Problems With Upper Trinity River

by E.B. Duggan

 What has happened to the Trinity River Restoration in the upper forty miles of restoration? In 2000 Sectary of Interior Babette signed the Record of Decision (ROD) and the Trinity Management Council (TMC the governing body), Trinity River Restoration Project (TRRP) and Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group (TAMWG public advisory) were formed to restore the top forty (40) miles of the Trinity River to provide spawning for Endangered Species of the river to before the construction of the Dam (namely Coho Salmon and Steelhead) and to help Chinook Salmon recover. There was, 28 projects defined in the ROD for restoration plus the watersheds of cold-water streams of spawning for Coho Salmon and Steelhead. (Declared Endangered Species) These projects were to be completed in 15 years. In 2017 TAMWG was defunded and the public input was deleted. Today the TRRP is over budget and over time line. Also< of the 27 projects completed over 50% have failed with no idea of correction, nor has the fishery increased to “Before Dam” numbers. In fact, the number of returning Salmon and Steelhead have decreased to the point of reduced “Bag Limits” and the “No Take of Salmon”! Opportunities for fishing on Northern Reavers and streams have disappeared to the point of lost economy that many of the business have also disappeared.

Now we get to what is left of fishing. The latest project (Junction City) has silted up the so bad the it has smothered Redds from the Round House above Sky Ranch Road down to below Del Loma every evening. What happened to the monitors? They leave after 3:00pm and the river is allowed to smother Redd’s. Regulations of the ROD state that “construction in the river is to be completed by September 15th” but an extension was permitted to be allowed into October. (Prime fishing time) The loss of these Redd’s will further harm fishing returns as well as harm fishing in that area. Lost revenues again harming the local economy. At what time will the public be able to provide input to the point the TMC will listen and try to compensate for these loses!  

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. Please, please send your comments to Kiana Able via email to Be sure to include the word AUGMENTATION in your email’s subject line. The Draft Environmental Assessment is at Be sure to make some type of comment so we are to be able to show we are concerned about the river.  

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 41 ending Oct. 14, 2023, the end of Spring Run egg collection; Spring Chinook Salmon, 104-jacks, 604-adults, total 708, seasonal total 3,584; Coho Salmon, 2-adults, total 28, seasonal total 30; Summer Run Steelhead 15. Season total 33

Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 41 ending Oct. 14, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 3- jacks, 47- adults, total of 50, seasonal total 1,902, seasonal Ads clipped 1,623; Coho Salmon, 1-jacks, 10- adults, total 11, seasonal total 18; Steelhead, 2- ½-pounders, 41- adults, total 43, seasonal total 238; 0-Brown Trout, seasonal total 21.

Willow Creek Weir summary: Julian Week 41 ending Oct. 14, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 7-jacks, 140- adults, total 147, seasonal total 733, seasonal total Ads clipped 94; Coho Salmon, 2- jack, 25-adult, total 27, season total 86, ad clipped total 76; Steelhead, 2-1/2-pounders, 95- adults, total 97, seasonal total 322 (hatchery total 164).

Fishing: The Trinity River Valley got some more rain this week with some more predicted for the coming week. The river is now at winter flows releases of 300cfs so we now need more rain to get the flows up and start the Fall and Winter Runs moving up the river.
The Willow Creek Weir is located below the Big Rock area and is not at the Kimtu Beach area any more. The Willow Creek area has seen some increase of fishing pressure but not our normal yet. We need more rain. There is a notice above about the possible “Winter Argumentation” and I would encourage you to please write and let TRRP know how you feel as it will hurt your ability to go fishing in the upper sections of the river and hurt the economy.

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,538cfs, this is a decrease of 275cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,048cfs an increase of 3cfs from last week. The Klamath River releases are doing well for the upper section of the Klamath now and much of the debris and silt from the “fire run off” has dissipated allowing for some trout and occasional Steelhead fishing in the Happy Camp area now. It also should make for some good fishing above I-5. A call to Doug Cole at the Marble Mountain Ranch (530-552-6284) should be helpful for the Happy Camp are and a call to Scott Caldwell (530-905-0758) for above I-5 area should help you if you want to fish those areas. The Weitchpec Orleans areas are good fishing right now but you must remember that you are not allowed to keep Salmon and only retain hatchery Steelhead.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 702cfs and releasing 710cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 70% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 3,309cfs and releasing 5,973cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 6,502cfs and releasing 6,503cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 70% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,397cfs with releases of 7,498cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 60% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,014cfs with releases of 2,775cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,238,625AF a decrease of 11,064AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 90ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 51% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 206cfs and releasing 969cfs into Lewiston Lake with 427cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 6,503cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 93% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and water releases of 269cfs into the Trinity River with water temperatures of 49.6 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday October 22, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.63ft at flows of 279cfs. Douglas City is 6.44ft with flows of 314cfs with water temperatures of 52.1 degrees. Junction City is 1.65ft at 300cfs. Helena is 8.09ft at 362cfs with water temps of 54.7 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.45ft at 446cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.00ft at 126cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 572cfs and air is 61 degrees and water at 56.9 degrees, Hoopa is 11.45ft at 695cfs with water at 60 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,538cfs a decrease of 275cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,048cfs a decrease of 3cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.77ft at 1,286cfs. Indian Creek is 3.60ft at 73cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,359cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,6020cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.61ft at 241cfs. Orleans is 2.63ft at 1,843cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.28ft at 3,015cfs and water temps are 61.1 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 5.08ft with flows of 475cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.99ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 74 and a low of 49 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.80 with a water year total to date of 4.49 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 72 degrees and a low of 37. The weather predicted for the first part of the week is light rain showers with scattered showers for the latter part of the week. Hopefully this will get some fish moving up the rivers. 

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