KLAMATH RIVER



 

September 29, 2014   Headlines

Lower Klamath Adult Quota Reached

Salmon Still Pushing In
The salmon bite on the lower river is starting to wind down but the numbers are still solid as the run starts to ramp down. Wally Johnson checked in on Sunday 9-28 to report ten fish landed including 5 jacks. Wally says that most guides are also seeing still good jack counts of3 to 6 per boat and 5 to 8 adults released.
Tony Sepulveda echoed Wally's report to say they are seeing 2 to 6 jacks and releasing some pigs to 30 pounds.
Salmon and steelie counts in the lower river have dropped off due to the "big flush" of cold water on the Trinity last week which pushed the fish up. In coming week the Trinity and upper Klamath will be the place to be. Tony will be running combo steelhead and salmon trips on the lower Trinity.
Wally will running steelhead trips and literally launching his boat out of his backyard in the Seiad Valley mid October through December. Living on the river has it's advantages especially when it comes to late fall and winter steelies. 
 


Yes, the adult quota has been met but the fishing and catching has been excellent on the lower Klamath. Flows ramped up on the lower river on Thursday 9-18 a result of an unprecedented 3400cfs water release off the Trinity. The feds are trying to get the salmon to move up and to lower water temps as there have been a few reports of salmon with gill rot. Water flows on the lower Klamath are presently holding at 5000cfs. In turn water temps on the lower river have dropped to the mid 60s and will continue to drop as the nights get longer and cooler. 
Wally Johnson checked in on Saturday 9-20 to report there are still a ton of fish in the river but the higher flows dirtied the water and the bite dropped off from "epic to just great". They hooked 15 fish today and landed 8 keeping two jacks. Water releases will slowly ebb through this week and flows off the Trinity are cut back to just 450cfs. We expect great fishing to continue here for 2 or so weeks. After that anglers can target fish on the Trinity and upper Klamath through November. 


So Much for the Pre Season WAG
So far it appears that the return of salmon is much higher than the preseason estimate given to the PFMC. We here at USAFishing like to call this "guess the number" while the fish are still out in the ocean a WAG. A scientific term meaning wild ass guess. It is beyond comprehension that in a river like the Klamath we are still using the WAG and not photo or sonar counters or weirs.
There are a couple of spots in the lower river where placing temporary weirs or sonar counters would be ideal Terwer riffle and the 101 bridge. Temporary weirs and sonar counters are used all over Alaska to MANAGE their fisheries in REAL time.  Not this 30 year old WAG "science" that is more often wrong than right. By counting the fish in real time, harvest could adjusted up or down. In Alaska I have seen first hand sport and commercial harvest limits dropped or increased in as little as 24 hours depending on REAL data not the WAG.
Many of Alaska's rivers are far larger with runs on some counted in the millions of fish.
In years of high return both sport and tribal fishers could safely harvest more and in low return years harvest could be suspended to protect the fish when the numbers are down. Adopting successful management practices from out of state makes sense with our current out of date methods.
Too often in California our fisheries are managed by politics. When you properly manage the fishery the fish thrive and that's good for salmon and anglers.
 


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
Motor Home Magazine has a feature article about Kamp Klamath and FunBus Tours.


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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