Basin Adventures: Fall Fishing

Basin Adventures - Fall Fishing (Image:  Tyson Dudley )

Basin Adventures - Fall Fishing (Image: Tyson Dudley)

Crisp fall air has already hit the basin with some overnight temperatures falling below the freeing mark. We have even seen small amounts of snow, but those do not last long as the days still warm up nicely. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, days like these make trout fishing great as some of the best fishing of the year can happen during the cool fall months.

In this Basin Adventures we look at some of the best fishing spots in the area. Basin Adventures is sponsored by the Klamath Falls KOA, the adventure base camp of the Klamath Basin.

Several good fishing locations close November 1st, this could be the last weekend to get out and fish some of these great locations.

Fishing information provided in this report is courtesy of ODFW


Lake of the Woods

Hatchery rainbow trout, kokanee, hatchery brown trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, tui chub

The lake was stocked before Labor Day weekend with 12- to 14-inch rainbow trout. Fishing should be slow for rainbow trout. Best fishing is from a boat.

Kokanee are spawning along the shorelines near the lodge. These fish can provide some good opportunities to watch landlocked salmon spawn. A few large brown trout can be caught this time of the year as they move along the shoreline to look for places to spawn.

Fishing should be excellent for small yellow perch and brown bullhead and an occasional Brown Trout. Call Lake of the Woods Resort for recent reports Toll Free at 866-201-4194.


Fourmile Lake

Hatchery rainbow trout, lake trout, kokanee, brook trout

Fishing will be fair this week for rainbow trout. Fourmile was stocked after Labor Day weekend with 2,000 rainbow trout ranging in size from 12- to 14-inches. Fishing can also be good for brook trout. Road conditions into the lake might be poor. You will likely encounter snow covered and washboard roads.

The lake provides campgrounds and all the facilities. There is no improved boat ramp and boats need to be launched from the sandy shoreline. Fourmile is 25 percent full in regards to the 15,600 feet of water that can be taken for irrigation. Fourmile is also a good location to catch your first lake trout. Kokanee are extremely rare in the catch.


Sky Lakes and Mountain Lakes Wilderness

Brook trout and rainbow trout

The best lakes for fishing are Como, Harriett, Echo, South Pass and Weston in the Mountain Lake Wilderness and Margurette, Sonya, Isherwood and Badger Lake in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Best and easiest access to the Sky Lakes is the Cold Creek Trailhead. Mosquitoes are horrible in most locations. Best gear is panther martin spinners. Flies under bubble can work as well.


Sprague River

Redband trout, brown trout, largemouth bass and yellow perch

Flows have increased to 258 cfs. Water temperatures are peaking at 51 degrees. Best fishing is near areas of springs especially near the town of Beatty. Large redband trout are moving into the Sprague River to spawn. The river will close on Nov. 1 to protect spawning redband trout from Upper Klamath/Agency Lakes.

Bass can be found in the backwater areas especially below the town of Sprague River. Yellow perch also be found in the mainstem in deeper, slower pools below the town of Sprague River. Bank access is available at the bridge crossing near the town of Sprague River. During the summer typically only brown bullhead, yellow perch and bass are captured here. Yellow perch fishing is excellent if you can find the schools.

Keep on the lookout for radio-tagged redband trout. Radio tagged redband must be released unharmed.

All tributaries to the Sprague River including Trout Creek, Sycan River, NF Sprague, Fivemile Creek, and SF Sprague remain open to fishing all year.


Upper Williamson River

Redband trout and brook trout

River flows are 52 cfs. Waders are recommended. Redband trout and brook trout are numerous and are freely rising in the shade or during overcast days. Look for good hatches of caddisflies and mahogany dun mayflies this time of year.

Access is available near Old Rocky Ford on the USFS property or near the confluence of Deep Creek. Brook trout are more common as you head upstream towards Deep Creek. Anglers are required to release all redband trout captured and ODFW encourages harvest of brook trout. Brook trout appear to be more abundant farther downstream this year. The Upper Williamson closes next Wednesday, Nov. 1.


Lower Williamson River

Redband trout and brown trout

The lower Williamson below Kirk Bridge opened to fishing beginning May 22. Flows below the Sprague River confluence are 618 cfs. Dark colored water from the Upper Williamson Klamath Marsh is 0 cfs. Water clarity is excellent creating very challenging fishing conditions.

A good hatch of medium-size stoneflies (likely Skwala species) is occurring. Numerous types of caddisflies are also hatching including October caddisflies. Mahogany dun mayflies are also hatching. Rising redband trout can be observed in the town of Chiloquin. Brown trout and redband trout are rising but extremely difficult to catch. The river closes to fishing Nov. 1.

Fishing will be fair on the Williamson River as many redband trout have either returned to Upper Klamath Lake or have moved upstream towards spawning grounds. Brown trout have been more common in the catch above Chiloquin this year.

Drift boats can be launched near Chiloquin and can drift down to the Waterwheel at Hwy 97. The Waterwheel offers a shuttle service. Boat ramp fee is $10 at Waterwheel Campground. ODFW recommends hiring a guide to fish this section. Boats can also be launched for a small fee at the boat ramps just above and below Modoc Point Bridge.

ODFW encourages the use of barbless hooks due to the number of small, juvenile redband trout in the river. The entire river is catch-and-release for redband trout. If a trout is hooked deep the hook should be cut from the lure and left in the fish to improve survival. Many redband trout captured are showing signs of stress and a high load of external parasitic copepods. Please take extra precaution when releasing these fish.


Wood River

Redband trout, brown trout, brook trout and bull trout

Expect slow fishing due to low fish densities. Flows above Crooked Creek are 357 cfs which is very high for this time of year. Flows have increased creating challenging fishing conditions. Brown trout numbers continue to be low. Redd counts for redband and brown trout in the Wood River and Fort Creek were low this year.

Fly-fishers should use caddisfly patterns when targeting brown trout. The best section for dry fly fishing is from Loosley Road to Weed Road. Lures that mimic baitfish can work well. Brown trout also feed on sculpins, crayfish, annelids (worms) and mice. Please be on the lookout for radio tagged redband trout in the river. Radio tagged redband trout are required to be released. When fishing for redband trout anglers should fish with sinking fly lines or lures. The river closes to fishing on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Drift boats can be launched at Petric Park and motor to the river. Drift boats can also launch at Weed road and float down to Petric Park. Drift boats cannot float the upper sections unless they are low profile (low bough). Bridges are challenging to get under. There are also areas where you need to portage the boat around dams and obstacles in the river. Small boats can be launched at Kimball State Park, the USFS day use area, Hwy. 62 and Loosley Road.


More Info

For a complete fishing report on the Klamath Basin visit the ODFW Recreation Report South east Zone at


Basin Adventures is brought to you by the Klamath Falls KOA. Centrally located in Klamath Falls, the Klamath Falls KOA is the perfect jump-off point to visit all the spectacular recreation sites of the Klamath Basin – Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, wildlife refuges, hiking, biking, fishing and so much more. Visit for more details and to book your next adventure base camp.