Spring Flows

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

Spring Flows

by E.B. Duggan
5-2-2022

As most of you know by now the Trinity River Releases are in process and the river is very high, good for rafting and great for kayaking but terrible for fishing. With the spring flushing the hatchery releases and native hatchings are moving downriver. This is the science from the ROD and TRRP. (Record of Decision and Trinity River Restoration Program)

What has been observed by many River Guides and local fishermen is that the smolt and hatchlings move into the brush and willows then move down as the river recedes. Yes, some of the larger smolts and “Down Runners” do move down with the flush but mostly the spring flows help to move the silt and small gravel in the river supposedly for better spawning areas. That brings us to the need for gravel augmentation. Some gravel needs to be replaced below the dam because the highwater releases do move some gravel. The trouble is that for the last two years plus this year California is in a severe drought. Why are we using extra water when we should be trying to conserve water? We did get a little reprieve from the last storms but that was NOT enough relief to add much to the reservoirs for the water needed. True the ROD declares that for a Critical Dry Year the use of 369,000AF can be used for the river but that was a study done back in the 1980s and 90s for the decision of 2000. We are looking at 40yrs ago to present. Things have changed but the science has NOT!! I would think that science would be updated just like everything else, id so, why are we not using it. We are in a drought. All good thinking would be “lets conserve water”!!

The PFMC has released the numbers for the Klamath Management Zone (KMZ). The Klamath River Basin Fall Chinook salmon was allotted 2,119 Fall Run salmon for the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Divided as: Lower Klamath, 1,058 adult salmon over 23 inches; the Spit, 318 adult Fall Run salmon from the 1,058 Lower Klmath salmon quota; Upper Klamath, 360 adult salmon over 23 inches; Lower Trinity River, 350 adult salmon; Upper Trinity, 350 adult salmon over 23 inches. Limits are 1 adult and 1 jack or 2 jacks per day with a limit of 6 Fall Run Chinook salmon consisting of 3 adult and 3 jack salmon in possession.

Shasta River trapping summary: Marked-recapture trial estimate total1,352,059 outmigration; 132,022age 0+ Chinook; an estimated 1,829 Coho age 1+ have out-migrated. screw trapping Julian week 15 ending Apr. 22, 2022; Chinook, 13,202- age 0+, total 254; Coho 1,829- 0+, total 124, 132-1+, total 125,961.

Scott River screw trapping summary: estimate recapture Chinook of 333,005total age 0+ have out-migrated from the Scott and 33,180 age 1+ have out migrated from the Scott River, Julian 14 week ending Apr. 8, 2022; 8,390 age 0+, 65 age 1+ Chinook; Coho salmon age 0+ 11, 1+ 105 Coho salmon have out-migrated and 15,239 Chinook aged 0+, 66 aged 1+form the Scott River.

Fishing: With the spring flows there has not been very much fishing on the Lower Trinity. I have seen a couple of rafters having fun though. It has been about the same for the upper river also. I know this is a sad fishing report but with the highwater people are not trying to fish. Maybe as the river starts to drop, we will see more fishermen out but for now it is a kayaker’s type of water.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 14,674cfs. This is an increase of 7,902cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,345cfs. The Orleans River flows have increased also and not many fishermen are out fishing right now.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 93% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 96cfs and releasing 284cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 40% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 4ft) with inflows of 4,391cfs and releasing 3,035cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 3,391cfs and releasing 3,260cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 54% of capacity (an increase of 6% plus 23ft) with inflows of 5,303cfs with releases of 400cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 79% of capacity (an increase of 17% plus 14t) with inflows of 4,420cfs with releases of 1,137cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 144ft below the overflow (an increase of 6ft) and 31% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 1,340cfs and releasing 1,842cfs into Lewiston Lake with 83cfs 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 95% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases are 1,975cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 49.9 degrees, as of 12:30am today Sunday May 1, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 6.48ft at 1,953cfs. Douglas City is 8.39ft with flows of 2,057cfs with water temperatures of 48.6 degrees. Junction City is 4.29ft at 1,850cfs. Helena is 12.17ft at 2,245cfs with water temps of 50.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 7.11ft at 3,250cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.10ft at 919cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 4,167cfs and air is 70 degrees and water at 52.5 degrees, the river is still high and taking on color. Hoopa is 15.94ft at 5,722cfs and water is 54.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 14,674cfs an increase of 7,902cfs. 
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,345cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.61ft at 2,427cfs. Indian Creek is 5.44ft at 750cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 3,177cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 6,205cfs, and the Salmon River is 4.56ft at 2,740cfs. Orleans is 7.27ft at 8,945cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 13.50ft at 18,147cfs and water temps are 53.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 8.71ft with flows of 4,110cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.16 ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 80 and a low of 36 degrees. Rain for the week was 5.30in with a water year total to date of 50.6 inches and 5.0in of snow in Willow Creek. We are slowly catching up tour normal rain for the year. The predicted weather for next week is high of 84 and a low of 39. The predicted weather for next week is rain shower for the first part of the week then some sunshine and showers for the weekend. 


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


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