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 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 up river. 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 contend of 97%. 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 that the new fishing license 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-jacks, 8-adults, total 9, season total 6,064; Coho, 1-jacks, 24-adults, total 25, season total 607; steelhead, 27, total 27 ,season total 43.
Trinity River Redds survey: Julia 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 1in overnight) My buddy Paul C from up-river came down to fish from South Fork to Kintu 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 LARG 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.
Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 52 ending Dec.30, Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0, total 974; Coho 0, total 53; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, total 1,505, Coho 0, total 334; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 1, total 5,867, Coho 1, total 61.
Mid-Klamath: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 5,310cfs. 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 this 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% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 337cfs and releasing 269cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta is 72% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 6,122cfs and releasing 2,943cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 85% (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 4,974cfs and releasing 5,053cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 57% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 6ft) with inflows of 9,344cfs with releases of 3,087cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 53% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 3ft) with inflows of 6,257cfs with releases of 2,598cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 32ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 80% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and inflows of 548cfs and releasing 540cfs into Lewiston Lake with 247cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,099cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) and water releases are 293cfs with water temperatures of 43.1 degrees, as of 1:00pm today Sunday January 5,2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.73ft at 327cfs. Douglas City is 6.35ft and flows of 360cfs. with air temps of 44 water temperatures of 42.7 degrees. Junction City is 1.85ft at 405cfs. Helena is 8.62ft at 497cfs with water temps of 43.3 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is ft at 733cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.00ft at 300cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,033cfs and air is 48 degrees and water at 44 degrees. Hoopa is 12.91ft at 1,820cfs and water is 44.3 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 5,310cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,014cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.48ft at 1,456cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,681cfs, the Salmon River is 2.71ft at 626cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,864cfs. Orleans is 3.80ft at 3,490cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.47ft at 7,244cfs and water temps are 45.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 7.94ft with flows of 2,827cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 14.72ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 51 and a low of 40. Rain for the week was 2.16in with a water year to date of 22.54 inches, with only a trace of snow in willow Creek, snow of 0.0in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 57 and lows of 37 with some rain and scattered showers during the week and possible snow flurries predicted for the weekend. You might want to check for road conditions before you travel.