I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
The PFMC (Pacific Fisheries Management Council), posted their preliminary estimate for fall run Chinook salmon for the west coast from their March 6th -12th meeting and posted three options for the Klamath River salmon quotas. The PFMC estimates that there is an estimate of 5,230 to 7,900 Klamath River Basin salmon that will return to the Klamath River and its tributaries. Last years’ return was 3,490. They also estimate that there are 274,222 Klamath River and 379,632 Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon swimming around in the ocean for this years’ salmon fishing season. Now you have to subtract natural spawning returns for the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers then divide the remainder by Tribal harvest, Ocean Commercial, Ocean Sport and In-River Sports fishing. The question is the Tribal share is 50% of the harvestable surplus and the Hoopa Tribe left the PFMC meeting with a letter stating they were going to harvest 50% of the Klamath fall Chinook when the Yurok’s were given an 80% share of the Klamath Chinook salmon in the Jesse Short case by a Federal Ruling. That amounts to 130% of the Klamath Chinook salmon. How will the rest of the fishing community fare? Are we going back to the fishing wars of the 1970s? I sure hope not!
The CDFW held a meeting last week in Del Norte about the Klamath River Spring Chinook fishery and another meeting will be held March 26th at CDFW Redding offices (601 Locust Street), from 1 to 3pm, to gather public input for potential options for Spring Chinook fishing. The California Fish and Game Commission has accepted a petition for the listing of Spring Run Chinook and has directed the CDFW to gather public input for the potential harvest of Spring Chinook this year. This sounds like a hurry-up job to me. How is the public (fishermen) able to provide input when they are not notified in a timely manner? The answer is; you were asked for your input and you didn’t give any so we decided for you.
NOAA/NMFS “Because the Upper Klamath/Trinity Rivers (UKTR) Chinook salmon Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) includes both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, Chinook from both the Klamath and Trinity river basins are included when considering, and would be affected by, a listing decision. However, no decisions have been made with regards to the listing or not listing. An additional consideration is that, as currently delineated, the UKTR Chinook salmon ESU includes both fall-run and spring Chinook salmon”.
So, you might ask, what did they say? I don’t believe that NOAA has received the petition yet and are waiting for CDFW to come up with some guidelines.
Here again I ask you to write letters to CDFW to post public hearings in a timely manner and in areas affected by the proposed rulings so that the public (fishermen) can testify and make public input!
Salmon Regulations in effect for the Klamath River; closed to the “TAKE” of Spring Run Chinook salmon from the mouth of the river to Iron Gate from Feb. 21 to Aug. 14th (subject to the approval of the Office of Administrative Law); Trinity River main stem from the mouth to the Bridge at Hwy 299 at Cedar Flat, Feb. 21 through August 31st; from Feb.22to Oct. 15 no salmon shall be TAKEN from the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Bridge at Hwy 299, Cedar Flat.
Fishing: We have had sunshine for the last week and the rivers have been dropping at a steady rate. The weather forecast for the coming weekend is cloudy with rain showers but no significant amount of rain that would bring the rivers back up. The Trinity is in very good condition throughout the upper sections and there are still some fresh steelhead around but there are also some down runners in the mix. As for the Lower sections we are seeing high clear water all the way down to the South Fork. As usual the South Fork is bleeding the milky slate and the river is a milky green from the South Fork to Hoopa. There should be some sea run Browns working their way up the river now but I have not had the opportunity or luck to find any.
Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,930cfs. at this time. Fishing above I-5 is doing well as Scot Caldwell has been reporting. Fishing has been reported as fair to good in the Happy Camp area but the river is still very high in the Orleans area. From Weitchpec down to the mouth the Klamath is very high right now.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 91% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) with inflows 1,156cfs and releasing 1,672cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Keswick is 91% (an increase of 3%) with an inflow of 29,850 and releasing 29,310, Shasta is 8% of capacity (a decrease of 5%) with inflows of 27,339cfs and releasing 27,104cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 75% of capacity (an increase of 3% plus 8ft) with inflows of 10,783cfs with releases of 6,588cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 65% of capacity (an increase of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 7,176fs with releases of 6,712cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: the lake is 23ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 75% of capacity (an increase of 1%) inflows are 2,191cfs and releasing 611cfs into Lewiston Lake with N/A cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 29,850cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are N/A cfs and water temperatures of N/A degrees and air at N/A as of 11:00am today Sunday Mar. 17, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 5ft at 485cfs and water temps of 43.7 Douglas City is 6.95ft and flows of 800cfs. with air temps of 53 and water at 45.4 degrees. Junction City is 3.20ft at 1,140cfs. Helena is 11.08ft at 2,519cfs with water temps of 445.9 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 6.48ft at 2,516cfs. South Fork of the Trinity is 7.04ft at 3,102cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 5,621cfs and air is 50 degrees and water at 46 degrees. Hoopa is 17.28ft at 8,032cfs and is 46 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 18,007cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 1,930cfs. Seiad Valley is 5.07ft at 4,112cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 5,051cfs, the Salmon River is 4.44ft at 2,641cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 7,506cfs. Orleans is 7.91ft at 9,975cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 14.50ft at 23,163cfs and water temps of 46.9 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 8.43ft and flows of 3,501cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 14.77ft at 3,520 cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week were 63 hi with lows of 33. Rain for the week was 0.25in with total rain for the water year to date of 53.91 inches, with snow of 4.5in. in the valley to date. We will be seeing sunshine during the next week with a little scattering of rain showers.