Spring Has Sprung


by E.B. Duggan
3-20-2023

On Monday Spring arrived and wea are looking at new growth all around us. As I look out the window, I see the fruit trees starting to bud and tiny green leaves sprouting on the trees in the forest. The trouble is that the river is full of water from the snow melt and the creeks are flowing bank to bank and full of mud. As of March 4th, the Bureau of Reclamation has been increasing the releases from Trinity Lake into the river so that by the 1st Day of Spring at 2:00am they are releasing 1,450cfs and by the time you read this the releases from Trinity Dam will have gone up to 1,950cfs and back down to 1,200cfs. This action is more like the regular Spring releases without considering the actual water flowing in the river.

Form what I have found out is that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as the Pacific Fishery Management Council has declared a disaster for Salmon fishing this season. The returns for the last two years have been very poor and egg quotas are at the very minimum counts. This is going to really hurt salon fishing come the 2025 fishing season. It is about time that people (scientist) stop fooling with Mother Nature and try to learn from her not change her. I hope all of you have not bought you salmon harvest card nor your fishing license. Then maybe the loss of revenue might wake up the PFMC and CDFW that they should assist Mother Nature and NOT try to change her. Salmon run have always been cyclical so we should try and help supplement the runs with the hatcheries by increasing the smolt releases when times are lean and back off when run are abundant. Fish, farmers and people need water to exist so we why are we not trying to work together and provide the necessary amounts for all!   

Trinity River Hatchery summary: Julian Week 10 ending Mar. 11, 2023; Fall Run Chinook Salmon, 0-adult, 0-jacks, total 0, season total 3,858; Coho salmon, 0-jack, 0-adult, total 0, season total 3,504; 17-steelhead, season total 1,047. It appears like the hatchery return is picking up. January 28 through February 4 appears to have been the peak of the hatchery return for steelhead with aa nice spike of 219 for Julian Week 9. The hatchery returns seems to be fair this year so I don’t understand why they don’t go back to the original releases for Coho Salmon and Steelhead and try to increase Chinook Salmon releases. 

Fishing: With the rains, snow melt and water releases it has been he— trying to go fishing anywhere in the lower river. The river in front of my house has been bank to bank for over a week now. High water is really hard to fish in as well as being Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 38,852cfs. This is an increase of 28,604cfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,358cfs. With these increases in water releases from Iron Gate the Klamath is about non-fishable. With the weather being so inconsistent I would expect that there would be very little fishing for the next week or so. If you are considering fishing later in the Spring, I would suggest you call Scott Caldwell-Guide Service- (530) 905-0758. Right now, Highway 96 is blocked off by a huge mud slide.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 93% of capacity (an increase of 6%) with inflows of 2,062cfs and releasing 1,922cfs into Spring Creek. Shasta Lake is 75% of capacity (an increase of 11% plus32ft) with inflows of 28,900cfs and releasing 1,658cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 96% (an increase of 8%) with inflows of 4,580cfs and releasing 4,042cfs into the Sacramento River. Oroville Lake is 82% of capacity (an increase of 8% plus 23ft) with inflows of 25,433cfs with releases of 35,999cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 64% of capacity (an increase of 5% plus 5ft) with inflows of 14,306cfs with releases of 15,946cfs into the American river. Trinity Lake is 870,785AF an increase of 69,900AFw.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 130ft below the overflow (a decrease of 10ft) and 36% of capacity (an increase of 3%) with inflows of 4,171cfs and releasing 784cfs into Lewiston Lake with -955cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown and on to Keswick Power Plant, and releasing 4,042cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 92% of capacity (a decrease of 4%) and water releases of 1,739cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 45.3 degrees, as of 11:00am today Monday March 20, 2023. Limekiln Gulch is 6.64ft at 2,195cfs. Douglas City is 9.16ft with flows of 3,063cfs with water temperatures of 42.3 degrees. Junction City is 6.18ft at 3,930cfs. Helena is 15.00ft at 4,751cfs with water temps of 44 degrees. Burnt Ranch at Cedar Flat is 11.00ft at 8,121cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 11.11ft at 7,884cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 16,005cfs and air is 50 degrees and water at 45 degrees, Hoopa is 23.02ft at 22,988cfs with water at 46.1degrees. Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 38,652cfs an increase of 28,6004cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 1,358cfs. Seiad Valley is 5.00ft at 4,020cfs. Indian Creek is 6.30ft at 1,119cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 5,139cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 11,240fs, and the Salmon River is 5.81ft at 4,624cfs. Orleans is 10.16ft at 15,864cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 19.63ft at 49,691cfs and water temps are 46.6 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jedia Smith are 12.83ft with flows of 12,985cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 19.01ft at N/A cfs.

Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 65 and a low of 34 degrees. Rain for the week was 3.95n with a water year total to date of 70.11 inches and 0.00in of snow for a total of 7.50in. in Willow Creek. The predicted temperatures for next week are for high of 56 and a low of 33. The weather predicted for next week is rain and snow showers for the later part of the week of the week. If you have plans of coming up to fish, I would suggest that you call ahead to check out the weather as Hwy 299 has been closed at different time lately and Hwy. 96 is blocked above Happy Camp.



Websites: MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Willowcreekchamber.com,
from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail [email protected]


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