Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir Fish Report for 5-7-2023
Catching Up to Date
Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir - Willow Creek, CA (Humboldt County)
by E.B. Duggan
Sorry to have been gone so long. I had surgery and was unable to use the computer. I appreciate that all of my readers missed the fishing report so I will try to catch up now.
First off, I am sure that all of you have been reading about the water releases and the down flow of the water to the Trinity River so I will try not to bore you with more about the water releases. At least review the need for such high releases when there is so much water flows below the Dam. (Adaptive Management?)
To start off I would say that I was part of the TRRP through the Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group (TAMWG) for 16 years and tried to represent the Down River Businesses and Humboldt County, as the river does not stop at the Trinity County Line but also flows into Humboldt County. (Therefore, the court decision of 50,000AF to Humboldt County) That being said, by Court Order the Trinity River Restoration does not stop at the North Fork of the Trinity River but includes all of the Trinity River. Restoration was decided by the Record of Decision (ROD) of 2000, 23years ago using science of almost 30 years ago. The ROD also said that the river was also to be updated and managed with Adoptive Management procedures, which it has not! Without public input (TAMWG) public input has virtually stopped! The Trinity Management Council (TMC) and TRRP have gone record to approve many restoration projects with virtually no public input and increased the costs by millions of dollars. It has also over run River Restoration Projects by 8 years. (Restoration was to cease by 2015) The main goal of the Restoration was to “restore endangered species and salmon runs to before Dam construction”. It has not done that by spending over $200 million with NO increase of fish returns. In fact, the returns have depleted to the extent that salmon fishing was declared CLOSED for the 2023 – 2024 fishing season. There is knowledge that many of the Restoration Projects have failed and yet TRRP and TMC continue to increase the Restoration Projects in dollars and size with no proof of increase of fish returns. How does this continue? Why isn’t the TRRP at least pause to review their work (as per ROD)? Why doesn’t the Secretary of Interior stop/pause this to review why the returns are not increasing?
Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 10 ending Mar. 11, 2023; Fall Run Chinook Salmon, 0-adult, 0-jacks, total 0, season total 3,858; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 0-adult, total 0, season total 3,504; 17-steelhead, season total 1,047. January 28 through February 4 appears to have been the peak of the hatchery returns for steelhead with a spike of 219 for Julian Week 9. The hatchery returns seems to be fare this year so I don’t understand why they won’t go back to the original releases for Coho Salmon and Steelhead and try to increase Chinook Salmon releases. Maybe the Hatchery restoration will allow that!
Fishing: It appears that there will be NO fall salmon fishing along the North Coast or in the coastal rivers this year due to the lack of salmon returns. Does the restoration of the Trinity River have anything to do with this. Like I said above TRRP and the TMC don’t appear to be doing their job.
The river is still too high for fishing but hopefully the upper river will become fishable soon for what is left of steelhead fishing. While traveling Hwy 299 and looking at the river I have noticed that most of the upper sections are somewhat clear until you get down to about Cedar Flat where the road crosses the river, after that the river starts to cloud up until you get to South Fork and then the mud comes into the main stem. With the high water and muddy water, it is very hard to do much fishing in the lower river.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing N/Acfs, due to the river gauges being out of order. This is an increase of N/Acfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing N/Acfs. With these decreases in water releases from Iron Gate the Klamath is becoming fishable very soon providing there is no more big storms in the near future. With the weather being so inconsistent I would expect it to be a good idea to call ahead before making plans to fish the Upper Klamath. It is spring so if you are considering fishing later in the Spring, I would suggest you call Scott Caldwell-Guide Service- (530) 905-0758. Right now, Highway 96 has been cleared with one way traffic just north of Happy Camp.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 96% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 2,285cfs and releasing 2,198cfs into Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 98% of capacity (an increase of 18% plus 31ft) with inflows of 12,257cfs and releasing 10,769cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 90% (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 13,201cfs and releasing 13,074cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 94% of capacity (an increase of 12% plus 28ft) with inflows of 12,265cfs with releases of 13,074cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 85% of capacity (an increase of 19% plus 19ft) with inflows of 8,196cfs with releases of 8,291cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 895,981AF an increase of 100,218AF.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 123ft below the overflow (a decrease of 5ft) and 38% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 4,561cfs and releasing 1,947cfs into Lewiston Lake with +N/Acfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 13,074cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: The river gauges are temporarily out of order: Lewiston Dam is N/A% of capacity (an increase of 6%) and water releases of 1,030cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 47.3 degrees, as of 12:00pm today Sunday May 7, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is N/Aft at 1,311cfs. Douglas City is N/Aft with flows of 1,625cfs with water temperatures of 43.7 degrees. Junction City is N/Aft at 1,950cfs. Helena is N/Aft at 2,251cfs with water temps of 42.5 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is N/Aft at 4,023cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is N/Aft at 4,233cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at N/Acfs and air is 45 degrees and water at 43 degrees, Hoopa is N/Aft at 12,463cfs with water at 44.1 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be N/Acfs a decrease of N/Acfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: The Klamath gauges are temporarily out of order: Iron Gate is releasing N/Acfs. Seiad Valley is 3.87ft at 2,693cfs. Indian Creek is 5.58ft at 689cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 3,382cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 7,188fs, and the Salmon River is 4.43ft at 2,586cfs. Orleans is 7.61ft at 9,774cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 15.92ft at 26,552cfs and water temps are 44.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 9.62ft with flows of 8,549cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 16.07ft at N/A.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 74 and a low of 40 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.33n with a water year total to date of 75.42 inches and 0.00in of snow for a total of 7.50in. in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 93 and a low of 42. The weather next week is for some light rain and showers Monday some sunshine possibly for the rest of the week.
at the beginning of the week and then a break with rain and some snow showers for the weekend with the snow to the higher elevations.
Good Fishin and Good Luck but remember; “keep your tip up with a tight line lands fish”
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