Trinity River Closes to Adult Salmon Jacks Only

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

Trinity River Closes to Adult Salmon Jacks Only

by E.B. Duggan

The Upper Trinity has reached the salmon Quota Limit as of Friday October 21,2022. This means you can only harvest jack Chinook salmon under 23 inches. You may continue to fish for steelhead, Brown Trout and jack salmon (No Coho salmon) above the Cedar Flat Bridge at Hwy 299 up to the Old Lewiston Bridge. Below the Hawkins Bar Bridge to the confluence of the Klamath River is still open to the harvest of Chinook salmon adults, over 23in, jack Chinook salmon under 23in, steelhead and Brown Trout. With the winter water releases of 300cfs means there is going to be some low water crossings that will be a bit bumpy for the drift boaters and the raft fishers. There are some good steelhead adults through out the Trinity and a mix of ½-pounders and jack Chinook salmon.

NOTE: Trinity Lake is down 178ft below the overflow and now holding 539,172AF, that is minus 2,983AF from last week. The lowest Trinity Lake has ever been since the Dam was built was in 1977 and holding 224,000AF. Without more rain and a deeper snow pack than last year it will take a heavy winter to bring the Lake back up to a usable amount of water and hopefully fill the Lake again. As the volume of water behind Trinity Dam decreases it will become harder to refill the lake. The “Cold Water Pool” of 600,000AF is still the recommended reserve. I still see it going to be hard for BOR to deliver water to all the water users they contract with. Draining the Lake is not the answer nor will 0.07 inches of rain will not help slow down the draw of water from the Lake. Letters to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors will hopefully wake some people up. The economic loss to Trinity County would be devastating if Trinity Lake were to be drawn down to the old river bed.

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 40 ending Oct. 7, 2022; Spring Chinook Salmon, 441-adult, 60-jacks, total 501, season total 4,152; Coho salmon, 1-jack, 0-adult, season total 1; 14-steelhead, season total 21. TRH is now close for taking of Spring salmon to make the break between the Spring and Fall Run salmon.

Junction City weir summary: Julian week 41 ending Oct. 14; Chinook salmon, 40-jack, 122-adult, total 162, season total 2,867; Coho salmon, 1-jack, 7-adult, total 8, season total 22; steelhead, 7-adult, 0-1/2lbs, total 7, season total 162, Brown trout, 0, season total 22.

Willow Creek weir summary: Julian week 41 ending Oct. 14, 2022; Fall Run Chinook salmon, 56-jacks, 161-adults, total 217, season total 1,029; Coho salmon, 45-jacks, 139-adults,total 184, season total 613; steelhead, 3-1/2lbs, 28-adults, total 531, season total 136.

Fishing: Yeah we had rain, 0.07 inches, not much but it did change the weather. We are finally seeing some colder weather, more like winter but not quite winter yet. I have been seeing moor fishermen in the Willow Creek area now but I have yet to see more catching. I am sure the fishers are catching and releasing some fish it’s just that I have not seen that. As we get closer to the holidays, I am sure that there will be more fishermen on the river. 

Correction: Last week I made the statement that with a low spawning this year we what would be the results of next years return. It takes two years for the return not one.

My concern is that with all of the fires in the area this year and possibly having a wet winter the run-off of the silt and ash from the fires it could possibly cause the loss of this year’s spawning. I do know the mud from mud slides will silt in the Redds and suffocate the eggs. I surely hope not but it is a possibility. In the past I have seen this happen on the South Fork and this year we saw what happened on the Upper Klamath.

Fishing in the upper Trinity is still good for Jack salmon, Brown Trout and steelhead it is just a bit bumpy in some places.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,013cfs. This is a decrease of 114cfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,023cfs. Fishing around Weitchpec above the bridge and up to Orleans has been fair to good for those throwing fresh roe. The river is not as muddy but if the upper section received more rain than Willow Creek area did than the Klmath will muddy up again. These fires are creating more problems than just burning up our forests it is also harming the fishing and spawning.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 93% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 32cfs and releasing 234cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 32% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,752cfs and releasing 3,642cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 4,072cfs and releasing 3,955cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 33% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,151cfs with releases of 3,376cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 32% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 32cfs with releases of 1,427cfs into the American river. 

Trinity Lake: The lake is 178ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 22% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of -36cfs and releasing 179cfs into Lewiston Lake with -132cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, leaving 539,172AF in lake storage (a decrease of 2,983AF), and releasing 3,955cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases of 311cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 53.1 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Saturday October 22, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 4.63ft at 290cfs. Douglas City is 6.24ft with flows of 299cfs with water temperatures of 53.9 degrees. Junction City is 1.64ft at 313cfs. Helena is 7.91ft at 330cfs with water temps of 55.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.24ft at 377cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.71ft at 55cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 432cfs and air is 62 degrees and water at 57 degrees, Hoopa is 11.02ft at 479cfs with water at 59.3 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,013cfs a decrease of 114cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,023cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.10ft at 1,190cfs. Indian Creek is 3.21ft at 62cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,252cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,385fs, and the Salmon River is 1.35ft at 149cfs. Orleans is 2.15ft at 1,534cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 7.99ft at 2,261cfs and water temps are 60.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.58ft with flows of 263cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.56ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 77 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.07in with a water year total to date of 0.07 inches and 0.00in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 69 and lows of 42. We are predicted to have some rain showers by Friday, We can use the cooler temperatures and we need more rain to help end the fires in the north but what is it going to do the rivers with all of the ash and burnt timber? More mud slides?

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

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