The Klickitat River is a tributary
of the Columbia River, approximately 75 mi (120 km), in south-central
Washington in the United States. The river was designated as Wild and
Scenic in 1986. It drains a rugged plateau area on the eastern side of
the Cascade Range northeast of Portland, Oregon.
It rises in the high Cascades near Tieton Peak, in northwestern Yakima
County, in a remote corner of the Yakama Indian Reservation. It flows
southeast, then generally south across the Lincoln Plateau. It enters
northern Klickitat County, and meanders south through steep canyons. It
enters the Columbia from the north at Lyle, approximately 10 mi (16 km)
NNW of The Dalles, Oregon. Washington State Highway 142 follows the
lower 15 mi (24 km) of the river. The river is bridged by Washington
State Highway 14 at its mouth.
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The Klickitat Trail follows the river on an abandoned railroad grade
from near Goldendale, Washington to the Columbia River just west of The
Dalles, Oregon, nearly 30 miles.
WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 http://wdfw.wa.gov
March 3, 2010 Salmon daily limit increased to two fish
on the lower Klickitat River
Action: Klickitat River anglers will be able to retain two hatchery
Chinook, hatchery steelhead, or one of each as part of their daily
Species affected: Chinook and steelhead
Effective dates: April 3 through May 31, 2010. Open Mondays, Wednesdays,
Saturdays, and Sundays only.
Location: Klickitat River from mouth to the Fisher Hill Bridge (located
about 3 miles upstream from the mouth).
Reason for action: This year, 4,500 adult spring Chinook are expected to
return to the Klickitat. Over 70% of the run is expected to be hatchery
After consulting with the Yakama Indian Nation, an additional hatchery
spring Chinook or hatchery steelhead was added to the daily limit. In
addition, the extra weekend day of fishing added last year will continue
in the spring of 2010.
Other information: Night closure and anti-snag rule will be in effect.
Information contact: (360) 696-6211. For latest information press *1010.
Upper Klickitat River to open for hatchery adult spring chinook
Up to two hatchery adult spring chinook may be kept as part of the
salmon daily limit on the Klickitat River upstream to boundary markers
below the salmon hatchery.
June 13 through July 31, 2013.
The Klickitat River from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway (located
about one-half mile upstream from the Fisher Hill Bridge) to boundary
markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.
Reasons for action:
As of June 10, a total of 351 adult spring chinook have returned to the
Klickitat Salmon Hatchery. The Klickitat Salmon Hatchery is expected to
meet its escapement goal of 500 fish, which will allow additional
Daily limit 6 salmon of which no more than two may be adults. Wild
chinook must be released. This will match rules already in effect
below Fisher Hill Bridge (located about 2 miles upstream from the
Anglers are reminded there are closed waters from Fisher Hill Bridge to
400 feet upstream from #5 fishway and from the boundary markers below
Klickitat Salmon Hatchery to the boundary markers just upstream of the
hatchery. The section upstream from the salmon hatchery remains closed
to fishing for salmon.
A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate
in this fishery. Barbless hooks are required to fish for salmon and
(360) 696-6211. For latest information press *1010.
Wait for late July, August and September, pick a cool
night when the Klickitat River has a medium flow and
fish this popular Klickitat County river hard the next
morning. That's the key to taking big summer steelhead
from this oft-colored stream. Fed by snowmelt off Mt.
Adams, a warm summer day normally clouds the river past
the fishable point by 10 am. A chilly night might permit
angling to 1 pm. the next day.
Tremendous catches of the late 1960s, ranging past 6,000
steelhead, are only memories now, but 1971 and 1981
fishermen hoisted more than 4,000 sunburnt steelies from
this big river and most years deliver 1,500 to 2,000
fish. The Klickitat fish often are large, and always arc
tough battlers. They fight strong current, steep runs
and frothing falls to reach spawning areas far upstream
and conic into their natal stream packed with ocean
energy for the struggle.
Access to the Klickitat is off Highway 14 at Lyle, where
Highway 142 closely twines with the stream to the mouth
of the Little Klickitat River, 11 miles west of
Goldendale. Anglers from the east side of the Cascades
can drop south on U.S. 97 from Yakima through Toppenish
to reach Goldendale.
