The key to the Williamson River’s giant trout lies in the hypereutrophic shallows of Klamath Lake where wild rainbows can grow to 20 inches in three years. As the lake warms, these rainbow trout migrate into the cold flowing tributaries, the most notable of which is the Williamson River. A river of many moods, the Williamson requires the visiting angler to utilize every trick in the book and the rewards are worth it with many fish exceeding 20 inches and fish upwards of 10 pounds possible.
To best fish this remarkable system we have paired with a favorite guide, Paul McDonald. Paul is a Kiwi who guides winters at Poronui Lodge on New Zealand’s North Island and guides in Southern Oregon the rest of the year. He is top level predator, a great all around guide, upbeat and a true pleasure to be around. For anglers that don’t require anything fancy and enjoy long hours on the water, this two person program with modest riverside accommodations is a gem that we are confident you will enjoy.
The Williamson River has the distinction of being one of the West's most prolific trophy rainbow trout fisheries. The majority of the rainbow trout in the system are migratory and move up into the river as Klamath Lake warms. The lake itself only averages 14 feet deep and is outrageously rich in food, leading to some of the fastest growth rates for trout in the nation. The majority of the trout in the river are rainbows but there are two basic strains. The first is a native redband which has evolved to withstand warm water temperatures, and the second is a landlocked Klamath River steelhead. Brown trout are also present in small numbers but can reach incredible sizes. Typically, the trout on the Williamson River run large with three to six pound rainbows being caught most days as well as some fish upwards of 10 pounds being landed each season.
On the lower section of the river, most of the fly fishing is done from boats, while on the upper reach of the river, no fishing from the boat is allowed. Techniques vary from spring creek style dry fly fishing and nymphing to swinging small streamers and nymphs on slow sinking and intermediate lines. With a great pool right out the front door of your accommodations and the ability to launch a drift boat right there, Paul’s days often begin in the front yard. This great private put in is located above most of the public access and enables Paul’s guests to fish miles of clear water with little to no other angling pressure. The fishing in this upper stretch is wade only, so guests will stalk their quarry with a bit of stealth while making a good cast and presentation to consistently catch these monster rainbow trout.
Accommodations and Meals:
Paul McDonald’s Williamson Fish Shack combines great guiding with a modest riverside cabin perfect for serious anglers. This private property offers unique access to several miles of the Williamson River, as well as access to all of the river’s standard floats. The cabin has one full size bed and a pull out couch with bath and shower facilities. While not at all fancy, the cabin is comfortable and great place to relax after a day of chasing trophy trout. A large deck overlooks the home pool where you might see rainbows rising until the day fades into darkness. Paul will prepare all of the meals. A typical breakfast would include staples, like eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage and potatoes. Lunches consist of sandwiches, chips and non-alcoholic drinks with snacks served streamside. Dinner is served back at the cabin with BBQ meats, side salads and simple desserts. If you would like adult beverages, feel free to BYOB.
Day 1: Arrive in the AM for a full day of guided fishing. Overnight at stream-side cabin
Day 2: Full day of guided fishing with all meals included. Overnight at stream-side cabin
Day 3: Full day of guided fishing. Depart for home after fishing.
2019 Rate: $1,300 per person for a 2 night/3 day package based on double occupancy
Note: Day trips and single angler packages available upon request
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge/camp, guided fishing, rods/reels, flies and/or terminal tackle.
Not Included: Transportation to/from the lodge/camp, waders and boots, alcohol, gratuities.
Written by Fly Water Travel