AN ANGLER’S GUIDE TO KLAMATH: SOME OF THE BEST FISHING IN ALL OF OREGON
Nestled in a volcanic wonderland, it is hard to imagine a better place for outdoor recreation than Klamath County. Home to incredible hiking, backpacking, rafting, kayaking, birding, and sightseeing, the southern Oregon county that’s best known for Crater Lake has yet another treat in store for outdoor enthusiasts: fishing. Klamath Falls makes for the perfect basecamp to Oregon’s best adventures on the water, with anglers of all skill levels singing the region’s praises and landing trophy trout.
If you haven’t cast out into the waters of the Klamath Basin, which is the size of Maryland, you are missing out on reeling in huge fish along historical fishing grounds. For millennia, the fish here helped sustain human life, and today you can reconnect with the region through its gorgeous waterways. While you’ll find hundreds of fishing holes to land your dream catch, here are eight areas that are sure to impress and inspire you.
1. Lake of the Woods
Located between Klamath Falls and Medford, Lake of the Woods is a great place to catch rainbow trout. Stocked regularly from April to June, the lake gives you a good chance to reel in a few monsters. You can also catch brown trout and kokanee when fishing from boats, while the shoreline will have you and the youngsters landing yellow perch and bullhead catfish. Come winter, Lake of the Woods is one of the best places to go ice fishing in the state.
2. Crescent Lake
Located in Northern Klamath County, Crescent Lake is large, just like the fish found in its waters. Home to trophy-sized brown and mackinaw trout, as well as good-sized rainbow trout and kokanee, this lake is great for anglers of all abilities. Most who fish these waters do so by boat, launching from the Crescent Lake Resort, which is open year-round.
3. Klamath River
The Klamath River boasts 40 miles of fishing opportunities in Oregon, though those in the know head to a six-mile section between the Keno Dam and the J.C. Boyle Reservoir. It’s in this small area that you’ll find great seasonal trout fishing from fall to spring. Other areas along the river are great all year, like the stretch between the Reservoir and the Boyle Power House.
4. Fourmile Lake
For those hoping for something a bit more removed from the masses, head up to Fourmile Lake above Lake of the Woods. Once the snow melts in June or July, this area is a jewel for rainbow, lake, and brook trout, and it’s a decent place for kokanee. Typically stocked in late June, there are some trophy-sized fish to be caught here.
5. Williamson River
If you love catching massive rainbow trout, you can’t miss the Williamson River, which runs into Upper Klamath Lake. You can find some of the largest rainbow trout in the region here, especially if you fish between Kirk Canyon Falls and the mouth of the river. The area can be heavily regulated, so hooking up with a guide will alleviate any worry and get you to where the best fish can be found.
6. Odell Lake
Odell Lake is another fishing gem considered by many to be one of Oregon’s best trout fishing lakes. The state record lake trout was caught here, and you can also find huge mackinaw that have grown fat from feeding on the plentiful kokanee. Fishing here is best done by boat, as only smaller redband rainbow trout tend to lurk near the shoreline.
7. Upper Klamath Lake and Agency Lake
Separated by a narrow channel, these two lakes have amazing fishing and some of the biggest redband rainbow trout anywhere— with some behemoths weighing more than 18 pounds. Your best bet for landing a giant will be near the mouths of the cooler running rivers on a hot summer day. Be aware that there is a one trout limit here to help maintain and protect the delicate ecosystem.
8. Miller Lake
If you want to land a trophy-sized brown trout, head to Miller Lake. Located west of Chemult, this is one of Oregon’s best lakes to fish, giving you a chance for not only the huge browns but also decent-sized rainbows throughout the entire summer. Miller Lake is also one of many that allows 24-hour fishing, increasing your odds of landing a night-feeding brown trout.
Where to Get Gear and Info
Before heading out to land a giant trout, there are a handful of fishing shops to consult for all the information you need for a great day on the water—as well as stocking up all the right gear for your destination. They can also help you find the best place to get your Oregon Fishing License, if you didn’t get one online. In Klamath Falls, Cascade Outdoors, Parker’s Rod and Gun, or Lip Ripper Bait and Tackle Co. will help set you up for whatever you hope to catch.
If you’d rather not go out alone, the region is also home to incredible guides services staffed with the very best fisherman in the region. Whether you choose between Woody’s Guide Service, Lonesome Duck or ROE, you’ll be sure to be taken to a fantastic destination and given the best possible chance at having your dream fishing trip.
Written by Douglas Scott for RootsRated in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.