Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir Fish Report for 12-4-2022
We Are Now Entering Winter Steelhead Fishing
Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir - Willow Creek, CA (Humboldt County)
by E.B. Duggan
We now entering into winter weather type of fishing as the weather has turned into some freezing mornings with some snow on the mountain tops. Winter steelhead are now starting to show up in the Trinity River with a nice mix of half-pounders and some small adults. The half- pounders help keep up the action with the occasional small adult added in to increase the thrill of an active fish on.
This year the Spring Chinook salmon run on the Trinity River appears to be the highest return in years. Returning Spring Chinook Salmon at the Junction City weir appears to be the highest since 1978. This sounds great! Surveys were a collaborative effort by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Tribe and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Service.
The final steps for the removal of the Dams on the Klamath River appear to be here at last. With FERC NOT renewing the licensing for the dams and turning over the licensing to the Klamath Renewal Project it looks like the actual removal might start in late 2023 or early 2024. The thought of the Dam Removal on the Klamath has brought forward some thinking. What will happen to all of the silt built up behind the Dams? What will happen to the fish runs while all this silt is being dumped into the river? How will the fish runs improve in the upper Klamath if the hatchery is removed? I know when Horse Linto Creek was restored using grape boxes as small hatcheries to help restore fish returns and it did well. Will U S Fish and Wildlife and CDFW do something similar for the Upper Klamath? How long will it take to restore fish runs in the Upper Klamath? Will fishing on the Klamath be stopped during the restoration period? Just some heavy thinking on my part!
Lewiston Lake, Pine Creek Marina: Louise and Matt of the Pine Cove Marina and Park (530-778-3878): The fishing has been holding steady for the fly fishermen. The big fish being 8lbs plus are up by the dam when you can get them to bite. The majority of the trout have been in the 12–14-inch category. Not a lot of action for the bait fishers though. Cold and icy conditions have kind of put a damper on things but as long as the water stays clear fishing seems to be fairly steady if you run deep with slow returns. If you plan to fish the lake, be sure to call ahead for reservations.
Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 45 ending Nov.11, 2022; Fall Run Chinook Salmon, 367-adult, 188-jacks, total 55, season total 2,346; Coho salmon, 11-jack, 90-adult, total 101, season total 160; 2-steelhead, season total 35.
Junction City weir summary: Julian week 46 ending Nov. 18; Chinook salmon, 4-jack, 7-adult, total 11, season total 3,174; Coho salmon, 2-jack, 13-adult, total 15, season total 164; steelhead, 3-adult, 0-1/2lbs, total 3, season total 211, Brown Trout, 0, season total 22.
Willow Creek weir summary: Julian week 46 ending Nov. 18, 2022; Fall Run Chinook salmon, 1-jacks, 1-adults, total 41, season total 1,233; Coho salmon, 0-jacks, 2-adults, total 2, season total 838; steelhead, 2-1/2lbs, 0-adults, total 2, season total 486.
Fishing: The Fall Run salmon season seems to be ending as the winter steelhead fishing starts to be picking up. All week the fishing guides have been running into ½-pounders with a sprinkling of small adults in the Willow Creek Hoopa areas. It has been very cold mornings with a warming in the afternoons. Of course, we have been having rain and expect to have more rain this coming week with a little bit of snow thrown into the mix. Just like winter steelhead fishing. Many of the guides have been fishing in the Junction City Del Loma areas as it is closer to Redding and not as long a drive before you fish or after you are done. Fishing has been fair to good in the upper river but not great yet. You can check in with Cory at the Indian Creek Lodge (530)623-6294 or check with Khristine at Del Loma RV Park (530)623-2834.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,947cfs. This is an increase of 420cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 976cfs. Due to the Holiday week, I have not been able to get fishing reports from the Klamath River area. I hope for better next week.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 20cfs and releasing 215cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 31% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 0ft) with inflows of 5,217cfs and releasing 2,444cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 2,775cfs and releasing 3,296cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 27% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 9ft) with inflows of 1,965cfs with releases of 1,413cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 25% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 1,859cfs with releases of 1,606cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is at 527,639AF a decrease of 3,390AF. The Cold-Water pool was agreed to be 600,00AF, if this winter is dry as predicted Trinity Lake could be drawn down to just the river inflow as before the dam was built.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 180ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 22% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 87cfs and releasing 257cfs into Lewiston Lake with -34cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, leaving 527,639AF in lake storage (a decrease of 3,390AF), and releasing 3,296cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 95% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) and water releases of 291cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 45.9 degrees, as of 10:00am today Saturday December 4, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 4.64ft at 296cfs. Douglas City is 6.26ft with flows of 304cfs with water temperatures of 42.9 degrees. Junction City is 1.72ft at 342cfs. Helena is 8.09ft at 362cfs with water temps of 42.2 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is N/Aft at N/A cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.17ft at 154cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 550cfs and air is 43 degrees and water at 41 degrees, Hoopa is 11.72ft at 891cfs with water at 41.7 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,947cfs a decrease of 420cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 976cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.21ft at 1,244cfs. Indian Creek is 3.60ft at 121cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,365cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,753fs, and the Salmon River is 1.76ft at 303cfs. Orleans is 2.61ft at 2,056cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 9.04ft at 4,292cfs and water temps are 43.7 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 6.47ft with flows of 1,361cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.72ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 52 and a low of 28 degrees. Rain for the week was 3.39in with a water year total to date of 11.75 inches and 0.00in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 55 and lows of 28. It looks like we are in for some more rain with the possibility of a bit of snow in the coming week. The predicted weather for next week is a high of 55 and a low of 28 with possible snow Tuesday and Wednesday. Snow in the higher elevations will definitely help.
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