In an interesting twist of events, the Klamath River will likely provide better fishing opportunities than the mighty Sacramento this season. That’s quite a turnaround from last year when fears of extremely low salmon returns prompted a full closure for ocean salmon within the KMZ and fall kings on the Klamath and Trinity. But it turned out the adult returns weren’t as bad as feared – 31,838 returned compared to 18,410 predicted. The rebuilding process was boosted by the 21,903 jacks (two-year old salmon) that also made their way upriver. These surprisingly-good jack counts led the CDFW to predict roughly 93,500 adult kings would return to the Klamath this fall. An average year will see roughly 122,000 adults returning.
Along with a healthy in-river return, 359,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults are said to be swimming in the ocean. Together, Klamath fall king numbers will provide a generous ocean salmon season within the KMZ and a modest adult salmon quota for the Klamath/Trinity Rivers. And speaking of quotas, the CA Fish and Game Commission last Thursday unanimously approved the 3,490-adult fall Chinook in-river quota that was recommended by the PFMC for the Klamath and Trinity.
On the Klamath, fall regulations will begin on Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31 with a daily bag limit of 2 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 1 may be more than 22 inches in length. The possession limit is 6 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 3 may be more than 22 inches in length. On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,745 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 593 adults.
The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2018, 523 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit.
Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations began on Jan. 1 and run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.
On the Trinity side, which will be open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, the quota is set at 1,152 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31.
The Trinity is open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.
Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length). The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted online in May. Additional season information is available on the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at 800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.
Trinity River restoration program water releases
The official water year designation for the Trinity River in 2018 is “Critically Dry” according to the Trinity River Restoration Program. With that, the Bureau of Reclamation announced on Monday releases from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River would increase to a peak flow of only 1,900 cfs as part of the Trinity River Restoration Program.
Releases from Lewiston Dam began increasing on Tuesday, April 17, and will reach approximately 1,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Sunday, May 13, and remain at peak flow for one day. Four sub-peaks are scheduled at discharges of 1,390 cfs on Wednesday, April 18; 1,400 cfs on Sunday, April 29; 1,600 cfs on Saturday, May 5; and, 1,620 cfs on Friday, May 25. On May 26, the flow will begin gradually decreasing to a summer base-flow of 450 cfs on June 30. The total water allocation for Trinity River restoration flows in a “critically dry” water year, such as this, is 369,000 acre-feet.
People residing near the river or recreating on the river can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases. A schedule of daily flow releases is available at: http://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current. For additional information, please contact Kevin Held at 530-623-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trrp.net
Ruth Lake Bass tourney coming in May
The Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 12th annual Ruth Lake Bass Tournament on Saturday, May 5. Blast off begins at 6:00 a.m. Entry fees are due May 4. Entries are $150 per team (includes Big Fish). First Place is $1,500 and second place is $1,000. Big Fish will win $100. One in five payback based on full slate of 40 boats. This is a catch and release tournament; live wells and life jackets are required. Check in is Friday at Journey’s End at 4:15-5:30 p.m. or Saturday 4:45 a.m. at the Marina parking lot. HBMWD is requiring that all boats be inspected for Quagga and Zebra mussels before launching. For more information, call RLCSD at 707-574-6332. For more info on the tournament, contact Todd Perras at (707) 273-9621.
Freshwater Lagoon trout plants continue
According to the CDFW website, Freshwater Lagoon continues to be planted with trout. Reportedly, the fishing has been excellent this month for keeper-sized rainbows. Freshwater is open to fishing year-round and the limit is 5 trout per day and 10 in possession. For more information, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants or call (530) 225-2146.
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel remains big and off color, but it’s on the drop. As of Wednesday, it was running at just under 10,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It could fish towards the end of next week.
Springer fishing is pretty good right now on the Lower Rogue according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “It is rarely red hot, so when guides are getting a fish a day, or two fish a day, the fishing is solid. That is what is happening this week. Flows and conditions are good, and the lower river is not too crowded yet. Anchoring with anchovies and small green spinner blades is working best. The morning minus tides this week are best for fishing the lower river.”
Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to email@example.com