Trinity River is On The Downflow

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

Trinity River is On The Downflow

by E.B. Duggan
5-17-2022

We had some rain this past week but not enough to help Trinity Lake. The good news is the river at Willow Creek is dropping and some fun can be had fishing for trout and smolt with ultralight gear. Kimtu and Big Rock are fishy for those little guys. It is mostly catch and release but occasionally one can land a nice size trout. The big problem is that the Boat Races are happening as I wright tis column. Time Trials are Saturday and the races are Sunday. They are fun to watch from up on the Hwy 299 from some good look out areas.

The rains are helping the forests but not the lake as it is staying a 31% of capacity. It has helped the river some in hat it brought up the lower river a little more than the TRRP had planned for. For being a drought year (extremely dry water year by TRRP standards), the Lower Trinity did get some scrubbing and gravel movement. This is good for late Fall Run Chinook salmon as they do spawn in the Willow Creek area. Now will the river be too hot for salmon to spawn, that is going to be the million-dollar question for the Baeuro of Reclamation. At the rate BOR is releasing the water from Trinity Lake will there be enough cold water remaining in the “Cold Water Pool” to release some cold water into the river for Fall Run Chinook salmon to survive for spawning. Years ago, when I was in Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group, we requested that the “Cold Water Pool” be at 600,000AF in order to maintain a pool of water to be releases in the Fall for the salmon to be able to spawn and NOT have another salmon “Die Off” like in 2002.   

Scott River screw trapping summary: estimate recapture Chinook of 309,549age 0+ have out-migrated from the Scott and 49,469 age 1+ have out migrated from the Scott River, Julian 16 week ending Apr. 28, 2022; 19,561 age 0+, 66 age 1+ Chinook; Coho salmon age 1,316 aged 0+ and 408 aged 1+ Coho salmon have out-migrated.

Shasta River screw trapping summary: 1,417.509 Marked-Recapture Chinook salmon aged 0+ and 2,261Coho aged 1+form the Shasta River. 351,372 aged 0+ Chinook and 31 aged 1+ through he screw trap; 75 aged 0+ and 534 aged 1+Coho counted. These are good number for native stock out migrating.

Fishing: The spring flows and the rains are subsiding and the river is dropping here in Willow Creek. Yeah, I have seen people out fishing. In fact, I was able o watch a lady fisher land and release a nice trout down at Kimtu Beach. I have been able to observe people fishing from above W.C. down to Big Rock out plying to waters, both fly fishers and hardware fishers. This is good as I am not sure how the salmon fishing is going to be come July/August. Hot weather will be the culprit and if there is very little cold water left in the Lake I am not sure how the fishing will be. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best! (And NO Fires) Up River has no been that great for fishing as of yet because most of the fish are moving down stream.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 13,269cfs. This is a decrease of 3,802cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,240cfs. The Orleans River flows have decreased by over 3,626cfs. This is good news and I hope to be hearing some good fishing reports very soon.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 91% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 109cfs and releasing 284cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 40% of capacity (a decrease of 0% plus 0ft) with inflows of 3,907cfs and releasing 3,186cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 3,596cfs and releasing 3,547cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 55% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 0ft) with inflows of 3,812cfs with releases of 4,261cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 85% of capacity (an increase of 3% plus 3t) with inflows of 2,192cfs with releases of 1,561cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 146ft below the overflow (an increase of 2ft) and 31% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 1,816cfs and releasing 988cfs into Lewiston Lake with 383cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,547cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases are 1,433cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 50.4 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Saturday May 14, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 6.10ft at 1,535cfs. Douglas City is 8.01ft with flows of 1,646cfs with water temperatures of 50.1 degrees. Junction City is 3.87ft at 1,580cfs. Helena is 11.60ft at 1,894cfs with water temps of 52.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 6.45ft at 2,665cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.92ft at 828cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 3,492cfs and air is 77 degrees and water at 53 degrees, the river is dropping and with good color. Hoopa is 15.65ft at 5,306cfs and water is 53.6 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 13,269cfs a decrease of 3,802cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,240cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.39ft at 2,217cfs. Indian Creek is 5.33ft at 697cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,914cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 5,329cfs, and the Salmon River is 4.45ft at 2,634cfs. Orleans is 6.71ft at 7,963cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 13.26ft at 17,154cfs and water temps are 52.1 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 10.10ft with flows of 6,547cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 16.37 ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 66 and a low of 39 degrees. Rain for the week was 1.97in with a water year total to date of 54.13 inches and 5.0in of snow in Willow Creek. We have finally caught up to normal average rain fall for this time of the year. The predicted weather for next week is high of 73 and a low of 43 a few showers the coming week and nice weather again 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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