Winter Water Flows Equals Hard Fishing

by E.B. Duggan

Winter water releases start today at 4:00pm; Flows drop to 300cfs. This is going to make fishing in the upper river a bit hard for the time being. Rain is going to be the main factor for fishing in the upper river as 300cfs releases means it is going to be rafts only for the short time. Drift boats will start about Douglas City or around Junction City. There will be a few areas that are going to be a bit bumpy even for the drift boats as I remember. The lower river is not going to be much better for the drift boaters either. Starting form Hawkins Bar down to Hoopa the is a few areas that will be hard for drift boaters also.

I was unable to get a fishing report from Junction City or Lewiston Lake this week as I waited to long or to late. Either way it was my fault for not trying earlier. Sorry my bad!

About the placement of the 750ft marker/sign at Willow Creek Kimtu Beach, I found out that the weir was placed lower down river than last and that the 750ft distance from the weir is the same no mater where the weir is placed it is still “No Fishing” 750ft from the weir. That is why the sign was placed lower this year. You can launch or take out above the sign but you “Can Not Fish” legally until you have passed the sign. The reason the weir was place lower this year is because last winter flows changed the River Bar at the large rock causing the river to change course in that location. I hope this has cleared up the problem of where the “No Fishing” sign was placed. 

NOTE: Trinity Lake is down 178ft below the overflow and now holding 542,155AF, that is minus 5,431AF from last week. As the volume of water behind the Trinity Dam decreases it will become harder to refill the lake if we don’t have a wet winter this year. Another year of drought could cause a big problem if Trinity Lake does not refill up above the “Cold Water Pool” of 600,000AF. How will BOR deliver water to all the water users they contract with without draining Trinity Lake? It might be to early to start a letter writing campaign to our legislators but I think we should start by letting the Trinity County Board of Supervisors that without water there will be “NO FISHING” fishing next year! No Fishing is going to be an economic disaster for all of the North Coast as well as Trinity County.

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 39 ending Sep. 30, 2022; Spring Chinook Salmon, 733-adult, 84-jacks, total 817, season total 3,651; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 0-adult,season total 0; 12-steelhead, season total 17.

Junction City weir summary: Julian week 40 ending Oct. 7; Chinook salmon, 17-jack, 182-adult, total 199, season total 2,705; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 7-adult, season total 14; steelhead, 6-adult, 0-1/2lbs, total 6, season total 155, Brown trout, 0, season total 22.

Willow Creek weir summary: Julian week 40 ending Oct. 7, 2022; Fall Run Chinook salmon, 246-jacks, 467-adults, total 713,season total 812; Coho salmon, 66-jacks, 294-adults,total 360, season total 429; steelhead, 4-1/2lbs, 47adults, total 51, season total 105.

Fishing: This past week has still been slow in the Willow Creek area. I have noticed this past week there has been very few vehicles parked at the trail to Willow Creek on the access road to Big Rock. Access is still open to the lower part of the Air Port you just have to park in the Big Rock parking lot and walk down the area marked by the traffic cones. There are lots of fish in the Kimtu and Big Rock areas you just have to fish for them in the early morning and I am talking like dawn. Hoopa has been better fishing. Tish Tang is still good fishing in the mornings and late afternoons. Down river behind the Old Pearson Store is very good fishing if you have the stamina to hike down to the river and then hike back up. Best fishing down river from Hoopa is spinners using Vibrec (Blue Fox) in orange bodies/silver blade or chartreuse body/silver blade.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,137cfs. This is a decrease of 3cfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,074cfs. Fishing around Weitchpec above the bridge and up to Orleans has been fair t for those throwing fresh roe when the river is not real muddy. The mud is still in the water from up river. Like I said this is going to be an on-going problem for some time. I am worried about the in-river spawning during this time and what is it going to be like when it starts to really rain this winter? Could we lose a part of next year’s salmon run? 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 18cfs and releasing 273cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 32% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,337cfs and releasing 3,297cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 3,812cfs and releasing 3,917cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 33% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 4ft) with inflows of 1,038cfs with releases of 3,239cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 33% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 838cfs with releases of 1,793cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 178ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 22% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of -17cfs and releasing 341cfs into Lewiston Lake with 53cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, leaving 542,155AF in lake storage (a decrease of 5,431AFG), and releasing 3,917cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases of 394cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 53.9 degrees, as of 1:00pm today Sunday October 16, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 4.88ft at 457cfs. Douglas City is 6.48ft with flows of 437cfs with water temperatures of 53.2 degrees. Junction City is 1.92ft at 442cfs. Helena is 8.40ft at 465cfs with water temps of 56.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.64ft at 513cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.73ft at 58cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 571cfs and air is 71 degrees and water at 59.8 degrees, Hoopa is 11.28ft at 603cfs with water at 61.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,137cfs a decrease of 3cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,074cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.05ft at 1,157cfs. Indian Creek is 3.17ft at 57cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,214cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,382fs, and the Salmon River is 1.34ft at 152cfs. Orleans is 2.15ft at 1,534cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.05ft at 2,280cfs and water temps are 62.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.51ft with flows of 238cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.52ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 85 and a low of 46 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 0.00 inches and 0.00in of snow in Willow Creek. The new water year for 2022-‘23 started October 1, 2022. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 92 and lows of 40. We are predicted to have some rain showers by the weekend, We could use the cooler temperatures and we need the rain to help end the fires but what is it going to do the rivers with all of the ash and burnt timber?

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