Looking ahead to rain

by E.B. Duggan

The snowpack in the Sierra’s and the Trinity Alps is looking good for right now. What we really need is a continuing build up of it to assure us of enough water in the reservoir system to supply farmers and the rivers of the water we will need for the summer and fall to stave off another drought. Like I said many years ago, water is going to be the next “California Gold Rush”.

The March 1st CDFW meeting in Sonoma proved to be quite interesting for the Klamath River Basin fall Chinook returns. The Klamath River Basin fall Chinook returns estimated that 59,000 Chinook salmon returned to the river system. If you were to subtract the natural escapement of 40,700 from that you would have 19,300 of harvestable surplus Chinook salmon. If you subtract 50% of that for Native American fisheries it would leave 9,400 Chinook salmon to be split up to Ocean Commercial Fishing, Ocean Sport Fishing and In-River Sport Fishing. That does not leave very much salmon for fishing. NMFS has stated that the Klamath River Basin fall Chinook salmon have been “over fished” for three years in a row and there needs to be a “Salmon  Recovery Program” developed to provide for a salmon fishery. NOAA also wants some type of “buffer” to prevent a fourth year of “over fishing” and a means of recovery. 

The Sacramento River is almost in the same predicament as the Klamath due to a return of only 40,000 to 50,000 adult natural salmon escapements, and about half of the return was harvested. The PFMC meeting is March 8 – 14 in Rohnert Park at the Double Tree Hotel, Sonoma. I will have more next week on this subject.

Trinity River Hatchery: For the week ending Feb. 19; Fall Run Chinook salmon , jacks 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 5,632, Coho salmon, jacks 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 422; steelhead 17, season total 2,023. 

Klamath Iron Gate: For the week ending Jan. 9; Bogus Creek, Chinook season total 2,247, Coho 0, season total 68; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, season total 2,279, Coho 382; Shasta River, Chinook salmon season total 9,935, Coho season total 38. There was no report from the Klamath counting station this week. 

Fishing: Fishing on the Trinity has been a little slow due to the weather, snow on all of the passes and low water flows, but I expect that to change very soon as there is rain in the future weather forecasts. Right now, the river is in good fishing condition. Below South Fork the river is a milky green with about 1ft to 2ft visibility. Above the South Fork the river is in very good condition of what I would call a steelhead green with about 3ft to 5ft visibility. Above Cedar Flat (Hwy 299 Bridge), the river is in great steelhead fishing condition. The Problem; not very many fishermen out there fishing and colder water.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,057cfs. This is a slight increase of water flow and should allow for some very good steelhead fishing above I-5. Happy Camp should be good fishing for small adults and trout all the way down to Orleans. From Orleans down, the river is fishing slowly due to the colder water temperatures and very little fishing. When the water temps get below 45 degrees the steelhead tend to hang out in the deeper pools and swim along the shallow side of the river. With more rain predicted in the area it should help bring in more fish on the Klamath. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 298cfs and releasing 238cfs into Clear Creek and on to Keswick. Shasta is 75% (an increase of 0% and 2ft) with inflows of 4,859cfs and releasing 2,883cfs, Keswick is 85% of capacity (an increase of 5%) with inflows of 2,883cfs and releasing 3,115cfs; Oroville Lake is 42%  capacity (an increase of 2% & plus 2ft), inflow is 3,248cfs and releases are 2,300 cfs; Folsom Lake is 54% of capacity (minus 1% & minus 4ft.) inflows are 3,033cfs and releases are 2,322cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 45ft below the overflow (decrease of 0ft) and 73% of capacity (0% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 640cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 572cfs to Lewiston Lake with 68cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and it is releasing  3,115cfs to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 313cfs with water temps of 44.5 and air is 46 degrees at 12:00pm Sunday.  Limekiln Gulch is 4.7ft at 243cfs, water temps of 43.2 degrees.  Douglas City is 6.32ft at 400cfs, water temps of 44.6, air is 47. Junction City is 1.8ft at 444cfs.  Helena is 8.8ft at 506cfs with water temps of 44.2. Cedar Flat is 3.3ft at 770cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,367cfs air is 50 and water at 43.8. Hoopa is 13.8ft at 2,534cfs with water temps of 43.7.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 7,014cfs. 

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,057cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.7ft at 1,683cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,915cfs, Salmon River is 2.9ft at 982cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 3,552cfs and Orleans is 4.7ft. at 4,480cfs and the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.6ft at 11.9Kcfs, with water temperatures of 43.8 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 9.2ft at 4,710cfs.

The low temperatures for Valley last week were 34/32 degrees and the high was 50 with 4.85in of rain with a season total of 42.65in of rain with 2in for a total of 4.15in of snow. The temperatures for next week are expected to be 69/33 degrees with showers and some rain. The following week it is predicted to have scattered showers all week. We will see?

Websites: MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Willowcreekchamber.com,
from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail yen2fish@yahoo.com