Trout, Rainbow Trout
Destination Type
Independent Guide
Fishing Style
Dry Fly, Sightfishing, Spring Creek, Stillwater, Wading
June - October
Fishing Days
1 - 3
Why We Go
  • Fish for trophy rainbow trout often exceeding 20-inches
  • Enjoy a slow-paced day with a hard working and incredibly knowledgeable guide
  • Practice varied methods of fly fishing from small dries to sinking streamers
  • Design your own itinerary with a range of options to stay in the Klamath Valley
  • Fish for trophy rainbow trout often exceeding 20-inches
  • Enjoy a slow-paced day with a hard working and incredibly knowledgeable guide
  • Practice varied methods of fly fishing from small dries to sinking streamers
  • Design your own itinerary with a range of options to stay in the Klamath Valley

The key to the Williamson River’s giant trout lies in the hypereutrophic shallows of Klamath Lake where wild rainbows can grow to 20 inches in three years. As the lake warms, these rainbow trout migrate into the cold flowing tributaries, the most notable of which is the Williamson River. A river of many moods, the Williamson requires the visiting angler to utilize every trick in the book and the rewards are worth it with many fish exceeding 20 inches and fish upwards of 10 pounds possible.

To best fish this remarkable system we have paired with a favorite guide, Paul McDonald. Paul is a Kiwi who guides winters at Poronui Lodge on New Zealand’s North Island and guides in Southern Oregon the rest of the year. He is top level predator, a great all-around guide, upbeat, and a true pleasure to be around. For anglers that don’t require anything fancy and enjoy long hours on the water, this two person program is a gem that we are confident you will enjoy.

Fishing Program

The Williamson River has the distinction of being one of the West's most prolific trophy rainbow trout fisheries. The majority of the rainbow trout in the system are migratory and move up into the river as Klamath Lake warms. The lake itself only averages 14 feet deep and is outrageously rich in food, leading to some of the fastest growth rates for trout in the nation. The majority of the trout in the river are rainbows but there are two basic strains. The first is a native redband which has evolved to withstand warm water temperatures, and the second is a landlocked Klamath River steelhead. Brown trout are also present in small numbers but can reach incredible sizes. Typically, the trout on the Williamson River run large with three- to six-pound rainbows being caught most days as well as some fish upwards of 10-pounds being landed each season.

Paul guides exclusively on the lower stretch of the Williamson River, a four-and-a-half-mile float starting in Chiloquin, Oregon, where most of the fly fishing is done from boats. Techniques vary from dry fly fishing and nymphing to swinging small streamers and nymphs on slow sinking and intermediate lines. Fishing the lower Klamath is a different speed than may be expected of a river in hilly territory. This slow moving section almost resembles still water fishing, with much of the day anchored and casting to feeding trout.


Accommodations and meals are not included in this package and must be arranged by the anglers. Klamath Falls is the closest town with the most varied options for hotels and eating establishments. Chiloquin is a very small town that is closer to the put in but has far fewer options for lodging and meals. Guests may find comfortable options using house rental sites such as AirBnB.com or VRBO.com that are within a 45-minute drive from the put-in. During your float days, lunches will be provided and consist of sandwiches, chips and non-alcoholic drinks with snacks served streamside.


Day 1: Arrive in the AM for a full day of guided fishing. Overnight at stream-side cabin

Day 2: Full day of guided fishing with all meals included. Overnight at stream-side cabin

Day 3: Full day of guided fishing. Depart for home after fishing.

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per boat

Day Trip: $600 per day for 1 or 2 anglers

Note: Groups of 4 can be accommodated with advance notice.

Included: Guided fishing, rods/reels, flies and/or terminal tackle.

Not Included: Accommodations, meals, Transportation to/from the lodge/camp, waders and boots, alcohol, gratuities, fishing licenses

Species: Rainbow trout

Summer Season: June - October

Capacity: 2 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Anglers with some experience will get the most out of this destination. The river is typically clear and presentations need to be good. The fish here are typically large and it may take a few fly changes and multiple presentations to get one to eat. Many times you will see where the fish are holding, especially in the upper portions of this river. The lower end offers more ledge structure and your guide will know where to put the boat to present your cast to these holding spots.

