by E.B. Duggan
It appears that one using “On Star”, “Google” or “I Phone” DOES NOT always get the correct directions. If you are going to use their directions to reach Del Loma or Willow Creek by way of Hwy 299, I Phone, On Star and Google tell you that Hwy 299 is closed, and to use alternate route Hwy 36 to Hwy 101 to Eureka and Arcata to Hwy 299, and then back to Willow Creek or Del Loma. This is terrible because, Hwy 299 was only closed from the Big French Creek slide for a week to 10 days. Yes, there are construction delays, but no more than a maximum of 30 minutes. There will be some construction delays on Hwy 299 for the rest of the summer but nothing for long period of delays.
Smoke; It appears that there is going to be smoke in the Valley for the rest of the summer. The problem is that some days it will be bad and other days it is almost non-detectable, like Friday or Saturday. There has been days that it was almost unbearable to be outside. Right now, most of the smoke in the Valley is coming from the Brookings Fire rather than the Orleans Fire. The Forest Service has stated that both fires will not be out or under control until October. That could be a long time and very unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease. How does one find out what the smoke conditions are, you can call the Lower Trinity Ranger District at 530-629-2118, Orleans Ranger District 530-627-3291, or up river Del Loma 800-839-0194. They can only tell you what the conditions were the day before and what they are right then, they cannot tell you what the smoke conditions will be in the future.
How does the smoke affect the fishing? Most of the time, the smoke doesn’t change fishing conditions but it does affect the fisherman. If the smoke is real heavy, it does seem to cool the water temperatures and darken the sun. I really hope that we will see some clearing of the smoke for fall steelhead season before Sept., but that is doubtful.
Fishing: Fishing on the Lower trinity has really slowed down, but the upper reaches of the river are doing fair to good. It is a little early for the half-pounders to show up, but now through Labor Day is when they start to show up around Weitchpec. The river construction in the Sky Ranch area is still creating water turbidity (dirty water) down to Junction City so fishing that area for the time being is not recommended. Fishing above the Indian Creek seems to be the better area to fish for spring salmon and steelhead. Spring Chinook salmon fishing ends Thursday at sundown Aug. 31st.
At the present time, there is no extra water releases planned for the Trinity River. The Willow Creek Weir is planned to be installed Monday or Tuesday Aug. 28 or 29 and start trapping thereafter.
Junction City weir: Junction City weir counts as of Aug 19 for Spring Chinook salmon; adults 17, jacks 10, season total 83.
Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 896cfs so the upper part of the Klamath, hopefully, is in good fishing condition for hatchery trout and hatchery steelhead above I-5. The smoke conditions change from day to day so I recommend that you call ahead to find out what the conditions are before you start up to the area. If there is a smoke problem it would be down the Seiad Valley area. The North Coast Air Quality Control has stated that people with breathing or heart problems should not subject themselves to the heavy smoke as it could worsen their health conditions.
Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 99% of capacity with inflows of 1,365cfs and releasing 1,219cfs into Clear Creek & on to Keswick. Shasta is 81% of capacity (a decrease of 1% & minus 3ft) with inflows of 3,344cfs and releasing 8,366cfs, Keswick is 89% of capacity (a decrease of 2%) with inflows of 9,657cfs and releasing 10,147fs; Oroville Lake is 50% of capacity (a decrease of 2% & minus 7ft), inflow is 2,871cfs and releases are 8,403cfs; Folsom Lake is 81% of capacity (minus 2% & minus 1ft.) inflows are 2,282cfs and releases are 3,686cfs.
Trinity Lake: The Lake is 36ft below the overflow (increase of 2ft) and 78% of capacity (1% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is -51cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 1,971cfs to Lewiston Lake with 1,500cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and 10,147cfs being released to the Sacramento River.
Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 471cfs with water temps of 49.5 air is 69 degrees at 10:00am today. Limekiln Gulch is 4.9ft at 497cfs, water temps of 49.2 degrees and air is N/A. Douglas City is 6.4ft at 516cfs, water temps of 53.5, air is 67. Junction City is 1.9ft (muddy) at 486cfs. Helena is 9.1ft at 573cfs with water temps of 57.6. Cedar Flat is 2.9ft at 678cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 750cfs air is 68 and water at 63. Hoopa is 11.7ft at 916cfs with water temps of 68.2. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 3,013cfs.