Finally, Fishing is Picking up For The Trinity

by E.B. Duggan

Form all of the reports I have received and what I have been able to see fishing is starting to pick up. It seems a little late but the fish are here! In the last four weeks the Willow Creek weir has counted 2,281 Chinook salmon and 142 steelhead. These are great numbers for this time of year and compared to last year. You have to remember that the weir only counts about 5 to 8% of the fish that will be going up to the spawning area in the Upper Trinity. At the rate the salmon and steelhead are making it to the Willow Creek weir and up river is much grater than last year in fact the count is double from that of 2019 (the count for last year was disrupted and not a full trapping season).

The fires have finally calmed down to the point that there is very little smoke and fishing below the Willow Creek weir or up by South Fork is a pleasure again. The Knob Fire is totally under control and the Monument fire is almost totally contained to the point it is no danger to the communities along Hwy 299. Although there is a Highway closure from Del Loma to Burnt Ranch School Rd. one can fish the Trinity below Hawkins Bar / Susie Q area sown to Weitchpec and from Del Loma up to the Old Lewiston Bridge. The area from Hawkins Bar Bridge up to Cedar Flat Bridge is closed to fishing. Let’s hope that the other fishes in Northern California will be under containment very soon.

I will be trying to get the addresses for you to write NOAA and the Calif Fish and Game Commission about restoring the numbers of Coho and steelhead back to the original releases to help restore the Trinity fishery.  

Lower Klamath Harvest Survey: Julian Week 40 ending Oct. 7,2021 for Fall Run Chinook salmon for below Hwy 101 Bridge; 0-jack, 0-adults, total 0, season total 389. Chinook salmon above Hwy 101 Bridge; 43-jacks, 7-adults total 50, season total 3,060.

Junction City weir summary: Julian week 40 ending the week of Oct. 7, 2021 for Fall-Run Chinook salmon; (Note: I did not receive a report) 10 - jacks, 20 - adults, total of 30, season total of 1,070; Coho salmon, 0 jacks, season total 0, 0 adults, season total 0; steelhead, 0- 1/2lber, 4- adults, for total of 4, season total 74; 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.

Willow Creek weir summary: Julian Week 40 ending Oct. 7 for Fall Chinook salmon; 45-jacks, 587-adults, total 623, season total 2,833; Coho salmon; 8-jack, 68 adults, total 76, season total 133; steelhead, 0-1/2lbers, 30-adults, total 30, season total 254.

Upper Klamath summary: Julian Week 40 observed through Oct. 7, Shasta River 3,98; Bogus Creek 271 adult Chinook salmon; Scott River, a significant number have already spawned, no new counts as of Sept. 17. 

Fishing: The Trinity is flowing at its normal summer flows of 450cfs but will reduce to 300cfs by Oct 15th. The good news is that there are plenty of salmon and steelhead moving up the river. I know that it is a bit later than normal but I attribute that to the warm water from the summer. Now that it has cooled down, we are seeing great numbers of salmon going through the area. Last week Marshal of Mini Drifter Boats has drifted the river from South Fork to Kimtu Beach and has done well with 2 adult steelhead last week and 4 the week before plus 2 salmon and 6 jacks. A report from Dave Graham of Suzie Q that he and 3 of his fishing buddies were able to land a total of 8 adults, 1 jack, 2 adult steelies and 15 ½-pounders fishing Suzie Q and Weitchpec and Bluff Creek on the Klamath. Not bad for a couple of days fishing.

Temperatures are dropping and winter is just around the corner and the water is at a good temperature for fishing. The Fall Run Chinook salmon are here for those who are egger to hook a few salmon and a steelhead or two! 

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,074cfs. This is an increase of 78cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,046cfs. With the temperatures dropping and the water cooling down Weitchpec and Orleans are great fishing right now. You have to fish the early mornings for the steelhead but you can still hook a salmon or two in the mid-morning. The salmon are hitting roe balls and spinners while the steelhead are also striking night crawlers. The cool water holes like Hopkins Creek and Bluff Creek are good areas to work. I am sorry I did not hear from up rifer this week but I would imagine that the fishing up in the Happy Camp area is good also.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 96% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 1,473cfs and releasing 1,995cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 23% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 6ft) with inflows of 2,690cfs and releasing 4,871cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 83% (a decrease of 10%) with inflows of 6,866cfs and releasing 6,947cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 22% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,581cfs with releases of 1,813cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 23% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 522cfs with releases of 589cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 156ft below the overflow (an increase of 8ft) and 28% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 10cfs and releasing 1,931cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,481cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 6,947cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 98% of capacity (an increase of 3%) and water releases are 450cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 53.6 degrees, as of 1:30pm today Sunday October 7, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.87ft at 409cfs. Douglas City is 6.50ft with flows of 451cfs with air temps of N/A and water temperatures of 52.5 degrees. Junction City is 1.91ft at 437cfs. Helena is 8.38ft at 459cfs with water temps of 55.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.55ft at 467cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.98ft at 41cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 508cfs and air is 68 degrees and water at 57 degrees. Hoopa is 11.16ft at 618cfs and water is 58.7 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,074cfs an increase of 78cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,046cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.03ft at 1,122cfs. Indian Creek is 3.12ft at 48cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,140cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,333cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.34ft at 123cfs. Orleans is 2.12ft at 1,456cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.07ft at 2,371cfs and water temps are 60.8 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.47ft with flows of 197cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.51 ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 84 and a low of 41 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.11in with a water year total to date of 0.11 inches (note: the water year ended on Sept. 30 and the new water year started Oct. 1) and 0.0in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted weather for next week is high of 80 and a low of 37. The predicted weather for next week is possible showers for Wednesday. That could mean some good fishing for next weekend. Let’s hope so.

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