FALL CHINOOK SALMON FISHING
by E.B. Duggan
The Trinity River Fall Chinook salmon fishing season opened Sunday September 1st. You are allowed two salmon per day with one adult over 22 inches, Six salmon in possession with no more that three adults. Right now, the weather is cooling down a bit from the three-digit temperatures we have been having and some Fall salmon are making their way up the Trinity. (See picture below) The water releases for the Hoopa Ceremonies “Boat Dance” will peak out Monday night, September 2nd. With these releases water temperatures should drop enough to start salmon congregating outside the mouth of the Klamath to start moving into the river system. Once the salmon are in the Klamath estuary it will only take a few days before they are in the Trinity and moving up river.
The Tribal weir and the Trinity Willow Creek weir will probably not be installed until after September 8th due to the extra water releases. Once these weirs are installed and operating, I cannot predict how good salmon fishing will be. The Hoopa Tribe has not publicly declared how they are going to operate the weir or how many fish they plan to release back into the river. Until that determination is made it will be very hard to say what will happen to the Trinity River salmon and steelhead fishing or what will become of the Trinity River Hatchery program.
Increase Water Releases: the Hoopa “Boat Dance”, a portion of the Tribal Ceremonies this year water releases will start on Sept. 1st at 5pm and run from summer releases of 450cfs up to 2,650cfs by 7pm Sept. 2nd and then gradually decrease back to summer releases of 450cfs by 7pm Sept 5th. Please be aware of the highwater flows during Labor Day weekend as the river will dangerous.
Junction City Weir counts: Julian week 35 the week ending Sep.2 ; Chinook salmon, 4-jack, 13-adult, total 17, season total 458; Coho 0; steelhead ½-lbs 0, adults 4, season total 91; Brown Trout 1, season total 22.
Fishing: There is still some turbidity in the Junction City area but it was clear for the Labor Day weekend and fishing was much better because there was NO construction going on. The river clarity was much improved. The “canyon run” from Douglas City down to Evens Bar was a good place to fish over the holiday. Many of the guides that fished the Upper Trinity left the area to fish the Sacramento for the holidays so most of the upper sections of the river were easy fishing for those who fished. There were some very nice adult steelies caught and released, from the info I received, but not pictures.
As a reminder the Trinity River is now closed to fishing of the Falls area from the bridge at Hawkins Bar up to the bridge at Cedar Flat.
Creel Counts Lower Klamath: Below Highway 101Bridge; Julian week 34 ending Aug. 26; jacks 2, adults 18 total 20, season total 52. Prior to Fall salmon season starting the spit area caught a total of 48 salmon, 46 adults, 2 jacks.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; Julian Week 34 ending Aug. 26; jacks 48, adults 5, total 29, season total 77.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,074cfs and the river has cleaned up some. John from E Ne Nuck said that everything on the Mid-Klamath is looking great and fish are starting to hold at the mouths of the creeks. He is still running a dry camp but has water for cooking and washing. The potable water system that the US Forest Service used to provide for the camp is still not up and running. I am sure that once the cooler water from the Trinity releases hit, the mouth of the Klamath there is going to be a rush of fish hitting those creeks and there will be lots of fish to be caught.
With the releases from Iron Gate increasing back up to 1,048cfs the trout fishing from Happy Camp to I-5 should be really good. Flows at Seiad Valley are 1,361cfs. Fishing above I-5 should be great but if you are in doubt, I suggest you call Scot Caldwell of SC Guide Service. I am sure he can put you onto some great fishing from Iron Gate down to I-5.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 1,368cfs and releasing 1,022cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 80% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 4,347cfs and releasing 8,340cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 89% (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 9,5956cfs and releasing 9,492cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 75% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 7ft) with inflows of 1,658cfs with releases of 9,113cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 77% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 2ft) with inflows of 2,910cfs with releases of 3,631cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: the lake is 21ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 86% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and inflows are -22cfs and releasing 1,551cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,100cfs (this will change tomorrow night) being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 9,492cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 92% of capacity and releases are 451cfs and water temperatures of 55.3 degrees and air at N/A as of 12:00pm today Sunday September 1, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at 445cfs. Douglas City is 6.54ft and flows of 464cfs. with air temps of 82 water temperatures of N/A degrees. Junction City is N/Aft at N/A cfs due to turbidity of river restoration. Helena is 8.53ft at 469cfs with water temps of 61.1 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.76ft at 542cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.07ft at 80cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 622cfs and air is 81 degrees and water at 68 degrees. Hoopa is 11.45ft at 769cfs and water is 70 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,0744cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,048cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.35ft at 1,361cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,415cfs, the Salmon River is 1.94ft at 226cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,079cfs. Orleans is 2.55ft at 1,305cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.35ft at 2,432cfs and water temps of 73.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.76ft and flows of 243cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.696t at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week were a high of 104 and a low of 53. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year to date of 67.93 inches, with snow of 4.5in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the low 90s and for the coming weekend temperatures in the high 80s, with sunshine for the week and coming weekend. It is projected to start to cool down a bit which should help with fish movement and fishing.
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