The fires are still providing plenty of smoke along the Klamath-Trinity rivers. The Red Salmon Complex is slowly coming under control but it is providing most of the smoke on the Trinity River. For the last week I couldn’t see across the river from my house. Today, Sunday, I can see the top of Campbell Ridge on the other side of the river. So, you can see how smoky it gets depends on how the fires are going and the wind. There is an air quality guide online that tells you how bad or good the air quality is. This is important to people that have breathing problems as it can cause them serious health problems. A good rain would go a long way in helping the firefighters get these fires under control or even putting them out.
In doing some physical checking on river access for the Trinity I have found out that the U.S. Forest is starting to open some areas for day use and allowing access to the rivers. It is a slow process due to the Forest Service being very busy with the fires, thus making it hard for opening all river access for fishing. Kimtu is open for walk-ins, Big Rock is still closed to the public, Heil Den Trail at South Fork is open and Hawkins Bar is open for Day Use fishing only. I have not been able to confirm if any trails or access are open on the reservation yet for fishing. I did hear from a confirmed source that the Hoopa Weir was not installed this year. I suspect that the problem was COVID-19 causing the Tribe not being able to get enough help to install it.
Many of the walk-in trails on the Klamath are open but only for Day Use fishing. Anything up by Happy Camp or higher is still closed due to the fire. You may want to check out the air quality before you head up there to fish.
NOTE: A new bacterial infection, Lactococcus Garvieae, was found in the Mojave River State Fish Hatchery. This hatchery provides most of the trout for planting the Eastern Sierra lakes and streams. It has been found in June Lake on the June Lake Loop.
Junction City Weir, Julian week 39 ending Sept. 30: Chinook, 27 Jack, 23 Adults, total 50, season total 407; coho, 4 Jacks, 0 Adults, total 4, season total 4. The Junction City weir was closed and removed Oct. 1.
Willow Creek Weir, Julian week 39 ending Sept. 30: Chinook, 16 Jack, 22 Adults, total 38, season total 43; coho, 8 Jacks, 2 Adults, total 10, season total 11; steelhead, 3 half-pounders, 38 Adults, total 41, season total 61. The weir was opened Sept. 10.
Recreational Harvest Count Mouth of Klamath, Julian week 39 ending Sept. 30: Chinook harvest above Highway 101 bridge, 3 adults, 384 jacks, total 387, season total to date 3,203; Lower Klamath chinook salmon harvest total to date 1,651.
Fishing: Fishing has been hard due to the U.S. Forest river access closures. The good news is that Friday they started to open some of these. It has been hard due to the fires as all personnel are assigned to fire duty. As I stated the good news is there are salmon in the lower river and they are biting; you just have to be able to walk in. I am working to get the Kimtu Beach access opened for boats and rafts. This is going to take some time but I hope not long. From what I have been able to find out is that there are a lot more salmon trying to go by the weir than are being counted. This is great because the counts have been low for this time of the year. Upriver is going great and there is salmon from Del Loma all the way up to Lewiston and the fish are biting. Fly fishing is slow right now but should pick up in the next couple of weeks as the air and water temperatures are slowly dropping. As the weather gets colder the steelhead fishing gets better. The salmon are hitting just about anything you throw out there.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing at 2,011 cfs, a decrease of 20 cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,048 cfs as of Sunday afternoon. The Weitchpec and Orleans areas are also seeing more fall run fish coming through form what I was able to find out. That should help improve the fishing for the Orleans area.
Happy Camp to I-5 is closed due to the Happy Camp fire. I-5 to Iron Gate should start to pick up as the salmon start to arrive in that area. It has been hard to find out information due to the fires up there. In many cases the river has been closed.
Upper Klamath River weir count, Julia week 39 ending on Sep. 30th; Shasta river; 104-Chinook, season total 1,501, Coho 0; Scott River, 0- Chinook, season total 1, 0 coho; Bogus Creek; 44 chinook,season total 202, 0 Coho.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 95 percent of capacity (a decrease of 4 percent) with inflows of 1,351 cfs and releasing 2,038 cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 48 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 2,555 cfs and releasing 4,205 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 85 percent (a decrease of 5 percent) with inflows of 6,352 cfs and releasing 6,850 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 46 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 3 feet) with inflows of 1,115 cfs with releases of 1,789 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 43 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,159 cfs with releases of 2,079 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 80 feet below the overflow (an increase of 2 feet) and 55 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent) with inflows of 60 cfs and releasing 1,803 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 143 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Lake is 98 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent) and water releases are 438 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperature of 49.3 degrees as of noon Sunday, Oct. 4. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at 445 cfs.
Douglas City is 6.50ft with flows of 451 cfs with water temperatures of 51 degrees. Junction City is 1.93ft at 474 cfs. Helena is 8.40ft at 474 cfs with water temp of 53.1 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.57ft at 474 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.93ft at 47 cfs.
Willow Creek is estimated at 521 cfs and water at 57.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.12ft at 598 cfs and water is 59.6 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,011 cfs, a decrease of 20 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,048 cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.10ft at 1,163 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,201 cfs. Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,280 cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.38ft at 133 cfs. Orleans is 2.12ft at 1,413 cfs. The Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.11ft at 2,318 cfs and water temp is 63.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedediah Smith are 4.51ft with flows of 206 cfs, and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are at 11.56ft.