What Will Our Salmon Fishing Look Like?

What Will Our Salmon Fishing Look Like?

2-28-2021
E.B. Duggan
(530) 629-3554

We are still in an “Over Fishing” rating by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC). The PFMC will meet in March to come up with the recommended choices for Fall Chinook salmon quotas for the 2021salmon season, then in mid or late April the PFMC will meet and make the “Fall Run Chinook salmon” recommended quotas for the Klamath River Basin. Then the California Fish and Game Commission at their April meeting to issue the California Fall Run Chinook salmon quotas. I know this is a confusing but this is the process. On top of this the Commission “could” possibly declare the Spring Chinook salmon a separate species and set another quota for them. So, you see it gets quite complicated. This is some of the data that is used to determine how many salmon we will get to keep for the 2021 salmon fishing season. The total of the return is 54,484 salmon. (That is the total salmon return) The goal is 40,700 Chinook salmon natural spawners for the Klamath River Basin, 2020 natural spawners were 26,190, the target was 36,206 natural area adult spawners to try and get out of the “Over Fished” PFMC declaration. Iron Gate Hatchery return of Fall Run Chinook was 4,000 fall Run Chinook salmon and the Trinity River Hatchery Adult Fall Run Chinook salmon was 3,926. These returns are not meeting the hatchery goals for sustaining the hatchery fish returns. These figures indicate the “possibility” of a less quota for the Klamath River Basin Fall Run Chinook salmon fishery for 2021. Remember I said the “possibility”. Stay tuned.

Trinity River Hatchery:  Julian week 8 ending Feb. 25, 2021; Fall Chinook salmon, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 3,926 Total Chinook salmon 7,103; Coho, 0-jacks, 0-adults, total 0, season total 2,333; steelhead 22, season total 574.

Upper Klamath River video count: Julian week 7 ending on Feb. 18, 2021; Shasta River; Chinook salmon 2, season total 5 (6,066 overall return), Coho 14,737, season total 20,798; Scott River, Chinook salmon-4, season total 11; Coho salmon 9, season total 15; (Bogus Creek; Chinook salmon,0, season total 2,289, Coho salmon 0, season total 145). These figures are looking fair but fare from what we need to sustain salmon fishing.

Fishing: We haven’t had much rain for the last week or so and the weather has been reasonably fair with some fishing but not a lot of steelhead landings reported. I know the forecast for next week is for a new storm with some snow and rain but we will have to wait and see how that turns out. The river is looking good, a little high but still good for some winter steelhead fishing. Most of the small road slides have been cleared so travel should not be a problem unless the storm does come in. Most of the guides are over on the Sacramento River fishing for trout.
The Hoopa Reservation received a spike in the COVID 19 therefor reinstated the restrictions for travel so that will close the reservation for fishing.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing 9,998cfs. This is a decrease of 9,286cfs. Iron Gate Dam is releasing 998cfs. The Weitchpec area is still closed to the general public because of the COVID 19 and for now the Mid-Klamath is also unfishable due to the highwater flows. Hwy 96 is still blocked off by the slide up at Happy Camp and look like it could take some time before it will be opened again. Right now, I would say the best bet for fishing the Kamath would be above I-5.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 85% of capacity (a decrease of 0%) with inflows of 373cfs and releasing 277cfs on to Keswick. Shasta Lake is 50% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 4,933cfs and releasing 2,790cfs into Keswick. Keswick is 86% (a decrease of 4%) with inflows of 3,008cfs and releasing 3,304cfs into the Sacramento river. Oroville Lake is 38% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 3ft) with inflows of 1,976cfs with releases of 825cfs into the Feather River. Folsom Lake is 35% of capacity (an increase of 1% plus 2ft) with inflows of 1,490cfs with releases of 1,180cfs into the American river.

Trinity Lake: The lake is 87ft below the overflow (an increase of 0ft) and 52% of capacity (an increase of 0%) with inflows of 679fs and releasing 518cfs into Lewiston Lake with 207cfs being diverted to Whiskeytown Lake and on to Keswick Power Plant, which is releasing 3,304cfs into the Sacramento River.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Lewiston Dam is 96% of capacity (an increase of 0%) and water releases are 311cfs into the Trinity River, with water temperatures of 47.1 degrees, as of 11:00am today Monday Mar. 1, 2021. Limekiln Gulch is 4.77ft at 332cfs. Douglas City is 6.46ft with flows of 429cfs. with air temps of 53 and water temperatures of 45.1 degrees. Junction City is 1.99ft at 478cfs. Helena is 8.93ft at 644cfs with water temps of 44.3 degrees. Cedar Flat (Burnt Ranch) is 4.16ft at 1,141cfs. South Fork of the Trinity near Hyampom is 4.29cfa at 839cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,980cfs and air is 57 degrees and water at 44.9 degrees. Hoopa is 14.77ft at 3,965cfs and water is 45.2 degrees. 
Water flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at the Klamath in Weitchpec are estimated to be 9,998cfs a decrease of 9,286cfs.

Klamath River flows and conditions: Iron Gate is releasing 998cfs. Seiad Valley is 3.00ft at 1,869cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 2,357cfs, Somes Bar is estimated to be 4,378cfs, and the Salmon River is 3.68ft at 1,656cfs. Orleans is 5.65ft at 6,030cfs, the Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 12.48ft at 14,030cfs and water temps are 46.7 degrees. Flows for the Smith River at Jed Smith are 7.95ft with flows of 2,840cfs. and flows at Dr. Fine Bridge are 14.57ft at N/A cfs.  Temperatures in the Valley last week had a high of 61 and a low of 33 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.14in with a water year total to date of 37.56 inches and 1.5in of snow in Willow Creek. At the present time we have been seeing sunshine but a new storm series is expected early next week sometime Saturday or Sunday. Be aware that there are some temporary road closures in the area for repairs so drive careful and check your travel plans before leaving.