Weather Fish and Fishing

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
1-31-2021

What does the weather have to do with fish and fishing? Many people have asked that question. The weather had much to do with fishing. If we have had fair to good rain to get fish to come into the river to spawn, if the rivers get low amounts of rain then there is very low spawning, if the rivers get large amounts of rain then the rivers get a large number of fish to return. The return is what makes fishing good, great or awful. Right now, it is mystery why we are having low amounts of adults returning to the hatchery or streams they spawn in. The Trinity River Hatchery has received 8,363 Chinook spawners (great), 2 ,333Coho spawners (great) and 459 steelhead spawners (poor). The CDFW has not been able to go out and do their usual spawning checks due to the COVID-19 restrictions this year. I am sure that the spawning of native Coho and steelhead will do much better if we get enough rain to open up the mouth of the spawning streams.

The Record of Decision (ROD) was made in the 1990s and signed by Secretary of Interior Babbitt in Hoopa in 2000. The ROD states the need for Trinity River Restoration and part of it states that the watersheds of the Trinity are in need of Restoration also. This is the problem in the Trinity Management Council, they only do the main stem of the Trinity and neglect the watersheds with no to very little public input, and that is why there is such an uproar about the Restoration program. We all should write our congressmen and request a complete revamp of the Restoration program and make the review of the programs the have ben don to see if they are working. From my experience it is NOT working as per the ROD.

I am sorry about last week as I got caught up in football and was unable to make a proper report in time. I also asked for pictures of your fishing experience but made a mistake in the email address. It should be yen2fish@netzero.net. I apologize for the mistake and hope you can now reach me.          

Trinity River Hatchery:  Julian week 4 ending Jan. 28, 2021; Fall Chinook salmon, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 7,103; Coho, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 2,333; steelhead 126, season total 459.

Upper Klamath River video count: Julian week 3 ending on Jan. 14, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 0, season total 4,101, Coho 0, 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 0, season total 145.

Fishing:  The weather has been a big factor for fishing in the Willow Creek area. Lately we have been able to see a lot of half-pounder action with a few small steelhead adults in the mix. From the reports I have been getting one has a good chance to hook a god size adult steelhead around the mouth of the South Fork or even up the South Fork. There is some fair to good fishing below the Salyer Bridge and up in the Hawkins Bar area. I haven’t received any thing about fishing from there all the way up to Big Bar which has been fair to good fly fishing.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 7,102cfs. This is a decrease of 4,437cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,014cfs. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 but there is some fair to good action around Bluff Creek. The Orleans area has been fair to good but the rains have made it hard to fish. The good news is that the Klamath has been dropping and the fishing has been picking up some for half-pounders. The Happy Camp fishing has been getting better as the river drops but another storm is in the works and could blow the river out again. I am not sure how the fishing the Klamath above I-5 is right now but if you try to contact Scott Coldwell Guide service you might get a good report.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 827cfs and releasing 277cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 47% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 202ft) with inflows of 5,811cfs and releasing 2,733cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 3,131cfs and releasing 3,290cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 35% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 2ft) with inflows of 1,592cfs with releases of 671cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 30% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 2ft) with inflows of 2,125cfs with releases of 1,056cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 89ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 51% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 467fs and releasing 879cfs into Lewiston Lake with 563cfs 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 44 degrees, as of 12:30pm today Sunday Jan. 31, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.76ft at 326cfs. Douglas City is 6.48ft with flows of 440cfs. with air temps of 39 and water temperatures of 43.2 degrees. Junction City is 1.93ft at 444cfs. Helena is 8.70ft at 566cfs with water temps of 43.4 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.35ft at 774cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is N/Acfa at N/Acfs. (Gauge is out of order) Willow Creek is estimated at 1,379cfs and air is 48 degrees and water at 43.5 degrees. Hoopa is 13.22ft at 2,153cfs and water is 44 degrees.

Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 7,102cfs a decrease of 4,437cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,014cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.72ft at 1,639cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,325cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,997cfs, and the Salmon River is 2.94ft at 952cfs. Orleans is 4.97ft at 4,949cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.44ft at 10,311cfs and water temps are 44.8 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 11.70ft with flows of 9,950cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 16.97ft at N/A cfs. The Smith could be blown out by this coming weekend with the new storm coming in.

Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 52 and a low of 33 degrees. Rain for the week was 6.00in with a water year total to date of 27.24 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The passes got snow in feet not inches. Forecasts for next week are for high of 58 and low of 33 with the possibility of a new storm coming in by mis week.
We also use the water to help fill the reservoirs but we also need more snow pack for this spring and summer. 


Websites: MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Willowcreekchamber.com,
from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail yen2fish@yahoo.com


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