WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FISH?

Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir - Willow Creek, CA (Humboldt County)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
11-17-2019

There are salmon and steelhead down in the Hoopa Valley but none up river! By now there should be lots of fish in the Upper Trinity but no one has been able to find them. There are Redds, but not as many as usual in the Lewiston to Helena section of the river. This year’s (2019) salmon return was 2016 and 2017 smolt out migration for Fall Chinook salmon. The adult Chinook salmon that are being caught on the Trinity are much smaller this year than normally. Why is that? Basically, the reason you have small salmon for the return is because the ocean conditions were not good for krill production and that is what the salmon feed on to grow and get fat for their trip up the rivers. That explains the smaller size but not the quantity of the return. 

Did the Hoopa Weir cause the loss of salmon? Many fishermen seem to think so but if the weir was removed a week ago then why are we not seeing a large run of fish going through Willow Creek? I have not seen the expected huge rush of fish come through nor have the fishermen I have talked to seen it. Sooo, just maybe the PFMC made a big mistake in their calculations of the amount of salmon that would return to the Klamath River Basin. But then we see the great steelhead fishing that is going on in the Upper Klamath. Who can explain that? I wish I cold find the answers for you. Maybe next week!

Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 45 ending Nov. 11; Fall Chinook, 9-jacks, 57-adults, total 25, season total 340; Coho, 0-jacks, 316- adults, total 16, season total 16; steelhead, 0, total 0 ,season total 8.

Willow Creek Weir counts: Julian week 45 ending Nov. 11; Fall Chinook salmon, 7-jacks, 18-adults, total 25, season totals 1,519; Coho salmon, 2-jacks, 32-adults, total 34, season total 124; steelhead, 0-1/2-pounders, 3-adults, total 3, season total 709.

Fishing: The Trinity is still running low, cold and very clear. You have to use stealth in your presentations to get strikes. This week I found two fishermen fishing Kimtu and one fishing the Campora Hole and no one landing fish. Right now, it is foggy in the mornings and the sun is not hitting the water until noon. Hawkins Bar was almost the same except one fishier caught and released a half-pounder. Up river it was hard fishing also. We need rain; but the weather bureau says that there is no rain in the near future. Over the years I have found out that when it is this dry in the valley, we need at least three inches of rain to get the river moving and bring in fish. Pray for rain!

Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 45 ending Nov. 11, Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon -20, total 1,015; Coho 0, total 4; Scott River, Chinook salmon 13, total 1,382, Coho 4; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 11, total 5,752, Coho 1 total 5.

Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,307cfs. Fishing below Orleans is slow right now but the further up the river the better the fishing. Above I-5 it is a HOT BITE trout and steelhead!

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 574cfs and releasing 719cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 71% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 0ft) with inflows of 3,179cfs and releasing 4,331cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 5,070cfs and releasing 5,116cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 5% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 3ft) with inflows of 3,381cfs with releases of 4,569cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is % of capacity (a decrease of 6% minus 6ft) with inflows of 1,429cfs with releases of 2,881cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 33ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 79% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and inflows are 42cfs and releasing 905cfs into Lewiston Lake with 620cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,091cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 92% of capacity (an increase of 2%) and water releases are 293cfs with water temperatures of 46.2 degrees, as of 2:00pm today Sunday November 17, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.72ft at 327cfs. Douglas City is 6.28ft and flows of 325cfs. with air temps of 64 water temperatures of 47.2 degrees. Junction City is 1.70ft at 376cfs. Helena is 8.11ft at 351cfs with water temps of 48.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.41ft at 419cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.17ft at 88cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 507cfs and air is 61 degrees and water at 50 degrees. Hoopa is 11.23ft at 643cfs and water is 52.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,765cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,139cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.55ft at 1,508cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,561cfs, the Salmon River is 1.88ft at 205cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,917cfs. Orleans is 2.91ft at 2,122cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.82ft at 3,294cfs and water temps are 52.5 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.77ft with flows of 247cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.72ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 64 and a low of 42. Rain for the week was 0.03in with a water year to date of 2.41 inches, with snow of 0.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures of highs of 70 and lows of 45 with mornings overcast and sunny afternoons. Fishing for the coming weekend is looking better for the Lower Trinity and Upper Klamath.  We really need some rain to bring in more fresh fish and improve river conditions.


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


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