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New Water Year 2017

by E.B. Duggan


The first day of Fall was Friday September 22, 2017. October 1, 2017 is the first day of the New Water Year for 2017 – 2018. Rain for 2016 – 2017 was 86.65 inches with 3.5 inches of snow. The Eureka / Willow Creek area received 150% of NOAA normal average rain fall for the year. Willow Creek average rain fall is 53 inches. (I measure the rain fall in my back yard and I live about 3 miles east of downtown Willow Creek.) 150% above the average rain fall is quite a lot of rain. I don’t think we will have quite that amount of rain for the coming season, but Fall has come early so we just might. I do know that the extra amount of water (rainfall) we had this past year was very beneficial for the fish. It appears that the salmon are taking advantage of the changes the extra water caused to the river. Right now, the Trinity is seeing what looks like a small recovery from this year’s estimated low return for the year. That is good because the increased salmon return could possibly provide a salmon fishing season for next year.

The fire rehab for the Hwy 299 corridor from Weaverville down to Del Loma is causing some road closures on 299 without notice and hindering traveling in that area. I have been told that in some cases it has taken up to 4 hours to get from Weaverville to Del Loma. So be forewarned about the delays. Hopefully, that will end within the next week or so. I would recommend if you plan on going to, or fishing in that area, that you call Del Loma R V and campground for a possible update.

 Trinity River Hatchery: For the week ending Sep. 23; Chinook salmon, jacks 67, adults 194, total 261, and season total 358; Coho salmon 0; steelhead 1, and season total 4.

Junction City weir: For the week ending Sep. 23; Chinook salmon, jacks 4, adults 16, total 20, season total159  Coho 0; adult Steelhead 5, ½-lbs 1, total 6, season total 46; Brown Trout, 0, season total 9. Redds counted from Lewiston to Cedar Flat N/A.

Willow Creek weir: For the week ending Sep. 23; Chinook salmon, jacks  146, adults 188, total 334, season total 652; Coho; 0; steelhead, ½-lbs 2, adults 50   total 52, season total 263. (Don’t forget to return tags from tagged fish)

Klamath Iron Gate: For the week ending Sept. 23 N/A; Shasta River, Chinook salmon 90, season total 508; Bogus Creek 3, season total 3, Scott River 0. 

Fishing: For the last week, fishing has again been improving from the Willow Creek weir down to the confluence of the Klamath River. Each week the counts at the Willow Creek Weir continue to increase. This past week, Dave Gram had a group of 8 fishermen up at his summer place to fish for the weekend and they were able to land 33 salmon and 7 steelhead. Their best fishing was down in Hoopa but they did pretty well up in the Hawkins Bar area also. Most of them were using Blue Fox spinners as that seemed to work best in both areas. I use the Blue Fox spinners also but I prefer Little Cleo spoons. Right now the water in the Trinity is of such that #4 Blue Fox spinners in blue body silver blade or orange body are working the best. The word from up at Del Loma is that everybody in camp is catching fish! The big problem is that they are also hooking plenty of salmon along with the steelhead. Most of the steelhead is in the 15 to 18 inches with an occasional 4 to 6-pounder. This sound like great fly fishing to me! Remember that hooking a salmon means that you cannot take it out of the water and that you must unhook it while still in the water.  

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,149cfs.  This should provide for some good fishing in Seiad Valley (Happy Camp). I- 5 up to Iron Gate Dam should be having some very good fishing for trout, the steelhead have not arrived there yet. Down around Orleans the high water from this winter’s storms has really changed the river and it is harder to locate where the fish are holding.  Fishing below Old Village out of Weitchpec has been nothing but good for ½-pounders and small adults using #4 or #5 Mepps spinners in brass. One might be able to find them at the old Pearson store in Weitchpec.  

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98 of capacity with inflows of 756cfs and releasing 717cfs into Clear Creek and to Keswick. Shasta is 76% of capacity (a decrease of 1% & minus 2ft) with inflows of 3,660cfs and releasing 7,683cfs, Keswick is 89% of capacity (a increase of 8%) with inflows of 8,389cfs and releasing 8,395 cfs; Oroville Lake is 40%  capacity (a decrease of 3% & minus 9ft), inflow is 2,099cfs and releases are 7,783 cfs; Folsom Lake is 71% of capacity (minus 3% & minus35ft.) inflows are 1,789cfs and releases are 3,795cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 45ft below the overflow (increase of 2ft) and 73% of capacity (1% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 66cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 1,319cfs to Lewiston Lake with 867cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and it is releasing  8,401cfs to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 45285cfs with water temps of 49.4 and air is 62 degrees at 11:00am today. Limekiln Gulch is 4.9ft at 484cfs, water temps of 48.2 degrees and air is N/A.  Douglas City is 6.4ft at 504cfs, water temps of 50.8, air is 60. Junction City is 1.8ft at 460cfs.  Helena is 9ft at 529cfs with water temps of 53.5. Cedar Flat is 2.8ft at 598cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 648cfs air is 59 and water at 58. Hoopa is 11.5ft at 811cfs with water temps of 61.5.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 2,952cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,199cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.6ft at 1,481cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,530cfs, Salmon River is 1.7ft at 241cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 1,900cfs and Orleans is 3.3ft. at 2,141cfs and the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 8.3ft at 3,149cfs, with water temperatures of 62.9 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 4.7ft at 274cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 82/45 degrees and 0.00in of rain with a season total of 86.65in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Sept.30 was the end of the rain season for 2017. The temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 83/40 degrees with sunshine projected for the next week to ten days. A chance for some good fishing.

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

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