Saturday, June 28, 2014

Williamson River - Some of Oregon's Finest Spring Creek Fishing

Flowing from its spring-fed headwaters to its terminus in Klamath Lake, the Williamson River is the quintessential spring creek.  Its been touted by many as one of the best "Big Fish" fisheries in the country...I'd have to agree. 
 Klamath Lake is very alkaline which is great in that it supports incredible biomass that allows the resident Redband Trout to grow to gigantic proportions in short order, however, its depth is its achilles heel.  With an average depth of 8', the lake experiences high temperatures, algal blooms and low levels of dissolved oxygen which can stress or kill fish in the summer months.  As the water in the lake warms, these well fed Redbands retreat to the lake's spring-fed tributaries, the most prominent of which is the Williamson.
 In its crystal clear waters my father and I spotted more 5 to 10 pound trout that just about any other river we've been on (except in Alaska).  My dad had to ask if salmon made it up this far, our guide assured him what he thought were salmon were trout, and that they approach 20 pounds in both the lake and the river.
 Its all about casting long distance on this river, double hauls, stack mends, long swings and SLOW retrieves.  Takes are hard to detect, you'll feel a subtle pressure followed by a head shake but don't set it hard, you're relegated to 4 or 5x and these fish are notorious for about-faces and hauling ass down river, breaking you off before you know it.
 Don't even think about fishing this river without a boat, its bordered about 95% by private land, and if you're going to take the time to drive out and fish it, do yourself a favor and hire a guide.  Our guide was great, a true fly fisherman and very patient.  You can contact Brent Hublitz @ Trophy Troufitters, he's got a lifetime of experience on the river including 9 years as a guide and he did a great job of putting us on pigs; unfortunately, we didn't do a great job of landing them.  5 pounds was about as big as we could get to the boat, with at least two break-offs of fish in the 8-10 pound class.  Note the scars on the fish, they get attacked by Copepods, a parasitic crustacean that flourish in the warm waters of Klamath Lake.
We were in the middle of the Hexagenia hatch, and apparently its epic on this river.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to stick around until 8:45 PM when they come off, but have been told its one of the most amazing hatches to witness; every fish in the river is up on top, even the ump-teen pounders!


Brent Hublitz said...

Ryan....thanks for the kind words!


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