Winter Steelhead Fishing Picking Up

This weekend was Super Bowl and I would expect that many of you were watching the game instead of fishing and that is ok but winter steelhead fishing is here and the Trinity River is dropping daily which is a good sign that fishing will get better than it has been. This coming week is going to be good fishing weather for the upper river. If you want to try your hand at hooking a winter steelie now is a good time to get out there and ply the waters. Just remember that winter steelhead are mostly native fish and need to be released as soon a possible. I know many of you want that great picture of you with that wild fish but please don’t keep it out of the water very long. In fact, it is better to not take it out of the water at all. Use your fishing rod as a background for comparison of size or like I have a small measuring tape that I use to show the size of your fish then start the recovery process for releasing that beautiful wild fish. If you must hold it up a good measure of time is to hold you breath and as long as you can hold your breath is as long as you should keep the fish out of water.

   I hope all of you turned in your salmon harvest card and steelhead report cards because that information is critical for the calculations for next years determinations of quotas that will set how the salmon limits will be. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Annual Salmon Information Meeting is on February 27,2020 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Sonoma County Water Agency office located at 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa just of the 101 Freeway. This meeting CDFW staff will present 2019 ocean harvest, river returns and escapements. The public is encouraged to comment and make recommendations for a range of the 2020 salmon fishing regulations. Public input will be collected and then be presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Rohnert Park, California on March 3-9, 2020. At that meeting public input and staff recommendations will be combined into three proposals for salmon harvest to be determined at the April 4-10, 2020 PFMC meeting held in Vancouver, Washington.

Notice; Because I am making the report early, I have not received any of the TRH and Klamath counts. Maybe next report.

Fishing: The Upper Trinity is fishable and the guides as well as bank fishermen are catching and releasing steelhead. Most are doing well but now great as of last reports. Those guides I have talked with or seen fishing are hooking 2 to 4 fish per trip, not great numbers but still some activity. The upper river is fishing good for small Megilp’s, spinners, flies and bait. Some of the bank fishers are also doing ok with yarn and beads. This year’s adults are much smaller than usual, in the 3-6lbs range. I believe it is because of the ocean conditions out, there just wasn’t enough feed for the salmon and steelhead as in past years.  

Mid-Klamath, Happy Camp: Iron Gate is releasing 1,783cfs so the Mid-Klamath Happy Camp area is going up some. The Klamath at Iron Gate is releasing more water right now to allow for snowmelt. Hopefully it will start to lower releases in the next week or so and allow for some fishing. Your best bet to find out about the Klamath to I-5 section is contact Scott Caldwell through SC Guide service as Scott keeps pretty good tabs on the water flows in that area. The Klamath at Weitchpec is flowing about 18,004cfs so that is a pretty good drop from last week and could provide some opportunities for fishing in the near future.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 86% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 438cfs and releasing 101cfs on to Keswick and the Sacramento River. Shasta Lake is 76% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 3ft) with inflows of 9,043cfs and releasing 4,594cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 89% (an increase of 2%) with inflows of 5,020cfs and releasing 5,043cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 62% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 3ft) with inflows of 4,057cfs with releases of 1,864cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 50% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 1ft) with inflows of 2,029cfs with releases of 1,899cfs into the American river.
Trinity Lake: The lake is 29ft below the overflow (a decrease of 1ft) and 82% of capacity (an increase of 1%) and inflows of 1,541cfs and releasing 372cfs into Lewiston Lake with 68cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 5,020cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 99% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases are 304cfs with water temperatures of 44.5 degrees, as of 11:00am-11:30am today Saturday February 1,2020. Limekiln Gulch is 4.82ft at 384cfs. Douglas City is 6.57ft and flows of 486cfs. with air temps of 43 and water temperatures of 444.6 degrees. Junction City is 2.23ft at 561cfs. Helena is 8.75ft at 879cfs with water temps of 45 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 5.60ft at 2,008cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 5.19ft at 1,687cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 3,695cfs and air is 52 degrees and water at 46 degrees. Hoopa is 16.39ft at 6,473cfs and water is 47.5 degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath are estimated to be 18,004cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,783cfs. Seiad Valley is 4.74ft at 3,688cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 4,443cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 8,157cfs, and the Salmon River is 4.96ft at 3,374cfs. Orleans is 8.53ft at 11,531cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 15.33ft at 27,440cfs and water temps are 48.3 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 10.36ft with flows of 6,892cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 16.67ft at N/A cfs.

    Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 67 and a low of 44. Rain for the week was 0.44in with a water year to date of 33.06 inches, with snow in willow Creek of 1.45in. in the valley to date. Forecasts for next week are for temperatures in the highs of 63 and lows of 33 with some sunshine and scattered clouds. The weekend looks like possible sunshine with a bit of cold along the river. (Good winter steelhead fishing) Most of the roads and Highways are clear.

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