Be Aware Of Winter Travel

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
12-16-2019

 I wish all a great Christmas and a Happy New Year with some great winter steelhead fishing. It is winter steelhead fishing time and the weather is making travel hard up here on the north coast. Both Highway 299 and 96 are having rock slides causing travel difficulties. Hwy 299 is seeing small rock slides and lots of rocks on the road so you have to be careful when traveling 299 in either direction. Hwy 96 in the Happy Camp area is not much better as the highway has been blocked several times in the past week. Crews are on the problems as fast as possible but it has caused some closures at different times. The rains have brought up lots of nice adult steelhead on both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The problem being rocks on the highways. We need the rains, but the rocks on the highway from the rains make traveling dangerous. If you plan on coming up for fishing over the Holidays please be careful when driving on Hwy 299 or Hwy 96. The great part is that plenty of adult steelhead are moving in both rivers.

Another problem is mounting with water releases from the Trinity Dam. The Trinity River Restoration Project (TRRP) and the Trinity Management Council (TMC) have made a decision without public input (no TAMWG) to write letters to the Department of Interior for spending money for repairs on the dam and maintenance of the release gates. Again, passing up public input or public hearings (bypassing the Brown Act). For a public agency that spends tax monies in the millions of dollars with NO public hearings or public input this is outrageous! I ask everyone to write their legislators and complain about this act. The TMC By Laws state they are to have public input by the TAMWG (local stakeholders) yet they operate without following their own rules.

Last week I asked all fishermen to write letters or emails to their legislators and the Secretary of Interior to stop the Westland’s Water District guaranteed permanent water delivery of 1.15 Million Acre Feet of water per year. You still have time to do this, I know it is the Holidays but January is upon us and we are running out of time.

Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 49 ending Dec. 9; Fall Chinook, 28-jacks, 139-adults, total 167, season total 1,540; Coho, 3-jacks, 96-adults, total 99, season total 341; steelhead, 1, total 1 ,season total 15.

Willow Creek Weir counts: Julian week 48 ending Dec. 2; Fall Chinook salmon, 1-jacks, 0-adults, total 1, season totals 1,589; Coho salmon, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 153; steelhead, 0-1/2-pounders, 3-adults, total 3, season total 717. The Willow Creek Weir was pulled after the last count.

Trinity River Redds survey: Julia week 49 week ending Dec. 9; survey sections 01- 05 Lewiston through Douglas City; sections 09 and 10 Big Bar, total 17 total Redds counted 44, total season Redds surveyed to date 1,525. 

Fishing: The Trinity was running muddy but has been clearing right after each storm passes. The steelhead have been going up river steady in small pods. Last week Opie McBroom and his Dad fished down in the Hoopa Valley and were very successful, they had a 17 fish day between the two of them. Now I would say that was some good steelhead fishing. We have been experiencing one storm right after another but the good part is that the river has been clearing very fast. 
Don’t forget Christmas is coming and you can now purchase 2020 fishing licenses. They make a great Christmas present.

Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 49 ending Dec. 8, Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0, total 977; Coho 0, total 26; Scott River, Chinook salmon 2, total 1,501, Coho 33, total 93; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 1, total 5,860, Coho 2, total 33.

Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 9,736cfs. The Klamath was muddy but the river is clearing up as it drops. The in-flowing steams are also starting to drop and clearing. clearing up for the weekend. Fishing below Orleans is non-existent right now because of high muddy water. As the river clears fishing starts picking up around the mouth of the Trinity and up to Slate Creek. This week we are expecting light rains and both river s should be good fishing for the first part of Christmas week. Up river in the Happy Camp to I-5 section there will be much better fishing as adults move up river. Above I-5 we had snow last week and I would expect some possible light snow flurries this coming week. After this storm blows through fishing should really get good.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 91% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 337cfs and releasing 269cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 72% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 6,122cfs and releasing 2,943cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 85% (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 4,974cfs and releasing 5,053cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 57% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 6ft) with inflows of 9,344cfs with releases of 3,087cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 53% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 3ft) with inflows of 6,257cfs with releases of 2,598cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 33ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 80% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and inflows of 1,155cfs and releasing 292cfs into Lewiston Lake with -1cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,035cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 2%) and water releases are 293cfs with water temperatures of 45.2 degrees, as of 2:00pm today Sunday December 15, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 4.78ft at 360cfs. Douglas City is 6.46ft and flows of 419cfs. with air temps of 45 water temperatures of 43.9 degrees. Junction City is 2.04ft at 480cfs. Helena is 9.12ft at 652cfs with water temps of 44.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 4.37ft at 1,246cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.80ft at 665cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,911cfs and air is 48 degrees and water at 45 degrees. Hoopa is 14.70ft at 3,700cfs and water is 46.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 9,736cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,025cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.93ft at 1,810cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,206cfs, the Salmon River is 3.43ft at 1,208cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,855cfs. Orleans is 5.42ft at 6,0361cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 12.73ft at 15,033cfs and water temps are 46.8 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 9.47ft with flows of 5,181cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.91ft at N/A cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 55 and a low of 44. Rain for the week was 5.18in with a water year to date of 17.63 inches, with only a trace of snow in willow Creek, snow of 0.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 60 and lows of 39 with some light rain towards the end of the week and a possible clear weekend. 


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


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