The winter solstice has officially come and the winter weather is here. I hope all had a great Christmas and am wishing you a Happy New Year. I am sorry about last week as I was under the weather and was not able to make the report. We also had a bit of weather for the holiday, enough so that maybe, just maybe, the winter run steelhead made the move to start up the Klamath and soon to be in the Trinity.
Well it is the end of the year and time to send in your report cards for salmon and steelhead fishing. It also starts the new year of fishing so you might want to get our new fishing license for 2021. No, the Commission did not approve a new year-long fishing license from the date you buy it. The license is still by the calendar year. Maybe in 2021 it will happen. Something is going to have to happen because we cannot afford to keep losing 3,000 license buyers every year without some replacement program to bring in new fishermen.
The Hoopa reservation is experiencing some COVID-19 cases which is going to keep the restrictions for non-residents from going on to reservation lands. This will also restrict access to the Trinity River areas that cross the reservation. Let’s hope that this COVID thing will end soon so we can get back to fishing.
Trinity River Hatchery, Julian week 50 ending Dec. 16: Fall chinook, 19 jacks, 60 adults, total 79, season total 7,057; Coho, 54 jacks, 112 adults, total 166, season total 1,836; steelhead, 5, total 5, season total 29.
Upper Klamath River video count, Julian week 50 ending on Dec. 16: Shasta River, chinook salmon 0, season total 4,101; Coho 1, season total 29; Scott River, chinook salmon 0, season total 251; Coho salmon 28, season total 1,480; Bogus Creek, chinook salmon 0, season total 2,300; Coho salmon 3, season total 59.
Fishing: Fishing the Willow Creek area the past several weeks, in between the rains, has been slow but if one worked hard and make good presentations one could get some hookups. The storms that came through were not very heavy with rain but it did help the river and streams, but it just wasn’t enough to get the steelhead moving up the rivers. Over the Christmas holiday it did rain over an inch which made the streams and the Trinity come up some. Maybe that will help start some steelies moving. According to the weather report we are supposed to get some rain for the New Year’s holiday that could possibly get the winter run moving. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that comes about. The report didn’t say much about any snow but I would keep an eye out because we could get some in the passes.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing at 6,017 cfs. an increase of 1,233 cfs from last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 987 cfs as of Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID-19 but the Orleans area up to Happy Camp is open to the public with plenty of places for fishing.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85 percent of capacity (no change) with inflows of 464 cfs and releasing 360 cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 45 percent of capacity (an increase of 1 percent, plus 1 foot) with inflows of 3,232 cfs and releasing 2,872 cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92 percent (an increase of 1 percent) with inflows of 3,281 cfs and releasing 3,260 cfs into the Sacramento River. Lake Oroville is 35 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 2,095 cfs with releases of 1,752 cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 30 percent of capacity (a decrease of 2 percent, minus 2 feet) with inflows of 1,080 cfs with releases of 1,365 cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 89 feet below the overflow (an increase of 2 feet) and 51 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent) with inflows of 434 cfs and releasing 584 cfs into Lewiston Lake with 288 cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Lake is 96 percent of capacity (a decrease of 1 percent) and water releases are 316 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperature of 44.8 degrees as of Sunday morning, Dec. 27. Limekiln Gulch is 4.75ft at 320 cfs. Douglas City is 6.35ft with flows of 371 cfs and water temperature of 43.6 degrees. Junction City is 1.82ft at 400 cfs. Helena is 8.41ft at 476 cfs with water temp of 42.6 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.14ft at 688 cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.67ft at 601 cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,289 cfs and water at 43 degrees. Hoopa is 13.44ft at 2,375 cfs and water is 44.8 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 6,017 cfs, an increase of 1,233 cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 987 cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.57ft at 1,523 cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,023 cfs. Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,750 cfs. Orleans is 5.47ft at 5,742 cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 12.57ft at 14,412 cfs and water temp is 44.7 degrees.
The Salmon River is 2.99ft at 992 cfs. Flows for the Smith River at Jedediah Smith are 10.54ft with flows of 7,312 cfs, and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are at 16.89ft. Fishing on the Smith River for fresh steelhead should be starting to be really good with all the high water.