PFMC OPTIONS FOR KLAMATH RIVER BASIN (TRINITY)

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
3-15-2020

The first results for PFMC Options for this coming salmon season are out for review. You can go to www.pcouncil.org or https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/ocean/Regulations/Salmon/Pre-Season to review what they might be. I have not seen the 3 Options yet so I will not comment as to what is going to happen. I do hope that the PFMC does not cancel the March 24 meeting to review and public comment. I won’t be able to find out until offices open Monday. The PFMC has canceled the April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver Washington for a webinar type of meeting because of the COVID-19 virus. 

There is the potential of 6,034 Chinook salmon in the ocean to be split up between Ocean Commercial, Ocean Sport and In-River Sports fishing for the Klamath River Zone, that leaves a potential of 900 salmon for the In-River Sports Fishing. If this is the case the Trinity River would have 297 salmon to split between the upper river and the lower river. Let’s hope and pray that this will not be the end results. I think this is worse than the when we had the bad return in the early 1990s. I am really sorry to be the barer of such bad news. You must hold out hope that this information is totally wrong and that we the river fishermen will get a better brake in the salmon quotas.         

I am going to list the 2019 Klamath River Chinook salmon Harvest totals once more for comparison. Lower Klamath; Tribal Harvest 4,001, Sport Fishing 1,011; Upper Klamath; Sport Fishing 1,776; total Klamath; Tribal 4,001, Sport Fishing 5,777. Trinity River Tribal 2,564, Sport Fishing 469. Total Klamath River Basin Chinook salmon harvest; Tribal 6,565, Sport Fishing 8,073. These are only preliminary reports but are very close to what was harvested for In-River Chinook salmon harvesting.

Trinity River Hatchery: I haven’t received the report yet but the information I do have is that the TRH will possibly make the egg quota for the spring run Chinook salmon, it will be a very close call for the fall run Chinook salmon egg quota and for the Coho salmon - steelhead it is possible that the hatchery will not make the egg quota for those species. On top of those problems the Trinity is going to be very short on returning fish this year what will happen to the runs for coming years? Will we have any salmon or steelhead to fish for? I do know that the South Fork of the Trinity River salmon run is on the verge of becoming extinct with only 12 to 14 salmon returning up to the head waters.      

Fishing: The Lower Trinity is still fishing slow. It is very hard to locate the steelhead from Hawkins Bar to Big Rock but some steelhead are being caught down in the Hoopa section. Because of the low clear water, it is even hard to hook and adult steelie. Any guides still fishing the upper sections of the Trinity are using rafts to avoid all the bumps for their customers.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 5,405cfs. From the Reports I have received fishing from Weitchpec to Somes Bar is practically nonexistence for adult steelhead. Happy Camp might be doing some what better but not much. Right now, the best bet would be above I-5 for a good chance to hook an adult.  

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 1,414cfs and releasing 1,269cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta Lake is 77% of capacity (an increase of 1% minus 0ft) with inflows of 2,464cfs and releasing 3,676cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 88% (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 4,946cfs and releasing 4,546cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 64% of capacity (an increase of 0% minus 0ft) with inflows of 2,056cfs with releases of 756cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 44% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,714cfs and releases of 1,5 34cfs into the American River.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 27ft below the overflow (a decrease of 0ft) and 83% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and inflows of 592cfs and releasing 1,602cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1151,306cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,546cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 93% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) and water releases are 296cfs with water temperatures of 46.8 degrees, as of 11:00am today Sunday March 15, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.72ft and flowing 327cfs. Douglas City is 6.37\6ft with flows of 376cfs. and air temps of 41 with water temperatures of N/A degrees. Junction City is 1.82ft and flowing 394cfs. Helena is 8.50ft and flowing 503cfs with water temps of 46.3 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.20ft and flowing 712cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.03ft and flowing 313cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,025cfs with air temps of 47 degrees and water at 47 degrees. Hoopa is 12.76ft and flowing 1,725cfs with water at 48.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 5,405cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,031cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.74ft flowing 1,655cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,855cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,627cfs, and the Salmon River is 2.83ft flowing at 954cfs. Orleans is 3.99ft and flowing 3,680cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.36ft with flows of 6,859cfs and water temps are 49.1 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 6.37ft with flows of 1,189cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.02ft at N/A cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 73 and a low of 31. Rain for the week was 0.08in with a water year to date of 33.27 inches, with snow in willow Creek of 1.45in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 61 and lows of 41 with some rain showers the coming weekend. We did have snow this weekend on the passes and higher peaks but now snow predicted for the coming week. It could be cold in the early mornings but warmer in the afternoons. If you plan on fishing this weekend you might want to check for road conditions. 


Websites: MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Willowcreekchamber.com,
from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail [email protected]


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