Heavy Showers, Lightning Thunder

by E.B. Duggan

 Last week we had a huge down pour in the valley. It lasted about one hour but dropped over an inch of rain. You couldn’t leave cover or you would be soaking wet. The rain was good for the fires but the lightening was the cause of a couple of small spot fire that locals were able to extinguish, thank goodness. It was really hard rain for this time of year but from what I was able to find out no major damage. I don’t remember when the valley has had such a heavy downpour at this time of year but am happy no more major fires occurred.

The water releases are over and I have not been able to find many fish moving. Usually after a storm of this type we find a huge movement of salmon and steelhead as they make that last big push to reach their spawning grounds. I have not heard nor seen any type of that movement so far. We are in a fish return slump. It looks like the hatchery will not make Spring Run Chinook Salmon egg quota for this year. Normal Chinook Salmon releases are 2.9million (2 million smolts and 900,000 yearlings). If the goal is to recover fish returns to the amounts of before Trinity Dam we are in a big struggle. I just hope the remodel of Trinity River Hatchery and the removal of the Dams on the Klamath will someday be able to meet that goal but I doubt I will ever see it in my lifetime.

The last days of summer are upon us and the Fall Chinook Salmon return should be in full swing on the Klamath River but I have not heard nor seen many large salmon runs on the Klamath yet. If someone out there has seen large quantities of salmon on the move on the Klamath, please feel free to jump in there and correct me. If the Fall Run is anything like the Spring Run fishing is going to be very hard for salmon on the west coast for the next few years. A big recovery plan had better start very soon and I don’t mean another “Record of Decision” like that of 2000. No where or no time has the TRRP program proven to successfully improve the production of Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon or Steelhead on the Trinity River in the last 23 years, as per the 2000 ROD stated would be done in 15 years. I am sorry guys you have failed!  

Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 33 ending Aug. 19, 2023; Spring Chinook, 9 jacks, 17 adults, total of 26, seasonal total 1,350; Coho Salmon 0, steelhead; 0- ½-pounders, 7- adults, total 7, seasonal total 125; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.  

Fishing: The weather has cooled down some for the forth coming week so maybe the Trinity will cool to the point that fish will start to move and we can get back to fishing for steelhead. September 1st is just a short time away and the Labor Day Holiday is here to start the Fall fishing.

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,537cfs, this is a decrease of 193cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 921cfs an increase of 9cfs from last week. The Klamath River is flowing regular summer flows right now and is cooling down ever so slowly. A nice rain would help reduce the fires and smoke and help cool the river hopefully. Until that happens, I don’t see a lot of great steelhead fishing on the Klamath. (Salmon fishing is closed) If you are interested in fishing the Upper Klamath you can call Scott Caldwell a call (530-905-0758) or if you want to fish the Happy Camp Area you can call Marble Mountain Resort, Doug Cole (530-469-3322).

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 660cfs and releasing 667cfs waters over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 97% of capacity (an increase of 7% plus 2ft) with inflows of 3,042cfs and releasing 8,243cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 9,227cfs and releasing 9,110cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 83% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 5ft) with inflows of 1,992cfs with releases of 7,370cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 77% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 2ft) with inflows of 2,487cfs with releases of 4,136cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,348,932AF a decrease of 20,884AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 78ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 55% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 174cfs and releasing 1,154cfs into Lewiston Lake with 468cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 9,110cfs into the Sacramento River. (Our cold water going over to the Sacramento River)

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 2%) and water releases of 457cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.6 degrees, as of 10:00am today Sunday August 27, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at flows of 472cfs. Douglas City is 6.75ft with flows of 473cfs with water temperatures of 54.8 degrees. Junction City is 2.06ft at 517cfs. Helena is 8.70ft at 553cfs with water temps of 59.1 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.93ft at 621cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.08ft at 165cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 786cfs and air is 86 degrees and water at 66 degrees, Hoopa is 11.84ft at 935cfs with water at 68.9 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,537cfs a decrease of 193cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 922cfs an increase of 9cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.92ft at 1,050cfs. Indian Creek is 3.64ft at 78cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,128cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,365cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.60ft at 237cfs. Orleans is 2.52ft at 1,602cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.35ft at 3,159cfs and water temps are 69.3 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.55ft with flows of 260cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.58ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 96 and a low of 55 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.04in with a water year total to date of 77.06 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 86 and a low of 56. We are expecting a cooling down period with some light smoke days. 

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