Summer Steelhead, Fall Chinook, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout
Joins the Columbia River at the town of Lyle
Take Highway 14 to the town of Lyle and turn north on Highway 142, which follows the river upstream for nearly 20 miles. Continue up Highway 142 a few more miles and turn north at the sign pointing to Glenwood to follow the river several more miles.
Primitive camping areas are scattered along the river. There are several places along the highway where boats can be launched and to where bank-fishing access is available. Groceries can be found in Klickitat, with more amenities to the east in Goldendale.
Fishing the Klickitat:
Take some of Washington’s best summer steelhead fishing, put it into one of the states most beautiful surroundings scenery’s and what do you get? the Klickitat River, a river that would rank up at the top of Washington’s streams.
Summer Sreelheading is the biggest attraction, and even though the Klickitat doesn’t often rank up there among the states top 10 summer steelhead streams, it’s a consistent producer that gives up 1,000 fish virtually every year. Summer steelhead are in the rivers when it opens to fishing on June 1, and the fishing gets better right on through July, then holds up pretty well into October. The action slows during the hottest periods of the summer, when snow melt dirties the rivers color, and reduces visibility to an inch or to. But as soon as the weather cools, the river clears and fishing improves again. All the usual steelhead baits and lures work, but for years Klickitat steelhead have had a reputation for favoring fresh caught grasshoppers for breakfast. Remember that all wild steelhead must be released.
As for salmon, fall chinook runs in the Klickitat the past few years have been good enough to draw the attention of many anglers. September is the top month for chinooks, and most of the fish are caught by the mouth of the river and upstream a several hundred yards into the slow water ate the bottom end of the Klickitat canyon. Trolling large Kwikfish, Flatfish, and Wiggle Wart plugs can be productive, but many anglers bounce large clusters of eggs, and fresh ghost shrimp along the bottom.
There are some large resident rainbows throughout much of the river all season long, and many are caught accidently by steelhead fishermen. Hatchery rainbows are also stocked on the Little Klickitat, above the town of Goldendale. If you want to target them, work a small spoon or spinner, and if all fails resort back to the mighty grasshopper.
Drift boats are popular modes of transportation on the Klickitat, but if you haven’t floated it before, be sure to do some research before you launch. Tight spots and heavy rapids are scattered throughout the river, and sloppy boating or failure to scout ahead can get you into deep trouble in a hurry. As for the lower part of the river, where the Klickitat narrows and squeezes through a steep-walled canyon only a few feet wide, dont even think about boating it!