Weather is backing off and rivers are dropping
Finally, we are seeing some of the rivers dropping to fishable conditions. As I write this column, I am watching the Trinity drop in front of my house. (I watch the river bar) This is good news! The mark we have to watch for is when the river levels at Douglas City drops below 1,000cfs then you can fish the upper sections of the river. Now all we have to do Is watch for the snow melt and the snow pack report to come out in order to see what kind of water flows we will be allotted for water flows on the Trinity this year.
Salmon fishing is going to be tough this year and steelhead fishing is down runners at this time. The thing is that down runners have used a lot of their energy spawning and are looking for anything to eat. I have even found little tiny sticks inside of them because they will go after anything that looks like food. The nice part is if you are lucky enough to hook into one of them, they still have lots of fight in them. This is also good for the fly fishermen. Another fish that we can start looking look for is sea run Browns. March is when they start making an effort to come up the Trinity. They are very hard to locate but if and when you run into one you know you will have a fight on your hands. (Its best to have plenty of running room) I haven’t had a chance to try out my area that I look for Brown Trout yet but I will be checking it out very soon.
PFMC: Waiting for the PFMC Options for salmon fishing from this week (March 6-12) when the PFMC met in Vancouver WA, to provide the options for fall Chinook salmon harvesting for the pacific coast. This was be a week-long meeting to determine just how many Chinook salmon will be available for harvest for Tribal share (50%), Ocean Commercial, Ocean Sport and In-River Sport fishing. It has already been determined that the Trinity and possibly some of the Klamath, as well as the Sacramento Rivers have been over fished. What this means is that the rivers in question did not meet their expected natural escapement goals for the past three years and now the CDFW has to come up with a recovery plan to meet the next three years of escapement for Fall Run Chinook salmon. Also, NOAA/NMFS has to approve a recovery plan for Spring Run Chinook salmon if they are listed. The strange thing is that NOAA was presented with a Draft Recovery Plan for Coho salmon in January of 2012 that could possibly fit a recovery plan for Spring salmon. I ask, “What ever became of that plan and could it be used for Spring Run Chinook salmon in the event of them being listed?” CDFW suggested 274,222 Klamath River Fall Run Chinook are swimming around in the ocean, a fair amount but not a large amount for harvest and natural spawning escapement combined. The Sacramento will need 151,000 natural spawner’s for this year as compared to a normal year of 122,000 natural spawner’s.
Reminder: The public hearings that CDFW will have to have for Spring Chinook, we are going to have to write lots of letters to the Fish and Game Commission as well as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, requesting Public Hearings in locations for Spring Run salmon fishing. Suggested locations are; Long Beach, Monterey, San Francisco, Sacramento, Redding and Eureka. With the possible listing of Spring Run Chinook all of the public affected by the listing should have a location close to them and where the regulations will affect the salmon fishing, not at the other end of the state where it is difficult for us to attend. Things we should know; is this for all fishing including Commercial fishery, Sportsmen as well as Tribal fishery?
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); the 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: The rains and flooding we have been having are receding some but many of the rivers are still high in their lower reaches so please be cautious when you are checking them out. Right now, the Trinity is high from Junction City all the way down to the Klamath. We are seeing the river recede but one still has to be alert to the weather.
Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 2,199cfs. at this time. This could make fishing above I-5 very difficult or no fishing at all. Siead Valley is flowing at 4,906cfs a reduction of 192cfs from last week. The Klamath is basically blown out at this time.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 94% of capacity (a decrease of 6%) with inflows 2,198cfs and releasing 3,475cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Keswick is 88% (and increase of 7%), Shasta is 89% of capacity (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 29,284cfs and releasing 35,673cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 72% of capacity (an increase of 8% plus 2ft) with inflows of 22,243cfs with releases of 5,795cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 60% of capacity (a decrease of 2% minus 2ft) with inflows of 22,385fs with releases of 9,665cfs.
Trinity Lake: the lake is 43ft below the overflow (a decrease of 4ft) and 74% of capacity (an increase of 2%) inflows are 3,635cfs and 559cfs is being released into Lewiston Lake with 259cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 40,467cfs into the Sacramento River.
Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 300cfs and water temperatures of N/A degrees and air at N/A as of 11:30am today Sunday Mar. 10, 2019. Limekiln Gulch is 5.23ft at 662cfs and water temps of 43.3 Douglas City is 7.46ft and releasing 1,218cfs. with air temps of 44 and water at 43.6 degrees. Junction City is 4.34ft at 1,970cfs. Helena is 12.50ft at 2,450cfs with water temps of 44.3 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 7.96ft at 3,765cfs. South Fork of the Trinity is 8.86ft at 4,974cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 8,739cfs and air is 49 degrees and water at 45 degrees. Hoopa is 20,24ft at 15,202cfs and is 45 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 26,873cfs.
Klamath: Iron Gate is releasing 2,199cfs. Seiad Valley is 5.63ft at 4,906cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 5,378cfs, the Salmon River is 4.86ft at 3,025cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 8,640cfs. Orleans is 9.66ft at 11,671cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 17.10ft at 36,871cfs and water temps of 45.4 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith is 9.22ft and flows of 4,560cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 15.52ft at N/A cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week were 58 hi with lows of 31. Rain for the week was 3.1in with total rain for the water year to date of 53.66 inches, with snow of 4.5in. in the valley to date. We will be seeing sunshine during the next week with a little bit of rain showers with some clouds mixed in.