DID THE PFMC UNDERESTIMATE THE FALL RUN RETURNS

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
10-13-2019
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The Fall weather has set in and it is looking more like the first part of Winter than Fall. There have been good spurts of fish coming up the valley but not like the usual Fall/Winter runs I’m used to. I know as I been getting lots of calls and emails asking “where are the fish” or “what happened to the fishing”? I wish I really knew but I have not found out the true answer so I just have to shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t know”! This year has been one of those years that is really questionable as to what happened to all the salmon that were predicted to be coming into the Klamath River Basin this year. What I do know is that many of the resorts and fishing camps are really disappointed in the fishing and that their customers are very unhappy that they can’t catch limits of salmon each day they go out to fish. The reports I have been getting the past couple of weeks has not been good and no matter how you sweeten it it still tastes sour.

Looking at the Willow Creek Weir counts for this year and comparing them to last year’s (2018) counts for Fall Run Chinook salmon we are not that far behind in numbers. (1,070 vs 1,592). Now as for Coho salmon that is a different story, we are about 1/3 of the amount of Coho salmon for this time as to last year. (25 vs 73) Steelhead we are only a little over 100 difference. (412 vs 532) I know the fly fishers are complaining that they are only seeing about 1 to 5 hatchery too native steelhead but the weir counts are more like 1 to 3, hatchery to native. I do know that the full moon has been really bright this week and maybe that could be the cause. I do know that the Hoopa Fisheries Department stated that once the Hoopa weir is installed, they plan to harvest all of the hatchery marked steelhead and Coho salmon. So far from what I can see by the W.C. counts that is not happening. I think that the PFMC mis-calculated the amount of Fall Run salmon that would return to the Klamath River Basin. Only time will tell!

Did you write your letters to the legislators about the salmon fishing? Please be sure to send your emails and letters to them. 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.       
Believe me they do help and it would not hurt to send a copy of your email or letter to your local state representative.    

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 40 ending Oc. 7; Chinook salmon, 90-jacks, 165-adults, total 255, season totals 1,,070; Coho salmon, 1-jacks, 8-adults, total 9, season total 25; steelhead, ½-pounders -0, adults -34, total 44, season total 3412.

Fishing: Oct 15 to 08:00am Oct. 16 water releases into the Trinity River will be reduces from 450cfs to winter flows of 300cfs. This will slow down the influx of fresh Fall Run Chinook salmon until we have a significant rain event. I am sure this will affect the fishing for a while. This is not good news because we have already seen a slowing of the fishing in the upper river. Patrick of Del Loma, said that they have already seen a reduction in the amount of Redds in and around the Del Loma section of the river. This is not good for two years down the road as we wouldn’t see as many salmon return. He did say that the campers were still catching fish but many of them have left. The adult salmon this year were smaller in the 6 to 10lbs. In the Willow Creek area, we are seeing fish go through but because there is very little fishing going on there are not very many fish being landed.       

Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 40 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 for Julian week 40) Julian week 39 ending Sep. 30, Below Highway 101 Bridge; jacks 45, adults 49, total 94, season total 798.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; 426-jacks, 252- adults, total 678, season total 3,759. Lower Klamath season total count 3,759. We should be getting close to reaching the Lower Klamath river quota by now so if that is the case the Upper Klamath and Trinity will be reduced to jacks only fishing for salmon.

Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,673cfs. Fishing around the Old Village area in Wetchpeck has slowed up some as it has in the Orleans area. It looks like the fish have moved up river into the Happy Camp area. That would mean the Seiad Valley fishing should be very good. John from E NE Nuck has closed up camp and has gone home to San Carlos Sonora and better fishing in the gulf. It looks like we will be getting some cool weather and possibly some scattered showers this coming weekend and IF it does rain, we should see some fresh fish movement in the rivers.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 3% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) with inflows of 1,188cfs and releasing 1,832cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 74% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 4508cfs and releasing 4,392cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 89% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 6,422cfs and releasing 6,559cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 60% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 4ft) with inflows of 2,3238cfs with releases of 6,052cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 68% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 23t) with inflows of 1,238cfs with releases of 3,193cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 28ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 82% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and inflows are -21cfs and releasing 7491,583cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,122cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 6,559cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity and water releases are 461cfs with water temperatures of 47.7 degrees and air at N/A as of 12:00pm today Sunday October 13, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.95ft at 464cfs. Douglas City is 6.55ft and flows of 470cfs. with air temps of 61 water temperatures of 47.5 degrees. Junction City is 2.01ft at 483cfs. Helena is 8.64ft at 503cfs with water temps of 48.6 degrees and water turbidity at 1.10. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.16ft at 561cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.16ft at 86cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 647cfs and air is 62 degrees and water at 50.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.51ft at 804cfs and water is 52.6 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,673cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,222cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.50ft at 1,470cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,5223cfs, the Salmon River is 1.90ft at 2112cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,657cfs. Orleans is 2.94ft at 1,869cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.66ft at 2,977cfs and water temps are 55.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.77ft and flows of 247cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.70ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 75 and a low of 33. 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 0.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures of a highs of 82 with a low of 42 with some clouds and scattered showers. We could use the rain but it looks like showers for the weekend. The fish are trickling in and fishing is fair but could really cut loose we were to get some real rain. Oct. 15th-16th the Lewiston water releases will drop to 300cfs for the winter water flows except if we were to some heavy rain then water flows would increase and possibly bring in more fresh fish.

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