Winter water flows; where is the rain?

We are into Fall weather and there has been very little rain with limited rain projected for the near future. What with fires raging in both Northern and Southern California and not much rain in the future we are hurting for water. I received an email asking me, “With Paradise burning what will happen to steelhead fishing?” I can say that the fall run of steelhead for the Trinity River is looking better each week. From the Willow Creek Weir counts it appears that the peak of the Fall steelhead run came in the week of Oct. 1 thru Oct. 7. The Trinity River winter water flows are now down to 300cfs and it will depend upon rain to help bring the push to make more steelies to move up river into their staging areas to go up their spawning streams or to the hatchery. Low river flows are hampering the drift boaters but are making the bank fishers very happy.
I am sorry for not having a fishing report for the last couple of weeks but I made a trip up to Bozeman Montana to fish and deer hunt with my son and his friend of many years. I am sorry to say that it was probably the best fishing and hunting trip I have ever had. I was able to hunt and fish in the same day with being able to get both deer and fish. The lakes and Madison River were full of fat Rainbow and German Brown trout. The Browns ran up to 20 inches and the Rainbows were 12-18 inches. We kept what we wanted to eat and released the rest for another fisherman. I only hunted for whitetail deer but I can’t ever remember seeing so many elk and mule deer in open range than what I saw up there. Of course most of them were on private property and unreachable but still seeing them was wonderful. I was even privileged to see a bull moose in the wild, man are they big!

Lower Klamath Count: Harvest returns for Chinook salmon below 101 Bridge, 531 adults; above 101 Bridge 1,377 adults.

Klamath Iron Gate: The Klamath summary counts for the Shasta 13,233 Chinook salmon, Bogus Creek 579 Chinook salmon, Scott Creek 41 Chinook salmon.

Trinity River Hatchery: The TRH has ended the spring run counting and will start up after the spawning break or the spring versus the fall run. For the week of Oct. 29 – Nov. 4; Chinook salmon jacks 91 adults 696 total 787, season total 1,047; Coho salmon; jacks 24, adults 10 total 24, season total 61; steelhead, adults 84, total 37, season total 37.

Willow Creek weir trapping: week of Oct. 29 – Nov. 4; jacks 9, adults 28, total 37 season total 1,525; Coho, jacks 6; adults 5, total 11, season 66; Steelhead, ½-lbs 4, adults 54, total 58 season total 548.

Redd Survey: Survey from Lewiston down to North Fork of the Trinity River; Nov. 4, Redds 105; Redds from Willow Creek to the Klamath 106, total 211, season total 1,515.

Fishing: Lewiston Dam is releasing water flows of 307fs. at 1:00pm Saturday Nov.10. Fishing in the Upper Trinity has been very good for the bank fishers but water flows are hampering the drift boaters. Last week Patrick at Del Loma RV and campground said that the fishers in the park were really doing good fishing behind the park and that one landed a nice 24 inch hatchery steelhead on a Copper John fly. This sounds great as there should be more of those Iron Heads on their way up to that area by this coming weekend. Because I was out of the area I was unable to get any reports from the Willow Creek / Hoopa area but there appears to be plenty steelhead in the area if the weir counts have any validity. With the low water flows it should be great fly fishing. As for hardware you might want to gear down a bit for low clear water. I would suggest dropping a size to try and entice the fish better rather than spook them.

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing flows of 1,050cfs. Fishing from I-5 to Iron Gate should be good for steelhead and trout with the good water flows. Fly fishing has been doing good from Happy camp down to Orleans from the report I received from the Marble Mountain Ranch above Somes Bar. I didn’t get what was the hot fly but I will try and find out which flies are working in that area by next week.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 92% of capacity (a decrease of4%) with inflows of -8cfs and releasing 261cfs into Clear Creek and on to Keswick. Shasta is 47 of capacity (a decrease of 4% and 8ft) with inflows of 2,975cfs and releasing 4,472cfs, Keswick is 94% of capacity (an increase of 1%) with inflows of 4,942cfs and releasing 4,603cfs; Oroville Lake is 32% capacity (a decrease of 4% & minus 20ft), inflow is 906cfs and releases are 4,157cfs; Folsom Lake is 38% of capacity (minus72% & minus 11ft.) inflows are 922cfs and releases are 1,943cfs.

Trinity Lake: the Lake is 71ft below the over flow (an increase of 2ft) and 59% of capacity (2% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 22cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 329cfs to Lewiston Lake with 22 going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 4,603cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 307cfs with water temps of N/A degrees and air at N/A at 12:00pm today Saturday Nov. 4. Limekiln Gulch is 4.7ft at 316cfs, with water temps of 42.9 degrees. Douglas City is 6.2ft at 340cfs, water temps of 44.8 degrees and air is N/A. Junction City is 1.5ft at 346cfs. Helena is 8.3ft at 343fs with water temps of 44; Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 2.3ft at 391cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at4423cfs and air is 70 with water at 45. Hoopa is 11.1ft at 527cfs with water temps of 46.8. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 2,264cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,053cfs. Seiad Valley is 2.1ft at 1,230cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,271cfs, Salmon River is 1.5ft at 161cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 1,576cfs and Orleans is 2.8ft. at 1,737cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 7.9ft at 2,414cfs, with water temperatures of 49.5 degrees. Flows for Smith River at Dr. Fine Bridge are 4.5ft at 223cfs.

The temperatures in the Valley last week were 70/30 with 0.00in of rain and a season total of 1.4in. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to reach 74/36 degrees with sunshine and clouds next week and then some scattered showers for the weekend the following week. We could us some rain to help the rivers and fires.

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