Most fishing guides have some sort of web presence and many post a fishing report or blog. The savvy fishing client has the ability to cruise through these blogs and glean information about fishing conditions on their rivers of choice. However, a river guide with a need to fill empty guide days, can feel pressure to bias the reports to encourage prospective bookings. I feel that a good report should be brutally honest and post both quantifiable and objective information as well as subjective and anecdotal observations.
One of my favorite places to start in evaluating the Klamath River is the river flow, measured in cubic feet per second (cfs) at Orleans. I choose Orleans only because it is the closest guage stations to our home base in Somes Bar. I prefer to fish in water that is under 5000cfs and ideally between 2000 and 3000 cfs for the swung fly presentation.
We have recently had our first significant storm come through the North State and it has pushed much of the Summer algae and early Fall leaf litter downstream. The water temperatures are perfect for steelheading (mid 50s), and the river is in a clearing, dropping flow, and generally improving condition. Here is how the graph looks as taken from USGS:
In an ideal world, I would have a graph that had a blue line for cfs, a red line for river temperature, a green line for clarity, and a black line for steelhead density. Yeah right! The reality is that I get a USGS map showing stream flow rate, I take my thermometer down to the river and get a reading, I take a step into the river and check if I can see my feet, and then count fish taken during a guide day. Oh yea, I also get a pretty good idea of the river clarity by watching our canal diversion from Stanshaw creek. This diversion brings us water for our hydroelectric plant, and it gives me a good idea of main stream Klamath river quality. If my penstock diversion line is muddy, and full of leaves, I can count on the river being off color and full of debris.
Well, the bottom line to all of this is that for the next 10 days we appear to have an improving river, that is cleaner and cooler than the previous weeks. My anecdotal fishing creel count indicates more bright, aggressive steelhead are waiting to wrestle with my fishing guests. So, lets go get em!