FALL IS HERE WHERE ARE THE FISH
by E.B. Duggan
Fall weather patterns are in the valley. Nights are chilly and the water in the river is really cooling down. The trees are taking in their autumn colors and leaves are falling. The big question is where are the fish? The Trinity River Hatchery has been taking in good numbers of Spring Run Chinook salmon and the Junction City weir counts are about 50% of last year’s count of Fall Run Chinook salmon. Native steelhead counts are about double of last years count but hatchery steelhead counts are below last year. The fishing reports of hatchery steelhead landings are also below last year at this time. Salmon landings are slow but steady for the beginning of the Fall Run but reports of Spring Run salmon landings were good. What is happening to the Trinity River fishing? I have an idea but have not been able to confirm it. I received an email this past week from a fisherman who stopped by the Hoopa weir at Tish Tang and it was not very encouraging. This source reported to me that he watched fish being caught clubbed and loaded into coolers then loaded into trucks and being hauled off from the Tish Tang weir. If this is the case and the Hoopa Tribe is doing this what will happen to the Trinity River Hatchery steelhead run or the Chinook salmon run. Will it disappear like our South Fork Spring Chinook salmon? I have agreed with the Tribal allotment of Chinook salmon for the subsistence fishery but not leaving enough salmon and steelhead in the river to sustain the fishery does no one a benefit. What will happen to the Trinity River fishery if all the fish are harvested and there are no fish to return. We have seen meager returns before but total harvesting will only deplete the fish in the river and NO fish will return.
Last Saturday October 6th, North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, held a hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Much was discussed about what can be done about conserving the North Coast fishery. I would suggest that we all write Representative Huffman about this and ask him to investigate it because the government is spending $15million per year on restoration in the upper Trinity and if all the fish are harvested what good will the restoration project do? U.S. Senate, Dianne Feinstein: Hart Senate Office Building, Room 331Washington, D.C. 20510; U.S. Representative Jared Huffman: 1630 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515; Huffman.house.gov.
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 39 ending Sep. 30: Chinook salmon, 106- jacks, 801-adults, total 907, season total 3,625; Coho 0, Steelhead 1, season total 5.
Junction City Weir counts: Julian week 40 ending Oct. 7; Chinook salmon, 3-jack, 2-adult, total 5, season total 546; Coho 0; steelhead ½-lbs 0, adults 1, season total 118; Brown Trout 0, season total 23.
Willow Creek Weir counts: Julian week 39 ending Sep. 30; Chinook salmon, 118-jacks, 107-adults, total 225, season totals 815; Coho salmon, 1-jacks, 13-adults, total 14, season total 16; steelhead, ½-pounders -7, adults -87, total 94, season total 378.
Fishing: Fishing the Lower Trinity is still seeing small to medium adult steelhead, ½ pound steelhead and medium Chinook salmon. I am not seeing many fishermen in the Hawkins Bar to Willow Creek area although there has been some fishing, I’m not finding them. Some fishermen have said that the Hoopa’s are allowing people to fish below the weir at Tish Tank but that depends on who is attending the weir. The Hoopa shopping center down to Red Rock is fishing OK but not real hot yet. Patrick at Del Loma told me that most of the fishermen in camp were fishing below the park, from Big Swede Creek down to Cedar Flat for their fish and that there were lots of fish. He said that not many were fishing above the park, only a few and they were fly fishing for steelhead. The salmon that were coming into the park were small in the 5 to 8lbs range. A couple of large salmon 12 to 15lbs were brought into the park but not any quantity. Most fishermen were able to get limits of salmon that is good.
On my way to Redding last Friday, I saw lots of fishermen up river fishing but I did not see a lot of fish coming up the banks. I was able to see a couple of salmon as well as a few steelhead being landed but it was early and I was in a hurry so I did not witness a lot of fish being landed.
Upper Klamath fish video counts: (I did not get a report) Julian week 38 ending on Sep. 25; Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0; Coho 0; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, Coho 0; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 325, Coho 0.
Lower Klamath Creel Counts: (I did not get a report) Julian week 37 ending Sep. 16, Below Highway 101 Bridge; jacks 45, adults 49, total 94, season total 639.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; jacks 697, adults 300, total 997, season total 2,692. Lower Klamath season total count 3,331.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,737cfs. It looks like the rains and the cooler temperatures are starting to show some results. Fish are staging in Old Village Area to either go up the Trinity or up the Klamath. I didn’t receive a report from E Ne Nuck this week so I guess John is out fishing or has gone into Eureka for groceries. There has not been much news from above Orleans but I am sure there should be some fresh fish showing up there by now. The weather is cooler nights and next week the weather is looking better for fishing. The good news is the water temperature are starting to really cool down.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 96% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) with inflows of 420cfs and releasing 1,444cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 75% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 2,476cfs and releasing 4,963cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 88% (an increase of 5%) with inflows of 6,503cfs and releasing 6,512cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 63% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 6ft) with inflows of 2,354cfs with releases of 6,998cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 71% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,191cfs with releases of 3,124cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 27ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 83% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and inflows are 232cfs and releasing 749cfs into Lewiston Lake with 501cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 6,512cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity and water releases are 451cfs with water temperatures of 49.6 degrees and air at N/A as of 1:00pm today Sunday October 6, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.94ft at 458cfs. Douglas City is 6.55ft and flows of 470cfs. with air temps of 71 water temperatures of 49.5 degrees. Junction City is 2.02ft at 487cfs. Helena is 8.64ft at 503cfs with water temps of 51.5 degrees and water turbidity at 1.00. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.85ft at 575cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.16ft at 94cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 669cfs and air is 67 degrees and water at 54 degrees. Hoopa is 11.59ft at 853cfs and water is 57.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,737cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,099cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.43ft at 1,419cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,476cfs, the Salmon River is 2.01ft at 253cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,631cfs. Orleans is 2.95ft at 1,886cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.70ft at 3,055cfs and water temps are 59.5 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.88ft and flows of 288cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.79ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 69 and a low of 40. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year to date of 0.00 inches (the water year starts Oct 1st), with snow of 40.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures of a high of 88 with a low of 39 with fair to good weather for the next week. The fish are trickling in and fishing is fair but could really cut loose with the cooler water. Oct. 15th the Lewiston water releases will drop to 300cfs for the winter except if we were to have a heavy rain event extra water could be released.
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