Klamath Red Band Trout
Who does not love to cast into rivers or streams for big, hungry trout? Mark me down as one who cannot resist the allure of magical places that hold big-finned secrets in the riffles and runs. So it is this week as we travel to a designated Wild and Scenic section of the broad-shouldered Klamath River in Southern Oregon.
We joined a couple of pros that know just the right flies to cast into the river and provide us a chance to catch the Klamath’s red-band rainbow trout. The adventure begins south of Klamath Falls on a roadway that demands your attention!
A rough roadway with bumps and jumps and a jarring ride down a single track dirt road that leaves you wondering: where is this adventure headed? And then you arrive – riverside! Where scenery softens and the world is reborn along Oregon’s remote wild and scenic Klamath River.
Our hosts, Darren and Jen Roe of ROE Outfitters, told me that the Klamath Canyon is known mostly for its rafting, but wanted to impress me with why it needs to known for its fishing too. That began with preparation – so a rod, reel and waders are required. Plus, a collection of imitations of nature’s creations that promise to catch fish.
High buttes crown the canyon rims as the Klamath River carves its way through Oregon’s volcanic cascade mountain range for 11 miles to the border with California. You can easily watch the canyon come to life: vegetation cools the riverbanks and shade covers the boulders and provides a home for insects.
The Klamath River is managed as summertime catch and release fishery and that means flies or lures only – no bait allowed. Once I got the hang of the technique: casting and then stripping line, I was into fat rainbow trout too. The fish are all wild red band rainbow trout and it is prolific fishery – fish range from 9 to 16 inches and average 11-13 inches. The river has been protected as wild and scenic since 1994 – a special place that’s a distant world away from city hubbub and noise and aren’t we lucky it’s that way!
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.