It is Smokey in Willow Creek!
by E.B. Duggan
It has been smoky off and on here in Willow Creek due to the Fires, Six Rivers Lightening Complex. The fires around Willow Creek have made internet a problem due to heavy smoke at times. I was not able to get internet last week due to the heavy smoke and am having some problems making this report. Right now, the smoke from the fires around Willow Creek, Salyer and Hawkins Bar is fair to bad so if you have breathing problems it is advised to stay inside or stay out of the smoke.
Many of you may have notice that the river has increased in flows. This is because the Lower Klamath needs be cooled down in order to help curtail the disease of ich and columnaris in salmon. Mike Dixon, Executive Director of TRRP said the releases should not impact reservoir storage as releases into Clear Creek will be reduced. This when Trinity Lake storage is at 612,631AF, 600,000AF is the cold-water pool level that was determined some time ago in order to provide cold water to the Trinity River and cool down the Lower Klamath, Trinity Lake Reservoir needs a minimum of 600,000 Acre Feet of water to meet cold-water pool storage. I don’t see there not being some affect to the water storage if releases continue to be 1,050cfs for any length of time. Yes, this is happening just when the Chinook Fall Run is staging to come up the Trinity River.
As many of you have heard the guides in the Upper Trinity did well in getting their customers limits of Spring Run Chinook. That was great! The Spring Run of Chinook salmon entering the hatchery was very good under the present conditions. The TRH counted 2,186 Spring Run Chinook salmon into the hatchery this season. This is a good count as the last two years the count was below 1,000 Spring Run Chinook salmon into TRH. Yes, the limit for this year was only one salmon but hopefully in two years maybe the limits can be increased. The limits for the Fall Run Chinook salmon have already started on the Lower Klamath and will start for the Trinity September 1st. Fall Run Chinook salmon limits will be 3 salmon per day, no more than 2 adults, 9 salmon in possession with no more than 6 adults.
Lower Klamath summary: Below Hwy 101 Bridge, Julian Week ending Aug. 26; 19-adult, season total 49, 10-jack, season total 16; combined season total 64. Above Hwy 101 Bridge; 164-adults, season total 178, 129-jacks, season total 138; combined season total 315.
Junction City weir summary: Julian week 32 ending Aug. 12, 2022; 2 adult Chinook, 1 jack, total 3, season total 2,186; 0- Coho; season total 0; 11 steelhead, total 1, season total 89; 0-Brown trout, total-1, season total-22.
Fishing: The Fall Run Chinook salmon are in the Trinity and moving up river. Hoopa has been seeing a good number of adults and a mix of jacks. Although it has been smoky the salmon are moving though Willow Creek and thoughs’ willing to stand the smoke are hooking salmon. The Friday Ridge Rd is only open to residents for the time being due to fire truck activity. The water flows are about 1,050cfs in WC and the water is clear with visibility of about 6ft. Most of the mud from the Canyon Creek slide have gone through. Fishing Hawkins Bar is difficult due to the closure of some roads due to fire truck activity. Up river most of the accesses to the river are open but some areas may be smoky so if you are having breathing problems it is recommended that you use caution. But the fishing is good and salmon are in the river.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,730cfs. This is an increase of 425cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 896cfs I would think that was kind of low for fishing above I-5. A new fire broke out this morning in the Weitchpec area so I would expect that area is closed to public access so fishing in that area will be hard at this time. No one has been fishing the Orleans area yet as the area doesn’t open until Sept. 1st and the same for the Seiad Valley area.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 97% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 417cfs and releasing 549cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 35% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,416cfs and releasing 3,282cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 90% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 4,170cfs and releasing 4,390cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 37% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 7ft) with inflows of 2,378cfs with releases of 2,994cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 47% of capacity (a decrease of 6% minus 8ft) with inflows of 1,560cfs with releases of 3,462cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 162ft below the overflow (an increase of 4ft) and 25% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 75cfs and releasing 1,525cfs into Lewiston Lake with 479cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,390cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 95% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases of 1,046cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 55.5 degrees, as of 9:30am today Monday August 29, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 5.62ft at 1,095cfs. Douglas City is 7.29ft with flows of 987cfs with water temperatures of 54.8 degrees. Junction City is 2.88ft at 991cfs. Helena is 9.85ft at 997cfs with water temps of 60.9 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is N/Aft at N/Acfs due to fires. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.75ft at 58cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,055cfs and air is 74 degrees and water at 66 degrees, the river is clear and running a bit high. Kimtu and Big Rock accesses are closed to public due to fire equipment usage. Hoopa is 12013ft at 1,213cfs with water at 70.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,730cfs an increase of 425cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 896cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.90ft at 1,062cfs. Indian Creek is 3.33ft at 78cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,140cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,304fs, and the Salmon River is 1.49ft at 207cfs. Orleans is 2.09ft at 1,511cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.36ft at 2,892cfs and water temps are 71.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.75ft with flows of 330cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.73ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 99 and a low of 55 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 55.93 inches and 5.00in of snow in Willow Creek. We have been experiencing some hot smoky weather all week from the fires. We could sure use some rain but NO lightening. The projected temperatures for next week are for high of 99 and lows of 56 with a rise to about 102 next Tuesday. I know this is discouraging information but I want you to be prepared for hot and smoky weather if you plan on fishing the Willow Creek or Hoopa areas.
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