I am about to make a bold statement; The State of Jefferson has the most underrated fishing on in the West. Now I know this is a bold claim but last year I was fortunate enough to fish with some of my great clients on the lower Klamath for a day with the guys from Wildwaters Fly Fishing. After what could only be described as an absolutely phenomenal day of fishing for Kings and Steelhead on the fly we decided to schedule multiple days with them this year. It did not disappoint.
After a short flight down from Portland or Seattle and a quick car ride we arrived at the house that would serve as our base of operations for the next several day; located on the side of a mountain the spectacular views of Mount Shasta and Lake Shastina this 8000 square foot log home was within an hour of many amazing fisheries. King Salmon, Steelhead, Half-pounders, and both Rainbows and Browns awaited us on rivers like the Pit, McCloud , Sacramento, and the Klamath.
On the first day migratory fish were the name of the game, with the group split between the Upper Klamath below Irongate dam and the Lower Klamath closer to the salt, I was in the group that would head upriver. After a quick drive through some spectacular countryside we arrived at the boat launch just below Irongate. We caught fish all day; under blue skies in 80 degree weather, every run we ran the indicator through we got fish and King Salmon, Half-Pounders, and Steelhead kept our rods bent all day. After a day that seemed all too short we arrived back at the house just in time for an amazing chef prepared meal, an amazing sunset by the fire pit and some much needed rest before day 2.
The second day found me chasing rainbows on the Lower Sacramento right through downtown Redding. While I have fished this section of river several times before it never fails to meet expectations; In fact it’s always quite the opposite, the trout always seem bigger, seem to fight harder, and be more plentiful than the trip before. While I have certainly fished in more scenic locals, the quality of fishing is some of the best in the west. A quick shot back up I-5 and it was time for more amazing food and great fun at the indoor shuffleboard table before day 3.
We saved the best for the last day; the McCloud River. Flowing along portions of the Pacific Crest trail this river is home to both the beautiful McCloud River Rainbow and resident Browns as well as a migratory Brown Trout from Lake Shasta that can reach truly impressive sizes. We alternated between throwing streamers in the hunt for the elusive big fish as well as fishing dry/droppers for the resident fish. While the giant fish proved difficult to hook, we did see them in in a few of the deep holes and even had a few make a charge or two at our flies, proving their existence; and the smaller fish proved ready and willing to eat big dries and small nymphs to keep the day interesting. McCloud Video
The McCloud was a special place, full of rich history as well as a multitude of plants, animals, and birds, at times the scenery makes concentrating on the fly difficult as the urge to just soak it all in can be overwhelming. It’s also a place that’s hard to put down the rod and pick up a camera, thankfully John’s camerawork does the river more justice than I could ever do it. Unfortunately the day was over all too quickly and it was time to hike back to the car and head back to the airport for the flight home. As I watched the sunset as plane descended into PDX and we all relived the events of the last few days it was decided; next years trip to the State of Jefferson can’t come soon enough.