The Rain Helped The Firefighters

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

by E.B. Duggan

The rain Saturday and Sunday morning helped the firefighters gain on the River Complex and Monument Fires. Sunday mid-morning saw clear skies along the Mid-Trinity and Lower Trinity down to Weitchpec. The fires and smoke plus the USFS Forest closures have pretty much curtailed the salmon fishing for the Trinity opening but I expect that to change not the Six Rivers Forest has opened the river access along the Lower Trinity. I talked to the new owners of the Del Loma RV and campground this morning and they said that the fire pretty much passed around them and that the campground was open. Part of the campground is being occupied by fire restoration workers but it was open for those that want to come up to fish. It is best to call ahead for reservations though. Hwy 299 is open for travel to Del Loma from I-5 but the piloting for travel on Hwy 299 began from Del Loma to Burnt Ranch. The good news though is that I talked to the people working the Willow Creek weir and they said that they had several days of 100 plus salmon go through with several days of close to 50. This is great news for salmon fishing and I can’t wait to see the report from there. 

So far, the drought has not really hurt the Trinity fishing yet but farmers on the Klamath in Southern Oregon are hurting bad for water for their crops. This same problem is hitting farmers in Calif also. Especially along the Delta area. Senior water rights are taking hold and junior water holders are really hurting for water for their crops. How long is it going to be before it affects the fisheries? This does not sound good for the price of groceries. Groceries have already gone up due to the New Gas/Diesel tax that Gov Newson and the legislators installed last year. The drought has hit many of the reservoirs in Calif as well, Clear Lake has dropped so much that the lagoons at the Lakeport Lagoons Mobile Home Park are dry and the Lake its self is the lowest since the 1977-78 drought and Lake Mendocino is just a puddle. California had better wake up and start using some of the Bond monies for better water supply.   

Lower Klamath Creel Survey: Note: I didn’t receive any surveys by this report. Week 36 ending Sep. 9,2021 for Fall Run Chinook salmon for below Hwy 101 Bridge; 0-jack, 13-adults, total 13, season total 389. Chinook salmon for above Hwy 101 Bridge; 314-jacks, 272-adults total 586, season total 1,547.

Junction City weir summary: Julian week 35 ending the week of Sep. 2, 2021 for Spring-Run Chinook salmon; 10 - jacks, 20 - adults, total of 30, season total of 1,070; Coho salmon, 0 jacks, season total 0, 0 adults, season total 0; steelhead, 0- 1/2lber, 4- adults, for total of 4, season total 74; Brown trout 0, season total 6. Note: even though the fire and smoke were along the river there was a nice bump of springer’s going up to the Hatchery.

Willow Creek weir summary: Due to the Fire and smoke the CDFW were unable to work the weir.

Upper Klamath summary:

Fishing: Temperatures have cooled down in Willow Creek and Hoopa Valley due to the rains tis weekend. The good news is that we are seeing a good run of salmon starting to go through so I am excited to hear the salmon fishing is picking up. This is a bit late as usually the salmon show up in Weitchpec and Hoopa around Sept 1st, Labor Day weekend. This year they are a bit late for the opening of the Trinity River salmon season.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,354cfs. This is an increase of 103cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,034cfs. With the steady water releases from Iron Gate Dam the Upper Klamath is very fishable and good fly fishing for trout. The possibility of hooking a Fall Chinook salmon or two should also be good. One might even be able hook a steelhead, that would be nice. Access is going to be a problem along the Upper Klmath due to the smoke but maybe the rains helped up there also.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 1,612cfs and releasing 1,883cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 25% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,999cfs and releasing 5,154cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 3%) with inflows of 7,212cfs and releasing 6,822cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 22% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 0ft) with inflows of 1,496cfs with releases of 1,513cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 24% of capacity (a decrease of 0% plus 1ft) with inflows of 810cfs with releases of 704cfs into the American river. 
Trinity Lake: The lake is 143ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 31% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of -44cfs and releasing 1,803cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,342cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 6,822cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (an increase of 3%) and water releases are 461cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 51.4 degrees, as of 11:00am today Sunday September 19, 2021

Limekiln Gulch is 4.94ft at 453cfs. Douglas City is 6.55ft with flows of 496cfs with air temps of N/A and water temperatures of N/A degrees (this could possibly be a gauge malfunction). Junction City is 1.52ft at 463cfs. Helena is 8.54ft at 508cfs with water temps of 56.2 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.78ft at 549cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.95ft at 37cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 586cfs and air is 66 degrees and water at 61.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.31ft at 697cfs and water is 63.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,354cfs an increase of 337cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,034cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.11ft at 1,176cfs. Indian Creek is 3.27ft at 67cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,241cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,479cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.54ft at 178cfs (peak water flows). Orleans is 2.30ft at 1,657cfs (peak water flows), the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.19ft at 2,530cfs (peaked out) and water temps are 65.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 5.16ft with flows of 479cfs. (Peak water flows 483cfs) and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.41 ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 92 and a low of 49 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.9in with a water year total to date of 47.02 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted weather for next week is high of 93 and a low of 57. The predicted weather for next week is expected to go up again for Tuesday and Wednesday, the first part of the week and then cool down again. Fishing has been crazy with all the smoke, fire and Forest closures for the opening of Fall Chinook salmon season. The rain helped wit the fires but it is predicted to heat up again the first a part of next week so maybe we only got a short reprieve from the fires. I don’t know but I sure hope they get control of them soon.  

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail

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