Rain Helping The River

by E.B. Duggan

Sorry about last week’s no report. Computer got sick and had to go to the doctor. I got some good feedback from the October 25 column. I like that some people read the column and comment back about what they think about what I wrote. The problem being hat they don’t always do the proper research to find out the results I am writing about. YES, I do have some bias about the river. We are not producing more fish to return back to the Klamath River Basin of which the Trinity River is a main contributor. We lose too many smolts on their way out, consequently we get less returns. Less returns means we don’t meet the Natural Spawning Escapement of 40,700 Fall Chinook Salmon nor do we meet the Endangered Species returns as per the 2,000 Record of Decision Act. According to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) “we over fished the species” therefore a reduction if fishing opportunities or closure. Once the PFMC declares an “over fishing” (less that 40,700 Natural Spawning Return for three years in a row they can close the fishery).

Yes, the rain has helped the river but we need more light rains for the fish to start moving up the rivers. Not too much though as we don’t want to see heavy rain to hit the burn scars and cause more heavy sediment into the rivers. Some counts did come up slightly but no major push yet. We are all waiting for the big push of Steelhead for some exciting hook ups but I think we are going to have to wait a bit. I have usually found it to be around Thanksgiving time for the ½-pounders and then as Christmas comes rolling in so do the adults. I do like what I have seen for the weir and hatchery counts though as it could mean we could possibly have a Salmon season next year. We are just going to have to wait and see what the PFMC and their Salmon Advisory Sub-committee ahs to say. That will come in March and April of next year.

We have until November 8, 2023 5:pm to respond to the TRRP Winter Augmentation program so pleas make some kind of comment! Email to Kiana Able info@trrp.net,  www.trrp.net/restoration-augmentation/sites/ .   

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 43 ending Oct. 28, 2023, the end of Spring Run egg collection; Fall Chinook Salmon, 49 -jacks, 218 -adults, total 267, seasonal total 267; Coho Salmon, 0-adults, total 0, seasonal total 0; Steelhead 18. Season total 18; Ads clipped -18, total 51.

Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 43 ending Oct. 28, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 29- jacks, 344- adults, total of 373, seasonal total 2,686, seasonal Ads clipped 225; Coho Salmon, 1-jacks, 11- adults, total 12, seasonal total 56; Steelhead, 1- ½-pounders, 5- adults, total 6, seasonal total 270, ads clipped 136; 1-Brown Trout, seasonal total 22.

Willow Creek Weir summary: Julian Week 43 ending Oct. 28, 2023; Chinook Salmon, 3-jacks, 21- adults, total 24, seasonal total 814, seasonal total Ads clipped 4, seasonal total 125; Coho Salmon, 0- jack, 3-adult, total 3, season total 105, ad clipped total 96; Steelhead, 1-1/2-pounders, 5- adults, total 6, seasonal total 317 (hatchery total 174).

Fishing: The Trinity River Valley is getting some nice gentle rain which has cooled the river some but I haven’t seen many fishermen out fish in the Willow Creek area. Tish Tang has been being hit hard with fishermen but I was un able to get a count as to how many were being landed. The rain is good and not muddying up the river yet, just a little color. The upper river got a nice run of Salmon but just a few Steelhead. The hatchery Steelhead count is low but it is still early yet.    

Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,942cfs, this is an increase of 404cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is currently releasing 1,031cfs a decrease of 17cfs from last week. The Klamath River releases are doing well for the upper section of the Klamath right now but the rains are hitting the area hard at times and is causing some debris and silt from “fire run off”. Happy Camp is flowing at 1,423cfs today and could go up if the rain gets much heavier. If you wish to fish above I-5 a call to Scott Caldwell (530-905-0758) would be your best bet. For the Happy Camp/Somes Bar area a call to Doug Cole at the Marble Mountain Ranch (530-552-6284) would be you best bet. The Weitchpec/ Orleans areas should be fair to good fishing right now but you must remember that you are not allowed to keep Salmon and only retain hatchery Steelhead which is hard to find in this area.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 425cfs and releasing 727cfs over to the Keswick Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 69% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 3ft) with inflows of 3,768cfs and releasing 5,132cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 5,600cfs and releasing 5,491cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 68% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 5ft) 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 1,491cfs with releases of 4,145cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,217,399AF a decrease of 21,296AF.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 92ft below the overflow (a decrease of 2ft) and 50% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 178cfs and releasing 756cfs into Lewiston Lake with 451cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 5,491cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases of 305cfs into the Trinity River with water temperatures of 48.2 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday November 5, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.67ft at flows of 303cfs. Douglas City is 6.47ft with flows of 327cfs with water temperatures of 50.4 degrees. Junction City is 1.71ft at 332cfs. Helena is 8.16ft at 382cfs with water temps of 53 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 2.50ft at 464cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.01ft at 129cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 593cfs and air is 67 degrees and water at 54.5 degrees, Hoopa is 11.61ft at 789cfs with water at 55.4 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,942cfs an increase of 404cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,031cfs a decrease of 17cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.27ft at 1,286cfs. Indian Creek is 3.92ft at 127cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,423cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,771cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.93ft at 382cfs. Orleans is 2.89ft at 2,153cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.55ft at 3,583cfs and water temps are 55.1 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 7.65ft with flows of 2,698cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 14.23ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 71 and a low of 32 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.74 with a water year total to date of 6.31 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 66 degrees and a low of 41. The weather predicted for the first part of the week is light rain with showers for the weekend. We could see some fish movement towards the later part of the week. Let’s hope so.

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