Anyone For Smoked Salmon

by E.B. Duggan

The Monument Fire has been burning now for almost three weeks and probably will burn to about October. It has been smoky most of the time but not every day here in Willow Creek. Health issues are of concern for the elderly and people with health issues. For most of us it is annoying but livable as we can go about our daily activities and work. The only good, if I could use that term, is the smoke has dimmed the sun so that the high temperatures of the summer are much cooler. In fact, it acts almost like it is autumn, the maple leaves are turning and dropping as are other leaves.
Sunday August 22 the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region closed nine National Forest in Northern California of which Shasta-Trinity and Klamath are part of them.

Highway 299 is blocked form Hawkins Bar east to just east of Junction City. Most of the prime fishing area. This makes for hard fishing because you can’t travel for Willow Creek, up river to Grays Falls or Burnt Ranch Falls areas, nor can you travel from Junction City West, down river. What is the smoke and fire doing to the fish? The smoke cools the day temperatures down and the fire heats up the water plus all of the activity going on as the firefighters use the river for suppression of the fire. The fire has also caused the Junction City weir at Evans Bar to be vacated for safety reasons. The lower river from South Fork down river can be fished but the Big Rock airport area is being used for the helicopters so you are not allowed to be in that area either. The Trinity River and upper Klamath is supposed to open September 1st but the only areas I know that you could fish would be around Weitchpec. We just may not be able to find a decent spot to fish.

NOTICE: On September 3rd the Trinity water flows will start to increase to 800cfs for the Hoopa Tribe ceremonies. On Sept. 5th or 6th, the flows will increase to 2,800cfs then drop to 800cfs by sept. 8th, so please be aware of the higher water flows during this time.

Lower Klamath Creel Survey: Julian Week 33 ending Aug. 19,2021 for Fall Run Chinook salmon for below Hwy 101 Bridge; 9-jack, total 0, 20-adults, total 29. Chinook salmon for above Hwy 101 Bridge; 68-jacks, 27-adults total 95.

Junction City weir summary: Julian week 33 ending the week of Aug. 19, 2021 for Spring-Run Chinook salmon; 0 - jacks, season total 159, 0- adults, total of 881, season total of 1,040; Coho salmon, 0 jacks, season total 0, 0 adults, season total 0; steelhead, 0- 1/2lber, 11- adults, for total of 11, season total 70; Brown trout 0, season total 6. Note: even though the fire and smoke were along the river there was a nice bump of springer’s going up to the Hatchery.

Fishing: Temperatures have cooled down because of the smoke from the fire. Because of the fires fishing has been curtailed and very few fishermen have been going out to fish. Mostly locals.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 1,914cfs. This is a decrease of 79cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 929cfs. With the lower water releases from Iron Gate Dam the Upper Klamath should be very good fly fishing for trout except for all of the smoke from the fires would make it very uncomfortable. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 2,132cfs and releasing 2,113cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 28% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 8ft) with inflows of 1,255cfs and releasing 5,747cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 7,862cfs and releasing 7,530cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 23% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 6ft) with inflows of 877cfs with releases of 2,213cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 24% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,104cfs with releases of 1,002cfs into the American river. Many of the lakes and reservoirs are at their lowest they have ever been. When I was down south, we had to come back across Hwy 20 to get home and as we drove by Mendocino Lake all you could see we the Russian River and a large puddle at the dam. Trinity Lake only has 887,607AF in it.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 113ft below the overflow (a decrease of 2ft) and 40% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of -48cfs and releasing 2,767cfs into Lewiston Lake with 2,311cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 7,530cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases are 441cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.5 degrees, as of 11:00am today Monday August 23, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at 440cfs. Douglas City is 6.55ft with flows of 479cfs with air temps of N/A and water temperatures of N/A degrees. Junction City is 1.52ft at 463cfs. Helena is 8.43ft at 474cfs with water temps of 56 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.43ft at 492cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.90ft at 30cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 522cfs and air is 73 degrees and water at 63 degrees. (Due to the smoke covering the sun) Hoopa is 11.12ft at 598cfs and water is 65.9 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 1,914cfs a decrease of 14cfs. 
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 929cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.87ft at 1,043cfs. Indian Creek is 3.17ftat 54cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,097cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,167cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.33ft at 149cfs. Orleans is 1.99ft at 1,316cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 7.83ft at 2,004cfs and water temps are 69 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.42ft with flows of 181cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are N/A ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 89 and a low of 48 degrees. The smoke is cooling things down in the valley. 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 101 and a low of 54. The predicted weather for next week is expected to go up again for the mid part of the week then down again in the mid part of next week. (I hope so) Fishing is going to be crazy for the opening of Fall Chinook salmon season if the fires don’t get under control.

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail