Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir Fish Report for 7-23-2023
Heated Water Flows and Fish Disease
Trinity River - Willow Creek Weir - Willow Creek, CA (Humboldt County)
by E.B. Duggan
There have been reports of Spring Salmon with gill rot (Columnaris) reported in the Upper Trinity. This is true and is under investigation by USFW, NOAA and CDFW fish biologist. I have been told that a full report will be put out next week (this week sometime). I am hoping I have not been led astray by my contacts. As you know I do my best to report the facts and not rummers. Yes, there have been numerous counts of Spring Chinook Salmon with disease at the Junction City Weir during the early counts. (The J C weir is located up at Cox Bar above J C) A report I read was that the Douglas City Gauge was buried in sediment and not reading correct therefore the temperatures are higher than stated. This could be a contributing factor as well as all of the ash and debris from the past fires could be some of the problems. We will not know for sure until the report is back from the fish biologists. Yes, there is enough fish infected to make a difference in collection of eggs at the Trinity River Hatchery. It could possibly, (NOT for sure) cause a major loss in egg production for Spring Chinook this year. We will not know for sure until the report is out. Then and only then will we know for sure how our 2026-’27 Spring Salmon return be affected. Should we be worried, you damn well should believe that! Especially after the closure of salmon fishing for this year.
I believe in science, but science evolves so fast that sometimes last year’s science is out the door for the new in no time. TRRP and TMC are still using 40 year old science from the ROD. Some scientist and biologist don’t want to believe those of us that are on the river every day of what we observe just because we don’t have the degree in their field. “I know better than you”, is what I’ve been told when I was on Trinity Adaptive Manage Working Group (TAMWG). Many of us don’t have a science degree but we do know when we see sick fish up close. I hope the TRRP scientist have a chance to read the article by Terry Otto, “Cowlitz River Spring Chinook” in the April May 2023 issue of Salmon Trout Stealheader magazine it might enlighten them. It wouldn’t hurt if the people at CDFW read it also!
Junction City Weir summary: Julian Week 28 ending July 15, 2023; Spring Chinook, 31 jacks, seasonal total of 41, 170 adults, total of 653, seasonal total 1024; Coho Salmon 0, summer steelhead; 0- ½-pounders, 30- adults, total 30, seasonal total 79; 1-Brown Trout, seasonal total 13.
Fishing: The Trinity River is at summer releases of 450cfs. The river is reaching its normal summer flows along most of it’s reach. With the summer temperatures it is great for rafting, tubing, swimming and sunbathing but kind of hard for fishing right now. You want to be sure that you use plenty of sunscreen and keep hydrated. The summer run of steelhead is starting to slow down now and the river is heating up as the Spring Run of salmon has reaching its peak. The only “fish cool” water is in the upper river and very early in the morning. Lots of mud was coming out of the North Fork which might make fishing a little hard. With salmon season closed we still have trout and steelhead fishing on most of the rivers as well as the Sierra Streams are open to fishing. Some of us just might have to change tactics for this year but there is some fishing out there to be had.
In the Willow Creek area Kimtu Beach and Big Rock are open for sun bathing and swimming. If you are interested in rafting you can contact Bigfoot Rafting, Brianna Carreira (530-629-2263).
Go Get It!
Mid-Klamath and Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 3,710cfs, this is a decrease of 669cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 907cfs. The Klamath River has been cloudy and musky for the last week or so. I am only thinking that it be coming from the bottom of the dams as they are draining them so they can remove the dams. One has already been removed so that could be a cause. The Dams have been in for a long time and over the years have built up a lot of sediment behind them.
The Klamath could possibly be fair to good fishing for trout above I-5. If you are interested you might want to give Scott Caldwell a call (530-905-0758) or if you might want to fish the Happy Camp Area you might call Marble Mountain Resort, Doug Cole (530-469-3322). For now, those are the best options. The Klamath is still dropping to summer time flows and there are some fish still in the upper river. From what I have heard or seen is the Mid-Klamath is murky but the fish still have to go up river to reach their spawning grounds.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 781cfs and releasing 590cfs into Whiskeytown Reservoir. Shasta Lake is 88% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 3,492cfs and releasing 9,915cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 96% (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 10,797cfs and releasing 10,708cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 95% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 4ft) with inflows of 2,798cfs with releases of 7,254cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 90% of capacity (a decrease of 3% plus 2ft) with inflows of 2,975cfs with releases of 4,4961cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 1,416,911AF a decrease of 6,724AF. That would be a total loss of 12,626AF storage instead of a gain in storage. At this rate the lake will be right back to where it started from before the last years storms. Something has to give if there is going to be a “Cold-Water Pool” for next year’s fish. If you consider the possible disease and NO cold-water pool, we could lose the Spring Chinook Salmon run all together, then there would be “NO FISHING”. It seems like BOR doesn’t care!
Trinity Lake: The lake is 74ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 58% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 470cfs and releasing 1,118cfs into Lewiston Lake with 667cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 10,718cfs into the Sacramento River. (Our cold water)
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 97% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases of 451cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 54.2 degrees, as of 12:00am today Sunday July 23, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 4.90ft at 457cfs. Douglas City is 6.75ft with flows of 473cfs with water temperatures of N/A degrees. Junction City is 2.06ft at 517cfs. Helena is 8.81ft at 592cfs with water temps of 66.1 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 3.13ft at 700cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.221ft at 202cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 902cfs and air is 85 degrees and water at 60.8 degrees, Hoopa is 12.02ft at 1,058cfs with water at 56.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 3,710cfs a decrease of 669cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 907cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.09ft at 1,161cfs. Indian Creek is 3.91ft at 160cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,3221cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,205fs, and the Salmon River is 2.006ft at 449cfs. Orleans is 3.09ft at 2,652cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.64ft at 3,777cfs and water temps are 72.0 degrees. Dangerous temperatures for salmon are 72 degrees or 17 Celsius. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.75ft with flows of 338cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.77ft at N/A. Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 103 and a low of 53 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 76.00 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 91 and a low of 55. Next week is going to be sunny and hot so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and be sure to stay hydrated.
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