I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy new year. As usual I had our Christmas down south with the Duggan Clan. It just keeps growing! While I was gone, we had lots of rain and the river went up and down with each storm. The problem is the river didn’t get a good flushing which brings in the next run of fish. Instead the river received many small runs, just small pods of 3 to 8 steelhead per run, coming into the Trinity and going upriver. Because I was gone, I was not able to make contact with my usual fishermen to receive up-to-date fishing reports. I did get to see some fishermen fishing as I drove home but it appears that there were not many people out fishing. Sad news, because this is the time of year that many of the steelhead fishermen really begin to hit the rivers for the winter run steelhead. The good news is that there are some steelhead in the Trinity, it is just hard to find them because they are moving to find their spawning streams. Most of the fishermen I have made contact with are saying they are able to hook some fresh fish, just not numbers per days of fishing. Although we have had some substantial rain the valley has not had the big rains that flush the rivers and start the winter run steelhead moving into the Klamath-Trinity River Basin. Yes, the upper Klamath has been having some very good fishing but the Trinity is not up to the normal run of winter fish yet. The rivers need rain and the mountains need more snow.
The first snow surveys have come out and it was very encouraging as it said that the Sierra Nevada snowpack was in good condition for this time of year. The Phillips Station near Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort in El Dorado County measured 33 inches deep with a water content of 97 percent. This is great news for California for an early January snow reading. It appears that the drought may be over and we can get back to normal water for the coming summer. We are not out of the woods yet, but it is a good start.
It is 2020 and a new fishing season so be sure that you get your new license and salmon harvest card and steelhead report cards. It is also time for you to send in your salmon harvest card and steelhead report cards. The addresses are on the back or bottom of the cards. Let’s hope the new fishing licenses are good for a whole year from the date of purchase starting this year.
Trinity River Hatchery, Julian week 52 ending Dec. 31; Fall chinook, 1 jack, 8 adults, total 9, season total 6,064; coho, 1 jack, 24 adults, total 25, season total 607; steelhead, 27, total 27, season total 43.
Trinity River Redds survey, Julian week 49 week ending Dec. 9; Survey sections 01-05 Lewiston through Douglas City; sections 09 and 10 Big Bar, total 17, total Redds counted 44, total season Redds surveyed to date 1,525.
Fishing: The Trinity is running steelhead green right now with a good flow. Fishing on the other hand is slow at best. We need rain in the valley, a lot of rain. The Trinity has of yet to have a good flushing and we are in need of one badly. There are a few people out fishing but not a lot. The winter run of steelhead are late mostly due to a lack of a good heavy rain. (about 1 inch overnight). My buddy Paul C from upriver came down to fish from South Fork to Kimtu with his son and fishing buddy Saturday and they were only able to hook four half-pounders, no adults, fly fishing. That is not good! His son came down to try out the South Fork last week and was able to hook into a nice large Brown trout but that was it. I know this is about the time that the sea-run Browns start to show up but the best time is late February or March. I hope you all got your Christmas wish for some new fishing gear and that next week I can have some better news for fishing.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 5,310 cfs. The Klamath is still dropping but fishable. It is clear and fish are moving, just not in volume. Steelhead are hard to locate in the lower and mid- sections of the Klamath but the upper section is good fishing for trout and some steelhead. We need good rain instead of these light rains and showers we have been getting. It looks like I am going to have to do some traveling to try and find out where the fish are so I can at least tell you some places to fish. It looks like we can expect some snow flurries this coming weekend.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 91 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent) with inflows of 337 cfs and releasing 269 cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 72 percent of capacity (an increase of 1 percent, plus 2 feet) with inflows of 6,122 cfs and releasing 2,943 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 85 percent (a decrease of 5 percent) with inflows of 4,974 cfs and releasing 5,053 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 57 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent, plus 6 feet) with inflows of 9,344 cfs with releases of 3,087 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 53 percent of capacity (an increase of 2 percent, plus 3 feet) with inflows of 6,257 cfs with releases of 2,598 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 32 feet below the overflow (an increase of 1 foot) and 80 percent of capacity (no change) and inflows of 548 cfs and releasing 540 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 247 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,099 cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Lake is 94 percent of capacity (a decrease of 3 percent) and water releases are 293 cfs with water temperature of 43.1 degree as Sunday, Jan. 5. Limekiln Gulch is 4.73ft at 327 cfs. Douglas City is 6.35ft and flows of 360 cfs with water temperature of 42.7 degrees. Junction City is 1.85ft at 405 cfs. Helena is 8.62ft at 497 cfs with water temp of 43.3 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is ft at 733 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.00ft at 300 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,033 cfs and water at 44 degrees. Hoopa is 12.91ft at 1,820 cfs and water is 44.3 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 5,310 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,014 cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.48ft at 1,456 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,681 cfs. The Salmon River is 2.71ft at 626 cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,864 cfs. Orleans is 3.80ft at 3,490 cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.47ft at 7,244 cfs and water temp is 45.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 7.94ft with flows of 2,827 cfs, and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are at 14.72ft.