Pacific Fisheries Management Council 2017

Trinity River - Douglas City, CA

by E.B. Duggan

This is the first preliminary PFMC Salmon Preseason report. Usually there are III (three preliminary reports) before the final recommendations for Fall Salmon Harvests are determined. I used to attend all of these meetings to speak in behalf of In-River Sports fishing, but I no longer can afford to do that so there is no In-River Sport fishing representative to speak out for the In-River Sports fishing. Only Ocean Fishing and Commercial Fishing have representatives at the table. This first report is not looking very good for us fresh water salmon fishers and I don’t see much improvement on the horizon.

Sacramento River Fall Chinook salmon forecast of a normal return of 122,000 adult hatchery and natural spawners for 2016 is great news. This could change as a full and more complete return count is reported.  2016 In-River spawner escapement was 151,128 hatcheries and natural adult salmon was above the 122,000 floor minimum.

Klamath River Fall Chinook (KRFC) salmon stock abundance and In-River return reports were very low for 2016. In fact, they were so low that the stocks were approaching an overfished condition. This being crafted on a minimum of 11,379 natural and hatchery adult salmon return to the Klamath River Basin. We can expect a drastic reduction of surplus harvestable Fall Chinook salmon for the 2017 In-River quota. The number I have heard was a total 1,111 for the Klamath – Trinity Rivers In-River Sports fishing and a total Tribal harvest of 7,404. This is not a very large amount of Fall Chinook salmon to harvest! I can only hope that someone will speak up for us In-River sports fishers. The declaration of overfished stock could mean “NO salmon fishing”! I would really hate to see this happen but I can remember that happening to the Sacramento River in years past. 

Trinity River Hatchery Counts: TRH trapping summary for Feb. 19 - Feb.25; fall Chinook season totals, 1,512; spring Chinook season totals, 2,107, season totals 3,619; Coho season totals, 527; Steelhead, 47, season total 1,555.  

Fishing: Rain, snow and more rain! In fact, as I write the column and I look out the window, it can’t seem to make up its mind if it wants to rain or snow. This comes just as the lower river was coming into fishable shape. The good news is that the most upper part of the Trinity clears very fast. In fact, I saw some very nice pictures of winter steelhead being landed in the area above Indian Creek.

Many fly fishers were doing very good fly fishing. The problem is that the river is picking up so much volume by the time it gets to Douglas City, it makes for hard fishing in the Junction City area.

On March 4, I received a report from Todd LeBoeuf of Tiger T Guide service, that they landed 3 nice adult winter steelhead , one 8lb and two 7lb. To fish the upper Trinity you have to catch the river in between storms. All you need is two or three days of good weather and you have a good chance of hooking one of those great Iron Heads. Right now, D.C. is 579cfs and rising, so keep an eye out for any change in the weather for your chance.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 2,460cfs and Seiad Valley is reading at 6,670cfs, so I cannot say the Klamath is real fishable. The present storms are creating problems in the upper river, but if Iron Gate gets down to 1,500cfs it could be good fishing. A good source of information for fishing conditions is Scott Caldwell of S C Fishing; look him up on the internet.  

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 89% of capacity with inflows of 779cfs and releasing 1,292cfs into Clear Creek & Keswick. Shasta is 77 of capacity (a decrease of 12% & minus 20ft) inflows of 15,682cfs and releasing 41,543cfs, Keswick is 91% of capacity with inflows of 40,712cfs and releasing 49,147fs; Lake Oroville is 80% of capacity (a increase of 3% & minus 9ft), inflow is 16,332cfs and releases are 4965cfs; Lake Folsom is 39% of capacity (minus 12% & minus 17ft.) inflows are 10,306cfs and releases are 11,601cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 34ft below the overflow (decrease of 2ft)and 79% of capacity (1% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 2,830cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 583cfs to Lewiston Lake with 266cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant with 40,147cfs being released to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 317cfs, water temps of 44.9 and air is 38 degrees at 11:00am. Sunday. Limekiln Gulch is 5ft at 530cfs, water temps are 42.2 degrees and air is 44.  Douglas City is 6.9ft at 579cfs, water temps of 42.2 and air is 39. Junction City is 3.4ft at 1,280cfs.  Helena is 11.2ft at 1,590cfs with water temps of 43.7. Cedar Flat is 6.9ft at 2,840cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 6,400cfs air is 43and water at 44. Hoopa is 18.6ft at 10.4Kcfs with water temps of 46.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 26.6Kcfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 2,460cfs.  Seiad Valley is 6.6ft at 6,670cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 7,354cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 12.3Kcfs. Orleans is 10.2ft. at 16.29Kcfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 17.7ft at 37.4Kcfs and water temperatures of 45.4 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.2ft at 8,480cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 60/35 degrees with 2.45 inches of rain with a season total of 63.95in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 56/37 degrees; with rain the first of the week then showers into 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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More Reports

My Outdoor Buddy (Nor Cal) Reports
for Monday, March 6th, 2017

Sacramento River: Sacramento River Fall Chinook
Trinity River - Stuart Fork: Trinity River flows and conditions
Klamath River - Middle: Klamath River Fall Chinook numbers

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