Chinook Salmon Season Trinity River
by E.B. Duggan
The 2018 Fall Chinook adult salmon quotas for the Trinity River could possibly be met by October 10 if there is not a large inflow of Fall Chinook salmon. I say that could be a possibility, but with the low counts this past week at the Willow Creek weir I don’t think it will happen. The CDFW has been looking at the low counts and are entertaining the possibility of extending the time if counts don’t start to increase for adult Chinook salmon. Why or what could be the reason for such low returns to hatchery and the Willow Creek weir? Could the weir in Hoopa be holding up the fish? Is the Hoopa Tribe harvesting more fish than allotted? CDFW has no count of the Hoopa harvest yet. Are the higher water flows cooling the water temperatures and the salmon holding up in the lower parts of the river? Did the Trinity River lose too many juveniles during the outbreak of disease two years ago? The returns should be much higher than it is at this time of the fishing season. I have seen low returns in the past but this time doesn’t make since to me. There are too many unanswered questions as to why the Fall Chinook salmon run is so low. It will be very interesting to hear what conclusions CDFW will have when they tally up the final reports!
For years I have been advocating for and In-river hatchery Coho fishery on the Trinity but NMFS and NOAA plus the CDFW have been against this idea because the benefit to fishermen for the effort to make a program that would allow the harvest of in-river hatchery Coho was not worth the effort. I now ask why are these people allowing the harvest/reduction of hatchery Coho at the Hoopa weir? Maybe someone should look into this. The idea of in-river harvesting of hatchery Coho came about because several years ago the hatchery Coho returns reached 10,000 and was surprisingly interesting with the spawning of native Coho salmon.
NOTICE: The Trinity Center boat ramp will be closed September 24, 2018 through May 1, 2019 for major improvements. This is good news as the group at Trinity Center was able to acquire a $1.64 million US Forest Service grant for the long needed improvements. I can see where this is going to make a great difference to the community and improve the launching abilities for the area.
Lower Klamath Count: I have still not been been able to open Dan Troxel’s report for the Lower Klamath but I am working on it and hope to bring it to you soon.
Klamath Iron Gate: For the week of Sept. 10 – Sept.16; Shasta, Chinook salmon 353, season total 925; Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0, season total 0; Scott, Chinook salmon 0, season total.
Trinity River Hatchery: For the week of Sept.10 – Sept 16; Chinook salmon, jacks 55, adults 123 total 178, season total 199; Coho 0; steelhead, ½-lbs 0, adults 0, total 1, season total 1.
Junction City weir trapping: Week of Sep. 10 – Sep. 16: Chinook salmon; jacks 1, adults 18, total 19, season total 905. Coho, jacks 0, total 0, season to date 0; Steelhead; 1/2lbs 0, adults 5, total 5, season to date 45; Brown Trout 0 total 0, season to date 20.
Willow Creek weir trapping: Week of Sep. 10 – Sep. 16; jacks 14, adults 39, total 53 season total 171; Coho, jacks 0; adults 0, total 0, season 0. Steelhead, ½-lbs 0, adults 16, total 16, season total 103.
Fishing: Lewiston Dam is now releasing flows of 450cfs. at 12:00pm Sunday Sept. 23. Friday September 21 BOR lowered the water releases from Lewiston Dam back to the regular summer flows of 450cfs. Now that regular summer flows are being released into the Trinity River I am expecting the Trinity to see an increase of adult Fall Chinook salmon. This is yet to become fact, but the lowering of the water flows usually starts a surge of adult salmon to swim up river to reach their spawning waters. Last week, on my way down river, I saw more fishermen fishing from the bank so I stopped in at the Del Loma RV Park and campground to see if the regular salmon camper/fishermen had arrived. Yes, they had arrived and I was able to talk to them. They said that they had only started to fish and that they were hooking a lot of juveniles but not very many adult salmon. This made me wonder if the other fishermen I saw were having the same problem. I cannot guarantee my predictions, but having fished the Trinity for over 22yrs I have a pretty good knowledge of how the fishing goes, plus having good relations with the local CDFW scientist that work the river I am able to collect better information than regular fishermen. The records on the Trinity River fishery are very interesting and show how the harvest patterns have happened on the Klamath –Trinity River Basin since 1974.
Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing flows of 1,041cfs. This is a good increase for the Upper Klamath and should really help the fishing from I-5 up to the dam. As for the Mid – Klamath I did not receive a report from John at E Ne Nuck / Perch Creek so I don’t have good info on the fishing above Orleans. The Wetchpec section of the river has dropped off some but reports from the mouth are good and I would expect by the time you have read this report fishing would have picked up. Last week I helped three fishermen from the bay area float from Tish Tang down and through the Hoopa Gorge to Old Village on the Klamath and they were able to hook a lot of half-pounders but not many adults. They did report that they saw a lot of adult salmon in the Gorge, but because they were fly fishing, they were unable to hook any. This sounds good for the Trinity.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is N/A% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of N/Acfs and releasing N/Acfs into Clear Creek and on to Keswick. Shasta is 54% of capacity (a decrease of 2% and 3ft) with inflows of 2,053cfs and releasing 6,733cfs, Keswick is 96% of capacity (an increase of 6%) with inflows of 7,850cfs and releasing 7,570cfs; Oroville Lake is 40% capacity (a decrease of 2% & minus 6ft), inflow is 2,156cfs and releases are 5,987cfs; Folsom Lake is 49% of capacity (minus 1% & minus 1ft.) inflows are 1,634cfs and releases are 2,040cfs.
Trinity Lake: the Lake is 66ft below the over flow (an increase of 1ft) and 62% of capacity (1% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 94cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 1,125cfs to Lewiston Lake with 658fs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 7,570cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 467cfs with water temps of 53.1 degrees and air at 74 at 12:00pm today Sunday Sep. 23. Limekiln Gulch is 5ft at 485cfs, with water temps of 51.3 degrees. Douglas City is 6.4ft at 481cfs, water temps of 53.9 degrees and air is 72 Junction City is 1.9ft at 461cfs. Helena is 8.8ft at 475fs with water temps of 56.7; Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.7ft at 525cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 575cfs and air is 74 with water at 68. Hoopa is 11.3ft at 574cfs with water temps of N/A.
Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 2,57300cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,041cfs. Seiad Valley is 2ft at 1,183cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,220cfs, Salmon River is 1.5ft at 155cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 1,626cfs and Orleans is 2.8ft. at 1,781cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 7.8ft at 2,289cfs, with water temperatures of 64.1 degrees. Flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 4.5ft at 220cfs.
The temperatures in the Valley last week were in the high 40s and the high was 84 with 0.00in of rain and a season total of 68.45in of rain and a total of 4.15in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to run in 95/48 degrees with sunshine the first part of the week then turning to cloudy and the possibility of scattered showers Monday & Tuesday
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