Smoke, Smoke those fish!
It has been very smoky here due to the Fires, Six Rivers Lightening Complex. The fire in Willow Creek is not bad as it is across the river. The Friday Ridge fire is a bit of trouble as is the fire above the Golf Course. When you add the two together then add an inversion layer you have lots of smoke!
Fishing has been slow in our area due to road closures and fire equipment movement. We also experienced a mud slide up on Canyon Creek from the rain on a last year fire in the area. Mud and debris from the old fire caused the river to be very nasty for a couple of days starting August 1st then cleared up some. Right now, the river is dark but has visibility of about 3 to 6ft due to the smoke, no sunshine. Up river it is clear but not a lot of fish around due to low water. Coffee Creek also experienced a road washout from the same storm. Weather has not been good to the area this year!
A Fish Conservation Group says that the new Water supply Strategy for California doesn’t do enough to help vanishing salmon, steelhead and other cold-water species. (Internet Nina Erlich-Williams) Like I said many years ago we have to control how we use the water rather than fighting over it. Farms vs fish vs people needs is a way for the legislators to divert water to where they want it not the way it is needed. Follow the money!
Junction City weir summary: Julian week 32 ending Aug. 12, 2022; 2 adult Chinook, 1 jack, total 3, season total 2,186; 0- Coho; season total 0; 11 steelhead, total 1, season total 89; 0-Brown trout, total-1, season total-22.
Fishing: We should being seeing salmon in the Trinity right now but due to the mud and debris down at the mouth of the Klamath and the mud slide on the Trinity I believe the salmon are held up in some cold-water refuge waiting for the rivers to clear up. The smoke is mostly in the downriver area but due to the fires many roads are closed to access due to fire equipment movements. Up river isa different thing. The river is clear but low and hard for drift boats but ok for rafts. Now all we need is for the Fall Run of Chinook salmon the move into the rivers. It is proposed that a good Fall Run of salon season will come into the Klamath River Basin this year, I sure hope so.
Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 1,416cfs. This is a decrease of 1,183cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 933cfs I would think that was kind of low for fishing above I-5. I know no one has been fishing in that Orleans area because the campgrounds in that area are not in verry good condition and they are having trouble getting campground hosts. This is a shame because in the past it would be hard to find camping space at this time of year. When I was over on the coast it looked the same. I only saw only one campground full of campers, all the rest were practically empty. I saw NO boats on the river fishing!
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 540cfs and releasing 573cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 36% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 3ft) with inflows of 2,034cfs and releasing 3,793cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 94% (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 4,714cfs and releasing 4,680cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 39% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 10ft) with inflows of 1,272cfs with releases of 5,206cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 53% of capacity (a decrease of 9% minus 5ft) with inflows of 1,409cfs with releases of 3,705cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 162ft below the overflow (an increase of 4ft) and 26% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 78cfs and releasing 1,062cfs into Lewiston Lake with 612cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,680cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases of 450cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 56.4 degrees, as of 1:00am today Sunday August 14, 2022. Limekiln Gulch is 4.84ft at 429cfs. Douglas City is 6.46ft with flows of 424cfs with water temperatures of 60.1 degrees. Junction City is 1.90ft at 432cfs. Helena is 8.33ft at 444cfs with water temps of 63.6 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is N/Aft at N/Acfs due to fires. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 1.83ft at 77cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 521cfs and air is 84 degrees and water at 65.5 degrees, the river is dark and getting a little bumpy for the tubers. Hoopa is 11.35ft at 719cfs with water at 67.6 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 2,305cfs an increase of 889cfs.
Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 896cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.95ft at 1,093cfs. Indian Creek is 3.40ft at 88cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,181cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 1,341fs, and the Salmon River is 1.60ft at 245cfs. Orleans is 2.15ft at 1,586cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.18ft at 2,5332cfs and water temps are 69.8 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 4.92ft with flows of 403cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 11.88ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 98 and a low of 50 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 smoky weather all week from the fires. We could see much of the same next week with an increase in temperatures.
I know this is discouraging information but I want you to be prepared for hot and smoky weather if you plan on the Willow Creek or Hoopa areas. The predicted weather for next week is high of 102 and a low of 58 with the possibility of some sunshine by the weekend.