Whiskey is for drinking! Water is for fighting!

 I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and didn’t get too stuffed with turkey and pie.

    A wise man (Mark Twain) stated; Whiskey is for Drinking; Water is for fighting over. It appears that we are still fighting over the Trinity River Water after 67 years and many many Law suits. In my last column I wrote about the Fresno Judge that ruled (again) that Westlands Water District was at fault, they and the contractors still owed $400 million dollars for river restoration. (Law Suit by Hoopa Valley Tribe) It took Humboldt County over 50 years to get legal recognition of the 50KAF of water that was in the original Law of 1955 that stated Humboldt County was intitled to 50KAF. So, when does this all stop and the Bureau of Reclamation and Westlands Water District stop taking our water! It seems as though it will never end. Trinity County the place of origin for the Trinity River has never received a dime for all of the water shipped down the Sacrament River to the pumps in the Delta that pump the water into the California Aqueduct and on down south.

    Westlands Water District was formed in 1952 as the Law that formed the Clair Engle Dam and Trinity Lake was being formed into Law by the state legislators. At that time water contracts were being formed and signed for 50 years, at a cheap price per acre foot of water. As these contracts became renewable Westlands wanted the same cheap price per ACF as they originally signed up for. Farmers are charged $30 per ACF and Westlands can sell the water to Los Angles Metropolitan Water District for $300 per ACF. Looks like the farmers are being left out during the drought. I have yet been able to find out where all the water is going to come from. If anyone can please let us know as the fish need some water too.   

    Traveling Hwy 299 for fishing is still going to be difficult. You will to have to make the choice of fishing the Upper Trinity or the Lower Trinity because of the blockage on Hwy 299. Monday thru Friday from 7am to 7pm travel between Big Bar to Don Juan Creek at Cedar Flat is 7:00am – 12:00pm – 4:30pm – 7:00pm by pilot car with weekends open to pilot car travel until Dec. 2nd.

    The Lower Klamath survey and the Willow Creek weir have ended for the year, as has the Junction City weir. The numbers look good for the egg quota for salmon, lets hope they work for steelhead and Coho salmon.

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Spring Run Chinook salmon totals; 452-jacks, 1,553 adults; totals 2,005; Fall Run Chinook Salmon Julian Week 45 ending on Nov. 11, 2021; 57-jacks, 963-adults, total 1,020, season total 2,841.

Fishing: The Trinity looks good for fishing but I have been traveling up and down the river in the Willow Creek area and have had trouble finding someone fishing over the Thanksgiving Holliday. In years past I could find lots of fishermen plying the waters but for some reason this year is a blank. The Upper Trinity is being flooded by drift boats and rafts trying to get their limits or in many cases catch and release.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 3,802cfs. This is a decrease of 1,124cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,031cfs. With the temperatures holding in the 60s and the river in the high 40s. Right now, the Klamath is fishable from Happy Camp up to I-5. With Weitchoec water flows lowering Weitchpec/Orleans area is fishable but finding the fish is a bit hard.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 186cfs and releasing 272cfs in to Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 25% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 8ft) with inflows of 3,453cfs and releasing 2,900cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 3,197cfs and releasing 3,294cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 36% of capacity (an increase of 2% plus 9ft) with inflows of 1,661cfs with releases of 1,002cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 36% of capacity (an increase of 3% plus 5ft) with inflows of 1,259cfs with releases of 611cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 152ft below the overflow (a decrease of 3ft) and 29% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 928cfs and releasing 857cfs into Lewiston Lake with 558cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,294cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) and water releases are 293cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 51.6 degrees, as of 10:00am today Sunday November 26, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.65ft at 292cfs. Douglas City is 6.32ft with flows of 346cfs with water temperatures of 48.7 degrees. Junction City is 1.73ft at 342cfs. Helena is 8.26ft at 424cfs with water temps of 47.9 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.77ft at 546cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 2.93ft at 299cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 845cfs and air is 54 degrees and water at 47 degrees and the river is of good color. Hoopa is 12.16ft at 1,241cfs and water is 46.3 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 3,802cfs an increase of 299cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,031cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.37ft at 1,360cfs. Indian Creek is 5.97ft at 202cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,562cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 2,059cfs, and the Salmon River is 2.17ft at 502cfs. Orleans is 3.05ft at 2,561cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 9.43ft at 4,784cfs and water temps are 47.3 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 6.39ft with flows of 1,272cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 13.10 ft at N/A cfs.

    Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 66 and a low of 32 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 17.77 inches and 0.0in of snow in Willow Creek. The predicted weather for next week is high of 76 and a low of 41. The predicted weather for next week is sunshine for the first part of the week and some showers the first of next week. That could be good fishing in the Upper Trinity. Check for the road closure above.

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