The Red Salmon Complex fires still continue to grow and have now reached more than 39,000 acres, as of Monday. It depends upon the winds and temperatures as to how smoky it gets in the valley. Orleans usually gets the brunt of the smoke but the Trinity side gets a lot of smoke at times. Talking to Patrick and Machel of Del Loma RV and campground Sunday it was somewhat smoky but not too bad yet this morning. From what I have been told the Seiad Valley is smoked in but has had some good days.
The Hoopa weir is supposed to go in after the holidays. That is all I have heard but is not confirmed. I have not heard what the Tribal Council has decided about the COVID-19 restrictions yet but hope they will reconsider about letting non-residents onto the reservation to fish.
The Willow Creek weir is scheduled to be installed today, Sept. 9, at upper end of Kimtu Beach (Willow Creek). We will have to wait and see. What the restrictions for fishing above and below the weir I am not sure yet what they will be. I know it used to be no fishing within 750 feet above and below the weir. I just hope that the good fishing hole at Seely Creek will not be affected. This is one of the favorite places for the elderly fishers who like to try and fly fish because of the easy access. Why is the Willow Creek weir so important? One of the reasons is that it allows CDFW to get a count of possible fish returns to the South Fork of the Trinity River and it helps give the CDFW a pre-count of fall chinook returning to the upper parts of the Trinity for salmon returns.
Junction City Weir, Julian week 35 ending Sept. 2: Chinook salmon, 10 jacks, 3 adults, total 13, season total 345; coho 0; steelhead, half-pounders 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 58; Brown trout 0, season total 13.
Fishing: Fishing has been kind of slow for the past few weeks but is now starting to see some fresh fall run fish moving up from Weitchpec and into the Trinity River. Because of the fire and fire camp at Veterans Park and the refueling at Big Rock fishing has been somewhat hard access to the normal early fishing areas. Hopefully it will not be long before we can get back into these good fishing waters. The Falls area from Hawkins Bar Bridge up to the Highway 299 Cedar Flat bridge is now closed to fishing. Fishing in the upper part of the Trinity has started to pick up. In talking with fishing guide Kyle Catanese there are more fall run chinook salmon and some half-pounders steelhead showing up. Kyle told me that most of the salmon were of jack size but a few small adults were in the mix.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing at 2,024 cfs, a decrease of 889 cfs from the last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,009 cfs as of Sunday morning. Weitchpec and Orleans areas are also seeing more fall run fish, according to Kenny Peugh. He was watching the helicopters pick up water out of some of the deeper holes and said that he couldn’t believe the amount of salmon that would dash out of the water hole when they would pick up the water. Happy Camp to I-5 is fair for fishing trout, the water is a little warmer than normal but still fishable. The smoke has helped keep water temperatures from getting hot, it has also made for fishing in the afternoon harder for those with breathing problems. I-5 up is starting to see more algae as they let out more water from Iron Gate Dam. This is creating problems of the returning salmon.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99 percent of capacity (no change) with inflows of 1,167 cfs and releasing 1,226 cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 51 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent, minus 4 feet) with inflows of 2,185 cfs and releasing 6,530 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 95 percent (an increase of 3 percent) with inflows of 7,972 cfs and releasing 7,537 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 48 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 3 feet) with inflows of 2,464 cfs with releases of 2,972 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 48 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,846 cfs with releases of 2,351 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 69 feet below the overflow (an increase of 5 feet) and 60 percent of capacity (a decrease of 3 percent) with inflows of -155 cfs (including evaporation) and releasing 1,627 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,166 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 461 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperature of 50.5 degrees as of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. Limekiln Gulch is 4.92ft at 445 cfs. Douglas City is 6.54ft with flows of 473 cfs with water temperature of 54.7 degrees. Junction City is 1.97ft at 492 cfs. Helena is 8.45ft at 488 cfs with water temp of 58.4 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.60ft at 485 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.80ft at 35 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 520 cfs and water at 66.5 degrees. Hoopa is 11.11ft at 593 cfs and water is 69.9 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,024 cfs, a decrease of 889 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,009 cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.07ft at 1,144 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,175 cfs. Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,293 cfs. The Salmon River is 1.40ft at 138 cfs. Orleans is 2.14ft at 1,431 cfs. The Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.17ft at 2,434 cfs and water temp is 71.2 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 11.62ft.