KLAMATH RIVER



 

May 27, 2015   Headlines

Spring Salmon

There have been few reports on the Spring salmon bite on the lower Klamath. On Wednesday 5-27 Wally Johnson reports that a few fish have been landed over the past week but overall it's less than a fish per boat. We are seeing a big pulse release off of Iron Gate that is supposed to help flush juvenile kings on their out migration and hopefully flush out a gill parasite that is infecting nearly all the juveniles in the upper river. We think drought is tough on the human race but fish have no place to go when so much water is tapped off this system during times of drought.
 Wally is sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if the Springer bite develops. he will be offering Springer trips in June (the peak of the run) depending on whether the fish come in in catchable numbers. Wally begins his summer steelie trips in late July and fall run salmon trips in August. We expect low flows through the summer months and conditions much like last season with the bite picking up in September and steadily improving as water temps cool.

 Major fish kill likely in Klamath River as salmon parasite thrives in drought
GRANTS PASS ó A deadly salmon parasite is thriving in the drought, infecting nearly all the juvenile chinook in the Klamath River in Northern California as they prepare to migrate to the ocean.
The Klamath Fish Healthy Advisory Team, made up of state and federal agencies and Indian tribes, warns a major fish kill is likely, and the Yurok Tribe and NOAA Fisheries Service have asked for extra water releases to flush out worms that carry the parasite, known as C Shasta. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says after four years of drought, it has no water to spare for chinook salmon.
Bureau spokeswoman Erin Curtis said Wednesday the water stored in Klamath Basin reservoirs is already committed to endangered sucker fish and threatened coho salmon, and releasing water now means less for any crisis that erupts this summer.
Water for farmers on a federal irrigation project has also been cut to less than half of full deliveries as mountain snowpacks that supply reservoirs have dwindled to zero.
"We made the decision after consulting fish health experts and reviewing records that releasing a pulse flow at this time was not an advisable use of a very limited water supply," Curtis said. "We are having to take the long view. We know we have got to get through the whole spring and summer. There are going to be a lot of decisions to make, and this is one of them."
Demand for water will increase again when adult salmon return to spawn in late summer and face infection from a different disease that rots their gills.
The parasite, whose full name is Ceratomyxa shasta, occurs naturally in the Klamath, but the worm that serves as a host thrives when water gets warm and flows are reduced, which is the case during drought, said Jerri Bartholomew, professor of microbiology at Oregon State University. She said sampling shows nearly 100 percent of juvenile chinook are infected, though not all of them will die. Coho salmon, which are infected by a different strain of the parasite, have so far been spared.
"This is turning out to be as bad as the worst year since we have been monitoring, which is 2004," Bartholomew said. "The only year parasite levels approached what we are seeing this year was 2008, and that year they didn't get this high until June."
Water samples show C Shasta spores reached lethal levels in April and since then have gotten worse, she said. The C Shasta outbreak has only affected young chinook, and has not affected young coho, which are infected by a different strain, Bartholomew added.
Meanwhile, the Iron Gate fish hatchery is waiting to release some 6 million juvenile chinook in hopes conditions may improve, said NOAA Fisheries Service spokesman Michael Milstein.


Major Step Forward For Klamath River Restoration
One of the nationís biggest dam removal and river restoration efforts got a major boost on Friday with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announcing that he will introduce legislation to authorize the Klamath River restoration agreements.
Elected officials, Tribal leaders, and farming, ranching, and conservation representatives gathered Friday to celebrate the signing of the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA). The agreement resolves water rights disputes among the Klamath Tribes and upper basin irrigators, and permanently increases river flows, protects riverside lands, and provides $40 million to the Klamath Tribes for economic development.
Senator Wyden announced that he will introduce legislation that authorizes the UKBCA, as well as the two existing Klamath settlement agreements, the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Together the three agreements will resolve long-standing water rights disputes, increase water supply reliability for upper basin agricultural communities, improve river flows and water quality, restore wetlands, and allow for the removal of PacifiCorpís lower four Klamath River dams. The restoration agreements are necessary to restore struggling Klamath salmon runs.
The agreements, the first of which was finalized in 2010, are the product of years of negotiations among more than 40 stakeholder groups including American Rivers, with the goal of restoring the river, reviving ailing salmon and steelhead runs, and revitalizing fishing, tribal, and farming communities.
Removing the four dams will open access to more than 300 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead. When dam removal begins on the Klamath Ėscheduled for 2020 Ė it will be one of the nationís largest dam removal projects. Before the settlement agreements can be fully implemented, Congress must pass Senator Wydenís legislation and appropriate funds, and California must contribute an estimated $80 million to augment the $200 million being collected from PacifiCorp ratepayers for dam removal and river restoration. No federal funds will be used for dam removal.
PacifiCorpís four dams, built between 1908 and 1962, cut off hundreds of miles of once-productive salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the Upper Klamath, which was once the third most productive salmon river on the West Coast. The dams also create toxic conditions in the reservoirs that threaten the health of fish and people.
The dams produce a nominal amount of power, which can be replaced using renewables and efficiency measures, without contributing to climate change. A study by the California Energy Commission and the Department of the Interior found that removing the dams and replacing their power would save PacifiCorp customers up to $285 million over 30 years.
Roughly 1,150 dams have been removed nationwide and 51 dams were removed in 2013.


Kamp Klamath
Our favorite campground Kamp Klamath "on the quite side of the river". They offer discounts for those anglers looking to park their RV for a month or more and enjoy a few weeks of this incredible fishery. They have full hookups and the entire campground has free Wi-Fi. Don't miss the Saturday night salmon and chicken B-Q with live music!
Kamp Klamath is a secure, quiet, forested campground surrounded by Redwood National Park and where we have set up our fish camp for over 25 years. Great people and a great place to stay. 707 482-0227


Accommodations & Shops:
"Little Ray's Tackle" in Klamath Glen. For all your tackle needs stop by Little Rays. This is a must stop for anglers new to the river. The crew behind the counter will be more than happy to answer all your questions and point you in the right direction. Located just past the Steelhead Lodge. 707 482-7725

In Seiad Valley sits the Klamath River Side Park a quiet little RV park right on the banks of the Klamath for anglers looking for a quieter stretch of the river away from the crowds.


River Levels:




For river status (low flow closure) updates from Fish and Game please call +1.707.442.4502 for the North coast and +1.707.944.5533 for Central coast streams. Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary on every river and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions. Due to winter closures on HWYs 5, 101 & 299 we recommend you check Caltrans road conditions as well.
 


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