Trinity River Pulse

Trinity River - Douglas City, CA

by E.B. Duggan

The Klamath River at Terwer Creek reached the heat temperatures and low water flow requirements for emergency water releases from Trinity Lake, to lower the water temperatures and increase water flows in the Lower Klamath River in order to prevent salmon from dying. On August 22, the Bureau of Reclamation is going to start water releases from Trinity Lake. The water flows are supposed to reach 900cfs, being released from Lewiston into the Trinity River. This will be a pulse type of water flow and is not suppose to last very long. This all will be on the condition that comes into the requirements of 2,800cfs and 73 degrees for 3 to 5 consecutive days. With the air temperatures expected to reach 100 plus degrees for all of the coming week, I expect BOR will probably extend the flows a while longer.

After the Trinity releases reached the summer water flows of 450cfs and the river stabilized, many of the riffles and some of the normal fishing holes in the mid and lower parts of the Trinity were hard to fish, and riffles hard to maneuver, due to the lower water conditions. I received several reports of riffles being unable to drift in a drift boat due to the channel changes as a result of the longer than usual water releases. This is part of nature, and the intent of the restoration program’s idea to restore the Upper Trinity River. I don’t think the TRRP realized that prolonged higher water flows in the summer would change so much of the lower sections of the Trinity. In some areas that had spawning gravel for salmon that spawned in the lower parts of the river, the gravel is gone, and holes are filled in. Now what? With a lower salmon return expected and much warmer water in the Lower Trinity where will the salmon spawn? Trinity Lake needs a minimum cold water pool for September 1st just like Shasta because we have endangered species also!

Junction City Weir: Jul 20 thru Aug 5; Chinook salmon, 8 adults, total 33; Coho 0; Steelhead, 1 adult, 0-½-pounders, total 14; Brown trout, 0.

Fishing: How wrong I was last week expecting it to cool down. That was just a teaser to make us think fall was coming. We are now back into the “dog days of summer,” as the predicted weather for the next week to ten days is to be in the 100’s plus. A weatherman I am NOT! I hope there will be enough cold water in Trinity Lake for the expected returning salmon to have enough cool water to reach spawning grounds. The Trinity is slowly becoming like the Eel River with all the moss and algae. I guess we expected too much from our legislators to try and save the watersheds from over 4,000 tons of fertilizer each year for the last 5yrs. Yes I said tons because that is what has been going into the watersheds of the Trinity and Klamath each year for the past 5 years that I counted. September 1st the Falls (Grays & Burnt Ranch) area closes to fishing. The closure will be from the Cedar Flat Bridge down to the Hawkins Bar Bridge.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate releases are 879cfs. August 15th the Lower Klamath River salmon season opens to the take of two Chinook salmon per day with 1 adult and 1 jack per day, with no more than 6 salmon in possession. The Mid-Klamath was seeing some good fish movement, but with the expected HOT weather coming, I don’t foresee a lot of salmon movement until after it cools down some. Prior to the hot weather settling, the Weitchpec area was having some good numbers of salmon showing up and holding near the mouth of Bluff Creek and below Slate Creek. Now, I doubt the salmon will be moving up river until after the pulse flows kick in. Once the pulse flows cool the Lower Klamath we should see some good movement of salmon come into the Weitchpec area. Up above I-5, trout fishing should be fair to good. Be sure to check the regulations before you go fishing so you will know the regulations. A reminder; Some Tribal Ceremonies are still going on in the Mid-Klamath so please be aware of the locations.

Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity with inflows of 1,041cfs and releasing 948cfs to Clear Creek; Shasta is 74% of capacity (decrease of 2% & 2ft), inflows are 1,710cfs and releases are 9,505cfs; Keswick is 95% of capacity with inflows are 10,652cfs and releasing 10,188cfs; Lake Orville is 59% of capacity (a decrease of 4% & minus 12ft), inflow is 1,220cfs and releases are 9,3581fs; Lake Folsom is 41% of capacity (minus 4% & minus 6ft), inflows are 1,676cfs and releases are 4,095cfs.

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 103ft (an increase of 2ft.) below the overflow and 46% of capacity (0% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 247cfs and the Trinity Dam is releasing 1,370cfs to Lewiston Lake with 921cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant with 10,188cfs being released to the Sacramento River.

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 449cfs, water temps are 54.2 and air is 73degrees at 10:00a.m. today. Limekiln Gulch is 4.8ft at 399cfs, water temps are 53.2 and air is 70. Douglas City is 6.2ft at 447cfs, water temps of 58.2 and air is 73.Junction City is 1.6ft at 451cfs. Helena is 8.5ft at 454cfs with water temps of 61.4. Cedar Flat is 2.6ft at 514. Willow Creek is estimated at 558cfs, air is 78 and water at 68. Hoopa is 11.4 ft at 621cfs with water temps of 72.9. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,195cfs and water temperatures of 74 degrees at Weitchpec. Water temperatures on the Klamath at Tully Creek are 73.4.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 879cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.1ft at 1,110cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,154cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 1,434cfs. Orleans is 2.8ft. at 1,570cfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 7.9ft at 2,150cfs and water temperatures of 72.6 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 4.8ft at 272cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 104/52 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 102/52 degrees, with sunshine and hot weather all of next week.

Good Fish’en and Good Luck but remember; “Keep your tip up with a tight line lands fish.

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

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