Higher flows on the mid-Klamath and a fishing report hinting of adult steelhead up on the Salmon River was the impetus to do a check of fishing conditions on the Salmon River this week. I called in two of my fishing compadres from Arcata and we floated the lower stretch of the Salmon from Brannon bar to the confluence of the Salmon and the Klamath. If you have never done this stretch, it is a pristine, seldom fished area and is NOT suitable for drift boat access except at higher flows. If you decide to do this run on your own, you will need inflatable craft rather than rigid boats.
The Salmon River was crystal clear, and was flowing at about 800 cfs at the measuring guage. I keep thinking this might be a great alternative location to take Winter Steelhead, but it seems like the fish tend to move through this area quickly and stage up-stream. Our float produced a single half pounder for the day, and we did not see any fish moving past us as we moved our raft down-stream. The only adult fish we saw was a spent salmon lying on it’s back in an eddy.
The geology of this stretch is actually quite varied, and offers options for nymphing as well as swung fly presentations. The only missing component was the fish! Anyway, Winter Steelheading is an adventure that you have to be willing to accept as rewarding in ways that sometimes do not include the fish. So, I’ll try to get out again next week if the coming storms don’t raise the flows too high. Here is a closing shot from the day. This is one of Arcata’s finest attorneys stringing up his rod, rather than a courtroom adversary. Good Fishing! Doug