I hope everyone had a GOOD and safe New Year. The New Year brought rain and raised the Trinity River to the point of good water flows, the trouble is it is hard to find the steelies. It seems that the upper river is crowded with drift boats and rafts fishing so some fishers are trying the Willow Creek area. Bait fishers are doing fair while the fly fishers are having a hard time getting hookups. I am not sure if it is the cold water or the presentations. Cold water does make the fish lethargic and trying to save energy to make it back up the river to where they were spawned. I know the fly fishers that are using the soft beads are doing better than the ones casting flies.
The Hoopa Reservation is still closed to non-residents due to a surge of COVID. The Tribe is trying to do their best to stop the spread of the virus and that is why non-residents are not allowed on the reservation land. It does not stop one from traveling Hwy 96 just not going on reservation streets or river access. I sure hope his COVID thing can get under control. I do know that the Hoopa are using the vaccine and trying to get the virus under control but it is a waiting game at this point.
The river survey for salmon is over and the Trinity River Hatchery is now starting to only do steelhead. This is good because we need a better count of winter run steelhead. I just wish that the Trinity River Restoration Project would start to open up mouths of more streams and do some meaningful restoration in the watershed so we could get more native steelhead and Coho salmon spawning in the cold-water streams like the ROD directed them to do.
Trinity River Hatchery: Julian week 50 ending Dec. 16, 2020 Fall Chinook,3- Jacks, 23-adults, total 26, season total 7,083; Coho, 64-jacks, 241-adults, total 305, season total 2,141; steelhead 16, season total 46.
Upper Klamath River video count: Julia week 50 ending on Dec. 16, 2020; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 0, season total 4,101, Coho 0, season total 34; Scott River, Chinook salmon-0, season total 252; Coho salmon 0,season total 1,738; Bogus Creek; Chinook salmon,0, season total 2,289, Coho salmon5, season total 88.
Fishing: Fishing the Willow Creek area started to improve in the last week or so but then the rains slowed down and the river cleared up some which made it harder to get hookups. It has become a stealth type of fishing. If fly fishing one has to make a good presentation in order to not spook the fish and the same goes for bait fishing. I haven’t seen any hardware fishermen for awhile but I am not seeing many fishers out on the river either. Most hookups are half-pounders but a few small adults in the two to four pounds are being caught and released. The Del Loma section is producing a few more adult Iron Heads but the closer to the hatchery you get the bigger the steelhead it seems. We need a good flushing type of rain like if it were to rain an inch or two over night then we could possibly see a really good run of winter steelies.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ N/Acfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,009cfs as of 12:30pm today Sunday afternoon. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 but the Lower Orleans area up to Happy Camp is open to the public with plenty of places for fishing. The Upper Klamath from I-5 to Iron gate is producing some good adult steelhead fishing. A good contact up there is Scot Coldwell Guide service.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 508cfs and releasing 339cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 45% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 0ft) with inflows of 3,700cfs and releasing 2,871cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 93% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 3,177cfs and releasing 3,292cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 35% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,194cfs with releases of 1,756cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 30% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 4ft) with inflows of 1,020cfs with releases of 1,133cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 90ft below the overflow (an increase of 1ft) and 51% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 216cfs and releasing 743cfs into Lewiston Lake with 427cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,292cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases are 316cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 4532 degrees, as of 12:30pm today Sunday Jan. 3, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.74ft at 314cfs. Douglas City is 6.34ft with flows of 366cfs. with air temps of 50 and water temperatures of 45.5 degrees. Junction City is 1.77ft at 381cfs. Helena is 8.34ft at 456cfs with water temps of 45.4 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.97ft at 621cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.97ft at 314cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 939cfs and air is 53 degrees and water at 45.6 degrees. Hoopa is 12.89ft at 1,841cfs and water is 45.9 degrees.
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be N/Acfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing1,009cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.62ft at 1,561cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,428cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be N/Acfs, and the Salmon River is 3.55ft at 1,518cfs. Orleans is N/Aft at N/Acfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 11.79ft at 11,528cfs and water temps are 46.5 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 13.07ft with flows of 13,684cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 18.23ft at N/A cfs. Fishing on the Smith river for fresh steelhead should be starting to be really good with all the high water.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 51 and a low of 37 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.67in with a water year to date of 14.17 inches with no snow in Willow Creek. Forecasts for next week are for high of 61and low of 38. We are seeing winter weather rain but now big storms in the near future. The prediction for the coming week is for snow in the high country but nothing for Willow Creek or the Weaverville areas. The forecast show rain shower for the coming week but nothing of any kind of major storms.