I am already seeing daffodils blooming, big leaf maple trees with sap flowing and fruit tree buds swelling. These are all signs of spring. SOOO, I ask again “Is winter over”? It has been suggested that we are going into a drought again because of the snow pack in the sierras is so low for this time of year. Just this last week the snow pack reading was only 74% of normal for this time of year. That is not good! The snow pack is what gives us the summer water flows. Without more water storage for the state we could possibly go into “drought conditions” again this year. This is going to hurt the water supply for the north state because of low water conditions the salmon and steelhead eggs would not all hatch and the fish will have a hard time finding food to survive on. These all sound ominous for the fish but you have to be here first hand to see what is happening. For instance, the South Fork of the Trinity only had 12 or 14 adult spring salmon return this year for spawning, that for all intensive purposes means that run is no longer viable and could go extinct. This is only one of several instances. Another example is the Spit at the mouth of the Klamath this year never reached its quota for salmon harvest and the Lower Klamath never reached its harvest quota. I have received numerus email and phone calls of what happened to the fish this year? Many things helped to cause this lack of fish, steelhead and salmon, return to the rivers. I think the most basic reason is that the PFMC miscalculated the return plus ocean conditions were bad for the growth of the fish.
I will be attending the CDFW salmon meeting in Santa Rosa Feb. 27 at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. from 10:00am to 4:00pm. This is a very important meeting as you the public will have the chance to be heard and provide information or views to the CDFW before they report to the PFMC. It is our last chance to speak up before the Pacific Fishery Management Council meets and starts the process of limiting the amount of salmon for everyone. One other part you might want to speak up about is the listing of Spring salmon and summer steelhead for some northern rivers. (Last week I explained the Mega Tables, this will be part of that)
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 5 ending Feb. 4; Fall Chinook, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 1,586, combined total 6,064; Coho, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 649; steelhead, 71, season total 194.
Fishing: Trinity has been fishing poor this last week but if wea were to get some rain that could change. This last week the rain was so insignificant that it barely mand mud so the river is becoming low and very clear. Rain would give it some color and improve fishing. With the river becoming so clear one has to use some stealth and reduce the size of your presentation to get a reaction. There are steelhead in the upper Trinity but like I said you must go easy or you are just going to spook the fish and go home skunked.
Upper Klamath fish video counts: Julian week 5 ending Feb. 4, Bogus Creek, Chinook salmon 0, total 974; Coho 0, total 56; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, total 1,565, Coho 0, total 369; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 0, total 5,867, Coho 0, total 66. Not and change for there.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 7,293cfs. almost 2,00cfs lower than last week, so you can see the rivers are dropping fast and without some rain it is going to be hard in some areas to have some good fishing. The Upper Klamath above I-5 is in great fishing condition because the Iron Gate releases have dropped down to 954cfs. A good place to find out to find out about the I-5 to Iron Gate section is contact Scott Caldwell through SC Guide service as Scott keeps pretty good tabs on the flows and fishing in that area.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 204cfs and releasing 335cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta Lake is 78% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 1ft) with inflows of 5,676cfs and releasing 3,325cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 3,877cfs and releasing 3,988cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 64% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 1ft) with inflows of 1,967cfs with releases of 623cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 49% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,300cfs and releases of 1,745cfs into the American River.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 27ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 82% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and inflows of 769cfs and releasing 339cfs into Lewiston Lake with 40cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,988cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases are 299cfs with water temperatures of 46.4 degrees, as of 1:30pm today Sunday Feb. 16,2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.73ft and flowing 332cfs. Douglas City is 6.39ft with flows of 392cfs. and air temps of 60 with water temperatures of 47.3 degrees. Junction City is 1.90ft and flowing 424cfs. Helena is 8.70ft and flowing 561cfs with water temps of 42.7 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.64ft and flowing 900cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 3.46ft and flowing 521cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,421cfs with air temps of 57 degrees and water at 46.9 degrees. Hoopa is 13.57ft and flowing 3,438cfs with water at 46.2 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 7,293cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 954cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.92ft flowing 1,802cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,058cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,582cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.24t flowing at 1,273cfs. Orleans is 4.72ft and flowing 4,855cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.28ft with flows of 9,715cfs and water temps are 46.5 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 7.49t with flows of 2,247cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.18ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 67 and a low of 29. Rain for the week was 0.01in with a water year to date of 33.09 inches, with snow in willow Creek of 1.45in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 67 and lows of 31 with some sunshine for the first part of the week with light rain and scattered showers predicted towards the weekend. This could make for some fair steelhead fishing but come prepared to get a little wet. All of the highways are clear and travel should be good.