River is Running HIgh, Lake is Low

by E.B. Duggan

Trinity Lake is just over one third of capacity when it should be filling upWHY? Because Bureau of Reclamation is waiting for parts to repair the tube that supplies water to the power plan. Why weren’t these parts discovered when the lake was so low and the repairs were determined to be needed. Why was this tube was not inspected in past low waters in the lake. From what I can fid out is that this has not been done since the Dam was built. Dam gate repairs were done several years ago when the water was low. Why was the tube NOT inspected at the same time? It appears that the management of Trinity Lake has been neglected over all.

The Trinity Journal is trying to raise funding to investigate the management of the Trinity River Restoration. Maybe they should also include management of the dam and tube. In 2000 the then Secretary of Interior (Babbitt) signed the Record of Decision (ROD) that formed the Trinity Management Council and the Trinity Adaptive Working Group (TAMWG). The TMC is formed of government agencies and two tribal representees. TAMWG is formed of river guides, citizens who live along the river, users of the river, businesses that depended upon the river for their economy and Humboldt County representees. TAMWG members, of which I was a member until it was defunded) was formed and begun in 2001. According to the ROD, TAMWG members were to hold public meetings to gather information as to what the public wanted when projects were defined and present recommendations to the TMC for action on the projects. TAMWG has not been able to operate since 2017 but TMC and the TRRP have continued to do restoration on the river without proper public input. This is only one item of concern. There was supposed to be review and monitoring of all projects to see of they were doing what they were designed to do. A total of 28 projects were defined in the ROD and were supposed to end in 2015. Then monitoring was to be done to see how well the Restoration was working to help restore endangered species on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Here it is 2023 and the ROD projects are not done as well as the restoration of the river to produce fish runs as before 1964. I encourage you to support the Trinity Journal’s investigation into the Restoration of the Trinity River to see why the “Fish Runs” are becoming extinct instead of restored.   

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 10 ending Mar. 11, 2023; Fall Run Chinook Salmon, 0-adult, 0-jacks, total 0, season total 3,858; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 0-adult, total 0, season total 3,504; 17-steelhead, season total 1,047. It appears like the hatchery return is picking up. January 28 through February 4 appears to have been the peak of the hatchery return for steelhead with aa nice spike of 219 for Julian Week 9. The hatchery returns seems to be fair this year so I don’t understand why they don’t go back to the original releases for Coho Salmon and Steelhead and try to increase Chinook Salmon releases. 

Fishing: It appears that there will be NO salmon fishing along the North Coast or coastal river this year due to the lack of salmon returns. Does the restoration of the Trinity River have anything to do with this. Like I said above TRRP and the TMC don’t appear to be doing their job.

The river is still high but the upper river is much more fishable than the lower sections. While traveling Hwy 299 and looking at the river I have noticed that most of the upper sections are somewhat clear until you get down to about Cedar Flat where the road crosses the river, after that the river starts to cloud up some until you get to South Fork and the mud comes into the main stem.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 22,237cfs. This is an increase of 13,367cfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 998cfs. With these decreases in water releases from Iron Gate the Klamath is becoming fishable very soon providing there is no more big storms in the near future. With the weather being so inconsistent I would expect it to be a good idea to call ahead before making the trip. It is spring so if you are considering fishing later in the Spring, I would suggest you call Scott Caldwell-Guide Service- (530) 905-0758. Right now, Highway 96 is blocked off by a huge mud slide just north of Happy Camp.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 92% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 1,059cfs and releasing 1,105cfs into Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 80% of capacity (an increase of 10% plus 32ft) with inflows of 15,076cfs and releasing 1,734cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 89% (a decrease of 6%) with inflows of 3,282cfs and releasing 3,422cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 82% of capacity (an increase of 10% plus 27ft) with inflows of 16,862cfs with releases of 15,649cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 66% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 13ft) with inflows of 9,860cfs with releases of 8,236cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 895,981AF an increase of 100,218AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 127ft below the overflow (a decrease of 3ft) and 37% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 2,237cfs and releasing 829cfs into Lewiston Lake with -15cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 3.422cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 98% of capacity (an increase of 6%) and water releases of 1,030cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 47.3 degrees, as of 11:00am today Sunday March 26, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 5.85ft at 1,311cfs. Douglas City is 7.99ft with flows of 1,625cfs with water temperatures of 43.7 degrees. Junction City is 4.42ft at 1,950cfs. Helena is 12.18ft at 2,251cfs with water temps of 42.5 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 7.90ft at 4,023cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 8.04ft at 4,233cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 8,256cfs and air is 45 degrees and water at 43 degrees, Hoopa is 19.31ft at 12,463cfs with water at 44.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 22,237cfs a decrease of 13,367cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 995cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.87ft at 2,693cfs. Indian Creek is 5.58ft at 689cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 3,382cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 7,188fs, and the Salmon River is 4.43ft at 2,586cfs. Orleans is 7.61ft at 9,774cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 15.92ft at 26,552cfs and water temps are 44.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 9.62ft with flows of 8,549cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 16.07ft at N/A.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 63 and a low of 37 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.90n with a water year total to date of 72.01 inches and 0.00in of snow for a total of 7.50in. in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 63 and a low of 37. The weather next week is for some rain at the beginning of the week and then a break with rain and some snow showers for the weekend with the snow to the higher elevations.

Websites: MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Willowcreekchamber.com,
from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail yen2fish@yahoo.com