Winter Like Weather But It is Not Winter Yet?

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
12-14-2020

We are seeing more rain and the rivers are finally showing some changes. The Trinity did not come up a lot but enough to see a difference and possibly start the winter run of steelhead moving. At least I hope so. I was down to the river this morning and there is some color to it but not a lot. There are some higher water flows but again what I think we should be seeing at this time. With the restrictions on the Reservation, it is hard to find out what the fishing is like down there. Usually by Christmas I can find an adult steelie or two in front of my house but it has been hard to get a hookup!

Westland’s is at again! “The Department of Interior may shift Federal projects to a former client of the Secretary of Interior Bernhardt” (From the internet news) The Trump administration is working to transfer ownership of federal water infrastructure of California’s water storage to the Westland’s Water District, the country’s larges irrigation provider in the state. Westland’s Water District is a former client of the Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt. The Bureau of Reclamation has confirmed it is moving forward with the transfer! “Westland’s Water District made this request and Reclamation has begun the process to transfer the title”. Do you think there is some coelution here? What about conflict of interest? I can just see the water storage of California draining down the river to southern California if this is allowed to go through. Farmers are going to get their share of water and then some but at what price? Will they have water for the next crop? Where will the water come from?

Willow Creek weir:  removed Nov. 16th.  Somehow, I have not been able access or locate the Redds web site location so I have not been able to get the recorded counts of the different locations on Trinity River. 

Fishing: The Willow Creek area is kind of in between the fall run steelhead and the winter run of steelhead. Up river is another story. The river is up and working clear and cold. The problem is there are fishermen working the good stretches of water so it makes it difficult to drift by them and still have some water to fish. I have noticed that river educate is not being used when it comes to drift boats and fishermen in the river. This is sad because when I was a fishing guide there was always consideration for the fisherman who walked in to fish. We do have a new storm coming in just before Christmas so I am hoping that the fishing will pick up then.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 4,432cfs. an increase of 1,978cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 992cfs as of 11:00am Monday noon. 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 and fish in the river. 

Upper Klamath River video count: Julia week 47 ending on Nov. 25, 2020; Shasta river; 0-Chinook, season total 4,088, Coho 0, total 19; Scott River, Chinook salmon-0, season total 252, 0-Coho for a season total of 1,407; Bogus Creek; 7 – Chinook salmon, season total 2,277 0-Coho, total 3.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 622cfs and releasing 295cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 44% of capacity (a decrease of 0% plus 7ft) with inflows of 4,046cfs and releasing 3,096cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 98% (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 3,356cfs and releasing 3,511cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 36% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,612cfs with releases of 253cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 31% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,199cfs with releases of 1,550cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 88ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 52% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 571cfs and releasing 608cfs into Lewiston Lake with 297cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,509cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) and water releases are 311cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 44.8 degrees, as of 11:00am today Monday Dec. 14, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.75ft at 302cfs. Douglas City is 6.34ft with flows of 366cfs. with air temps of 39 and water temperatures of 44.0 degrees. Junction City is 1.78ft at 385cfs. Helena is 8.30ft at 445cfs with water temps of 41.8 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.82ft at 564cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.62ft at 200cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 764cfs and air is 46 degrees and water at 43 degrees. Hoopa is 12.32ft at 1,362cfs and water is 44.4 degrees. 
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 4,432cfs an increase of 1,978cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 992cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.25ft at 1,291cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,464cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,444cfs, and the Salmon River is 2.49ft at 624cfs. Orleans is 3.65ft at 3,070cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.70ft at 7,904cfs and water temps are 45.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 9.41ft with flows of 5,075cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.87ft at N/A cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 51 and a low of 32 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.61in with a water year to date of 6.81 inches with snow in Willow Creek of 0.00in. Forecasts for next week are for high of 62 and low of 37. It sure feels like winter here but we are not seeing a lot of rain for this time of year. Christmas is a week away and we have not had any snow locally. It doesn’t look like it is going to be a white Christmas this year. The forecast for the coming week is scattered showers with light rains scattered throughout the week. 


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


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