Even Though the Smoke is Bad the Salmon Fishing is Good
Smoke in the valley has been pretty heavy for the past couple of days. The salmon are in the Trinity and fishing is fair to good. Orleans area is heavy with smoke from the Happy camp fire and the Red/Salmon Fire complex. This fire is now up to 88,000 acres and is expected to continue to burn until it rains. Because of the terrain it is very hard to get under control. Back fires have been set to help get rid of understory and help from the fire coming into Hoopa Reservation, this also adds to the smoke. Both reservations (Yurok & Hoopa) are still closed to non-residents. Add to that the helicopter support station at the Big Rock area and the fire camp at Veterans Park in Willow Creek plus the US Forest Service closures that limits fishing areas on the Lower Trinity Willow Creek area. The only area I see open in the Willow Creek area for now is private access to the river. With the heavy smoke I don’t recommend that people with breathing problems try to come up and fish at this time.
Water releases from Lewiston were increased to 1,050cfs on September 12th and will be ramped back to 450cfs in a short time and then to winter flows of 300cfs by October 15th.
The Willow Creek weir is in and operating at the Camp Kimtu Beach access now and we should be starting to get some fish counts in the near future.
Junction City Weir: Julian week 35 ending Sep. 2, 2020; Chinook salmon, 10-jacks, 3- adults, total 13, season total 345; Coho 0; steelhead, ½ lbers 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 58; Brown trout 0, season total 13.
Recreational Harvest Count Mouth of Klamath: Julian week 36 ending Sep. 9; Below Highway 101 Bridge; Chinook Harvest, 67- Adults, 22-jacks, total 89, season total to date 288. Chinook Harvest Above Highway 101 Bridge; 177-adults, 272-jacks, total 450, total season to date 861.
Fishing: All I can say is that fishing in the Willow Creek area is very hard to come by if you do not have access through private property. The good news is the there are salmon and steelhead going through, the bad part is how does one get to fish for them unless you head up river.
Fishing the Upper Trinity has started really pick up. Kyle Catanese of Kyles fishing Guide Service fished the Junction City run Friday and hooked up 2-jackls and one nice adult using bait. On Saturday (past) he fished the upper run o JC and was fly fishing landed 2 ½-pounders and 3-adult steelhead with one weighing 10lbs.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing @ 1,989cfs. a decrease of 35cfs from the last week. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,059cfs as of Sunday afternoon. The Weitchpec and Orleans areas are also seeing more Fall Run fish coming through form what Kenny Peugh, of Orleans, has been seeing.
Happy Camp to I-5 is closed due to the Happy Camp fire. I-5 to Iron Gate should be fair to good for fishing trout right now if it were not for the smoke. The good thing is that the smoke has helped keep water temperatures from getting to warm so the salmon can move up the river.
Upper Klamath River weir count: Julia week 36 ending on Sep. 9; Shasta river; 2-Chinook, 0-Coho; Scott River 0- Chinook, 0-Coho; Bogus Creek; 0-Chinook, 0-Coho.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 1,657cfs and releasing 1,817cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 50% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 2ft) with inflows of 2,251cfs and releasing 4,894cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 9%) with inflows of 6,860cfs and releasing 7,058cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 47% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,872cfs with releases of 2,160cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 47% of capacity (a decrease of 1% minus 1ft) with inflows of 1,423cfs with releases of 2,283cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 71ft below the overflow (an increase of 2ft) and 59% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of – 67cfs and releasing 2,208cfs into Lewiston Lake with 1,188cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 7,055cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 98% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and water releases are 1,070cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 49.6 degrees, as of 1:30pm today Sunday Sept. 13, 2020. Limekiln Gulch is 5.67ft at 1,059cfs. Douglas City is 7.33ft with flows of 1,020cfs. with air temps of 77 and water temperatures of 51 degrees. Junction City is 2.95ft at 1,090cfs. Helena is 9.88ft at 1,019cfs with water temps of 54.2 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 3.79ft at 967cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.84ft at 38cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,005cfs and air is 74 degrees and water at 59.3 degrees. Hoopa is 11.15ft at 613cfs and water is 62.3degrees.
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 1,989cfs a decrease of 835cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,059cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.00ft at 1,099cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,138cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,238cfs, and the Salmon River is 1.40ft at 138cfs. Orleans is 2.08ft at 1,376cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.08ft at 2,280cfs and water temps are 64.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 4.66ft with flows of 242cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.59ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 101 and a low of 50 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year to date of 42.47 inches, with snow in Willow Creek of 1.45in. Forecasts for next week are for highs of 88 and lows of 54. The temperatures for next week are looking much cooler due to the smoke from the fires. It seems to have a cooling effect upon the sun because the smoke shades the sun light which cools the air temperatures.