I have fished the Klickitat R. since I was about 10 and never really seen any RB’s. There are a lot of juvenile steelhead though and their usually on the small skinney side, 10-12". These are what’s left of the native fish that run in this river. The Klickitat used to be a great river but has suffered over the past few years, why, I’m not sure? I could probably give you some reasons but it would just get me all worked up. This is one of a few still free flowing rivers left in the state and it’s a shame it going in the toilet with all others. It gets a lot of pressure in the summer and fall for steelhead. It also has a decent salmon run in the spring and fall, some really big ones. I have heard that fly fishing for RB above the dam on the Little White Salmon R. is pretty good, although I haven’t personally tried it. I would suppose its also good above the dam on the Big White Salmon too. NW’ern Lake used to have a resort on it with good fly fishing to but requires a boat or what ever you like to effectively fish. And one more place would be the Little Klickitat R. although access can be difficult to most of it except the upper part near Goldendale or the lower part you can reach where it joins the main river. And I’m not sure when/if its open right now, have to check the regs. If you go in the summer watch out for those darn SNAKES, their not to friendly! Good luck where ever you decide to go.
It's strange that two rivers in the same general area (Deschutes and Klickitat) would be on two different ends of the spectrum as far as trout fishing is concerned. Are there any of the same hatches on these two rivers?
Thanks for the report. It was worth a shot. Maybe I will try the Little White Salmon this summer(if it is even open).
Actually, the Deschutes is quite a bit different than the Klickitat. The Klickitat comes off the glaciers of Mt. Adams and the Goat Rocks. As Jim can probably remember, you better get your steelheading in by midday because of the silt. The Deschutes is pretty much a tailwater fishery. The more fair comparison to the Klick would be the Hood River.
But, there are more resident bows than Jim leads on. Especially above Leidl Bridge. We used to catch them on streamers and spoons. The Klick does have a major stonefly population and I've had limited luck fishing the dries. And the whitefish... don't believe anybody if they tell you a whitefish's mouth is too small for a #6 stonefly nymph. They've only caught the scrawny ones on the west side of the mtns.
Now, the Little Klick definitely has resident bows and they resemble the Deschutes redsides. In fact, I would bet that they are of similar breed. They occur mostly above a major falls that makes steelhead passage impossible. They are a hardy fish that go mostly unnoticed (thank God) because WDFW manages it as a put and take fishery. Thanks to multiple spring creeks, below Goldendale, the Little Klick manages to keep a fair amount of water even during common drought times. I only know this because I grew up in Goldendale and fished the Little Klick more than anyone alive between 1978 and 1986. That little river taught me how to catch its best fish. You won't find me on this side of the arguement very often, but private ownership is the savior of this little river. More public land on the Little Klick would definetly hurt its redsides.
Anyway, I'll stop. Don't go to the Klick thinking Deschutes. It is every bit as good a steelhead river, but not as good in the trout department.
I must admitt I don't usually go there to trout fish. Just stating my view on what I've observed. I can't remember ever seeing someone down there trout fishing. That does mean there isn't or that it might even be pretty good, I don't know. I usually stick to the lower part below where the Little Klick comes in. I have drifted down from Soda Springs and used to be able to take motorcycle then bicycles up the logging road, now you can only hike. Maybe the upper parts of the river are better? And yes, the color of the river during the summer is OK in the morning and by afternnon it un-fishable. My nickname for the river is Klick-a-mud! My favorite time is fall, late September/October because a lot of fisherman turn to hunting hence less pressure. Something my dad told me this year is that someone or group is buying up acess area's on the river that used to be public. Some of these used to be places you could fish from the bank too. Pretty soon it'll be boat only if it keeps going the way it is. I think its a shame the state sells us out like that. Why can't we save some of our state lands for all to enjoy? By the way my dad is 81 and been going down there fishing since before I was born! During the summer he still goes down twice a week from Yakima. If you ever want a fishing report just ask. He's a die hard bait guy though. Oh well, he's entitled I guess. Later, Jim
I spend a lot of time around the klickitat, but mostly motorcycling. This can be kind of a tricky river to fish. Took me awhile to find out what works for trout. Use a wedding ring with worm and weight. Cast into current and LET THE CURRENT DO THE WORK, retrieve when about to get snaged. I have lost a lot of rigs but it is worth the results and the looks on other fisherman's faces. Trout don't get to big(10 to 16 inches). I garuntee some trout if you use this method during the summer at the ice house(1 or 2 miles past the town of klickitat). The river is only good from where the litte klickitat branches off and down. Go when the water is not mirky and good luck.
I Guided on the Klickitat and White Salmon River for years and can tell you the Klick Has pretty good bow fishing. At the Icehouse boat launch one fall I landed a rainbow on my first cast of the morning 10 trips in a row. With fish up to 20". The big white salmon also has excellent trout fishing. Yet bank access is is difficult so its best to float. Yet you have to run a few class 3 plus rapids. Not recommended for driftboat. Lots of fish but most of them small. For local guide info call ( 206) 396-5380.
Anyone with the handle "Grasshopper" must KNOW the Klickitat! Everything in that canyon eats grasshoppers. The birds, the ground squirrels, trout and, oddly enough, the steelhead. If you fish there when the hoppers are out (which is usually when the steelhead are in) you'll see people catch steelhead on live sunken hoppers. Forget trying to fish dry hoppers for trout or steelhead. They get so many sunken ones they don't know what a dry looks like. Not enough grassy banks.
Just one plea if you target Klickitat bows. Don't continue fishing a hole if you start hooking many 10-13 silver, slim, fight to the death trout. These are smolts and the more you hook, the less 7-10 pounders come back 2 years later. Move on to a different hole. Fish pocket water. The residents like it, the smolts don't. The smolts usually school up up in big holes.
I assure you I will avoid targeting stealhead smolt and if I do hook into a few I will move on. I usually don't fish the big, obvious holes. One reason is that the bait chuckers usually have those spots pretty much cleaned out. Another reason is I tend to catch more/larger fish in pocket water. I'm assuming it's because most people jump to these large holes and fish the crud out of them, while smaller holding areas(pocket water) go relatively unnoticed/untouched. I'm glad only a few of us out there can read the water like that or all those spots might be fished out too.
It's been well over a decade since this thread was active so I thought I'd try to wake it up. Hopefully everybody from before is still alive and catching fish. My question is: Has anybody tried going way up into the upper stretches of the river? Looks like it could be great up there for trout but I can't find anything on the web about it. I know it flows through the Yakima Res so I'm not sure how easy it is to drive along the river and fish. Also, I don't know how safe it is but hopefully that's not an issue.
1. The Klickitat used yo be full of rainbows and you'd catch them all the time while steelheading.
2. 11-12 inches is very big for a steelhead smolt. If you are finding those than the river has a residualization issues.
The Klick is being very badly abused by WDFW the tribe and the sport anglers.
Best to leave the trout left there alone.