What snow in April

Klamath River - Lower - Klamath, CA (Humboldt County)

by E.B. Duggan

Mother nature is handing us some unusual weather for this time of year... What, snow in April? Yes, we are having snow flurries at some lower elevations and snow above 4,000ft. They say April showers bring May flowers and that is true up here in the North Country.

The sierra snowpack is 161% of the historic average, the largest snowpack since 2011which was 171% of average. Having that kind of snowpack in the sierras should definitely be a plus for the farmers as well as the fisheries.

The Governor has declared the drought emergency is over. Brown’s executive order lifts the emergency drought in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. He also recommends that New Water usage be legislated for continued conservation. So does that mean that ALL California counties follow the same rules or is there going to be some flexibility? In the past it has been found that “one rule fits all” does not work for “all counties”. What new rules are there going to be for rivers and water releases for the fisheries? We already have too many agencies trying to control the fisheries without the use of “latest science” that it becomes impossible to know how to fish and what fish to catch or release. I have people call and email me all the time as to when, where and what to fish for on the Trinity, Klamath and Sacramento Rivers. Sometimes I can be helpful and other times I am at a loss. Many fishermen state that it takes a lawyer to understand or determine just what the regulations mean.

Water is needed for fish but it is also needed to grow food down in the valley. Water usage has to be controlled, but in a manner that meets the needs of the fishery and farmers so they all will be able to survive. Sometimes I wonder how the Bureau of Reclamation can sell more water than what is available in the reservoirs. The state needs more storage and the people passed a Water Bond several years ago for the usage of water storage and control but I have yet to see any increase of water storage other than the pipe dream for the “Twin Tunnels” by our Governor.  Taking water from above the Delta area and moving it below the Delta is not going to save water and the science has proved that! 

Fishing: The increase of water releases from Lewiston to the Trinity (1,540cfs) has about ended fishing on the Trinity for any extended time. Once the releases are dropped back down there is the possibility of some fishing. From what I have been told most of the fishing guides have moved over to the Sacramento River. Fishing for trout on the Sacramento appears to be the place to fish for the time being. 

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 4,280cfs and Seiad Valley gauge is reading at 9,330cfs, so the Klamath River could be close to being fishable above I-5 in the near future. Anything below Happy Camp is definitely not fishable. With Weitchpec water flows at 33.1Kcfs the Lower Klamath is definitely NOT fishable. Hopefully, the high water will scrub out the Lower Klamath and help to get rid of the pathogens that are infecting the juvenile salmonoids in the lower river and allow good returns again.   

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 90% of capacity with inflows of 1,250cfs and releasing 1,051cfs into Clear Creek & Keswick. Shasta is 93 of capacity (a increase of 4% & plus 6ft) inflows of 30,341cfs and releasing 8,741cfs, Keswick is 93% of capacity with inflows of 8,795cfs and releasing 8,812fs; Oroville Lake is 81% of capacity (a increase of 5% & plus 12ft), inflow is 37,532cfs and releases are 12,753cfs; Folsom Lake is 66% of capacity (plus 6% & plus 6ft.) inflows are 10,219cfs and releases are 9,899cfs.

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 13ft below the overflow (decrease of 3ft)and 92% of capacity (2% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 5,801cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 1,251cfs to Lewiston Lake with 14cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant with 8,812cfs being released to the Sacramento River. April 5th releases from Trinity Lake have increased from 300cfs to 1,540cfs.

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 1,540cfs, water temps of 46.7 and air is 47 degrees at 11:00am. today. Limekiln Gulch is 6.2ft at 1,704cfs, water temps are 46.2 degrees and air is 74.  Douglas City is 8.3ft at 2.190cfs, water temps of 45.1 and air is 49. Junction City is 4.9ft at 2,840cfs.  Helena is 13.8ft at 3,030cfs with water temps of 45.6. Cedar Flat is 8.7ft at 4,900cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 9,130cfs air is 53 and water at 47. Hoopa is 19.5ft at 13.6Kcfs with water temps of 48.2.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 33.1K cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 4,280cfs.  Seiad Valley is 8ft at 9,330cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 11.2Kcfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 15Kcfs. Orleans is 11.3ft. at 19.7Kcfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 18.2ft at 40.5Kcfs and water temperatures of N/A  degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 9.8ft at 5,680cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 76/43 degrees with 1.7 inches of rain with a season total of 76.95in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 61/37 degrees; with clouds and scattered showers for the weekend then showers the rest of the week.

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

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