As The Cooler Weather Moved in The Fish Are Moving Up River

by E.B. Duggan

It looks like the weather is taking a turn towards a cool down. Normally as the weather cools down the water starts to cooling down and the fish start moving up river. This year the water is cooling some but is still up in there in the 60 degrees which means the fish will be still looking for cold water streams flowing into the river. We are seeing some fish in the Willow Creek and Hoopa area but the smoke comes and goes as we get some warm days. Yesterday and today, we had a heavy layer of smoke move up river from the fires so the heat kind of layered in the valley. It is supposed to get cooler as we get closer to the weekend which is good news for fishing.

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 36 ending Sep. 9, 2023; Spring Chinook Salmon, 34-jacks, 143-adults, total 177, seasonal total 177; Coho Salmon 0; Steelhead 2.
Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 36 ending Sep. 9, 2023; Spring Chinook Salmon, 12- jacks, 34- adults, total of 46, seasonal total 1,423; Coho Salmon 0, Steelhead, 1- ½-pounders, 1- adults, total 2, seasonal total 134; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.

Willow Creek Weir summary: Julian Week 36 ending Sep. 9,2023; Chinook Salmon, 6-jacks, 44- adults, total 46, seasonal total 108; Coho Salmon 0, Steelhead, 2-1/2-pounders, 23- adults, total 25, seasonal total 46 (hatchery total 17). The Willow Creek weir started counting fish Aug. 27, 2023. Note: The weirs count about 10% of the fish moving up river so the seasonal totals are not just the number of Ad clipped hatchery Steelhead that are moving up the river returning to the Trinity River Hatchery.  

Fishing: The weather has finally started to feel like fall and we are seeing more fish in the Willow Creek and Hoopa areas. The Willow Creek weir is in now and counting fish. We are finally seeing some Steelhead fishing available in the lower sections of the river, I haven’t seen any fishermen fishing though. This should change soon as I have been getting emails and calls about fishing. Now if we could see some rail so the fires could be extinguished, I am sure there some people that would be willing to make the effort to come and catch some fish.  

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,304cfs, this is an increase of 77cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,003cfs a decrease of 11cfs from last week. The Klamath River have decreased the releases a little bit but I don’t think it will hurt the fishing possibilities on the mid to upper parts of the Klamath. The major problem of fishing the Mid-Klamath are the fires. Access on Hwy 96 is problematic at the best, but above I-5 there are no fires or heavy smoke yet. If you are interested in fishing the Upper Klamath you might call Scott Caldwell a call (530-905-0758)

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 994cfs and releasing 1,104cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 75% of capacity (a decrease of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 2,610cfs and releasing 6,555cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 87% (a decrease of 6%) with inflows of 7,354cfs and releasing 7,294cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 77% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 1ft) with inflows of 3,301cfs with releases of 9,075cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 71% of capacity (a decrease of % minus 1ft) 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 81ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 55% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 221cfs and releasing 1,448cfs into Lewiston Lake with 904cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 7,294cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 92% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and water releases of 451cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.5 degrees, as of 1:30pm today Sunday September 17, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.90ft at flows of 457cfs. Douglas City is 6.72ft with flows of 456cfs with water temperatures of 55.3 degrees. Junction City is 2.00ft at 458cfs. Helena is 8.57ft at 509cfs with water temps of 60.7 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.80ft at 572cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.93ft at 112cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 648cfs and air is 78 degrees and water at 65 degrees, Hoopa is 11.55ft at 758cfs with water at 69.7 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,304cfs an increase of 77cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,003cfs a decrease of 11cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.06ft at 1,141cfs. Indian Creek is 3.56ft at 67cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,208cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,347cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.50ft at 199cfs. Orleans is 2.47ft at 1,546cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.06ft at 2,572cfs and water temps are 67.5 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.47ft with flows of 231cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.5ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 98 and a low of 48 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 77.96 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 87 and a low of 48. The weather predicted for next week is a cooling down. If that is the case, we should be seeing a cooling of the river which will hopefully bring more fish up the river. 

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