Proposed Klamath River Basin Salmon Regulations

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy of E.B Duggan

by E.B. Duggan
5-16-2021

The CDFW proposed salmon Regulations for 2021; Klamath Spring Chinook salmon; July 1 to Aug. 14 one salmon only jack or adult, (you land a salmon you are don for the day) 2 in possession; Trinity Spring salmon, (above the mouth of the South Fork to Old Lewiston Bridge) 1 salmon per day jack or adult, 2 in possession. Fall Run Chinook salmon; Lower Klamath Aug. 15th until quota is reached, (same as last year) 2 salmon per day, 1 jack- 1 adult, 6 in possession no more than 3 jacks and 3 adults. Trinity River, Sep.1 thru Dec. 31 or until quota is met. With Klamath River Basin Harvest Quota set at 1,221 Fall Run Chinook salmon for the whole basin it looks like we could have a very short salmon fishing season this year. On top of that the fish will have to contend with an Extremely Dry Water Year meaning the north coast rivers could see low warm water flows. I have heard that the Upper Klamath is already experiencing some Shasta-C in out-migrating spring juveniles. If this is true, we could experience another bad year of survival rate for our out-migrating juvenile salmon. The Trinity River releases are now seeing the last of the highwater releases from Lewiston Dam and should be slowly working their way down to summer flows of 450cfs just as we are approaching the Memorial Day weekend. The Trinity River releases are now seeing the last of the highwater releases from Lewiston Dam and should be slowly working their way down to summer flows of 450cfs just as we are approaching the Memorial Day weekend.  

The Klamath River Basin Fall Chinook salmon Harvest proposed total is 1,221 Fall Chinook Salmon. Broken down; Lower Klamath from Weitchpec Bridge to the mouth is 610 salmon; Kamath Spit 183; (Of the 610 salmon for the Lower Klamath 183 will go the Spit and 427 will be allotted for the Lower Klamath from the 101 Bridge to the Weitchpec Bridge) Upper Klamath 207; Trinity River 404 (202 for Upper Trinity and 202 for the Lower Trinity)

Poor Water management for the Northern California water runoff has been a problem for many years and now with Gov. Newsom’s Drought Declaration we will probably see even more water mismanagement. The last drought and water mis-management led to 90% of our salmon dying off and we have not yet recovered from that. Water Boards and other agencies have already been reporting that water deliveries for this year are going to be much less than they have been in the past for farmers and cities. It doesn’t look like the rivers are not going to do much better.

Upper Klamath River Rotary Screw Trapping count: Julian week 19 ending on May. 1, 2021; Shasta River; 5,171 Chinook salmon age 0+, season total 208,366, Juveniles, 1yr old 5, season total 76; Coho salmon 15 age 0+, season total 59,277; 50 Rainbow Trout age 1+, season total 1,239, 18 Rainbow Trout age 2+, season total 767; Scott River, 290 Chinook salmon age 0+, season total 5,802; 1yr old Chinook 6, season total 59; 1yr old Coho salmon, season total 219; 142 Rainbow Trout age 1+, season total 1,308, 4Rainbow Trout age 2+, season total 1,641.

Fishing: Fishing the Willow Creek area has been very slow as of lately but with the water flows up to 2,349cfs we should be seeing some early springers in the river very soon. You have to go above the mouth of the South Fork and wait until Jul 1st but that is just a short time away. I haven’t seen any steelhead yet but there should be some summer run steelies around but it will have to be an early morning fish as it is just too hot after 10 or 11 O’clock. Yes, we are experiencing summer weather already as the sunbathers are on the beaches every weekend now. Mother’s Day looks like the Hoopa Reservation opened up to non-residents as they had the boat races and there was plenty of Boat Race enthuses out. Old Village has been allowing fishermen to go down to the river to fish at Weitchpec so that is some good news but right now the river is flowing 7,911cfs which is not real high.

Traveling Hwy 299 over to Redding and back the other day I didn’t see a rafter or drift boat on the upper sections of the river. The river looked great for fishing but not a fisherman to be seen.   

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 7,91cfs. This is a decrease of 1,677cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,234cfs from Iron Gate but I am not hearing about much fishing in the Upper Klamath. I would think fishing for trout might be good but if the water is too warm then fishing will be hard.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 96% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 364cfs and releasing 277cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 50% of capacity (an increase of 3% plus 6ft) with inflows of 4,449cfs and releasing 7,069cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 78% (a decrease of 11%) with inflows of 7,384cfs and releasing 7,472cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 42% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 6ft) with inflows of 2,501cfs with releases of 2,687cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 37% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 0ft) with inflows of 1,941cfs with releases of 1,241cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 84ft below the overflow (a decrease of 0ft) and 53% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 1,277fs and releasing 1,788cfs into Lewiston Lake with 200cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 8,823cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases are 1,532cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.7 degrees, as of 10:30am today Saturday May 15, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 6.12ft at 1,509cfs. Douglas City is 7.91ft with flows of 1,545cfs. with air temps of 69 and water temperatures of 53.7 degrees. Junction City is 3.73ft at 1,530cfs. Helena is 11.28ft at 1,723cfs with water temps of 54.6 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 5.72ft at 2,075cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.77cfa at 274cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 2,349 and air is 67 degrees and water at 58 degrees. Hoopa is 13.82ft at 2,786cfs and water is 60.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 7,911cfs a decrease of 1,677cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,234cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.34ft at 2,171cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,435cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,522cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.65ft at 1,603cfs. Orleans is 4.79ft at 5,125cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.85ft at 8,373cfs and water temps are 62.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 5.56ft with flows of 658cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 12.31ft at N/A cfs.  Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 93 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 44.12 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The weather predicted for next week is high of 78 and a low of 45. The weather predicted for next week is patchy sunshine for the first part of the week with a few scattered showers before the weekend.  


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


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