The smoke is back in the valley but not as heavy as before. We had several days of nice clear weather after a light rain which was very nice. The Bureau of Reclamation released water from the Lewiston Dam to cool the lower part of the Klamath River down and it has sent the message to the salmon.
Water releases from Lewiston were increased to 1,050 cfs on Sept. 12 and will be ramped back down to 450 cfs Sept. 19 and will go down again in October to 300 cfs.
The salmon are showing up in the upper river section of the Trinity. The good part of this is that the steelhead are following the salmon. The bad part of this is that the Red Salmon Complex will determine how and when the U.S. Forest Service will open up the forests for the deer hunters on Monday, Sept. 21.
I know I am tired of the smoke and many of the fishermen I have talked to are too. It is expected that the Red Salmon Complex will not be out until a significant amount of rain comes into the Trinity Alps. That could be sometime in mid-November.
The Willow Creek weir is in and operating at the upper section of Kimtu Beach but the beach access is not open to the public yet. There was the possibility that the U.S. Forest Service would open the day use areas on Sept. 21, which would allow fishing at Kimtu.
Junction City Weir was closed the after Julian week 35 ending Sept. 9; the Willow Creek Weir opened Julian week 36 ending Sept. 16.
Recreational Harvest Count Mouth of Klamath, Julian week 36 ending Sep. 16: Below Highway 101 Bridge; chinook harvest, 10 adults, 5 jacks, total 15, season total to date 2,243. Chinook harvest above Highway 101 Bridge; 265 adults, 522 jacks, total 787, total season to date 1,649.
Fishing: Fishing in the Willow Creek area is very hard if you do not have access through private property. The good news is there are salmon and steelhead throughout the Trinity. The reservation is still closed to non-residents and the U.S. Forest Service still has many day use areas closed to access.
Fishing the upper Trinity has really picked up. Kyle Catanese of Kyle’s Fishing Guide Service, 623-2328, fished four days; Wednesday, Sept. 16, Lewiston section, fished for salmon using plugs, hooked three salmon and landed three salmon, lost three of the six. Thursday he fly fished the Sacramento for trout catching and releasing lots in the 10-12 inches. Friday, he fly fished the Junction City run for steelhead and hooked four, landed three adults up to 6 pounds. Sunday he planned to fish the Junction City run for salmon. This is telling me that we have fresh salmon throughout the Trinity River.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing at 2,338 cfs, an increase of 339 cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,065 cfs as of Sunday afternoon. The Weitchpec and Orleans areas are also seeing more fall run fish coming through from what Kenny Peugh, of Orleans, has been seeing.
Happy Camp to I-5 is closed due to the Happy Camp fire. I-5 to Iron Gate should be fair to good for fishing trout right now if the smoke isn’t too bad. The good thing is that the smoke has helped keep water temperatures down so the salmon will move up the river.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99 percent of capacity (an increase of 1 percent) with inflows of 2,042 cfs and releasing 2,007 cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 49 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 2,840 cfs and releasing 4,856 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 95 percent (an increase of 9 percent) with inflows of 7,129 cfs and releasing 6,902 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 47 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,583 cfs with releases of 1,193 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 45 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,484 cfs with releases of 2,182 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 71 feet below the overflow (an increase of 4 feet) and 57 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent) with inflows of - 42 cfs and releasing 2,662 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 2,662 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Lake is 97 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent) and water releases are 433 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperature of 49.3 degrees as of 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20. Limekiln Gulch is 4.91ft at 438 cfs. Douglas City is 6.51ft with flows of 456 cfs with water temperature of 54.2 degrees. Junction City is 1.94ft at 479 cfs. Helena is 8.48ft at 497 cfs with water temp of 59.9 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.98ft at 625 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.84ft at 38 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 663 cfs and water at 61.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.74ft at 952 cfs and water is 62.9 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,338 cfs, an increase of 341 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,065 cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.97ft at 1,080 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,120 cfs. Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,242 cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.42ft at 144 cfs. Orleans is 2.09ft at 1,386 cfs. The Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.44ft at 2,909 cfs and water temp is 66.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedediah Smith are 4.64ft with flows of 234 cfs and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are at 11.58ft.