While the water of the Klamath River is on the cloudy side, the nearby Shasta River is presently in perfect condition for steelhead fishing.
On a December day A couple of years ago, I landed a 13-pound male steelhead in the Shasta River just below the old Shelly Bridge. The lower six miles in the beautiful canyon of the Shasta River is almost completely accessible by roads running along the river. There is lots of nice fly-fishing water with #5 or #6 rods. For spin fishermen I would recommend small to ultra-light rods.
Here’s the low down on this river. The State Department of Fish and Wildlife has mandated lots of protection and regulations. There are early fall salmon spawners in the river. Later there are Coho spawning populations. This time of year the larger runs of or winter steelhead show up. In years to come, conditions will certainly improve in the Shasta River. As in previous writings, the purchase of the Big Springs Ranch by the Nature Conservancy on the upper river may eventually result in this becoming a blue ribbon trout stream with salmon and steelhead as a bonus.
The river opened on November 16, and will close on March 1. It will be open from the 1-5 Bridge, downstream to the confluence with the Klamath River. This is “catch and release water” as the daily bag limit is zero. All fish must be released. That’s probably the reason I don’t see many of the local anglers out fishing. Almost two months remaining to try your luck in this river. As I mentioned, the river is in great condition and there is plenty of water to fish.
Don’t neglect having a fishing license and steelhead/or salmon tag.
If you still have the last year’s salmon and steelhead tags, make sure you send them in due by 1/31/2013.
UPPER KLAMATH UPDATE
As of this writing, the river below the Iron Gate Dam is running with good flows around 1,200 to 1,500 cubic feet per second . . . Just a hair high as some anglers might infer. The temperature of the river is 35-40 degrees. Here the river is getting murky when it warmed up the past two days with light rain and snow. This may raise the river from the melt. Then again, the Shasta River is nearby and in excellent shape with more spring water than murky water.
It’s now a winter game in steelheading so dress warm. Have some good rain gear and above all, make sure your waders don’t leak. For more information on the lower Shasta River or the Klamath, refer to fishing regulation supplement page 11. It will supply more information and are available at any license dealer. For more information: Department Of Fish and Wildlife, Yreka-530 841-2550 Regional Office: 888 334-2258