A while back I talked to Department of Fish and Game officials regarding the four salmon limit on the Klamath. Many anglers were asking the question why so many in the limit.
I was advised there was such an abundance of salmon this year that they set the four fish limit because there would be enough spawning stock to reproduce new runs. That was the basic, simple answer. We will later find out the results of all this in months or years to come.
Meanwhile, since the early part of October, the upper river below Iron Gate Hatchery has been fully populated with large numbers of drift boats all catching salmon from the Boundary Hole down river as far as the eye can see. Most all of the deeper holes were crowded with boats pumping and bouncing roe off the bottom. Other methods used included casting large spinners like Mepps, Panther Martins, Blue Fox, and similar lures.
Everyone with any fishing ability caught salmon.Most of the boats landing at the R Ranch were bringing limits. At the R Ranch cleaning station, anglers line up to clean and butcher their catch. Most of the salmon now are turning colors and taking on darker shades as nature gives them their spawning colors. Most of the salmon are ranging from 10 pounds to 20 pounds - much smaller than the Sacramento River salmon.
Salmon roe seems to be the most popular prize for anglers. Unfortunately while fishing for steelhead, we have noticed many dead female salmon with slit open stomachs and roe removed and the fish discarded. This is not popular with good anglers and hatchery officials . It’s considered a shameful waste and contributes to the actual decline in the salmon populations.
I was advised a big run of salmon, both chinook and coho, went up the Shasta River. This river is closed during the month of October and into November to enhance the rearing of salmon in that river.
Steelhead are just starting to show up in small isolated numbers and may be backed up behind the big run of salmon. I have, however, in the last week landed four nice, fresh steelhead from two pounds up to a six pounder which is generally the average.
Most of all the fish were quite fresh looking. Out of the four, one was a hatchery fish and three were wild fish. A Reminder to anglers that only one hatchery steelhead may be kept. All others are to be released, recorded, using barbless hooks.
The Iron Gate Hatchery has been attracting approximately 1,000 salmon per day over the past two weeks.
The upper Klamath is a sight to behold this time of year and even today as I write these lines. The mountain ash trees are turning beautiful bright golden colors and the river is becoming a radiant corridor of natural beauty. The oaks will turn much later, along with the sycamores. The maple trees have turned vibrant golden and red colors. Black walnut trees, common around this area, are also glittering in gold colors. This symphony of fall colors makes the fishing trip worthwhile.
Keywords: Klamath River, salmon