A few of Oregon’s top trophy trout lakes are open year-round, but most open April 22, just as lunker rainbows and browns will begin getting active after a long, cold winter.
Here’s a look at one of the state’s Top 10 fisheries for trophy trout:
Upper Klamath and Agency lakes:
These two interconnected lakes offer the best opportunity for catching a 10- to 20-pound redband trout. But these trout aren’t like the typical redbands found in other parts of the United States, which only live through three to four spawning cycles. “Here we’ve had them documented at eight,” says Roger Smith, ODFW’s district biologist in Klamath Falls. “It wouldn’t be unusual for fish to live to nine or 10 spawning cycles, which means that you’re looking at a 13- to 14-year-old redband trout. In our nets we’ve had ’em up to 38 inches long and right at about 20 pounds. They’re the largest native redband trout in the world.” Their average weight is 4 1/2 pounds, and 6- and 7-pounders are frequent, while 10-pounders are not uncommon. So what’s the best method for catching a redband? “It really comes down to your preference,” says Smith. “Tell me what you feel comfortable fishing with and then go fish with it because all of those things will catch trout.” Still-fishing dead minnows is popular at Upper Klamath. Upper Klamath and Agency lakes are open year-round. Anglers may keep one trout per day.