March 01, 2015   Headlines

Winter Klamath Steelies

North Coast Fish Wrap
All North Coast rivers continue to drop and clear. Here on Sunday 3-1 there have been a very isolated showers over Sonoma county the past 24 hours but no rain to speak of. This has not changed river conditions and with dry weather in the forecast through the coming week conditions will only become more challenging.
The Chetco and Smith and low and gin clear and the fishing has been challenging to say the least. While a few guides are still reporting a fish or two landed most are happy to see one. All are working very hard to put their clients into fish but with the current low conditions the best efforts are not often rewarded.
One of the best bets this week is the Upper Klamath. In the Seiad Valley flows are still pushing at 2400cfs and Wally Johnson says the river is in great shape. He is just back from fishing the 2ndRowdy Creek derby on the Smith and Chetco and his report from the coast was "it's good to be home". Last week Wally was reporting solid 5 to 12 plus adults and upwards of 15 to 20 half pounders per day. Water temps are in the high 40s and with the lack on snow in the hills the fish are going to continue to bite. The upper Klamath sees little pressure as it is very isolated but for those willing to put in a couple of extra hours of scenic drive time you will wonder why you have never fished here before. It's quiet with a busy day being three other drift boats and five bankies in the course of the whole day.
The Mad is low and clear and the fishing has turned slow. We had a good push of fish from the storms in early February but many of the hatchery fish pushed down and only a few fresh ones have pushed in. The Mad usually sees a decent run of natives in March so it's not over yet.
The South Fork Eel is running at 990 at Miranda and the Main stem Eel at Scotia at 2900. I don't have a report from today but last last week guides fishing the South Fork were seeing 1 to 5 fish per day. With most other rivers necking down I can respect guides who don't want to give up the last of their prime waters. While there are not a lot of secrets between guides they don't want to share the last few spots they are still finding a few fish. I wouldn't either!

All North Coast rivers are in but most are seeing low clear conditions. Lack of rain the past two weeks has the Smith and Chetco both running low and very clear. While showers / light rain is expected on Friday 2-27 and into the weekend it does not look to be enough to change the river conditions.
 The 2nd Rowdy Creek fish derby of the year will be held this Friday and Saturday 2-28 on the Smith and Chetco. Last weekend the action was slow with the top team out of 24 total seeing a combined 8 fish. This week with even more challenging conditions and lower flows  22 teams will be facing tough conditions but I'm sure everyone involved will have a great time supporting Rowdy Creek hatchery. After all that is what this derby is all about.
The Smith is currently running at 7 feet here on Thursday 2-26 evening. It's low and gin clear and giving up just a few adults and runbacks the past several days.
The gauge at Miranda on the South Fork Eek is reporting a current flow of 1150 feet. The Miranda gauge has been over reading for the past two weeks but guides are reporting the entire south fork is in and giving up 1 to 6 fish hooked per boat. For the coastal rivers the Eel has been the top producer this season.
The Mad river action has slowed this past week. The river is down to 7 feet or about 700cfs and is sporting 12 to 18 inches of viz. Bankies are scoring a few fish on roe while others are lining but scores have dropped from easy limits two weeks ago to a fish per stick for knowledgeable anglers.
Wally Johnson reports they are seeing 5 to 10 adults and 15 to 20+ 1/2 pounders working the upper Klamath in the Seiad Valley the past few days. Wally says the fishing pressure has been extremely light and it's rare to see more than one or two other boats even working the same stretch of river. Wally is headed back over to the coast to fish in the Rowdy Creek derby this weekend and will be back on his home waters next Monday. Numbers wise the upper Klamath is a top bet (if) until the rains return. 

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

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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