The Klickitat is a amazing place that reminds me a little of the big island of Hawaii being in the shadow of the Mount Adams volcano cone. The canyon it flows through is rugged and beautiful. It’s also amazing that it’s the one of the closest Central Washington steelhead stream to the Pacific Ocean. Maybe the 100 mile swim versus the 500 mile Methow River swim could have something to do with the way the steelhead fight on the Klickitat.
The Klickitat River opens in June for fishing. The water conditions might be an issue with snow melt and high water, but by August the river is pretty stable. Because it drains the glaciers of Mount Adams, a hot day could put the river out of shape. The Klickitat closes the end of November.
The height of the steelhead season is mid August through October, with September and Ocotber being the best.
If you don’t feel like roughing it in style overnight on the river, our single day is great. Many anglers will stay at least the night before the trip in Goldendale at one of the fine lodging accommodations available.
What is Included:
Drinks & Snacks
1 - 2 anglers
The Klickitat River, located in south-central Washington, flows generally south from its origin on Mt. Adams in the high country of the Yamaka Indian Reservation to its confluence ... morewith the Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge. The designated segment is the lowermost 10.8 miles of the river. At the upper end of this segment, the river flows through a broad canyon. As it drops toward the Columbia at a steady gradient of 26 feet per mile, the canyon tightens and small rapids spike the channel.
At about river mile 2.5, the Klickitat drops into a tight, rock-walled gorge. The water cascades and crashes through the rocky channel where the tribes and bands of the Yamaka Nation have used dip-net fishing continuously for generations to catch salmon and steelhead. Of the mid-Columbia tributaries, the Klickitat is one of the favored fishing sites, due to both the number of fish and the narrow canyon with its high water volume.
In addition to the river's outstanding hydrology, the geology of the gorge between river mile 1.1 and 2.5, and the dip-net fishing sites, the river is also the most significant anadromous fishery on the Washington side of the Columbia in the stretch from Bonneville Dam to the Snake River. It supports steelhead trout, Chinook salmon and coho salmon, with six distinct runs.
The lower Klickitat offers a variety of recreation opportunities, including boating, fishing, hiking, camping and sightseeing. Boat fishing is popular when the salmon and steelhead are running. There is an undeveloped boat put-in/take-out on Klickitat County Park land just below the Pitt bridge, and river access at several places along Highway 142, including a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fee camp site. The take-out is before the fish screw trap at about river mile 5, just above the Klickitat canyon gorge. Ongoing construction of the fish bypass at the top of Lyle Falls requires boaters to take out at this point. The falls also marks the beginning of the tribal in-lieu fishing sites and no boating is allowed through this area.
The only permits required are from commercial outfitters; existing commercial outfitters include beginning kayak schools and fishing guides.
The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad built a railway linking Lyle and Goldendale in 1903. This branch line was abandoned in 1992 and is now the Klickitat Rails-to-Trail. The trail parallels the river's east bank from the Columbia River to Fisher Hill Bridge, where it crosses to the west bank and continues to the town of Pitt. It crosses Highway 142 and continues along the west bank leaving the wild and scenic river portion and continues for many miles upriver.
Centrally located just east of the Cascade Mountains, Ellensburg is surrounded by several great trout filled rivers, making it an ideal place to stay. Considered by many to be the ... morefinest fishery in the state, the 214-mile long Yakima, curves around the town’s southern border, adding to Ellensburg’s historic charm. Another top choice is the 80-mile Methow River, known both for its ample fish and exceptional beauty. Excellent fishing can be found on this river within a two-hour drive from town.
In close proximity to town, the 75-mile long Naches River is about a half-hour drive. Most of the Naches river basin is located in scenic national forest and wilderness areas, including the renowned Wenatchee National Forest. Often referred to as the “Miracle Mile” of small waters, The Rocky Ford Creek, about an hour from Ellensburg, is best known for its numerous and sizeable rainbow trout. Considered by anglers to be a challenging stream, it is also ranked as one of the best trout rivers in the entire Northwest.
While Ellensburg is not thought of as a town exclusively dedicated to anglers, it does have much to offer including 4 well stocked fly shops with knowledgeable owners. What it lacks in numbers (population 18,000) it makes up for with its historic buildings, a major University and a large choice of things to do.
If you are with family members or others that don’t care to fish, there are opportunities to go biking on and off road, white water rafting, horse back riding and hiking. Despite its small size, the town has an active arts community with galleries, museums and theaters. Finally, there are events like the Winterhop Brewfest, featuring local microbreweries, Buskers & Burg, a fall celebration with giant puppets, and a highly regarded, large-purse, Labor Day rodeo.
Summer is peak fishing time with a high concentration of anglers. The spring and fall seasons remain busy while only a few die-hard choose the winter months.
There are several options for traveling to Ellensburg.
Fly into Seattle (SeaTac Airport) and drive for approximately 1 ½ hours
Fly into Takima Air Terminal and drive for approximately 40 minutes
Fly into Spokane and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours
Fly into Bowers Field, a general aviation airport, minutes from Ellensburg
- Cancellations made 14 days before will be fully refunded.
- Cancellations made 7 days before will be refunded 50% of the amount paid.
- Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.