There are five widely-spaced boat launches on the
Klickitat. Leidl Campground, reached via the GoIdendale
Glenwood Road, has a developed access and permits a fine
short day's trip to Soda Springs Campground, about eight
miles downstream. Soda Spri Campground is reached by
taking the Soda Springs Road through the upper center of
the Klickitat Wildlife Recreation Area off the
Goldendale/Glenwood Road. Another maintained launch is
at Wahkiacus Campground at the mouth of Swale Creek on
Highway 142. Turkey Farm Campground has a ramp which
should be used as a take-out point for drift boats
coming downriver. No one in his right mind would
consider the canyon between Fisher Hill Bridge and the
river mouth at Lyle passable. Only experienced boat
handlers should tackle drifting the Klickitat, and then
after having floated it with a guide or local boater to
discover its moods and danger spots. The Klickitat River
charges down through lonely, wild country where deer and
wild turkey look at you as invaders of their realm. My
first view of the Klickitat was at dusk, after having
wedged my way through a small group of deer while I was
enroute to the Leidl Campground. That same weekend, a
flock of more than 30 wild turkeys shook me out of a
year's growth by thundering over my head to land and
feed on the opposite side of the 'Chaim! There are
rattlesnakes to avoid, too. Bait, bobber and yarn singly
or used together all produce Klickitat River catches.
Grasshoppers are a local secret weapon for strikes from
bright, strong steelhead. I personally favor long and
slender, but heavy, spoons, such as the Martin Ottogator
or Luhr Jensen Krocodile. Bright patterns have beet/
best in the lower section of the river. Nickel and brass
spinners will take a good number of fish too, as well as
some fine trout.
How To Catch Fish On
The Klickitat River
The Klickitat River is open from the mouth to Fisher
Hill Bridge April 1-Nov. 3010 take trout 12 inches and
or and hatchery steelhead. All wild steelhead must be
released. Then. from 400 feet above the No 5 fishway at
the hatchery. the river is open upstream to its source
for 12-inch Pout and planted godhead only. There is a
Dec. 1-Mar. 31 whitefish-only season on the Klickitat.
Salmon fishermen may take six fish daily. over 10 inches
but not more than two adults, downstream from the Fisher
Hill Bridge to the mouth except that they may fish only
from noon Thursday through noon Monday between April
I-May 31 (see regs). Spin-N-Glo hoes, bobber/bait/yarn
rigs, spoons, spinners. and plugs will draw storks from
Klickitat salmon. Expect half the eon. to be jacks of
Coho and Chinook species, up to several hundred adult
Chinook, and less than 100 adult coho salmon each year.
There are good campgrounds on the lower river, but
floods have changed their locations a couple times the
past 15 years. Klickitat County Park is a few miles
northeast of Lyle on Highway 142, and two Turkey Farm
Campgrounds are 5, and 7 miles from Loll The Klickitat
is an excellent river to fish hard for the first or
three hours of the morning. On one trip I saw a
fisherman beat the heat by plunking from a lawn chair
submerged to sitting level ... and he caught a dandy
six-pound steelhead on a grasshopper bait!
Klickitat River Fishing Tips
The Klickitat River is a tributary of the Columbia River,
approximately 75 mi in south-central Washington. It drains a on
the eastern side of the Cascade Range northeast of Portland,
Oregon. 10 miles of the river were designated Wild and Scenic
from the confluence with Wheeler Creek, near the town of Pitt,
to the confluence with the Columbia River.
The Klickitat River rises in the high Cascades near Tieton Peak,
in northwestern Yakima County, in a remote corner of the Yakama
Indian Reservation. It flows southeast, then generally south
across the Lincoln Plateau. It enters northern Klickitat County,
and meanders south through steep canyons. It enters the Columbia
from the north at Lyle, approximately 10 mi north-northwest of
The Dalles, Oregon. State Route 142 follows the lower 15 mi of
the river. The river is bridged by State Route 14 at its mouth.