Where to Fish?

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
5-17-2020

With the COVID-19 restrictions still in place where does one go to fish? That is the question? The water releases are on their way down but will still have some increases from rain and bump-ups for the Trinity releases. Right now, it is a hard answer for me as I have not heard from any of my fishing contacts for a week. The Trinity River is open to steelhead fishing all year long but closed to salmon fishing right now. Spring Chinook salmon fishing on the Klamath will open on July 1 from Weitchpec Bridge down to the mouth. 

For the last week I was down south checking out Shaver, Bass McClure and McSwain Lakes. Bass Lake and Shaver Lake were not open to the public yet but McClure Lake was open to fishing from the shore with McSwain Lake boat launch to open to local residents only. Crazy! The Governor says to shelter-in-place and be safe but the Forest Service closes most of the river accesses. Most County Governments say fishing is ok as it is a solitude environment with plenty of area for distancing. I just hope that by July 1st we can get out there and fish. I know the ocean charter boat Captains would love to be able to take people out to fish and make a living.

The spring water releases are still in effect on the Trinity at this time and the valley has had some rain this past week but I don’t see much area for one to go fishing on the Trinity yet. The weather is supposed to be better this coming week, we will see. 

The South Fork of the Trinity Spring Chinook salmon are still in danger as only 12 to 14 spring run salmon were seen in the upper reaches. I have seen that there is a restoration project proposed for this area but I don’t know if or when it will happen and if lit is to late to help the run recover. 

Trinity River Water Releases: The Trinity releases are to be at 900cfs by June 13th, right now BOR is releasing 976cfs from Lewiston Dam. There is to be a slight boost to 1,400cfs on June 14th and then back down to summer flows of 400cfs by July 2nd.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 10,303cfs. Like I said earlier I have not had contact with any of my mid-river fishing people for the past week so I cannot tell you what the fishing possibilities are for this report. Iron Gate releases of 1,192cfs I would expect fishing above I-5 would not be good at this time either. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 1,572cfs and releasing 1,877cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 78% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 4ft) with inflows of 5,984cfs and releasing 6,899cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 8,786cfs and releasing 8,994cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 69% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 5ft) with inflows of 2,975cfs with releases of 4,210cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 76% of capacity (an increase of 4% plus 4ft) with inflows of 2,102cfs with releases of 1,968cfs into the American river. 

Trinity Lake: The lake is 47ft below the overflow (an increase of 12ft) and 77% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with  inflows of 1,326cfs and releasing 2,188cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,212cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 8,994cfs into the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 4%) and water releases are 976cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 49.3 degrees, as of 11:00am today Sunday May 17, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 5.72ft at 1,086cfs. Douglas City is 7.74ft and flows of 1,137cfs. with air temps of 60 and water temperatures of 50.9 degrees. Junction City is 5.25ft at 1,240cfs. Helena is 11.18ft at 1,639cfs with water temps of 51.2 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 6.02ft at 2,313cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.13ft at 3.65cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 2,678cfs and air is 60 degrees and water at 53.5 degrees. Hoopa is 14.10ft at 3,112cfs and water is 56.0 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 10,303cfs. 

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,192cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.23ft at 2,070cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,380cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,297cfs, and the Salmon River is 4.63ft at 2,897cfs. Orleans is 6.15ft at 7,191cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.68ft at 11,140cfs and water temps are N/A degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 8.61ft with flows of 3,767cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.04ft at N/A cfs and 45.4in of rain to date.

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 74 and a low of 49 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.25in with a water year to date of 39.59 inches, with snow in willow Creek of 1.45in. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 89 and lows of 48 with some clouds the first part of the week and sunshine over the weekend.


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


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