The Lower Klamath River is one of the best areas in California to fish for steelhead. Fisherman target ocean-fresh steelhead starting mid-July and ending in early November. Klamath steelhead are a mix of adult fish from 3 to 12 pounds and half-pounders (juvenile steelhead in the 12-18" size range.) People primarily use spey rods for this type of fish. One of the great things about the Klamath is that you can do very well with floating lines and small traditional steelhead patterns.
Klamath River Basin Regulations
2017–2018 Freshwater Sport Fishing regulations booklet.
(91.1) ANADROMOUS WATERS OF THE KLAMATH RIVER BASIN DOWNSTREAM OF IRON GATE AND LEWISTON DAMS (LOWER KLAMATH RIVER BASIN)
The regulations in this subsection apply only to waters of the Klamath River Basin which are accessible to anadromous salmonids. They do not apply to waters of the Klamath River Basin which are inaccessible to anadromous salmon and trout, portions of the Klamath River system upstream of Iron Gate Dam, portions of the Trinity River system upstream of Lewiston Dam, and the Shasta River and tributaries upstream of Dwinnel Dam. Fishing in these waters is governed by the General Regulations for non-anadromous waters of the North Coast District (see Section 7.00(a)(5)).
(A) Hook and Weight Restrictions
(1) Only barbless hooks may be used. (For definitions regarding legal hook types, hook gaps and rigging see Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 2.10).
(2) During closures to the take of salmon, it shall be unlawful to remove any Chinook Salmon from the water by any means.
(B) General Area Closures
(1) No fishing is allowed within 750 feet of any Department of Fish and Wildlife fish-counting weir.
(2) No fishing is allowed from the Ishi Pishi Road bridge upstream to and including Ishi Pishi Falls from August 15 through December 31. EXCEPTION: members of the Karuk Indian Tribe listed on the current Karuk Tribal Roll may fish at Ishi Pishi Falls using hand-held dip nets.
(3) No fishing is allowed from September 15 through December 31 in the Klamath River within 500 feet of the mouths of the Salmon, the Shasta and the Scott rivers and Blue Creek (see Section 7.00(a)(4)).
(4) No fishing is allowed from June 15 through September 14 in the Klamath River from 500 feet above the mouth of Blue Creek to 500 feet downstream of the mouth of Blue Creek.
(C) Klamath River Basin Possession Limits
(1) Trout Possession Limits.
(a) The Brown Trout possession limit is 10.
(b) The hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead possession limits are as follows:
(i) Klamath River — 4 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead.
(ii) Trinity River — 4 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead.
(2) Chinook Salmon Possession Limits.
(a) Klamath River downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec from January 1 to August 14 and the Trinity River downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River from January 1 to August 31.
(i) 2 Chinook Salmon.
(b) Klamath River from August 15 to December 31 and Trinity River from September 1 to December 31.
(i) Closed to salmon fishing. No take or possession of Chinook Salmon.
(D) Klamath River Basin Chinook Salmon Quotas
The Klamath River fall-run Chinook Salmon take is regulated using quotas. Accounting of the tribal and non-tribal harvest is closely monitored from August 15 through December 31 each year. These quota areas are noted in subsection (b)(91.1)(E) with “Fall Run Quota” in the Open Season and Special Regulations column.
(1) Quota for Entire Basin. The 2017 Klamath River Basin quota is 0 Klamath River fall Chinook salmon over 22 inches total length. All fishing for Klamath River fall-run Chinook Salmon is prohibited. (NOTE: A department status report for the various river sections is updated weekly, and available at 1-800-564-6479.)
(2) Subquota Percentages.
(a) The subquota for the Klamath River upstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec and the Trinity River is 50% of the total Klamath River Basin quota.
(i) The subquota for the Klamath River from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec is 17% of the total Klamath River Basin quota.
(ii) The subquota for the Trinity River main stem downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat is 16.5% of the total Klamath River Basin quota.
(iii) The subquota for the Trinity River main stem downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath River is 16.5% of the total Klamath River Basin quota.
(b) The subquota for the Lower Klamath River downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec is 50% of the total Klamath River Basin quota.
(i) The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) is closed to all fishing from August 15, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
(E) Klamath River Basin Open Seasons and Bag Limits
All anadromous waters of the Klamath River Basin are closed to all fishing all year except those areas listed in the following table. Bag limits are for trout and Chinook Salmon in combination unless otherwise specified.
Important Notice: 2017 Klamath River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon Closure
The final 2017 stock abundance projections developed by CDFW and provided to the Pacific Fishery Management Council for Klamath River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon are the lowest on record. In view of these historically low stock projections, the Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations on April 13, 2017 for a full closure of the 2017 Klamath River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon fishery in the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
All fishing for Klamath River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon, including grilse (salmon less than 22 inches) is prohibited. The Klamath River is closed to Chinook Salmon fishing between August 15, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The Trinity River is closed to Chinook Salmon fishing between September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. Fishing for Klamath River Spring-Run Chinook Salmon and steelhead will remain open under normal seasons and bag and possession limits.