Trinity River Fishing Report... Westlands Water District

by E.B. Duggan

Westlands is at it again trying to void the county's Water Rights and use of the water to cool the Trinity and Lower Klamath. Water that prevents the killing of fish by having California Representative David Valado (R-Hanford) introduce bill HR 23. This bill would stop the water releases from Trinity Lake to the Trinity River and Lower Klamath to cool the water temperatures to prevent disease that has devastated our fisheries for the last four years and put the fish returns in the state they are today. It would also revoke the county's water rights. If this bill were to pass it could mean the end of the salmon fishing for not only the north coast but for the Klamath Trinity Rivers. It appears that every year here lately that the Westland’s Water District tries to stop the water releases out of Trinity Lake into the Trinity river for whatever reason so that they could have more water to sell. Yes, the farmers need water but also do fish.

When the original bill was passed for the Trinity Dam “NO MORE THAN 50%” of the water would be shipped out for farms and the other 50% would be used for the river. To Date since the Dam was installed, the river has YET to receive its 50% of the water it was suppose to receive from the original bill when it was passed back in 1955. The courts have RULED!!

HOT-HOT-HOT!!! That is what the weather has been like for the last week. Trinity and Humboldt Counties have seen a week of 104 to 109 temperatures. The Trinity and Lower Klamath are starting to heat up due to the hot weather and we are fast approaching 72 degrees in Hoopa and on the Lower Klamath, just when river salmon fishing started to pick up. The winter snow fall and rains has left us with a good reserve of water in our reservoirs and now we are looking at hot water which the salmon cannot stand nor the juveniles stand. It looks like it is going to be a very early morning fish if you are at all going to be able to catch a salmon in the river this year. Remember the Lower Klamath closes to the take of salmon at sundown August 14th and the Trinity closes to the take of salmon on Aug. 31st. 

Fishing: Yesterday morning I was able to talk to the warden that covers this area and he was able to tell me that most of the salmon are now in the upper river, Junction City and above. This is good news for the fish as the cooler water is in the upper reaches of the Trinity. As of Aug. 6, the water releases from Lewiston are down to 600cfs and will reach 450cfs, summer flows, by Aug 11th. Some of the guides are able to land limits in the upper sections of the river but they have to work hard and start at first daylight.

NOTE: the Hoopa Valley Tribal “Boat Dance” will be held on Tuesday August 22 this year. If extra water flows are allowed they will probably start a few days earlier to allow the water time to reach the Hoopa Valley. Please respect these religious ceremonies and NOT fish the main area of the Trinity River in Hoopa.

Junction City weir: The Junction City weir has only been counting for 4 days and the count is very low, only 1 salmon was counted for 4 days of trapping.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,008cfs so the upper part of the Klamath should be very fishable for trout and steelhead. From what I have heard, the upper Klamath is in good fishable shape but it heats up in the afternoon. This is good for the fly fishers because there is a mid-morning hatch just after the sun hits the water. 

The bad part is that the fires above the Salmon River are creating some smoke along Hwy 96 and the Upper Klamath River. Highway 96 has been closed to through traffic at times above the Marble Ranch Resort due to heavy smoke and rock slides. This is an “on again, off again” situation depending on the firefighting conditions in the area at the time.  

No report from Seiad Valley so I can’t give you a good fishing report for that area today but I hear that the smoke does cause a problem, so please be mindful of the fires and fire fighters.  

The Mid-Klamath around Witchpec has been looking good, but again it is an early morning or late evening fish because once the sun hits the water things tend to start getting HOT. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity with inflows of 1,755cfs and releasing 1,935cfs into Clear Creek & on to Keswick. Shasta is 86% of capacity (a decrease of 2% & minus 5ft) with inflows of 4,097cfs and releasing 8,533cfs, Keswick is 91% of capacity with inflows of 4,381cfs and releasing 9,334fs; Oroville Lake is 58% of capacity (a decrease of 5% & minus 16ft), inflow is 1,911fs and releases are 9,972cfs; Folsom Lake is 84% of capacity (minus 5% & minus 5ft.) inflows are 2,066cfs and releases are 4,110cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 30ft below the overflow (increase of 4ft) and 82% of capacity (2% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 56cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 1,684cfs to Lewiston Lake with 1,053cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and  9,334cfs being released to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 627cfs, water temps of 51.1 air is 89 degrees at 12:00 noon today. Limekiln Gulch is 5.2ft at 1,709cfs, water temps of 52.1 degrees and air is N/A. Douglas City is 6.8ft at 803cfs, water temps of 53.7, air is 88. Junction City is 2.3ft at 761cfs.  Helena is 9.8ft at 917cfs with water temps of 61.1. Cedar Flat is 3.6ft at 906cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,010cfs air is 87 and water at 67. Hoopa is 12.3ft at 1,314cfs with water temps of 71.1.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 3,593cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,008cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.3ft at 1,270cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,941cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 1,916cfs. Orleans is 3.4ft. At 2,279cfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.7ft at 3,762cfs, water temperatures of 72.3 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 5ft at 376cfs. 
NOTICE: Temperatures in the Valley last week were 109/64 degrees (104-109) and 0.00f rain with a season total of 84.45in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 98/54 degrees; with sunshine for most of next week with temperatures running into the high 90s. 

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail