Recent storms have brought us lots of rain, but our snowpack is still below average and water content. This is not good news for both water storage and spring water flows. We could be into a designated “Dry Water Year.” I hope not as we could still get more snow from coming storms. The Trinity Alps snowpack is roughly 89 percent of average for this time of year and we are still 76 percent below normal for rain on the West Coast. The big problem I see is Gov. Gavin Newsom apparently has signed on to the promise then-President Donald Trump gave to the Central Valley farmers “of a guaranteed allotment of water for the year.” I still have not figured out how anyone can guarantee a specific amount of water when the water has not arrived into the reservoirs. I think it would be nice, but if the water is not there then you cannot guarantee someone a specific amount of water. More storage would be wonderful, but getting past the environmentalist will be a great wall to climb over.
The Record of Decision states the need for Trinity River Restoration and the need for water in each of the designated “Water Year” conditions. If the Trinity River is to get an allotted amount of water then where is the water promised to the Central Valley going to come from? I see the possibility of Trinity Lake being drained. We could possibly get lucky and the new Secretary of Interior take an interest in the Trinity and reorganize the TMC and TRRP to get the river restoration under control.
Last week I went to a Super Bowl Party and did not get back in time to make a report. Sorry about that. I did have fun but I rooted for the wrong team.
Trinity River Hatchery, Julian week 5 ending Feb. 4: Fall chinook salmon 0 jacks, 0 adults, total 0, season total 7,103; coho 0 jacks, 0 adults, total 0, season total 2,333; steelhead 41, season total 500.
Upper Klamath River video count, Julian week 5 ending Feb. 4: Shasta River; Chinook salmon 2, season total 6,061; Coho 0, season total 37; Scott River, chinook salmon 6, season total 258; coho salmon 4, season total 1,758; Bogus Creek, chinook salmon 0, season total 2,289; coho salmon 0, season total 145.
Fishing: The rain has been a big factor for fishing in the Willow Creek area and lower Trinity. I have not seen or heard of many adult steelhead being landed but great action on half-pounders. What adults that were landed were small adults. This last week the river was blown out to the point of very little fishing was available. The TRH is finally seeing some steelhead return. The count has been going up, thank goodness.
I am worried about the possibility of a drought for the Northwest coast. If this should happen our fishery could take a big hit for the coming season. Right now, we have to concentrate on the availability of winter run steelhead and try to have a little fun hooking into one.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing at 22,851 cfs. This is a great increase of 15,749 cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 944 cfs. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of COVID-19 protocols and for now the mid-Klamath is also unfishable due to the highwater flows. Right now, I would say the best bet is above I-5.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86 percent of capacity (an increase of 1 percent) with inflows of 429 cfs and releasing 277 cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 49 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent, plus 6 feet) with inflows of 6,167 cfs and releasing 3,149 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93 percent (an increase of 7 percent) with inflows of 3,465 cfs and releasing 3,265 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 37 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent, plus 8 feet) with inflows of 4,970 cfs with releases of 756 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 32 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent, plus 4 feet) with inflows of 3,090 cfs with releases of 1,137 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 88 feet below the overflow (a decrease of 1 foot) and 52 percent of capacity (an increase of 1 percent) with inflows of 1,263 cfs and releasing 431 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 115 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 95 percent of capacity (a decrease of 3 percent) and water releases are 316 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperature of 45.6 degrees as of Sunday, Feb. 15. Limekiln Gulch is 4.95ft at 447 cfs. Douglas City is 7.06ft with flows of 811 cfs and water temperature of 42.9 degrees. Junction City is 2.68ft at 938 cfs. Helena is 10.04ft at 1,082 cfs with water temp of 42.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 5.82ft at 2,196 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 9.25ft at 2,559 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 4,755 cfs and water at 43.5 degrees. Hoopa is 18.70ft at 11,046 cfs and water is 45 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 22,851 cfs, an increase of 15,749 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 944 cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.61ft at 2,429 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,325 cfs. Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,997 cfs. The Salmon River is 2.94ft at 952 cfs. Orleans is 8.59ft at 11,808 cfs. The Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 17.46ft at 37,258 cfs and water temp is 46.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedediah Smith are 16.02ft with flows of 23,802 cfs and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 21.64ft. The Smith is blown right now and with the coming storm I don’t see it clearing for some time.