WINTER LIKE WEATHER IS STEALHEAD WEATHER
by E.B. Duggan
Sorry about no report last week but my area was on “Safety Power Shut Off” due to PG&E for Northern California.
It appears that this is going to happen more often when we have high winds, dry weather and Red Flag conditions. The reasoning for that is to try and stop/reduce disastrous fires in California.
With the cold winter like weather we are experiencing in the Trinity Valley the water temperatures are dropping to a point where the steelhead are moving up to their spawning grounds. This is good because we are starting to see more adult steelhead go through the Willow Creek area. At the present time we are seeing about a 25% drop in returning adult hatchery steelhead at the Willow Creek Weir as compared to last year at this time, but we are seeing an increase in adult native steelhead. I don’t know if this is good or bad yet because I am not sure of what it takes for the Trinity River Hatchery egg count for the rearing and release of steelhead into the Trinity River. I do know that the Klamath River Hatchery has not been able to reach their hatchery steelhead release for several years so the Upper Klamath has become a “catch and release fishery for steelhead for some time. The good part is that the Willow Creek Weir count of steelhead has increased over last year’s return by about 33% for this time of year. It’s just later this year than last year’s return.
I know many of you are concerned about the low amount of salmon that have retuned to the Trinity for salmon fishing this year and all I can say is that I am looking into it and hope I can have something soon. I am trying to find an answer but, in the meantime, I would advise you to write letters to your congressman about the pour fishing conditions on the Trinity River and request an investigation into the Trinity River Restoration Program and the placing of a second weir in the river on the Hoopa Reservation. Letters do help, complaints to me and other fishermen does nothing. You can write your representative. 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, the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of NOAA.
We are also having a serious problem on the South Fork of the Trinity River. The return of spring run Chinook salmon for this year is drastically low, only 12 – 14 spawning salmon were counted this year and that makes that run genetically limited and could possibly go extinct. What is the TRRP doing with the $2million watershed money they are supposed to be using for watershed restoration. Spending it on the Upper Trinity destroying in-river salmon spawning! Again, letters and emails to our representatives are the only thing that will make a change.
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 43 ending Oct. 28; sub-total for Spring Chinook, jack totals 532, adult totals 3,946, for a total of 4,478; Coho 0, Steelhead 2, season total 9.
Junction City Weir counts: ended on Julian week 40 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 43 ending Oct. 28; Chinook salmon, 15-jacks, 13-adults, total 28, season totals 1,493; Coho salmon, 1-jacks, 19-adults, total 20, season total 89; steelhead, ½-pounders - 18, adults -19, total 37, season total 704.
Fishing: Right now the Trinity is running low and cold with very little fishing pressure. It is hard to find anyone fishing on the river. The few that are fishing are having a good time catching and releasing steelhead with some good-sized adults amongst the jacks. It is true that 75% of the steelhead landed are native fish, but it is still fun hooking into one of those feisty fish. From the Willow Creek Weir counts the main part of this run happened last week down here so I would expect that those fish should be arriving in the upper part of the river by this weekend. The low flow (293cfs Lewiston releases) of the river and clarity of the water makes it hard to just walk up and drop a line in without spooking the fish. So, I recommend stealth and patients to land those Iron Heads.
Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 43 ending Oct. 29, 11, 16; Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 1,062; Coho 0; Scott River, Chinook salmon 1,000, Coho 1; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 5,592, total 6,093, Coho 0.
Lower Klamath Creel Counts:) Julian week 43 ending Oct. 28, Below Highway 101 Bridge; jacks 0, adults 14, total 14, season total 1,006.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; 4-jacks, 11- adults, total 14, season total 4,820. Lower Klamath season total count 5,826. The Lower Klamath river quota has not been met yet so one can still keep adult salmon below the Wetchpec Bridge.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,712cfs. Fishing below Orleans has slowed for salmon with the colder water but has picked up somewhat for steelhead. The Happy Camp to I-5 has really turned hot for steelhead fishing. The area below the dam has been hard for salmon as the salmon a re very dark, but fishing for trout and steelhead has picked up with the colder weather and cooler water.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 532cfs and releasing 541cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 72% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 3ft) with inflows of 2,359cfs and releasing 5,398cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 94% (an increase of 3%) with inflows of 6,020cfs and releasing 5,741cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 57% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 7ft) with inflows of 1,240cfs with releases of 4,484cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 66% of capacity (a decrease of 6% minus 6ft) with inflows of 1,306cfs with releases of 2,953cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 31ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 80% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and inflows are 113cfs and releasing 901cfs into Lewiston Lake with 608cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,741cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 2%) and water releases are 293cfs with water temperatures of 43.6 degrees and air at N/A as of 12:00pm today Sunday November 3, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.72ft at 327cfs. Douglas City is 6.27ft and flows of 320cfs. with air temps of 55 water temperatures of 45.4 degrees. Junction City is 1.69ft at 373cfs. Helena is 8.09ft at 346cfs with water temps of 46.2 degrees and water turbidity at 0.90. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.41ft at 419cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.19ft at 91cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 510cfs and air is 50 degrees and water at 46.3 degrees. Hoopa is 11.27ft at 665cfs and water is 46.8 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,712cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,308cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.67ft at 1,600cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,656cfs, the Salmon River is 1.92ft at 219cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,828cfs. Orleans is 3.06ft at 2,047cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.74ft at 3,134cfs and water temps are 49.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 8.46ft with flows of 820cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.78ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 68 and a low of 31. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year to date of 2.38 inches, with snow of 0.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures of highs of 85 and lows of 46 with some clouds at first and then sunshine for the rest of the week. Fishing for the coming weekend is looking better on the Klamath but with more steelhead on the Trinity. We need some rain to bring in more fresh fish and improve fishing.
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