Fish are moving

We had a small weather depression last week that brought a few showers. Enough to make the ground wet! The good part was that the Hoopa Weir was removed and the weather depression started the fish down in Hoopa to start moving upriver. In one week’s, time, many of the fish that had been held up below the Hoopa weir made their way past Willow Creek and up into the Burnt Ranch Canyon. This is good news for the Lewiston, Steel Bridge, Poker Bar and Douglas City fishers as they will start to have fresh steelhead in the upper sections of river. We still need to have three inches or so of rain in a short period of about a week to get the fish holding up down near the mouth of the Trinity to start to move up the river. We are way past the normal time of the salmon and steelhead to be moving up the Trinity. It looks like the area will have some light rain/snow or maybe some showers this week, but there are no big rain events in the near future.

I have received several emails about the Hoopa Weir and how they believe there should be some type of oversight, accountability and/or cooperation with stakeholders. Yes, the Tribes are allotted a quota of salmon/fish to harvest for subsistence and livelihood but we, the rest of the public whether it be ocean or in-river fishing, should be allowed to harvest their quota of salmon/fish also. Don’t forget that all of us must allow for the necessary natural spawning escapement within the rivers in order to sustain the fishery.

The upper Klamath has seen a very good return this year for both salmon and steelhead and the fishing has shown that. Water releases on the Klamath this year has been very good because the return has shown “fish need water.” If we are to sustain the fishery on the Klamath and Trinity rivers, we must have cooperation amongst all stakeholders if we are to have any type future for the fishery. It easy to look at the moment and be greedy but to have a fishery we have to look to the future as well. My short time here (45 years) I have seen one river fishery die and another two dying, with no concern as to what to do for the future of the rivers.

Trinity River Hatchery, Julian week 46 ending Nov. 18: Fall chinook salmon, 158 jacks, 392 adults, total 550, season total 890; coho, 2 jacks, 29 adults, total 31, season total 47; steelhead, 13, total 13, season total 21.

Willow Creek Weir counts, Julian week 46 ending Nov. 18: Fall chinook salmon, 16 jacks, 37 adults, total 53, season total 1,572; coho salmon, 0 jacks, 26 adults, total 26, season total 150; steelhead, 0 half-pounders, 17 adults, total 17, season total 726.

Fishing: The Trinity is still running very low for this time of the year. The water has been cold and very clear. In order to hook any fish, you have to use stealth in your presentations. This past week it has been hard to find fishermen working the lower river and I believe it has been because of the weather depression that caused the fish to start moving up the river and getting ready to spawn. The upper river has not been much better. There are fishermen being able to hook some nice steelhead up to 10 pounds but not a lot. I am hoping for enough rain over the Thanksgiving holidays (not a very popular wish) to start fish to move up the rivers.

Trinity River Redds survey, Julian week 45 week ending Nov. 11: Survey sections 01-08 Lewiston to Helena 122; 08-10 Big Bar to Burnt Ranch 60 total 182; total reach on Trinity River Lewiston to Weitchpec 1,369 Redds surveyed.

Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 2,533 cfs. Fishing below Orleans is still slow. Upriver, Happy Camp to I-5 there is better fishing. Above I-5 the BITE IS HOT for trout and steelhead!

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85 percent of capacity (no change) with inflows of 537 cfs and releasing 473 cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 71 percent of capacity (no change) with inflows of 3,496 cfs and releasing 4,375 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 91 percent (a decrease of 1 percent) with inflows of 4,978 cfs and releasing 4,997 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 55 percent of capacity (minus 2 feet) with inflows of 2,0311 cfs with releases of 2,633 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 53 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,588 cfs with releases of 2,918 cfs into the American River.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 33ft below the overflow and 79 percent of capacity (no change) and inflows are 147 cfs and releasing 859 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 560 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,997 cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Lake is 98 percent of capacity (an increase of 6 percent) and water releases are 293 cfs with water temperature of 43.6 degrees as of 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. Limekiln Gulch is 4.72ft at 327 cfs. Douglas City is 6.28ft and flows of 325 cfs with water temperature of 43.2 degrees. Junction City is 1.69ft at 373 cfs. Helena is 8.10ft at 349 cfs with water temp of 42.4 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.41ft at 419 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.19ft at 91 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 510 cfs and water at 44.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.24ft at 649 cfs and water is 46.5 degrees. (only an increase of 1.8). Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 2,533 cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,065 cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.35ft at 1,360 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,410 cfs, the Salmon River is 1.88ft at 205 cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,694 cfs. Orleans is 2.75ft at 1,884 cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.66ft at 2,977 cfs and water temp is 48.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 4.77ft with flows of 247 cfs, and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are at 11.71ft.

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