Possible Drought Conditions
by E.B. Duggan
Recent storms have brought us lots of rain but our snow pack is still below average and water content. This is not good news for both water storage and spring water flows. We could be into a designated “Dry Water Year”. I hope not as we could still get more snow from coming storms. The Trinity Alps snow pack is roughly 89% of average for this time of year and we are still 76% below normal for rain on the West Coast. The big problem I see is Governor Newsom apparently has signed on to the promise President Trump gave to the Central Valley farmers “of a guaranteed allotment of water for the year”. I still have not figured out how anyone can guarantee a specific amount of water when the water has not arrived into the reservoirs. I think it would be nice but if the water is not there then you cannot guarantee someone a specific amount of water. More storage would be wonderful but getting past the environmentalist will be a great wall to climb over.
The Record of Decision (ROD) states the need for Trinity River Restoration and the need for water in each of the designated “Water Year” conditions. If the Trinity River is to get an allotted amount of water then where is the water promised to the Central Valley going to come from? I see the possibility of Trinity Lake being drained. We could possibly get lucky and the new Secretary of Interior take an interest in the Trinity and reorganize the TMC and TRRP to get the river restoration under control.
Last week I went to a Super Bowl Party and did not get back in time to make a report. Sorry about that. I did have fun but I rooted for the wrong team.
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 5 ending Feb. 4, 2021; Fall Chinook salmon, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 7,103; Coho, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 2,333; steelhead 41, season total 500.
Upper Klamath River video count: Julian week 5 ending on Feb. 4, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 2, season total 6,061, Coho 0, season total 37; Scott River, Chinook salmon-6, season total 258; Coho salmon 4, season total 1,758; Bogus Creek; Chinook salmon,0, season total 2,289, Coho salmon 0, season total 145.
Fishing: The rain has been a big factor for fishing in the Willow Creek area and lower Trinity. I have not seen or heard of many adult steelhead being landed but great action on ½-pounders. What adults that were landed were small adults. This last week the river was blown out to the point of very little fishing was available. The TRH is finally seeing some steelhead return. The count has been going up thank goodness. I am worried about the possibility of a drought for the North West Coast. If tis should happen our fishery could take a big hit for the coming season. Right now, we have to concentrate on the availability of Winter Run steelhead and try to have a little fun hooking into one.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 22,851cfs. This is a great increase of 15,749cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 944cfs. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 and for now the Mid-Klamath is also unfishable due to the highwater flows. Right now, I would say the best bet is above I-5.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 429cfs and releasing 277cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 49% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 6ft) with inflows of 6,167cfs and releasing 3,149cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 7%) with inflows of 3,465cfs and releasing 3,265cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 37% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 8ft) with inflows of 4,970cfs with releases of 756cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 32% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 4ft) with inflows of 3,090cfs with releases of 1,137cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 88ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 52% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 1,263fs and releasing 431cfs into Lewiston Lake with 115cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,265cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 95% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) and water releases are 316cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 45.6 degrees, as of 9:00am today Sunday Feb. 15, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.95ft at 447cfs. Douglas City is 7.06ft with flows of 811cfs. with air temps of 40 and water temperatures of 42.9 degrees. Junction City is 2.68ft at 938cfs. Helena is 10.04ft at 1,082cfs with water temps of 42.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 5.82ft at 2,196cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 9.25cfa at 2,559cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 4,755cfs and air is 47 degrees and water at 43.5 degrees. Hoopa is 18.70ft at 11,046cfs and water is 45 degrees.
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 22,851cfs an increase of 15,749cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 944cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.61ft at 2,429cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,325cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,997cfs, and the Salmon River is 2.94ft at 952cfs. Orleans is 8.59ft at 11,808cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 17.46ft at 37,258cfs and water temps are 46.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 16.02ft with flows of 23,802cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 21.64ft at N/A cfs. The Smith is blown right now and with the coming storm I don’t see it clearing for some time.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 57 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.50in with a water year total to date of 33.9 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. At the present time we are in a storm mod with a series of storms coming. Be aware that there are road closures so be careful and check your travel plans.
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