoy a few weeks of this incredible fishery. They have full hookups and the entire campground has free Wi-Fi. Don't miss the Saturday night salmon and chicken B-Q with live music!
Kamp Klamath is a secure, quiet, forested campground surrounded by Redwood National Park and where we have set up our fish camp for over 25 years. Great people and a great place to stay. 707 482-0227
Motor Home Magazine has a feature article about Kamp Klamath and FunBus Tours.

Accommodations & Shops:
"Little Ray's Tackle" in Klamath Glen. For all your tackle needs stop by Little Rays. This is a must stop for anglers new to the river. The crew behind the counter will be more than happy to answer all your questions and point you in the right direction. Located just past the Steelhead Lodge. 707 482-7725

In Seiad Valley sits the Klamath River Side Park a quiet little RV park right on the banks of the Klamath for anglers looking for a quieter stretch of the river away from the crowds.

River Levels:

For river status (low flow closure) updates from Fish and Game please call +1.707.442.4502 for the North coast and +1.707.944.5533 for Central coast streams. Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary on every river and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions. Due to winter closures on HWYs 5, 101 & 299 we recommend you check Caltrans road conditions as well.

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