Steelhead Finally Showing in Upper Trinity

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
1-10-2021

Finally the Trinity River Hatchery is seeing some adult steelhead. This past week the Trinity has sent the message to the steelhead down in the Klamath to start going up the Trinity. This past week the Trinity Valley has seen a significant amount of rain to raise the river and we are seeing fresh adult steelhead moving in the Trinity River. I was wondering when we would have enough rain to make the fish start moving. The river is up about 3ft in Willow Creek and is showing lots of color. It looks like the Coon Creek slide on the South Fork is making the S.F. a milky slate color and dumping into the main stem of the river. The upper river is just a good steelhead color and providing enough color for good fishing. Down W.C. way we are seeing more color with about one to two feet of visibility. As you move down river the milky slate color turns into a greenish brown with just enough color to make good bait fishing from the banks. Finally, us old fogies can fish from the bank and hook into some nice adult Iron Heads. Half-pounders are fun but it is really great to hook into a hard fighting adult steelhead.  I find it a little harder to run up or down the bank while fighting an adult steelhead but that flush of adrenalin rushing through your veins is great. In about tow to three days we should see some fairly good fly fishing as the river clears.

I am sorry to say that the Hoopa Reservation is still closed to non-residents. I know it would be great to be able to fish many of the good fishing areas of the reservation but I am afraid that the coronavirus is still a problem therefore non-residents are asked to please stay off the reservation.

Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 1 ending Jan. 7, 2021 Fall Chinook, 0- Jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 7,102; Coho, 1-jacks, 3-adults, total 4, season total 2,331; steelhead 25, season total 71. That is a 25 fish increase.

Upper Klamath River video count: Julian week 1 ending on Jan. 5, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 0, season total 4,101, Coho 2, season total 37; Scott River, Chinook salmon-0, season total 252; Coho salmon 2, season total 1,754; Bogus Creek; Chinook salmon,0, season total 2,289, Coho salmon 2, season total 147.

Fishing: Fishing the Willow Creek area in improving now that the river has risen and we got some color. There are finally some native adults in the Trinity. Don’t get all wound up as there ae still plenty of hatchery adults in the river too. Fishing the Lower Trinity below the South Fork is better bait fishing or throwing hardware right now but it won’t be long before the river clears up enough for the fly fishers to get out there and do their thing. The problem is that one of the slides on the South Fork is really dumping in some slate and making the river dirty. Up river fly fishing is the way to go but I have received word that those throwing hardware are doing good also.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 10,943cfs. This is a huge increase. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 987cfs as of 11:00am today Saturday morning. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 but there is some good action around the Lower Orleans area. As you move up to the Happy Camp area fishing gets a lot better for small adults and half-pounder action.  If you want to fish the upper river above I-5 then I would try to contact Scott Coldwell Guide service.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 414cfs and releasing 141cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 45% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 0ft) with inflows of 5,053cfs and releasing 2,597cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 3,346cfs and releasing 3,260cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 35% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 3,346cfs with releases of 3,260cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 30% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 0ft) with inflows of 1,461cfs with releases of 1,956cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 89ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 51% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 512cfs and releasing 711cfs into Lewiston Lake with 395cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,260cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and water releases are 316cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 45.3 degrees, as of 11:00am today Saturday Jan. 9, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.75ft at 320cfs. Douglas City is 6.39ft with flows of 392cfs. with air temps of 36 and water temperatures of 43.3 degrees. Junction City is 1.88ft at 422cfs. Helena is 8.59ft at 531cfs with water temps of 42.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.68ft at 917cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.25ft at 314cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,836cfs and air is 43 degrees and water at 43 degrees. Hoopa is 14.79ft at 3,995cfs and water is 44.4 degrees. 
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 10,943cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 987cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.90ft at 1,785cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,290cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,947cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.95ft at 1,970cfs. Orleans is 6.21ft at 6,945cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 13.49ft at 18,106cfs and water temps are 45.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 11.04ft with flows of 8,371cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 17.33ft at N/A cfs.   Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 54 and a low of 38 degrees. Rain for the week was 5.70in with a water year to date of 19.87 inches with no snow in Willow Creek. Forecasts for next week are for high of 72 and low of 42. That sounds like spring weather. I am not sure that we will see that kind of temperatures but the computer predicts that. The forecast shows sunshine for the weekend so we might see some good fishing.


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


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