Triple Digit Heat For The Salmon Opener
by E.B. Duggan
The prediction of Triple Digit Heat for next week is going to be hard on the fishing and the people. Wednesday July 1st was the opening for Spring Chinook salmon fishing on the Lower Klamath and the Upper Trinity rivers. Saturday July 3rd was “Free Fishing Day”. Friday the Trinity Valley saw 103 degrees temperatures with Saturday on its way to triple digit temps. California Department of Fish and Wildlife provides two “FREE FISHING DAYS” per year, one on the 4th of July weekend and one on Memorial Day weekend. Saturday was the first one. What a way to start salmon fishing season with 100 plus degree temperatures. I am not sure how the Lower Klamath at the mouth was but the water temperatures at the Terwer Creek gauge was 74 degrees. That was not good for opening day. The Weitchpec Orleans area was 100 degrees and hotter as you went up the river. I guess it would be ok if you like your salmon boiled when you catch it. For sure the salmon will be looking for cold-water refugia as 72 degrees is the highest temperatures, they can stand without dying.
With high water temps and Blue-Green Algae I wonder how we will be able to save the Klamath Trinity Rivers. Just a few years ago the Eel experienced the above-mentioned conditions and many of the salmon went blind and died. That kind of conditions resulted in a very strong setback for the Eel River Recovery program. If something doesn’t happen very soon with the TRRP and the TMC the Trinity will be in the same condition.
AS for the TRRP coping hearing for Trinity River flow changes not many responses or problems were brought up and TRRP gave very few if any answers. This is typical of the TRRP! I have been there and done that with not much results.
Upper Klamath River Rotary Screw Trapping count: (no report for the week) Julian week 25 ending on June 24, 2021; Shasta River; 0 Chinook salmon age 0+, season total 239,284, Juveniles, 1yr old 0, season total 115; 0 Coho salmon age 0+, season total 128; 0 Rainbow Trout age 1+, season total 404, 0 Rainbow Trout age 2+, season total 2,847; Scott River, 8 Chinook salmon age 0+, season total 7,425; 1yr old Chinook 0, season total 62; 16 Coho salmon 1yr+, season total 247; 13 Rainbow Trout age 0+, season total 1,103, 1 Rainbow Trout age 1+, season total 1,480.
Junction City weir summary: Julian week 26 ending the week of July 1, 2021 for Spring-Run Chinook salmon; 14- jacks, season total 40, 107- adults, total of 121, season total of 539; Coho salmon, 0 jacks, season total 0, 0 adults, season total 0; steelhead, 1- 1/2lber, 25-adults, for total of 26, season total 33; Brown trout 1, season total 6.
Fishing: The triple digit heat is not really fit for man nor beast with Willow Creek area temperatures 100 plus degrees. The sun bathers and swimmers really love it. Kimtu Beach and Big Rock are overflowing. Fishing is just about restricted to early mornings as the temps at 11:00pm are still in the lower 70s. Up river is about the same except the water temps are in the upper 50s and lower 60s so one could fish if you plan to get off the water by 10-11 o’clock. Hoopa is a little hotter than Willow Creek but the river cools off some in the gorge. You still want to plan on getting off the river early.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,478cfs. This is a decrease of 278cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 901cfs. I am not hearing about much fishing in the Upper Klamath at this time due to the heat but low releases are not in the best interest of fishing. Down at the mouth Wednesday was opening day for Spring salmon fishing. I don’t know what the temperatures were down there for the opening but the water temperatures were in the lower 70s and 72 degrees is the limit with death happening at 78. With temps in that range, I would expect the salmon to hold off in the ocean for cooler weather.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 1,649cfs and releasing 1,879cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 38% of capacity (an increase of 1% minus 3ft) with inflows of 2,288cfs and releasing 6,563cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 8,341cfs and releasing 8,448cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 31% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 7ft) with inflows of 1,594cfs with releases of 5,227cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 29% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 601cfs with releases of 1,059cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 98ft below the overflow (an increase of 2ft) and 47% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 88cfs and releasing 2,025cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,558cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 8,448cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 91% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) and water releases are 467cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 52.2 degrees, as of 10:00am today Saturday July 3, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.93ft at 447cfs. Douglas City is 6.56ft with flows of 484cfs. with air temps of 72 and water temperatures of 63 degrees. Junction City is 1.97ft at 463cfs. Helena is 8.52ft at 509cfs with water temps of 65 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.73ft at 531cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.11ft at 75cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 606cfs and air is 80 degrees and water at 71.1 degrees. Hoopa is 11.43ft at 764cfs and water is 76.6 degrees.
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,478cfs a decrease of 278cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 901cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.86ft at 1,037cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,128cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,462cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.65ft at 252cfs. Orleans is 2.31ft at 1,714cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.37ft at 2.619cfs and water temps are 74 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.29ft with flows of 342cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.78ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 112 and a low of 60 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 45.11 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted weather for next week is high of 104 and a low of 61. The predicted weather for next week are triple digit with plenty of sunshine all week and for the weekend. With the weekend is predicted to reach triple digit remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
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