Where is the river? The Williamson River is on the upstream end of the community of Chiloquin, OR.

How do I get there? The closest commercial airport is in Medford, about 70 miles from the river. From the Rogue Valley Int’l airport guests can rent a car and drive to the riverside accommodations. Guests coming from the Pacific Northwest are welcome to arrive via their personal vehicles.

When should I go? The season here is June – October. The early season success can be contingent on spring runoff, but by early July the river settles and the Hexegenia mayfly hatch gets going. By August the lake waters warm and more large rainbow trout migrate into the cool spring-fed river. By September the evenings start to cool and the river receives less pressure until it closes again at the end of October.

How will I fish? The Williamson is a unique fishery that may have you fishing some unfamiliar ways. There are limited options for traditional dry fly fishing and most fish are taken on subsurface offerings of either nymphs or streamers.

Is there wade fishing? There is not, guests will drift the entire section and fish from the boat.

Where will I fish? There is one float which starts in Chiloquin and is a 4.5 mile stretch to a private take-out about a mile upriver from Klamath Lake.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? This will depend on where guests stay and can range from 15-minutes to an hour.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Rainbow trout are the target on the Williamson and large fish are present. If you decide to venture out to one of several other systems, you may encounter some brown trout and increase your dry fly fishing opportunities.

How many fish will I catch? The Williamson is a trophy trout river and thus not a numbers fishery. A few fish over 20 inches in the day is decent. If you prefer more action, there are a few other local streams that can have you getting a few more fish to hand on a typical day.

Will I see other anglers? Yes, you’re likely to see other anglers accessing the public water put-in.

What are the guides like? Paul McDonald is a full-time fishing guide who is friendly, knowledgeable and fun to fish with. He has a keen sense for stalking trout, whether it’s in his homeland of New Zealand or the clear waters surrounding Klamath Lake. His skills are well matched for this venue.

What are the physical demands? The trip is not demanding at all, guests will be in the boat all day and should note that weather may include very hot days to rainy days. There may be some short hikes if you decide to see some of the other local streams.

Are there any special skills required? There are no special skills required.

Does the lodge provide equipment? Rods and reels with the pertinent lines can be provided. All the flies and terminal tackle is as well. Guests will need to bring their own waders and boots if the would like to wear them for rain protection.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A fast action 6 weight is best for throwing streamers and nymphs on long leaders on the Williamson. Bringing along a 5 weight with a floating line is a great option for dry flies and the smaller streams in the area.

What are the top flies? In summertime through fall, various caddis patterns in size 16 to 18 will do well, and in the heat of summer PMDs and terrestrials such as grasshoppers and ants may work nicely. Throughout the season, anglers will do well to have an assortment of streamers and midges at hand. Paul will have all the flies that you will need for the conditions during your angling trip, but for a more specific list you can call the Fly Water Travel office.

[Freshwater only] What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Be prepared to fish in any weather condition. If the conditions are too challenging and you are unable to fish you will have the day to yourself to explore the surrounding area.

What is a typical day like? Depending on the time of year, anglers will meet Paul at the put-in around 8:30 AM and fish until lunch time. Folks will typically be off the river around 5:00 PM and have the evening to themselves.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Paul will provide a standard bagged lunch for your days on the river. Breakfasts and dinner will be on your own either in Chiloquin or Klamath Falls. For more meal options or grocery stores, we recommend looking in Klamath Falls.

What is the alcohol policy? Paul will not provide alcohol during your float days.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Guests will either stay in hotels or vacation rentals in the Klamath Valley. There are a range of options from incredibly simple to simple, yet comfortable resort rentals.

Is there internet and/or cell service? Cell coverage is decent while on the river and in Klamath Falls, this will vary by carrier.

Are there other activities? Crater Lake is certainly worth seeing and a short drive away. The Rogue Valley is close as well and adding some guided fishing for steelhead is worth your while. The Ashland, OR area has many wineries to tour and the Shakespeare festival is well known if you want to catch a play and a fabulous dinner at one of many fine restaurants.

Are there any other expenses? Accommodations, meals, alcohol, gratuities, fishing licenses and transportation are all additional fees to consider.

Do I need a visa? A visa is not needed for this trip.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances? Early season can see some mosquitoes.

We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center For Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip