Fal lis Here and Where Are The Fish?

by E.B. Duggan

September was the beginning of Autumn. (Fall to us) We had a little rain and the last rush of Spring Chinook and Summer Steelhead. It made for some good fishing and things kind of went south as for fishing. Fishing has been fair in the lower sections of the Trinity River but fair to good in the upper sections. It kind of depends of when and where you fish. The weather people say we can expect some rain this week but I think we will have to wait and see what happens.

October 1st was the beginning of the new water year in which we start measuring rain for the winter season. Last year at my house I was able to measure 7.5 inches of snow for last winter and 79.95 inches of rain. This would count towards the Willow Creek area but not down town W C. The rain was good but it kind of hurt the fire areas and the river. It was hard for the upper part of the river especially the North Fork area. The Klamath also really got hit hard from the fire debris. Rain really helps the firefighters but the rivers suffer from the debris that is washed into the rives. Another thing that is not considered is what really happens to the salmon and steelhead redds? Years ago, lye soap was making form fire ash, water and wax or bee’s wax to clean their laundry yet we have ben told that fire ash won’t hurt the fish. I have seen salmon caught after fires ash was washed into streams and the salmon get in their gill plates. It must do something to the fish, but we have been told that it won’t hurt them.

What happened to Lewiston Lake? I have heard that only one trout plant was made plus the plant for the “Kids Fish Derby”.  One would think that CDFW would consider extra trout plants for Lewiston because of the closing of salmon fishing. But I guess that don’t count towards fishing opportunities. It would be nice if CDFW would consider fishing licenses for senior citizens at half-price. Retired people are on a limited income and would love the opportunity to go fishing but they have been priced out of the ability to afford the cost and still drive to a location and pay for parking or staying some place. Just thing how many extra fishing licenses CDFW could sell. 

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 39 ending Sep. 30, 2023; Spring Chinook Salmon, 178-jacks, 675-adults, total 853, seasonal total 2,408; Coho Salmon 0; Summer Run Steelhead 7. Season total 14. It looks like the count for Spring Salmon is sufficient to provide the necessary egg supply for a spring release in 2026 return. It normally takes somewhere of 1,800 to 2,000 salmon to provide enough eggs to make the necessary release of smolt for the Spring Salmon Run.

Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 39 ending Sep. 30, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 13- jacks, 118- adults, total of 131, seasonal total 1,707, seasonal Ads clipped 47; Coho Salmon 2, total 2, seasonal total 2; Steelhead, 2- ½-pounders, 16- adults, total18, seasonal total 164; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.

Willow Creek Weir summary: Julian Week 39 ending Sep. 30, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 17-jacks, 92- adults, total 109, seasonal total 449, seasonal total Ads clipped 39; Coho Salmon, 17- jack, 92-adult, total 12, season total 30; Steelhead, 3-1/2-pounders, 50- adults, total 41, seasonal total 137 (hatchery total 87). 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 Trinity River Valley is expecting some more light rains and scattered showers for the coming week. Hopefully it will bring up some more fish into the lower sections of the river. We could use some fishing action as it has been fairly slow for the last couple of weeks. Spinners have been doing the best so you might just want to try throwing some iron out there, spinners are working the best. Yes, there has been fishing but fairly slow in the lower sections of the river. As for the upper parts of the river it has been hot and fair fishing. From Del Loma on up there have been spurts of some good fishing for Steelhead. This last week TRH has seen a very good number of Salmon enter but not many Steelhead. Fishing below Old Lewiston Bridge has been Hot and cold depending on the day you fish. Roe has been doing fairly good for adult Iron Heads. 

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,504cfs, this is a decrease of 15cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,042cfs an increase of 6cfs from last week. The Klamath River increased releases might help clear up some parts of the Upper Klamath River. I am not sure if the rains this week will cause more fire run-off or not, but I sure hope not. Any fire run-off should not cause problems above I-5 and the increased releases might help clear the river for better fishing down river. Weitchpec is flowing good and the mouth of the Trinity is helping to clear the river some so maybe the Lower Klamath will clear enough to make fishing good after the rains. Salmon closure and fire closure plus ash run-off has hurt fishing in the Happy Camp area for sure so hopefully the rains will help in that area. A call to Doug Cole at the Marble Mountain Ranch (800-552-6284) could answer any questions about river conditions.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 668cfs and releasing 722cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 72% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 3,740cfs and releasing 5,456cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 5,906cfs and releasing 6,092cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 72% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 4ft) with inflows of 1,425cfs with releases of 6,502cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 65% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,1078cfs with releases of 2,840cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,262,321AF a decrease of 12,631AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 88ft below the overflow an increase of 1ft) and 52% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 134cfs and releasing 1,155cfs into Lewiston Lake with 698cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 6,092cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 93% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases of 457cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.5 degrees, as of 2:00pm today Sunday October 8, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at flows of 472cfs. Douglas City is 6.74ft with flows of 467cfs with water temperatures of 53.2 degrees. Junction City is 2.01ft at 463cfs. Helena is 8.57ft at 509cfs with water temps of 57.4 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.78ft at 564cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.92ft at 110cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 697cfs and air is 82 degrees and water at 61 degrees, Hoopa is 11.57ft at 765cfs with water at 63.4 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,504cfs an increase of 15cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,042cfs an increase of 6cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.23ft at 1,258cfs. Indian Creek is 3.56ft at 67cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,325cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,536cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.51ft at 203cfs. Orleans is 2.57ft at 1,739cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.17ft at 2,791cfs and water temps are 64.1 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.57ft with flows of 234cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.57ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 86 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00 with a water year total to date of 0.00 inches and 0.00in of snow for a total of 0.00in. in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 80 and a low of 45. The weather predicted for the first part of the week is light rain showers with scattered showers for the rest of the week. Hopefully this will start more fish moving. 

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