With Warmer Weather Fish Are Here

by E.B. Duggan

We are experiencing some warmer weather this week but we are also seeing more salmon and steelhead in the river. Charlie B of Redding wrote me that he had fished after the Holiday Weekend and hooked three nice fresh salmon below the North Fork and then went down river and landed a nice steelhead. (Sorry no size) This is good news because these last rains, even though a small amount, did bring in more fresh fish. The Klamath at Iron Gate also increased releases which helped also. So, we are seeing some late Spring Run Salmon and Summer Steelhead. I have not seen any fishing in the Willow Creek area yet but there is some fishing on the reservation. The trouble is that the fires are still restricting access to the river is some areas so it might be hard to find a good spot to fish below W. C. The good news is that fishing in the upper river is picking up and some guides are returning for fly fishing steelhead. I hop the weather cools down after this week so more steelhead start to show up and we can get back to fishing again as the fire camps start breaking up. I have been seeing more fire equipment going east on Hwy 299 lately though. This means that the Fire fighters are getting more control of the fires and releasing more firefighters.

September 6th I attended a science program by TRRP at the Indian Creek Lodge up in Douglas City. Attendance was fair but attended by some well know river advocates. The information presented was fair to some good but not what I had expected. Much of the info was rehash of old science with very little info about new improved fish production for the Trinity. When asked about the goals of the ROD and why so many of the restoration projects have failed a strait forward answer did not come out. The ROD states that the goal of the restoration was to improve the return of salmon and endangered species to that of before the dam. This has not and I doubt if ever to happen in my life time. 28 restoration projects were to be accomplished during the life of the projects and to be done by 2015 and then monitored to see the results. It is 2023 and there is still more to do with very little results or improvements to the river for fish habitat. The cold-water streams of the upper river have yet to be opened for fish habitat. The endangered species (Coho Salmon and Steelhead) habitat has only minimally been reopened since the 1964 flood for them to spawn. Very little work or restoration funds have been spent for the water sheds of the 40 miles of designated river.  

Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 35 ending Sep. 2, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 2 jacks, 24 adults, total of 26, seasonal total 1,377; Coho Salmon 0, Steelhead; 0- ½-pounders, 3- adults, total 3, seasonal total 132; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.  

Fishing: The weather has fair and is starting to warm up some for the next week. Water temperatures have cooled down some and the fish, Salmon and Steelhead, are moving up river. Some fresh bright salmon have been hooked in the upper river but I have not been able to go down to Tish Tang yet because of the fires. Hopefully I will be able to this coming week and give you a better review of the fishing. So far, I have not seen many fishermen in the Willow Creek area but have seen some rafts and drift boats in the upper sections of the river. As the weather cools down and water temperatures drop there should be more fish inter the river and make their way up and fishing improves.

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,381cfs, this is a decrease of 156cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,014cfs an increase of 92cfs from last week. The Klamath River has increased the releases which should help with fishing above I-5. Unfortunately, the Seiad Vally area has some restrictions due to the fires as well as the Orleans area. As the fires are contained, I am sure sections of the Klamath will be opened for fishing. For right now the best place to do some fishing would be above I-5. I hope that the fires in Happy Camp get under control soon sot the river will open to fishing. If you are interested in fishing the Upper Klamath you can call Scott Caldwell a call (530-905-0758)

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 606cfs and releasing 688cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 76% of capacity (a decrease of 21% plus 15ft) with inflows of 3,046cfs and releasing 7,901cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 8,787cfs and releasing 7,789cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 79% of capacity (a decrease of 4% minus 11ft) with inflows of 3,002cfs with releases of 7,845cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 73% of capacity (a decrease of 4% minus 5ft) with inflows of 2,893cfs with releases of 3,186cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,377960AF an increase of 29,028AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 82ft below the overflow (an increase of 10ft) and 54% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 181cfs and releasing 899cfs into Lewiston Lake with 565cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 7,789cfs into the Sacramento River. (Our cold water going over to the Sacramento River)

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 92% of capacity (a decrease of 5%) and water releases of 457cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 51.5 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday September 10, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.93ft at flows of 479cfs. Douglas City is 6.75ft with flows of 473cfs with water temperatures of 55.1 degrees. Junction City is 2.02ft at 460cfs. Helena is 8.63ft at 529cfs with water temps of 57.7 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.86ft at 594cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.99ft at 141cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 735cfs and air is 77 degrees and water at 65 degrees, Hoopa is 11.656ft at 813cfs with water at 68.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,381cfs a decrease of 156cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,014cfs an increase of 92cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.08ft at 1,155cfs. Indian Creek is 3.60ft at 73cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,228cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,347cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.56ft at 221cfs. Orleans is 2.49ft at 1,560cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.17ft at 2,791cfs and water temps are 68.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.53ft with flows of 252cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.55ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 93 and a low of 51 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.80in with a water year total to date of 77.86 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 97 and a low of 53. We are expecting a warming up for the next week and then hopefully a cooling period for winter fishing.

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