Good Rain But Light Snow Pack

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
3-7-2021

The valley received a good rain forth week but a light snow for the snow pack needed for the coming water year. Many of the reservoirs are 505 or below. This is not good for water releases for fish or the farmers. In my travels this last week I saw a light snow covering on Horse Mountain, Iron Side Mt. and Orleans Mt. This is not a good indicator for spring water flows for the Klamath or the Trinity and from what I can gather not good for the Smith either. It will be interesting to see what the Bureau of Reclamations will declare for a water year but I would expect it to be a “Extremally Dry” water year.

Most of the guides I have contacted have all said the same thing, fishing this year (Nov. 20 – Mar. 21) has been a poor year for fishing. That includes salmon and steelhead. There have been a few days when the fishing was hot but in comparison to other years it has been very slow. This includes the rivers in Oregon as well.

Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 9 ending on Mar4, 2021; Chinook salmon, 0-jacks, 0- adults, total 0, season total 7,103; Coho salmon , 0- jacks, 0 adults, total 0, season total 2,333; steelhead 10, season total 584.

Upper Klamath River rotary Screw Trapping count: Julian week 9 ending on Mar. 4, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 17,866, season total 49,223, 1yr old 5,season total 15;; Coho 0, season total 20,798; Scott River, Chinook salmon 11 , season total 25; Coho salmon 25, season total 35;

Fishing: This past week we received a fair amount of rain in the valley (2.3in), which is good but far from normal for this time of year. It did bring up the rivers some which should have brought in more winter steelhead. We usually figure the month of February as the peak time for winter steelhead fishing but this year has been slow compared to other years. Willow Creek has been slow fishing this year and with the Hoopa reservation being closed to non-residents for fishing it has been hard to find any type of good fishing for steelhead. On occasions the fishing in the Upper Trinity has been good but it seems as though you have to be there on the right day. Saturday was the right day for Dave Sifers and John Cravens to be fishing with Todd LeBoeuf of Tiger T Guide service, (530-356-6032) They were able to land 9 adult steelhead up to a 9lbs. They had a great outing!

The Hoopa Reservation received another spike in the COVID 19 therefor keeping the restrictions for travel of non-residents on the reservation, so the reservation is closed to fishing.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 9,284cfs. This is a decrease of 714cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,059cfs. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19. Fishing in the Seiad Valley would possibly be good but one has to access the river from I-5 due to the slide on Hwy 96. Above I-5 the Klamath should be good fishing for down runners and trout. If you want to check for conditions, I would recommend you contact Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 373cfs and releasing 277cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 50% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 4,933cfs and releasing 2,790cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 3,008cfs and releasing 3,304cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 38% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 3ft) with inflows of 1,976cfs with releases of 825cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 35% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 1,490cfs with releases of 1,180cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 87ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 52% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 865fs and releasing 447cfs into Lewiston Lake with 136cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,480cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases are 311cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 48.5 degrees, as of 1:00pm today Monday Mar. 7, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.75ft at 320cfs. Douglas City is 6.42ft with flows of 407cfs. with air temps of 56 and water temperatures of 49.1 degrees. Junction City is 1.93ft at 444cfs. Helena is 8.77ft at 89cfs with water temps of 48.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.88ft at 1,009cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.05cfa at 715cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,724cfs and air is 56 degrees and water at 48 degrees. Hoopa is 14.41ft at 3,494cfs and water is 47.3 degrees. 
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 9,284cfs a decrease of 714cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,059cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.02ft at 1,886cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,421cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,344cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.48ft at 1,446cfs. Orleans is 5.50ft at 5,790cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 12.29ft at 13,3500cfs and water temps are 45.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 9.05ft with flows of 4,535cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.54ft at N/A cfs.  Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 68 and a low of 33 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.3in with a water year total to date of 39.86 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The weather predicted for next week is high of 64 and a low of 32. We are expecting some shows towards the end of the week but not substantial rain or snow.   


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


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