Klamath River Dreaming

Klamath River - Middle

This is an action photo of the fight featured in the story.
Photo Credit: Guide Mario Gomez

by Mario Gomez

So I figured I would share this story with all of you fishing enthusiasts. Meet a young man and his father the other day from San Jose CA and had the pleasure of spending the day on the river with them. I got to share my passion for the outdoors and help them achieve a lifelong dream of catching a salmon. They have been coming to the Klamath for 13 years on an annual fishing adventure and had yet to put a salmon in the net. Well the day started out like most that included me taking them to a spot that usually lets me get our first fish out of the way. The spot held up and the plug rod goes bendo just like it's supposed to and we get our first picture and high five out of the way. After our first steelhead swims off I learn the true reason for them being in my boat and that's to tangle with a KING. This put a little stress on this ol guide because salmon season is closed on the Klamath and all I have is small steelhead gear. So we made our way down stream to the first spawning bed and riffle of the float and spent the next 3 hours side drifting yarn and eggs hooking and releasing a dozen or more steelhead. We had made around 20 passes and the last few we had not touched a fish so I told the guys let's put some fresh baits on and make one last pass. The famous last words of a guide. On the last past we casted to the slot and let the lines get and next thing you know the left rod is throbbing and I yell JERK. Hahahaha 

The rod bends over all the way to the butt and the lines starts ripping through the water. I tell Jack,  well bubba I think you might have got your wish and may have the king of the river pulling on your line. We move the boat into some slower water and let the slow action gloomis rods go to work. After about a 10 minute fight we get our first glimpse of a 25 to 30 pound copper hugh buck salmon. Jack was elated and we got the fish tired enough to give up the ghost and show us his belly. But the fish was just playing dead and once he saw the Beckman net heading towards him he gave us one last head shake and closed his mouth cutting the leader and swam off into the depths of the river. (The one that got away)

Jack was a little quit for a few minutes like most would be after losing a monster fish but soon realized why we call it fishing and not catching. Jack kept a good attitude and the next hole he was rewarding once again when a salmon smashed a steelhead plug. Jack ended up with 3 salmon by the end of the day and left the Klamath river with a sense of accomplishment few can understand. After 13 years he finally got the monkey off of his back.


Mario Gomez is a Northern California and Southern Oregon professional fishing guide that chases salmon, trout, and steelhead on the most productive rivers in the Northwest. Pro guide Mario Gomez has spent his entire life fishing the Klamath River, but also follows the circuit and targets the California and Oregon coastal streams each year. If you are interested in fishing the Klamath River, Smith River, Chetco River, Umpqua River and Rogue River click on the website and book your trip today. To learn more about Mario visit Ironhead Guide Service, you can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or call him anytime @ (530) 598-0530.

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