Back to my roots – Swinging for Steel on the Klamath

Before I found bonefish and really before I found fly fishing I was still an angler. The river I spend the most time on and in during my childhood was the Klamath for steelhead. When I came up to Dunsmuir for Thanksgiving I brought both my 5 wt. for the Upper Sac and my 7 wt., in case my dad was up for maybe chasing some steel on the Klamath.

Turns out, he was up for the Klamath and so we headed off Friday morning up to the Klamath. This was maybe the first time I had fished the Klamath in 8 or 9 years.

We headed up to Yreka and I got my steelhead card and then we headed up to the Collier rest area on I-5 and the pretty decent water that is found right there.

Like old times… swinging flies on the Klamath with my dad.

We were swinging, fishing assassins, and the water looked pretty good. There were plenty of tugs on the line, but those tugs were salmon smolt. Seeing salmon smolt in the Klamath is a good thing as it means there will be future generations of salmon for this once great river. Those dams need to come down. Just say’n.

The anal fin gives it away as a young salmon.

We left that spot after an hour or so and headed over to a tributary of the Klamath where I had once, early in my fly fishing career, caught a 5 or 6 pound steelhead much to my surprise. This is the Shasta River and it is beautiful. It isn’t a large river and you can really get in it and walk around. There are a lot of cat tails along the banks, which can make access a problem, but it is a nice little stream. We didn’t find any of those adult steelhead, but we did find some trout. A rainbow trout is just a steelhead who has not made his move to the salt yet and the trout we encountered will some day head down river and out to the Pacific and if all goes well and they avoid the seals and osprey and nets and all the other predators and obstacles, they’ll return her in a couple years as adults.

Steelhead in the making.

The Shasta

We headed back to the Klamath and went to a place called Tree of Heaven. I had not ever fished this spot, but my dad has put some time in here over the years. My dad missed most of the steelhead season on the Klamath this year due to some health issues, so it was good to see him out on the Klamath again, where he belongs.

The fishing was pretty much the same with some little tugs from little fish. I had a couple decent pulls, but they were likely from pre-salt trout, not from post-salt trout. The biggest fish of the trip was maybe 11″, but that was enough. It was just really good to be out on the Klamath again, swinging flies for steelhead with my dad.

What passed for “biggest” from this day of fishing.

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