A transplanted Michagander (11 years ago), The Williamson River has become my new "home stream". Approximately 75 miles in total length it begins southeast of the Klamath Marsh in Klamath County, Oregon. Shaped as an inverted "U", it travels northwest through the marsh where it turns southward and empties into Upper Klamath Lake a couple of miles northwest of Modoc Point. Long considered a "blue ribbon" Rainbow fishery, the Williamson is becomming more and more known for it's "trophy" Browns; the average Brown is in the 5lb range (this past season my average was 5.75).
The primary tributary to the Williamson is the Sprague River which enters the Williamson at Chiloquin, 'bout 28 miles north of Klamath Falls. A secondary tributary, Spring Creek, empties into the Williamson at Collier State Park. Below Spring Creek, the average water temperature is 42ºF and the water is gin clear.
Because of the amount of private lands that the Williamson flows through, access is somewhat limited. The vast majority of the guides put in at Chiloquin Park which has a boat launch. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited above Chiloquin Bridge. From Kirk Bridge upstream to the headwaters the season runs from the last Saturday in April until the 31st of October where the creel limit is 2 trout daily, no limit on size or number of Brook Trout. Below Kirk Bridge the season runs from the last Saturday in May to the 31st of October, where 1 trout can be taken daily until the 31st of July, after that it's catch and release only.
Of the 18 significant hatches that occur through the season, the "super hatches" would be the Salmon Fly, Pteronarcys californica, which occurs around the last week in May to the first week in July. The Western Green Drake, Ephemrerella grandis, runs from the end of April to the middle of August. There is a Hexigenia limbata hatch, locally known as the "Big Yellow May Fly", that runs from the middle of June through the middle of July. The first "super hatch" of the season is the Western Gray Drake, Siphloncurus occidentalis, beginning around the first week in April to the first week in May. Naturally, there are numerous caddis fly hatches through out the season, the most significant being the "October Caddis" (Fall or Orange Caddis), Dicosmoecus spp.. Beginning in the 3rd week of September, it runs through to November.
The above pictures are of "my stretch", this season I only saw about a half dozen anglers. A challenging stretch to be sure; slow flow, gin clear waters. But patience and stealth pay off (Bald Eagles, Ospreys, mink, and myself, hehehehe, are the predominant predators); the smallest Brown I netted from this stretch went exactly 5 pounds, the largest went 7.25lbs. The smallest 'Bow was just over 2 pounds and the largest went 4.5lbs.
ODFW regularly stocks Rainbows at Spring Creek through out the season but, I believe that they imediatly head downstream into the warmer waters of Upper Klamath Lake. The State does clip the adipose fin on hatchery raised fish, this season I didn't catch a single trout that had this fin clipped. The Rainbows do enter the stream from the lake towards the middle of August and begin their spawning runs in earnest around the first or second week of September.
The first pic is facing south, the second one is of "my hole", and the third is facing north. The river is around 120' wide at this point, tactics include long casts (no shorter than 40') and long leaders. As a rule, I don't go below a 4X tippet and for the most part use a 3X. 5 weight lines are preferred, I go with WF-4-F, WF-4-F/S, and WF-5-DT. These waters are cold and playing a fish too long will kill it from the lactic acid build up. The sooner the trout is brought to net, the more likely it will survive...Enjoy.
Camera: Pentax IQZoom EZY-R, 38mm-70mm zoom lens, KodaColor 200asa film