Chinook Spring Run Disappointing

Trinity River - Douglas City, CA

by E.B. Duggan

The results are in and the Chinook Spring Run counts are down! The counts on the Salmon River were down to 389, one of the lowest counts in the past 20 years. On the Trinity side the counts are not much better. With the Fall Run Chinook return estimated to be low this year, we are looking at a very poor fall fishing season. We have been looking at poor returns for each of the last few years after several years of abundance of salmon returns. I just hope that this is the bottom of the low cycle and the returns start to pick up again.

What are our options? Restricted fishing for salmon or elimination of salmon fishing for several years. Not very good choices! The fish need cooler water and larger flows to help get rid of the parasites and other diseases that are decimating the outgoing smolt and infecting the incoming spawners. There has to be a smarter use of the stored water we have at hand, a scientific need. One that will help restore the fisheries and stops all the nonsense. “The best science” was supposed to be the guideline for water use and yet there seems to be a big tug of war as to how water is to be used. Fish need water, farmers need water to grow food, people in the cities need water to live, trees need water to grow for lumber, and can anyone tell me “What doesn’t need water”? Science has improved so much since the Record of Decision was signed in 2000 why are we not using it? We use improved science for our health why not for other things such as water use?

It has been HOT HOT HOT!!! The weather for the past couple of weeks has turned very HOT! We have been running in the 100’s for a week and before that it was in the high 90’s.The first part of June it got hot and then cooled off to normal June weather. The last week of June it got up into the high 90’s then went back to summer weather so most of us thought the hot spell was over. Wrong! It got hot this last week of July. You may ask what does that have to do with fishing? To start with, when it gets really hot into the 100’s, the river turns hot and fishing dies. In the past when it was hot like this, I have seen lots of fish in the river but not one of them will take an offering, no matter how hard you try. The fish just won’t bite because all they are looking for is a place to cool down before they move on up the river to spawn. And that is what is going on right now.

Fishing: Fishing on the Trinity River this past couple of weeks has really been hard because of the high temperatures. The rivers are heating up fast and the salmon are getting up into their spawning areas with no cold water to be had. I have seen salmon swimming through Willow Creek and going up river, but with the heat the salmon are only looking for cool water. Even the fishing at Grays Falls has dropped off due to the heat.

On the Trinity side, the Junction City weir is finally being installed for spring counts. Spring counts, summer is half over! I have to say the reason for the late installation is for safety reasons, and because of the higher water flows this year due to the longer water releases. Why won’t the Bureau of Reclamation allow water to be stored or kept until September 1st? If they can do it in Shasta Lake for the Sacramento River and their endangered species, it should be able to be done on the Trinity side for the same reason.

Some Tribal Ceremonies are still going on at the Klamath River so please be aware of the locations. You must realize that these are religious ceremonies and the US Forest Service is required to close the river to public access during these ceremonies at that area of the river. The following are the dates: July 28th to August 6th near Clear Creek on the Klamath; Aug. 5th thru 14th near Somes Bar; Aug. 14th thru 23rd; Orleans @ Camp Creek, Aug. 28th thru Sep. 28th Somes Bar. There are other areas one can fish so please try to avoid these areas whenever possible.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate releases are now below 936cfs and the river is heating up and the salmon are slowing down. Salmon are holding up in the mornings at Bluff Creek for the cold water and then moving up river to the next cold water stop. Trout fishing above Happy Camp is fair to good in the early mornings and then drops off until late evening. If it ever cools down then we should see better fishing.

Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity with inflows of 1,135cfs and releasing 1,108cfs to Clear Creek; Shasta is 78% of capacity (decrease of 3%), inflows are 2,196cfs and releases are 8,896cfs; Keswick is 98% of capacity (an increase of 0%) inflows are 10,130cfs and releasing 10,089cfs; Lake Orville is 67% of capacity (a decrease of 3% & minus 10ft), inflow is8861cfs and releases are 10,653cfs; Lake Folsom is 50% of capacity (minus 5% & minus 6ft), inflows are 1,836cfs and releases are 5,734cfs.

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 99ft (an increase of 2ft.) below the overflow and 47% of capacity (1% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 288cfs and the Trinity Dam is releasing 1,423cfs to Lewiston Lake with 874cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant with 10,189cfs being released to the Sacramento River.

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 551cfs, water temps are 55 and air is 79 degrees at 12:00p.m. today. Limekiln Gulch is 5ft at 526cfs, water temps are 55 and air is 87. Douglas City is 6.4ft at 567cfs, water temps of 57 and air is 95.Junction City is 1.8t at 567cfs. Helena is 9ft at 606cfs with water temps of 57. Cedar Flat is 3.1ft at 698cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 761cfs, air is 92 and water at 72. Hoopa is 11.8 ft at 872cfs with water temps of 75.6. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,662cfs and water temperatures of 80.2 degrees at Weitchpec. Water temperatures on the Klamath at Tully Creek are 79.2.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 936cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.1ft at 1,110cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,163cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 1,591cfs. Orleans is 3.1ft. at 1,790cfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.3ft at 2,780cfs and water temperatures of 75.1 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 4.9ft at 312cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 108/55 degrees with 0.00 inch of rain with a season total of 80.05in of rain and 1.35in. of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 95/52 degrees, with sunshine all week.

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

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for Monday, August 1st, 2016

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Chinook Spring Run Disappointing
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Fishing on the Trinity River this past couple of weeks has really been hard because of the high temperatures. The...... Read More