Salmon Season has started and the Rivers are hot!
The salmon are flying up the river because the river is HOT!! Water out of Lewiston Dam is 56.9 degrees at 10:30am what will it be at 3pm this afternoon? Right now, Sunday morning at 10:30am Douglas City is flowing at 424cfs and is 62 degrees while at North Fork, Helena the Trinity River is flowing 456cfs and the water is 66.5 degrees and at Willow Creek we are at 635cfs and the water is 69.5 degrees. At Weitchpec the river is right at 72 degrees. This is the turning point of water temperature that salmon die! What are we going to do come August and September when the day time temperatures are in the 90s consistently? Will the Bureau of Reclamation decide to give the salmon enough water to survive for spawning? Will the salmon even be able to spawn? Maybe in the hatchery after they install water chillers to keep the water temperatures low enough to allow the eggs to hatch. I think it is about time for the legislators order the BOR to start to store more water and send less water down to the Central Valley and Los Angles. During these drought years everybody needs more water but NO one is willing to give up some water for storage and possibly next year.
With the water temperatures in the rivers rising the fish are not going to survive. Somehow the adult steelhead are able to make it to cool water but the salmon seem to go lethargic and die. The smolt become more susceptible to more diseases as they move down river. The water storage in Trinity Lake is now at 676,839AF and the cold-water pool is at 600,000AF while BOR is sending 665cfs over to Whiskeytown Reservoir to be used and released into the Sacramento River. For those that don’t know the Sacramento River flows into the Delta and then pumped out of the Delta and into the Central Valley Cannel and on down south.
The fish we produce up here in the northern rivers do several things, they provide subsistence for local tribes, they provide sport fishing economy for the local towns as well as provide ocean fishing for commercial fishermen. The fish also provide food for people.
Junction City weir summary: Julian week 28 ending July 15, 2022; 292 adult Chinook, 11 jack, total 403, season total 2,069; 0 Coho; 30 steelhead, total 18, season total 68; 3 Brown trout, total 3, season total 21.
Fishing: I have been gonefor a while. Made a trip to Coeur D’Alene Idaho. We are not the only ones who have wildfires. While I was up there three wildfires were started by lightening. With all the rivers and lakes, I only saw four boats fishing all the rest were water skiing or pleasure boating. There were plenty of places to fish just no takers, lots of people enjoying the water though.
The river here in Willow Creek has warmed up to the point that you fish from daylight to about 10:00am because by then the water is in the mid to high 60s and the fish are looking for a cooler place. From one of my fishing contacts the upper river is the best fishing was from Bucktail up and mostly a roe bite. Seems like the fish were shooting through the Junction City/Sky Ranch area as the water was too warm. Like I said before the fish just don’t like water in the 70s. The word is that you will get plenty of good hook ups above that area as the river cooler in that area before it reaches Junction City.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 2,599cfs. This is a decrease of 665cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 912cfs, kind of low for fishing above I-5 I would think. The tribes are saying that the removal of the dams will help the salmon returns for the Klmath. I don’t understand how there will be any cool water to allow them to survive the trip up the river if the water temperatures are continuously in the high 60s and low 70s making the water so hot that they boil on their way up? I sure hope I am wrong as I would love to see huge salmon runs back again. The Terwer water gauge was reading 71.2 degrees this morning at 10:00am. What will it read this afternoon at 3:00pm?
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 704cfs and releasing 523cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 38% of capacity (a decrease of 0% minus 2ft) with inflows of 1,911cfs and releasing 3,605cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 89% (a decrease of 8%) with inflows of 4,425cfs and releasing 4,505cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 43% of capacity (a decrease of 3% minus 13ft) with inflows of 1,795cfs with releases of 6,349cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 65% of capacity (a decrease of 10% minus 10ft) with inflows of 1,720cfs with releases of 4,779cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 152ft below the overflow (an increase of 2ft) and 29% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 116cfs and releasing 1,126cfs into Lewiston Lake with 665cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,5005cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) and water releases are 461cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 56.9 degrees, as of 10:30am today Sunday July 24, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 4.84ft at 429cfs. Douglas City is 6.46ft with flows of 424cfs with water temperatures of 62 degrees. Junction City is 1.89ft at 427cfs. Helena is 8.37ft at 456cfs with water temps of 66.5 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.70ft at 520cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.01ft at 115cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 635cfs and air is 75 degrees and water at 69.5 degrees, the river is clear and at summer low flows. Hoopa is 11.60ft at 874cfs and water is 73 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,599cfs a decrease of 726cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 912cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.01ft at 1,109cfs. Indian Creek is 3.58ft at 117cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,226cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,389cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.83ft at 336cfs. Orleans is 2.36ft at 1,725cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.51ft at 3,201cfs and water temps are 71.2 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 5.22ft with flows of 549cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 12.11 ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 102 and a low of 43 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 55.93 inches and 5.0in of snow in Willow Creek. We have been experiencing some hot weather this past week with more predicted to come in the 100s. The predicted weather for next week is high of 101 and a low of 61 with lots of sunshine during the middle of the week. Good sun bathing but bad fishing!