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Rain and Snow Steelhead Weather

by E.B. Duggan

Snow in March? The Trinity Valley has been under strange weather. I went down south to get some warm weather and recharge my batteries. While I was gone, the weather in the Trinity Valley really changed from rain to snow. The Willow Creek area has received a little over 3 inches of snow, but all of the passes have received much more snow than 3 inches. Mother Nature has lost her calendar or forgot that snow is supposed to come in January or early February, not March. Oh well, I guess we should never try to outguess Mother Nature. On my way home coming in Hwy 299, I was really surprised to see so much snow in the Trinity Alps and in the back of Burnt Ranch. Old Ironsides was covered all the way down to the river. Don’t get me wrong. I am glad to see snow, just not so late into spring. It hurts the fruit blossoms. It is going to be interesting to see what our February snow pack reading is going to be. Of course, it is now true steelhead weather, the kind that true die hard steelheaders live for. Right now the Trinity River is low for this time of year so I am not seeing the bigger winter run Iron Heads that are normally in the river at this time.

Trinity River Hatchery: For the week ending Feb. 19; Fall Run Chinook salmon , jacks 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 5,632, Coho salmon, jacks 0, adults 0, total 0, season total 422; steelhead 17, season total 2,023. 

Klamath Iron Gate: For the week ending Jan. 9; Bogus Creek, Chinook season total 2,247, Coho 0, season total 68; Scott River, Chinook salmon 0, season total 2,279, Coho 382; Shasta River, Chinook salmon season total 9,935, Coho season total 38. There was no report from the Klamath counting station this week. 

Fishing: Since I got back, I have not seen very many fishermen out on the river nor did I see very many drift boats up river. I know there is steelhead in the river, but the river is low and very clear so fishing is slow. With the proposed weather change for the next week I am hoping that a new fresh run of adults will start coming into the Trinity. 

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,001cfs. This is a fair increase of water flow and should allow for some very good steelhead fishing above I-5. Happy Camp should be good fishing down close to Orleans. From Orleans down the river is receiving a lot more inflow from the streams and is flowing at a much greater water flow.  Hopefully, the area will get some more rain and snow that will help the Klamath. 

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 1%) with inflows of 267cfs and releasing 235cfs into Clear Creek and on to Keswick. Shasta is 75% (an increase of 1% and 1ft) with inflows of 4,344cfs and releasing 2,214cfs, Keswick is 83% of capacity (an increase of 25%) with inflows of 23,536cfs and releasing 3,164cfs; Oroville Lake is 41%  capacity (an increase of 0% & plus 1ft), inflow is 1,533cfs and releases are 2,251 cfs; Folsom Lake is 55% of capacity (minus 3% & minus 4ft.) inflows are 1,492cfs and releases are 3,061cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 45ft below the overflow (decrease of 0ft) and 73% of capacity (0% increase) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 37,602cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 647cfs to Lewiston Lake with 326cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and it is releasing  3,164cfs to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 321cfs with water temps of 47.2 and air is 51 degrees at 12:00pm Sunday. Limekiln Gulch is 4.7ft at 332cfs, water temps of 41.1 degrees.  Douglas City is 6.2ft at 354cfs, water temps of 42.8, air is 55. Junction City is 1.7ft at 405cfs.  Helena is 8.7ft at 433cfs with water temps of 42.2. Cedar Flat is 3.1ft at 676cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,097cfs air is 50 and water at 42.4. Hoopa is 13ft at 1,791cfs with water temps of 42.6.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 5,377cfs. 

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 1,001cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.6ft at 1,621cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,821fs, Salmon River is 2.8ft at   840cfs, Somes Bar is estimated at 2,746cfs and Orleans is 4.2ft. at 3,586cfs and the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 10.3ft at 7,932cfs, with water temperatures of 42.3 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 7ft at 1,760cfs. 

The low temperatures for Valley last week were 30 degrees and the high was 50 with 5.1in of rain and a season total of 36.1in of rain with 2.15in of snow. The temperatures for next week are expected to be 51/29 degrees with rain and some snow.

 Good Fish’en and Good Luck but remember; “Keep your tip up with a tight line lands fish.

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

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