Winter Flows Startin
by E.B. Duggan
Bureau of Reclamation will reduce water releases to 300cfs October 16th. The releases will begin dropping from 450cfs at 8:00am Monday morning and be down to 300cfs by 4pm Monday afternoon. It will take some time before it reaches Hoopa and from then until “Winter Augmentation Flows” it will be strictly weather-related events that will control water flows on the Trinity River.
TRRP will begin a 30-day public comment period Oct. 10, 2023 to Nov.8, 2023 to allow the public to comment on the Winter-Spring Augmentation Environmental Assessment study. You may send your comments to Kiana Able via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the word AUGMENTATION in your email’s subject line. The Draft Environmental Assessment is at www.trrp.net/restoration-augmentation/sites/ . Be sure to make some type of comment is we are to be able to show we are concerned about the river. Mr. Dixon (Executive Director of TRRP) has stated that the last “Winter Argumental Flows didn’t cost more than $100K to the county economy. Mr. Dixon has not been around the visitor environment very much because most Visitor Bureuros consider each dollar spent in a county for recreation is turned over at least eight to ten times. (That’s conservative) Having worked with the Humboldt County Visitor and Convention Bureau in years past these are the figures most Bureuros use to figure how the dollar income effects the economy. If tis were to be then his estimate would be $800K to 1,000,000 dollars. I know for a fact that just one guide spent over $300 dollars, plus $550 per day for guide service, plus lodging for the clients for three days of fishing. That is just on guide, now consider how many guides did NOT fish during the last “Winter Argumentation Flow” event plus all of the lodging recreational people would have spent in Trinity County. I think the $100K is a little light for the loss to Trinity County economy.
From the latest TRH counts it looks like they will meet the Spring Chinook egg count for the 2023 season. Which means the Spring Chinook releases for 2024 could possibly be met. If so then we could expect a fair Spring Run of Chinook returns in the 2026 salmon fishing season. I know that sounds like a long time away but if nothing is done, then we could expect slim returns from 2024, 2025 and possibly 2026 Salmon fishing season if there are poor ocean conditions it could mean more NO FISHING for Salmon again. This looks bleak for our opportunities but CDFW has to wake up and do something to try and prevent this from happening. One way would be to maybe look at the state of Washington and how they worked to bring back fishing opportunities for some of their Chinook Salmon fishing.
Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 40 ending Oct. 7, 2023; Spring Chinook Salmon, 123-jacks, 345-adults, total 468, seasonal total 2,876; Coho Salmon, 2-adults, total 2, seasonal total 2; Summer Run Steelhead 4. Season total 18. 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 40 ending Oct. 7, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 21- jacks, 124- adults, total of 145, seasonal total 1,852, seasonal Ads clipped 55; Coho Salmon, 5- adults, total 5, seasonal total 7; Steelhead, 0- ½-pounders, 31- adults, total 31, seasonal total 195; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.
Willow Creek Weir summary: Julian Week 40 ending Oct. 7, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 13-jacks, 124- adults, total 137, seasonal total 586, seasonal total Ads clipped 66; Coho Salmon, 0- jack, 29-adult, total 29, season total 59; Steelhead, 1-1/2-pounders, 34- adults, total 35, seasonal total 225 (hatchery total 108). 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 got rain last week and more this week. The river is flowing good right now but is expected to start dropping this week due to winter flow reductions of flows down to 300cfs. There is also some information above about the possible “Winter Argumentation” and I would encourage you to write and let TRRP know how you feel it will hurt your ability to go fishing. There has been some light fishing going on in the lower sections of the Trinity more so on the reservation than the Willow Creek area. I did not get to reach my contacts in the upper sections of the river and have no report. My bad. (been busy with water leaks) I did hear about some muddy water around the Del Loma area though. It is close to winter and Steelhead fishing should be picking up at this time of year.
Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,813cfs, this is an increase of 304cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,042cfs an increase of 11cfs 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 or you could call Scott Caldwell (530-905-0758).
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 71cfs and releasing 713cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 71% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 2,479cfs and releasing 5,459cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 91% (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 5,917cfs and releasing 6,103cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 71% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,325cfs with releases of 6,551cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 63% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,190cfs with releases of 2,682cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,262,321AF a decrease of 12,631AF.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 89ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 51% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 226cfs and releasing 1,121cfs into Lewiston Lake with 670cfs 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 0%) and water releases of 451cfs into the Trinity River and reducing to 300csf by 4:00pm Monday O ct. 16, with water temperatures of 49.5 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday October 15, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at flows of 472cfs. Douglas City is 6.73ft with flows of 462cfs with water temperatures of 51.3 degrees. Junction City is 2.02ft at 469cfs. Helena is 8.63ft at 529cfs with water temps of 54.5 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.88ft at 602cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.00ft at 129cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 730cfs and air is 66 degrees and water at 56.7 degrees, Hoopa is 11.75ft at 876cfs with water at 58.7 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,813cfs an increase of 309cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,053cfs an increase of 11cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.28ft at 1,294cfs. Indian Creek is 3.64ft at 78cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,372cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,672cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.67ft at 265cfs. Orleans is 2.74ft at 1,937cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.46ft at 3,390cfs and water temps are 58.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 5.09ft with flows of 480cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 12.03ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 70 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.69 with a water year total to date of 2.69 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 89 and a low of 47. 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.
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