Weather Equals Fish

Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir - Willow Creek, CA (Humboldt County)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
9-22-2019
Website

The Trinity River valley has fallen into the old weather patterns of years ago. We are experiencing weather patterns like in the 1950s and 1960s, rain in September now if that continues into October like back then we should see a lot more fish. (Both salmon and steelhead) I remember when everybody used to have to be out of the woods by October 15th or leave your equipment in for the winter. I don’t think we will see that kind of weather this year but it sure reminds me of that type of weather, snow and all!

Where are the fish: This is a question I have been getting for the last month and all I can say is “in the river somewhere”!  The water temperatures have been going crazy. Up and down from the dangerous 73 degrees down to a comfortable 65 degrees for the fish. Of course, the fish like it even cooler but for this time of year that is a good temperature and SHOULD move fish. All I can say is that the Fall Run salmon area late and by all rights should be up into the Trinity.

Water Release Pulse:  Starting last week the Bureau of Reclamation has been making water releases into the Trinity to lower water temperatures for the salmon and to try to keep the pathogens that cause Shasta C down to a minimum in order to reduce infection of the out migration of salmon and steelhead. Starting at 1:00pm Sep. 18 releases went up from 450cfs to 550cfs by Sep. 19 and then back down to 450cfs by 8:00am Sep. 20. Starting at 1:00pm Sep. 20 releases went back up from 450cfs to 550cfs by Sep. 21 5:00am and then back down to 4550cfs 8:00am. This caused a drop of 3.7 degrees in the water temperatures in Hoopa and a drop in the waters by 4 degrees at the Terwer Creek water gauge above the 101 Bridge of the Klamath River. If this don’t start the salmon moving, I don’t know what will.                 

Trinity River Hatchery: Week ending Sep. 9, Julian week 36: Chinook salmon, 33- jacks, 168-adults, total 201, season total 201; Coho 0, Steelhead 3.

Junction City Weir counts: Julian week 36 the week ending Sep.9; Chinook salmon, 0-jack, 1-adult, total 1, season total 459; Coho 0; steelhead ½-lbs 0, adults 1, season total 91; Brown Trout 0, season total 22. The Junction City weir only trapped one day and was closed down and removed Sep. 8th.

Willow Creek Weir counts: Julian week 37 ending Sep. 16; Chinook salmon, 240- jacks, 161-adults total 401, season totals 401. (Note this is for 7 days of trapping, normal  trapping is 5 days) Coho salmon, 1-jacl, 0-adults, total 1, season total 1; steelhead, 3- ½-pounders, 136-adults, total 139, season total 139.

Fishing:  Fishing the Lower Trinity is still slow but half-pounders are being caught in Willow Creek and down in Hoopa. Most of the fishermen I saw were throwing hardware but I did see a couple of fly fishers in the Kimtu area. I did not see anyone hook a fish but I was not there very long. Up at Del Loma they have been seeing fish go through but most of the fishermen have only been landing jack, very few adults have been coming into camp. Up at Big Bar and Big Flat the rafters have been seeing a lot of steelhead going through. This is good news for the upriver fishermen in Lewiston. Maybe with this rain and overcast weather we are seeing in the valley we will start catching some salmon and steelhead.

Upper Klamath weir counts: Julian week 36 ending on Sep. 9; Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0; Coho 0; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, Coho 0; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 325, Coho 0.

Lower Klamath Creel Counts: Below Highway 101Bridge; Julian week 36 ending Sep. 9; jacks 82, adults 173 total 255, season total 545.
Above Highway 101 Bridge; Week ending Sep. 9; jacks 854, adults 404, total 1,258, season total 1,696. Lower Klamath season total count 2,150.

Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,555cfs. It looks like the rains and the temperature pulses from the Trinity river have helped increase the river flows for the Lower Klamath. This is good news because it should start the salmon to come into the mouth. I was told by a fellow guide that fishing for salmon down at the mouth of the Klamath has really picked up and that it is only a matter of a short time for a fisherman to get his limit of salmon.

John from E Ne Nuck, still hasn’t said anything about how the fishing is. I guess he is busy at camp and hasn’t had a chance to go fishing. The trout and steelhead fishing up around Happy Camp up Iron Gate should be explant. A call to Scot Caldwell of SC Guide Service should let you know how that area is fishing. If you are interested, I am sure he can put you onto some great fishing from Iron Gate down to I-5 if you want to book him. Flows at Seiad Valley are 1,230cfs. so, fishing above I-5 should still be great and fishing down around Happy Camp should also be starting to be good. A call to Marble Mountain Adventures, Doug or Heidi Cole at 800-552-6284 should get you the information of how good the fishing for trout and steelhead is. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 9% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 1,176cfs and releasing 1,448cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 76% of capacity (a decrease of % minus 3ft) with inflows of 2,594cfs and releasing 6,245cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 8%) with inflows of 7,914cfs and releasing 7,934cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 66% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 7ft) with inflows of 2,922cfs with releases of 7,951cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 74% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 2,416cfs with releases of 2,217cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 24ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and inflows are 114cfs and releasing 1,565cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,522cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 7,934cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity and water releases are fluctuating from 450cfs up to 550 and back down to 450cfs with water temperatures of 50.5 degrees and air at N/A as of 9:00am today Sunday September 22, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.10ft at 563cfs. Douglas City is 6.73ft and flows of 579cfs. with air temps of 50 water temperatures of 52.2 degrees. Junction City is 2.33ft at 576cfs. Helena is 8.95ft at 597cfs with water temps of 55.9 degrees and water turbidity at 1.3 0. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.93ft at 606cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.16ft at 94cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 700cfs and air is 57 degrees and water at 60 degrees. Hoopa is 11.81ft at 993cfs and water is 63.1 degrees (a drop of 3.7degrees). Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,555cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,014cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.22ft at 1,270cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,331cfs, the Salmon River is 2.06ft at 273cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,289cfs. Orleans is 2.73ft at 1,562cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.72ft at 3,094cfs and water temps of 65.4 degrees (a 4.2 degree drop). Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 5.04ft and flows of 354cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.95ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week were a high of 81 and a low of 52. Rain for the week was 1.89in with a water year to date of 69.82 inches (the water year ends Oct 1st), with snow of 4.5in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures again with a high of 95 with a low of 43 but I don’t think we will see those highs or lows because Fall is in the air and hopefully, we will also have some good fish’en.


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


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