Located in Western Oregon, the Clackamas River is approximately 83 miles long and is a tributary of the Willamette River. The Clackamas River headwaters start in the Cascades' Mount Hood National Forest. These headwaters drain a very rugged and heavily forested area of the Cascades that is extremely remote and truly wild. As a matter of fact, over half the length of this river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.
Fly fishing the Clackamas offers a wide variety of opportunities to catch different fish species depending on the time of year. It gets runs of Coho salmon, Chinook salmon in the spring and fall, and both summer and winter steelhead. A word to the wise though, if the river is extremely low and warm in the summer, very few, if any, steelhead will enter it. These fish are both of the hatchery and wild variety. Hatchery raised Coho salmon enter the river in September and remain there throughout October. The Chinook salmon enter the river in April. The first run of winter Steelhead usually enter the Clackamas River sometime around the end of December. Most of the wild steelhead start entering the river in late January and remain there through April. There's also a summer run of Skamania strain steelhead. This strain of fish is also used as the DNA models to the hatchery fish that are raised in some of the Great Lakes regions. These fish are present here in the Clackamas River from about the beginning of March thru June, weather and water depending. Cutthroat and Rainbow trout are also present in the upper basin of the Clackamas River along with many of it's smaller tributary streams.
Hatches on the river include BWO's, Pale Morning Dun's, March Browns and Caddis. There is also a really good Golden Stonefly hatch in June, and tends to bring some of the rivers biggest trout to the surface. Fly anglers should carry an arsenal of Golden Stone and big attractor flies during this time as the fishing can be fast and furious.
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