THE PFMC FOR THE WEST COAST SALMON SEASON
by E.B. Duggan
The coronavirus pandemic appears to be slowing down for the U.S. and California. At least there is some consideration of lessoning the “shelter-in-place” restrictions in some areas. Let’s hope that the peak has arrived and we are on the mend.
For those who are worried about CDFW Director Charles Bonham’s ability to “Delay” some fishing season openings his authority only lasts until My 30th.
This year’s PFMC final salmon fishing quotas for the different states looks very restrictive for salmon fishing the west coast and especially for California. It looks like a very limited Ocean Commercial and Ocean Sport fishing for 2020 and an even more limited In-River Recreational fishing season. It appears that the Ocean Sport fishing will be from June 6ththrough August 9th, two fish per day and the In-River Sport Fishing (Klamath River Basing) will have 1,296 adult Klamath River Fall Chinook salmon to divvy up between the Lower Klamath 50%, the Upper Klamath 17% and the Trinity River 33% (about 214 each Upper and Lower Trinity) The proposed limit will be 2 Chinook salmon per day with 1 adult or 2 jacks and 6 in possession with only 3 adults. There is also talk of if you are fishing the Spit and catch and adult Fall Chinook salmon you are done fishing for the day. (not verified yet) I am concerned that the Trinity River portion of the Klamath River Basin will see a bad Fall Chinook salmon, a Coho salmon and a steelhead returns in 2021 and 2022. I could be wrong but if harvests continue at the rate that has been going on, I wander if salmon returns will go extinct in a few years.
Trinity River Water Releases: releases went up to 1500cfs 4/17/20 at 6pm, then down to 450cfs at 4/19/20 2am; then back up to 1500cfs 4/19/20 2pm; and back down to 450cfs 4/21/20 10am; then back up to 3900cfs 4/24/20 8am and then slowly back down to 900cfs 6/13/20 10am; a slight boost to 1400cfs 6/15/208pm; and then to reach summer flows of 450cfs by 7/2/20 6am. Confusing? I suggest you place these numbers on your calendar and you will come up with a map of the Trinity River Releases for this Water Year which is designated as an Extremally Dry Water Year.
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 10 ending Mar. 11, 2020; Fall Chinook salmon totals: Jacks season total 361, adults season totals 1,586; Coho season totals 649; steelhead season totals 386. If these total returns to the TRH are correct the egg collection for Fall Chinook salmon, Coho salmon and steelhead are not going to meet TRH fish releases for 2020. Fall Chinook salmon could possibly meet the 2.9 million smolt, 900,000 yearling releases but the Coho salmon and steelhead are definitely going to have great difficulty in meeting the hatchery required releases. So much for being “stewards of the River”.
Fishing; the COVID-19 virous is still giving us some problems about being able to go fishing. Right now, that is not going to create a problem for the Trinity River as the Water Releases will just about cancel any fishing for the next several months.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 7,975cfs. Because of COVID-19 I have not been in contact with my up-river contacts, so I don’ have anything to report at this time. With the Iron Gate releases of 1,377cfs I would expect fishing above I-5 would be good for some fly fishing for trout.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 95% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) with inflows of 2,345cfs and releasing 2,047cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 82% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 1ft) with inflows of 5,531cfs and releasing 3,914cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 79% (a decrease of 8%) with inflows of 5,927cfs and releasing 6,246cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 69% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 1ft) with inflows of 5,130cfs with releases of 3,914cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 64% of capacity (an increase of 6% plus 6ft) with inflows of 5,357cfs with releases of 1,691cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 33ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 80% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and inflows of 1,483cfs and releasing 2,626cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,434cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 6,246cfs into the Sacramento River, up from last week.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 95% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) and water releases are 1,192cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 49.5 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday April 19, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 5.17ft at 617cfs. Douglas City is 6.75ft and flows of 599cfs. with air temps of 63 and water temperatures of 51.9 degrees. Junction City is 2.35ft at 626cfs. Helena is 9.69ft at 924cfs with water temps of 53.2 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 4.65ft at 1,396cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.28ft at 406cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,802cfs and air is 67 degrees and water at 54.5 degrees. Hoopa is 13.84ft at 2,809cfs and water is 55.9 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 7,975cfs up from last week.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,377cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.12ft at 1,973cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,228cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,501cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.64ft at 1,665cfs. Orleans is 4.91ft at 5,166cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.27ft at 9,738cfs and water temps are N/A degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 6.63ft with flows of 1,390cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.221ft at N/Acfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 84 and a low of 38 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year to date of 36.22 inches, with snow in willow Creek, snow of 1.45in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 79 and lows of 47 with some a mixture of partial sun and cloudy days. The Trinity River Water Releases have started so fishing is going to be slow until July 2nd.
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