FALL RUN CHINOOK SALMON
by E.B. Duggan
The Trinity River Fall Run Chinook salmon are now starting to trickle in, but very slowly! The Lower Klamath has only harvested 2,241 Fall Chinook salmon as of September 9th. We should have seen about twice that number move through the system by now as we are looking at the third week of September already. Part of the problem was the heat during the early part of August but I believe it was mostly low water flows for that time period. The increased water flows for the Tribal Ceremonies last week helped but we need more water in the rivers to help get the salmon to move up the rivers. A real good short flush from both dams would really help move fish into the Klamath and up the river. Usually by the second week of August we are seeing salmon staging at the mouths of Hopkins and Bluff Creek. These are their cooling off areas after Blue Creek and before the Fall salmon go backdown to the Trinity or head on up Iron Gate and Bogus Creek. We will soon see what is going to happen on the Trinity because the Willow Creek weir is in and operating.
Trinity River Hatchery: “The Trinity River Hatchery started letting fish up the ladder last week” Mary Claire Kier, fish biologist CDFW. 201 adult Chinook salmon moved up into the holding tanks and another 1,213 adults were put into the round tanks to “ripen” for JW36 TRH count.
Junction City Weir counts: Julian week 36 the week ending Sep.9; Chinook salmon, 0-jack, 1-adult, total 1, season total 459; Coho 0; steelhead ½-lbs 0, adults 1, season total 91; Brown Trout 0, season total 22. The Junction City weir only trapped one day and was closed down and removed Sep. 8th.
Willow Creek Weir counts: The Willow Creek Weir was installed Sep. 9th so the first nights trapping will not show up until next week.
Fishing: Fishing the Lower Trinity has been slow but half-pounders are being caught down in Hoopa at Red Rock, up behind the shopping center and at Tish Tang. Most of the people I have talked to were fly fishing. I did see a fisherman down by the mouth of Willow Creek throwing iron but I couldn’t see if he had landed any fish. One of my fishing buddies that fly fishes said he had fished Kimtu Beach last week but all he caught was down running smolt. Up river fishing has also been slow but early Fall Run Chinook salmon are being caught. In fact, one of the first early Fall salmon caught and brought into camp at the Del Loma RV and Campground was a nice 8lb salmon by Harold of San Diego. It’s a shame that us “old timers” are the ones that have to be the first at most things including catching fish! The coming week is predicted to cool down with some possible thunder storms and rain showers. If that happens, I would suspect that a good influx of fresh Fall Run Chinook will be the talk around the campfires. There are also some older dark spring run salmon being caught in the upper sections of the river.
Lower Klamath Creel Counts: Below Highway 101Bridge; Julian week 36 ending Sep. 9; jacks 82, adults 173 total 255, season total 545.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; Week ending Sep. 9; jacks 854, adults 404, total 1,258, season total 1,696. Lower Klamath season total count 2,150.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,065cfs and the river is looking very good for fishing. John from E Ne Nuck, hasn’t said anything how the fishing is down there but I heard that the Indians at Weitchpec have put out their nets expecting a good run of fish to be coming in. I sure hope so because if the fresh Fall Run Salmon don’t start coming in soon people are going to pack up and go home.
With the releases from Iron Gate increasing up to 1,076cfs the trout fishing from Happy Camp up Iron Gate should be explant. A call to Scot Caldwell of SC Guide Service should let you know how that area is fishing. If you are interested, I am sure he can put you onto some great fishing from Iron Gate down to I-5 if you want to book him. Flows at Seiad Valley are 1,230cfs. so, fishing above I-5 should still be great and fishing down around Happy Camp should also be in the best of conditions. A call to Marble Mountain Adventures, Doug or Heidi Cole at 800-552-6284 should get you the information of how good the fishing for trout is.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 61cfs and releasing 155cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 77% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus32ft) with inflows of 1,600cfs and releasing 8,147cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 94% (an increase of 4%) with inflows of 8,589cfs and releasing 8,485cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 69% of capacity (a decrease of 8% minus 9ft) with inflows of 3,236cfs with releases of 12,037cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 74% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 2,227cfs with releases of 5,67cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 23ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and inflows are 216cfs and releasing 401cfs into Lewiston Lake with 0cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 8,485cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 79% of capacity and releases are 504cfs and water temperatures of 55.6 degrees and air at N/A as of 12:00pm today Sunday September 15, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.94ft at 454cfs. Douglas City is 6.56ft and flows of 475cfs. with air temps of 76 water temperatures of N/A degrees. Junction City is 2.03ft at 492cfs. Helena is 8.60ft at 490cfs with water temps of 58.1 degrees and water turbidity at 1.20. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.72ft at 527cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.06ft at 79cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 606cfs and air is 77 degrees and water at 63 degrees. Hoopa is 11.46ft at 775cfs and water is 66.8 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,065cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,076cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.16ft at 1,230cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,281cfs, the Salmon River is 1.89ft at 208cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,087cfs. Orleans is 2.54ft at 1,290cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.36ft at 2,414cfs and water temps of 69.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.72ft and flows of 229cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.65ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week were a high of 88 and a low of 51. 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 again with a high of 94 with a low of 49. Thunder storms are predicted for Monday and Wednesday of this week and sun for the coming weekend. Hopefully we will also have some good fish’en.
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