What will happen to the fishery

Trinity River - Douglas City, CA

by E.B. Duggan

In the next week (April 11) the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) will be meeting in Sacramento to determine the fate of the West Coast Salmon Fishery. Thus, the question “What will happen to the Salmon Fishery?” So far, the news coming out of the past meetings is very disheartening; what with the options of NO FISHING to an In-River fishery of jacks only.

I remember this happening in 2006 - 2007 and the Governor of the state and Sec. of Commerce declared a “State of Disaster” for salmon fishing that allowed for federal relief funds of $33 million to help many of the In-River Businesses and guides as well as the commercial ocean fishermen and associated businesses to the tune of:  Salmon Permit Holders $1.27 million, Commercial Charters $1 mil, Associated Businesses $3 mil, River Businesses $2 mil, Department of Fish and Wildlife $400,000, Calif. Salmon Council $500,000 to name a few. Although I don’t feel that the federal government should have to bail everyone out of every crisis that comes along, they are the ones who control the ocean fishery along the Pacific Coast (PFMC).

The states are responsible for their waters and inland waters. It has been showing up in a decrease of harvestable salmon for several years now and the records show from the past that these things are cyclical and come along every so often. The science and records are in the books so why are the people in charge NOT using it? The loss of juvenile fish from disease and quality of water can be improved!

In talking with several In-River Businesses, the consensus is that a ”NO Salmon fishing” season should be enacted for everyone, Tribal, Commercial Ocean, Ocean Sport and In-River Sport, for this season. The reasoning is that it would hopefully allow for a better return and recovery next year or the year after. It happened before so why not now?

Fishing: Finally, the Trinity River is looking like a fishing river! It has been sad but needed to have such high water flows. Hopefully this year will be good for the Klamath – Trinity Rivers in that the extremely high water flows will have scrubbed the river channels to the point of helping rid the system of the pathogens that have been plaguing the fish with disease and decreasing the returns for the past several years due to the drought. Right now the Trinity River in the upper sections is looking very good for fishing and the lower sections are steelhead green. The problem is locating the fish. To date I have not seen nor heard of many down runners being landed.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 5,270cfs and Seiad Valley gauge is reading at 11.1Kcfs, so the Klamath River is still flowing high for fishing and is not fishing condition for the time being.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 92% of capacity with inflows of 747cfs and releasing 1,096cfs into Clear Creek & Keswick. Shasta is 89 of capacity (an increase of 2% & plus72ft) inflows of 15,315cfs and releasing 89165cfs, Keswick is 86% of capacity with inflows of 8,999cfs and releasing 8,649fs; Oroville Lake is 76% of capacity (a increase of 0% & plus 1ft), inflow is 16,192cfs and releases are 11,361cfs; Folsom Lake is 60% of capacity (plus 0% & plus 0ft.) inflows are 10,219cfs and releases are 9,899cfs.

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 16ft below the overflow (decrease of 15ft)and 90% of capacity (3% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 5,173cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 183cfs to Lewiston Lake with 00cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant with 9,141cfs being released to the Sacramento River. April 5th releases from Trinity Lake are to increase from 300cfs to 1,500cfs.

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 317cfs, water temps of 46.9 and air is 55 degrees at 11:00am. today. Limekiln Gulch is 5ft at 599cfs, water temps are 47.7 degrees and air is 77.  Douglas City is 7ft at 949cfs, water temps of 45.9 and air is 59. Junction City is 3.3ft at 1,460cfs. Helena is 11.8ft at 1,950cfs with water temps of 47.6. Cedar Flat is 7.9ft at 3,900cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 3,050cfs air is 62and water at 50. Hoopa is 18.9ft at 11.2Kcfs with water temps of 51.3.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 34.4K cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 5,270cfs. Seiad Valley is 8.9ft at 11.1Kcfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 12.3Kcfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 17.2Kcfs. Orleans is 12.3ft. at 23.2Kcfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 19ft at 44.8Kcfs and water temperatures of 50.9 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 9.1ft at 4,450cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 76/42 degrees with 1.4 inches of rain with a season total of 75.25in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 73/34 degrees; with clouds and scattered showers then showers after the weekend.

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

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