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Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year

by E.B. Duggan

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. I was away for a few weeks for my family Holiday Gathering so there was no fishing report for you to read. I greatly appreciate all of your readers of my column and wish you great fishing for the New Year. Remember to get your new license and steelhead report card for 2018; you will not need a salmon harvest card until there is a determination by to PFMC that there will be a salmon season for 2018.

It is officially winter as the winter solstice has come and gone on Dec 21. The weather has changed to colder mornings with some ice on the roads. The river has also changed closer to a steady temperature in the mid- forties as the steelhead winter run season has officially started.

The problem being is that the steelhead have not officially started showing up yet. There are plenty of ½-pounders in the Lower Trinity but I have not seen many large adults. The good part is that there is a sprinkling of small adults mixed in with the ½-pounders. Part of the problem is that low clear water flows are making the fish weary. A good rain would help. The area is suppose to see scattered showers after the first of the year but we need a good hard rain to start the main winter run to head up the Trinity. I am seeing more fishing pressure along the Lower Trinity now as more and more fishermen are showing up for their try at hooking some steelhead. The Upper Trinity is seeing a few more of the larger adults with a good mix of hatchery fish and a few spawned steelies.

It appears that NO ACTION is being taken by the Interior Department as to restoring the TAMWG group for local input to Trinity River Restoration, this is a shame. The Government is spending close to $15 million dollars every year to restore the upper 40 miles of the Trinity with no input from local property owners or people that use the river. Restoration projects are continuing with no or very little input or concerns for what is happening to the river. Where is the monitoring that was supposed to show that the restoration was providing more fish?  I say all work should be stopped until someone can scientifically show that the restoration IS producing more salmon and steelhead.

Trinity River Hatchery: For the week ending Dec. 16 ; Fall Run Chinook salmon , jacks 0, adults 14, total 14, season total 5,626, Coho salmon, jacks 0, adults 5, total 5, season total 399; steelhead 32, season total 741.

Klamath Iron Gate: For Dec. 18; Bogus Creek, Chinook season total 2,247, Coho 0, season total 27; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, season total 2,255, Coho 331; Shasta River Dec. 18, Chinook salmon season total 9,928, Coho season total 12. 

Fishing: Like I said above, fishing has improved because more fishermen are out there trying. A good hard rain will help start the main winter run of steelhead to come up the Trinity. This past week I have seen more fishermen along the lower Trinity than I have in the past month. With the colder weather one has to be more considerate of not getting hyperthermia, so bring along extra warm clothing for after fishing and a good thermos of a hot drink. Last week, the Kennedy Brothers fished the Big Rock to Tish Tang run and did well on ½-pounders with some small adults in the mix. Up river was slow from Burnt Ranch up to the top of Junction City, but above there, I heard there was some good fishing.  

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 960cfs. This is a decrease over past week and is providing some clear water. Scott Caldwell has been doing well fishing above I-5. Seiad Valley is flowing 1,457cfs in Happy Camp and is seeing some lower flows which will make fishing a bit harder. More rain would be a great help. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (minus 13%) with inflows of 311cfs and releasing 219cfs into Clear Creek and to Keswick. Shasta is 70% (a decrease of 1% and 1ft) with inflows of 4,441cfs and releasing 4,294cfs, Keswick is 86% of capacity (a decrease of 3%) with inflows of 4,369cfs and releasing 4,451cfs; Oroville Lake is 35%  capacity (a  decrease of 1% & minus 4ft), inflow is 1,189cfs and releases are 2,978 cfs; Folsom Lake is 57% of capacity (minus 5% & minus 6ft.) inflows are 1,961cfs and releases are 3,538cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 48ft below the overflow (increase of 1ft) and 72% of capacity (0% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 293cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 490cfs to Lewiston Lake with 180cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and it is releasing  4,451cfs to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 310cfs with water temps of 42.1 and air is 37 degrees at 2:00pm today. Limekiln Gulch is 4.7ft at 343cfs, water temps of 42.1 degrees.  Douglas City is 6.2ft at 357cfs, water temps of 42.3, air is 37. Junction City is 1.6ft at 387cfs.  Helena is 8.6ft at 410cfs with water temps of 42.

Cedar Flat is 2.8ft at 572cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 803cfs air is 44 and water at 43. Hoopa is 12.3ft at 1,207fs with water temps of 44.4.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 4,121cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 960cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.5ft at 1,457fs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,622fs, Salmon River is 2.4ft at 575cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 2,339cfs and Orleans is 3.9ft. at 2,914cfs and the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 9.5ft at 5,669cfs, with water temperatures of 44.7 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 6.7ft at 1,510cfs. 
Temperatures in the Valley last week were 54/32 degrees with 1.6in of rain with a season total of 19.2in of rain and 0.0in of snow. The temperatures for next week are expected to be 60/39 degrees with clouds the first part of the week then scattered showers for a week after. Hopefully this will bring in more fish.    

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail

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