Winter is Here But Steelhead Are Not Showing in Big Numbers Yet

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
11-29-2020

Sorry about no fish report last week but I was spending some time with my family trying to obey the COVID rules and not over staying time with each family group. I thank you for understanding and hope all had a good Thanksgiving.

The rain has slacked off for the time being but the cold is showing up more. Some of the mornings for the last week or so have been down into the freezing zone so come prepared and make sure you have something hot to drink for when you come off the water. We could use some more rain as it would help to make the fish move, the rain would also help to warm the temperatures up some and also bring up the water flows. With the cold weather the water temps are holding in the high 40s which also makes the fish a little lethargic and a little harder to take your presentation. (Hardware, flies or bait) Just be patient and work on your presentation and you WILL get some action as you improve your technique.

With the W.C. weir is out and fishing above Kimtu Beach has improved as has the area in front of my house. I am seeing more steelhead go through. The problem is that the steelhead are going through in small pods of 3 to 5 fish. There are still some jack salmon hanging around but they are really dark. The good thing is that there are lots of reds below the area of where the weir was and the section above where the weir was. This is good because some steelhead will hang out looking for roe.  

Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 45 ending Nov. 11, 2020 is the third week of the Fall Chinook Run count for TRH and the results are looking very good. Fall Chinook, 1,311- Jacks, 673-adults, total 1,984, season total 2,861; Coho,27-jacks, 0-adults, total 27, season total 604; steelhead 4, total 4, season total 11.

Willow Creek weir:  Julian 45 week ending Nov. 18, 2020; 1-Jacks, 4-Adults, total 4, season total to date 144; Coho salmon 0-Jacks, 1-Adults, total 1, season total 71; steelhead 0 -1/2-lbs, 25- Adults, total 25 season total to date 225. Fishing: Fishing the Willow Creek area is better since the weir was removed. There were plenty of jack salmon around checking the Redds for loose eggs. (They are dark but fun to catch & release) If one was bouncing roe you had plenty of action with the jacks and a steelhead or two. I didn’t see many adult steelies being landed in the Willow Creek – Kimtu Beach area. That included the Big Rock and lower airport areas. This week I noticed that the Big Rock launch area was usable but the water is cold and clear so I would suspect that stealth was needed to get many hook ups. Opie of Liv’n the Dream Guide Service, would fish the Kimtu Beach area in the early mornings and would get plenty of hook ups (catch & release) for the hour or two he would fish from the shore. For being the Thanksgiving weekend, I was really surprised to not see more fishermen out on the river. What with the reservations still being closed to non-residents I would have expected to see more people fishing up in the Willow Creek areas? I didn’t get to check out the upper River areas because of the Holidays but my contacts up river said that there were not a lot of fishermen out fishing up there either, but those that did were doing well fly fishing and trolling bait.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 2,584cfs. an increase of 1,212cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,053cfs as of 3:00pm Sunday afternoon. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 but the Orleans area up to Happy Camp is open to the public with plenty of places for fishing. 

Upper Klamath River video count: Julia week 45 ending on Nov. 11, 2020; Shasta river; 4-Chinook, season total 4,077, Coho 0; Scott River, Chinook salmon-102, season total 117, 636-Coho for a season total of 652; Bogus Creek; 62 – Chinook salmon, season total 2,007, 0-Coho.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 333cfs and releasing 256cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 45% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 2619cfs and releasing 3,350cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (an increase of 3%) with inflows of 3,511cfs and releasing 3,850cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 37% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 9ft) with inflows of 781cfs with releases of 3,041cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 33% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 811cfs with releases of 1,463cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 87ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 52% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 27cfs and releasing 656cfs into Lewiston Lake with 365cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,850cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases are 291cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 45.4 degrees, as of 3:00pm today Sunday Nov. 29, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.70ft at 291cfs. Douglas City is 6.29ft with flows of 341cfs. with air temps of 43 and water temperatures of 43.7 degrees. Junction City is N/Aft at N/A cfs. Helena is 8.06ft at 380cfs with water temps of 43.1 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.38ft at 409cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.11ft at 75cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 484cfs and air is 47 degrees and water at 44.3 degrees. Hoopa is 11.23ft at 654cfs and water is 45.0 degrees. 
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,548cfs an increase of 1,212cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,053cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.17ft at 1,236cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,334cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,618cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.82ft at 276cfs. Orleans is 2.61ft at 1,894cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.75ft at 3,357cfs and water temps are 47.0 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 5.93ft with flows of 883cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 12.80ft

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 50 and a low of 32 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.46in with a water year to date of 5.56 inches with snow in Willow Creek of 0.00in. Forecasts for next week are for high of 69 and low of 38. We are seeing temperatures more like winter every week. The forecast for coming week is for some sunshine and scattered clouds with the possibility of showers on Monday.


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


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