The Bureau of Reclamation is having trouble making up their mind!! First BOR says they “Are NOT going to release water into the Trinity” then they change their mind and say “they will release water into the Trinity. As of Aug. 23 at 0700 BOR started releasing water out of Lewiston at the rate of 960cfs and with peak at 2,450cfs by Wed Aug 27. Water releases will then start reducing the water flow to 450cfs by 8pm Sept. 14. This is going to really help flush out the Lower Klamath and Trinity Rivers. It will not just cool the water temperatures but also help flush out the algae that has been producing in both rivers.
I have been getting emails and phone calls about the algae problem and is it going to affect the fishing. Here is what I know has happened. On Aug 20th the Humboldt County Health Dept. came to Willow Creek, Kimtu Beach and declared the river to be a health problem (toxic algae). The Health Dept. took several water samples in several different areas for testing. The results of those tests have not yet been published! Aug. 21, BOR changed their mind about releasing water into the Trinity, Aug 22 BOR made a determination that they would start releasing water into the Trinity River to help lower the water temperatures in the Lower Klamath, Aug 23 at 0700am BOR started releasing water to 950cfs. These releases will do two things ; 1) it will start cooling the water temperatures, 2) it will start flushing the Trinity and help dilute (cleanse) the algae from the Lower Trinity and the Lower Klamath, both will help the fish and start them moving up the rivers. Now for the BAD news, the releasing of the water from Trinity Lake is going to lower the “cold water pool” to 600,00AF (acre feet). At this point the Trinity Lake “cold water pool’ will be in danger of not having enough cold water for next year if the area does not receive a Normal Water Year of rain/snow pack this winter. The $64,000 question is? What will the fish have next year for “cold water”? This is going to be a very perplexing question for the fisheries of the Klamath – Trinity River Basin. On top of all this the Water Districts of the Central Valley Water Project are going to raise all kinds of heck with their legislators (both Federal & State) to stop the flow of water to the rivers and keep it for the Farming Districts in the Central Valley because they grow 50% of the crops for the nation. Now we are back to the old addict of “Water for Farmers” or “Water for Fish”. The problem is they BOTH provide FOOD for the people (us). It is like Soloman said when two mothers claimed the same baby, “cut the baby in half and give each mother half!”.
Junction City Weir Count: for the week of Aug 19; Spring Chinook, adults –58, season total – 914; 2013 this date, 813 adults.
Willow Creek Weir: CDFW has installed the W.C. Weir but will NOT be operating it until the water temperatures drop to 70 degrees for fear of stressing the salmon too much and causing them to die. Very good decision!
Lower Klamath Creel Count: Week ending Aug. 19 Below Hwy 101, Chinook Harvested 211, total 254, Released 4, total 4: Steelhead Harvested 10, total 14, Released 80, total 154: Above Hwy 101, Chinook Harvested 226, total 538; Chinook Released 44, total 73; Steelhead Harvested adults19, total 54, Released adults 417, total 1,747, ½-lbs 916, total 2,197.
Fishing: With the water temperatures in the mid to high 70’s fishing has been slow. The best time appears to be in the early mornings before the sun gets on the water. Now with the new water releases I expect to see a lot more action. The water releases are not only help clean and cool the river but it will also start the fish moving. After Labor Day I expect to really see some improvement. The cooler water is going to bring more salmon and steelhead into the Trinity. What fish that are already in the trinity are going to be moving up into the upper sections of the river. I see very good fishing action the week after the Holidays and a lot of the algae will hopefully be flushed out of the lower sections. The smoke from the fires is not too heavy in the afternoons so you will be able to fish the evening fish also. Most of the fires are over on the eastern side of the ridges and they are slowly getting under control.
Mid-Klamath: Fishing has started to really pick up in the Weitchpec/Orleans area now that the Klamath has opened to fishing. My report from John H at E Ne Nuck was that salmon were coming into camp at a very good pace even though you are only allowed one adult, but you are still allowed three salmon per day. For the fly fishers there is a whole bunch of half-pounders on their way and with cooler water coming it is only going to get better. The best fishing is below the cold water streams such as Hopkins Creek, Bluff Creek and Camp Creek. Those are some of the areas I would be fishing right now. Spinners in the very early morning as the sun starts to across the tops of the mountains I would switch over to roe. a line) Remember the closures I listed above for the Klamath.
Trinity Lake: The Lake is 149ft (a change of 9ft) below the over flow and 31.2% of capacity (2% decrease) at 10:00am today. Inflow to the lake is 122 and Trinity Dam is releasing 3,883cfs to Lewiston Lake with 2,910 cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and then on to the Sacramento River through Keswick Power plant.
Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 973cfs, water temps are N/A and air is N/A degrees. Limekiln Gulch is 5.6ft at 1,020cfs, water temps are N/A and air is N/A; Douglas City is 7.9ft at 934cfs, water temps of N/A and air is 73. Junction City is 3.5ft at N/Acfs. Helena is 10ft at 916cfs with water temps of N/A. Cedar Flat is 3.7ft at 916cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 933cfs, air is 74, and water N/A. Hoopa is 11.3ft at 53125cfs, water temps 76.8. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity at the Klamath are 1,721cfs and water temps are 74.6. At Weitchpec Bridge water temps are 74 and water temps at Tully Creek (below Trinity) on the Klamath are 75 degrees.
Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 902cfs. Seiad Valley is 1.9ft at 983cfs. Happy Camp estimated at 1,006cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 1,067cfs. Orleans is 2.3ft at 1,190cfs. Klamath at Terwer Creek is 7.8ft at 2,030cfs and water temps of 73.2 degrees. Smith River is 4.9ft at 272cfs.
Temperatures in the Valley last week were 100/56 degrees with 0 inches of rain, total rain to date 36.55 inches of rain and 2.5in of snow for the season. Temperatures in the Valley next week are expected to be 88/54 degrees. Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu, sunny; Fri-Sat, partly cloudy, possible thunder showers Sat; Sun-Mon-Tue, sunny.