Want to Tie into a Big Wild Rainbow?
By Gary Lewis
The waters of the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon are legendary for big rainbows, but there is a trophy trout tributary to Upper Klamath Lake that is little known, lightly fished and miles off the beaten track.
Clean, clear, low and shallow, up to 50 yards across, the creek empties into Pelican Bay in the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. Public access is difficult. Without private trespass, a boater must navigate up to 12 miles of marsh to find the best water.
We fished from a drift boat with guide Craig Schuhmann in early June. With seal buggers, we prospected the edges of the tules. It was an hour or more before the first fish grabbed – a 14-incher. The next was 10 inches. After that, the fish were 17, 19, 25 and 26 inches. After we broke the 20-inch mark, we never hooked a smaller one. The biggest fish we hooked approached 30 inches.
Craig Schuhmann, of Guided Waters Fly Fishing, 541-778-1194 has private access to launch a drift boat at the headwaters of the creek. Schuhmann begins to guide for Crystal Creek rainbows in late May and June. In July, weed growth effectively shuts down the creek channels. The rainbows move up into the springs and feed on leeches, damselflies and dragonflies. Good fishing continues through October.
A full day of fishing costs $350 for one or two anglers. A half day costs $250. A non-resident one-day license costs $12.00.