Winter Weather Coming

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

Winter Weather Coming

by E.B. Duggan

Sorry I missed last week’s publications as I had a medical problem and was not able to type.

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) with the Trinity Management Council (TMC) have agreed to the augmentation of a Winter Flow for the Trinity River that began February 15th and will end March14th. These releases are supposed to emulate winter snow melt. Trinity Lake’s water source is mostly from the Trinity Alps snow melt to fill the lake. I am not sure if this will take the place of the Spring release for hatchery release of fish or not. What I do know is that the releases are a lot of water 60,000AF, that maybe could have helped with the Spring Releases, if the TMC includes to also do. The TRRP and TMC get to make decisions concerning the Trinity River water releases without public input as the Record of Decision (ROD) recommended. The public recommendations used to come from the TAMWG, Trinity Adaptive Management Group which was made up of smaller public groups representing the general public. TAMWG held regular public meetings for recommendations from the public and then presenting some of those recommendations to the TMC. TAMWG was defunded in 2017 and is now defuncted therefore no public input to the TRRP.

These later inter storms are really creating some hazardous traveling in the north state. If you plan on traveling Hwy 101 north of Ukiah, be sure to check ahead and the same for Hwy 299 from Redding to Eureka. These storms are helping with the Sierra snowpack for Spring water that the farmers need to grow crops and the young salmon to be able to survive the hazardous trip out to sea where they will grow up to later be harvested for food.

Trinity River Hatchery summary: (No report for this week) Julian Week 3 ending Jan. 21, 2023; Fall Run Chinook Salmon, 1-adult, 0-jacks, total 1, season total 3,858; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 0-adult, total 0, season total 3,504; 77-steelhead, season total 269. It looks like the hatchery will make egg quotas for salmon but maybe not for steelhead this year.

Fishing: As I write this report the California Department of Water Resources already started the Winter Releases from Trinity Lake. You will see bumps in the flows of the river, today the releases have started to go up and then down 2/28/23 to 700cfs. As I have not been able to fish for the last couple of weeks, I have been driving the Willow Creek area of the Trinity to check for fishermen but have not seen many. Some of my resources have taken a winter vacation so it is even harder to give you an accurate fishing report for the whole river, sorry. The Willow Creek area is having great water but hard fishing. Hoopa is having high water right now as the Hoopa gauge is reading 4,560cfs, hopefully as the releases reduce, they will see some decent fishing waters. With the higher water flows it is basic hardware time. Throwing larger spinners such as #5 Blue Fox size.  If you have questions or want to complain about the water releases please call (530) 623-1800. If you want to know what the fishing is like in the upper river you can call; Indian Creek Lodge, Cory (530) 6236294, Junction City, Butch (530)623-2803 or the Pine Cove Marina Matt or Louise (530)778-3878 for river conditions.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 8,870cfs. This is a decrease of 1,190cfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 800cfs. With these lower releases from Iron Gate the Klamath above I-5 should be in great shape for trout fishing and maybe hooking an adult or two. If you are thinking of fishing above I-5 you might want to call
Scott Caldwell-Guide Service- (530) 905-0758

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 88% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 295cfs and releasing 518cfs into Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 60% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 4ft) with inflows of 6,158cfs and releasing 2,442cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 83% (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 3,105cfs and releasing 3,326cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 72% of capacity (an increase of 3% plus10ft) with inflows of 5,449cfs with releases of 2,595cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 55% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 2ft) with inflows of 5,297cfs with releases of 4,213cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 795,763AF plus 11,565AF, with the new water releases of 60,000AF I am not sure how long the lake will be able to stay above the Cold-Water Pool of 600,000AF. The Trinity Alps is the water source for Trinity Lake.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 141ft below the overflow (a decrease of 7ft) and 32% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 1,158cfs and releasing 305cfs into Lewiston Lake with 26cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, leaving 784,198AF in lake storage (an increase of 26,718AF), and releasing 3,294cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 2%) and water releases of 707cfs into the Trinity River, (to bump up to 700cfs 2/26/23) with water temperatures of 43.8 degrees, as of 10:30am today Sunday February 26, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 5.27ft at 746cfs. Douglas City is 6.99ft with flows of 760cfs with water temperatures of 42.3 degrees. Junction City is 2.78ft at 933cfs. Helena is 9.89ft at 1,015cfs with water temps of 43.3 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 4.87ft at 1,527cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.50ft at 1,140cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 2,667cfs and air is 42 degrees and water at 42 degrees, Hoopa is 14.78ft at 3,981cfs with water at 42.6 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 8,870cfs a decrease of 1,190cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 800cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.51ft at 1,465cfs. Indian Creek is 4.80ft at 382cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,847cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,699fs, and the Salmon River is     3.12ft at 1,190cfs. Orleans is 4.89ft at 4,889cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.38ft at 10,922cfs and water temps are 42.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 7.13ft with flows of 1,992cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.67ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 561 and a low of 29 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.35in with a water year total to date of 53.24inches and 3.00in of snow for a total of 5.75in. in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 47 and a low of 27. The weather predicted for next week is rain and snow showers for the weekend which is going to make traveling hard on I-5, Hwy 299 and Hwy 101in the northern part of the state.

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

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