The Klickitat River

The Klickitat is a small and beautiful river in Washington State. It is often overshadowed by the near by Deschutes River which is across the Columbia in Oregon, but the Klickitat is a great river with good access along the lower 20 or so miles. The steelhead of the Klickitat can get to be pretty good sized (20lbs) with very few small fish, but in my several trips to the river I have never, nor have I seen, a fish landed over 10 lbs, I have hooked some nice fish though. I have only landed smaller fish.

It is only a short (20-30min) drive from town of Hood River in Oregon. It is also close to the Dalles. There is the town of Lyle at the mouth of the river and The town of Klickitat is about ten miles from the mouth. Klickitat has an OK market, but a person is probably better to have there stuff purchased before they arrive, I like to stop in Hood River and then License up at Bridge Mart just across the Columbia from Hood River.

Floating the Canyon from Stinson Flat to the takeout at around rm20 is a great way to see the Klickitat river. I believe that Larimer Outfitters out of Hood River, Oregon does float trips down the Klickitat, I know that those guys guide the river and know it well. There are also some primitive boat launches above Stinson Flat that can be used to float down to Stinson.

The float from Stinson to rm20 is a great float with lots of fishy water and not alot of guys on it. My friend BR and I floated this stretch with Tom Larimer. We turned it into a two day float and had some good fishing, at least we all got fish.
I have fished the Klickitat in early September and in early October and have found fish at both of these times. It did seem like there were more fish around when I was there in October. I have only fished the river on three ocassions, for maybe a total of eight days, so there is a whole lot I don't know, but I have heard that fish will start arriving as early as July and the river fishes good until it closes.
I have heard that skaters and big flies out-perform classic wets on the Klickitat, but I have done as well with a #3 spey as about anything else, although I haven't been all that successful on the Klick either. For good Klickitat patterns check out, tom knows what works there it is his home water.

I have stayed at two campgrounds on the Klickitat; Ice house & Stinson Flats. Icehouse is a few miles up stream of the town of Klickitat. Stinson Flat is on the upper river and getting there from the lower river requires going up a single lane switchback to a plateau, from which you can see both Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, and then back down a switchback into the canyon. Stinson is quieter than Icehouse, ordinarily, maybe even too quiet sometimes. I spent a night at Stinson and it did get a little lonely.

The Klickitat is not a very big river so there would be no reason to try to fish it with a 15' rod and 90' line. I think that and angler would be best served with a 11'-13'6" 6-8wt rod, and throwing either a Scandi or a skagit based on conditions and/or fly preference.

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