The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) will be meeting April 6 – 9 and 12 – 15 to determine which of the proposed choices they will choose for the Klamath River Basin Fall Chinook salmon season quotas. As I have not been attending these meetings, I have to rely on some of my close sources to help me navigate through the proposed choices the PFMC are studying to suggest for the coming salmon season for the Klamath River Basin. I have heard that the most likely choice is 1,300 Fall Chinook salmon. This is not very much when you consider how the fish are divided up between the Lower Klamath, the Upper Klamath and the Upper and Lower Trinity rivers. I hope to find out just how many salmon we will be allowed to harvest in each of the river sections soon. The PFMC salmon advisory group is the one who will crunch the numbers and grind out just how many Fall Chinook salmon will be available to harvest amongst all of the different groups who harvest salmon in the ocean, tribal and in river sport fishing. The problem I have seen in the past is that the modeling the PFMC uses needs to be refined and the numbers need to be corrected to really determine how many salmon were harvested last year and how many salmon will be available for this year.
On the other hand, we also have a water problem. At the present time it looks like the Klamath River Basin is going to be an Extremely Dry Water Year even though we are approaching the normal average water year here in the Trinity Valley. The rain fall here at my house is 43.59 inches and the average rain here is 53 inches. So, we are close but again we are reaching the summer time as Saturday March 20 was already the first day of spring and summer time soon follows. What really determines the Water Year is the snow pack and water content in the snow which at this time of year is NOT up to even close to Normal. You must remember our water is divided between the farmers and the rivers for fish propagation. Who said that the Water Wars will be over? Oh yes, our Governor!!
Trinity River Hatchery: The TRH is done collecting salmon for this season.
Upper Klamath River rotary Screw Trapping count: Julian week 11 ending on Mar. 18, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 27,525, season total 476,748 Juveniles, 1yr old 5, season total 20; Coho 0, season total 20,798; Scott River, Chinook salmon 161, season total 290 juveniles; 1yr old Chinook 2, season total; 1yr old Coho salmon 0, season total 11; 0 juveniles, season total 197.
Fishing: The Willow Creek area this past week has been slow fishing for any numbers, mostly a few adult down runners and fewer ½-pounders. The river its self is looking great for winter fishing but the steelies are not cooperating. I believe it is the poor return of adult steelhead last year. Now is the TRRP and TMC providing enough habitat for the endangered species (Coho salmon and native steelhead) or is it the reduction in the production and release at the hatchery that is the cause. It sure would be interesting to find out. The upper river is still producing some fresh steelhead with down runners but it is getting less each week. Plugs and roe seem to be the dominate means of making a hook up for the Trinity.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 9,419cfs. This is an increase of 1,310cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,59cfs. I am still not sure if one can access the Weitchpec area for fishing or if it is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19. Fishing in the Seiad Valley (Happy Camp area) is fair to good for trout with a few down runner adult steelhead in the mix. Hwy 96 is open on a variable time due to closing the road to remove material from the slide. The area above Happy Camp is accessible for fishing. Above I-5 is good fishing for trout and steelhead. If you want to check for conditions, I would recommend you contact Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 617cfs and releasing 587cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 52% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 3ft) with inflows of 7,046cfs and releasing 2,786cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 92% (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 3,327cfs and releasing 3,483cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 39% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus3ft) with inflows of 3,913cfs with releases of 680cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 35% of capacity (an increase of 0% plus 1ft) with inflows of 3,867cfs with releases of 1,207cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 86ft below the overflow (a decrease of 0ft) and 52% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 917fs and releasing 449cfs into Lewiston Lake with 148cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,483cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 93% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) and water releases are 301 cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 49 degrees, as of 11:30am today Sunday Mar. 21, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.47ft at 332cfs. Douglas City is 6.45ft with flows of 423cfs. with air temps of 55 and water temperatures of 45.5 degrees. Junction City is 2.05ft at 513cfs. Helena is 8.91ft at 637cfs with water temps of 48.1degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 4.20ft at 1,161cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.92cfa at 1,351cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 2,512 and air is 58 degrees and water at 48.1 degrees. Hoopa is 15.01ft at 4,301cfs and water is 48.2 degrees.
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 9,419cfs an increase of 1,310cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,059cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.85ft at 1,744cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,145cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 3,888cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.26ft at 1,230cfs. Orleans is 5.07ft at 5,118cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 12.19ft at 12,978cfs and water temps are 56.3 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 8.59ft with flows of 3,889cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.38ft at N/A cfs. Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 64 and a low of 33 degrees. Rain for the week was 2.03in with a water year total to date of 43.59 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. The weather predicted for next week is high of 79 and a low of 36. We are expecting some showers the first part of the week with sunshine for weekend and the rest of next week.