Springers Pushing In
There are a few springers being taken on the lower Klamath but
reports are far and few between. The river is low and has been
mossy but fresh steelies and adult spring run salmon are being
We caught a report (while we were in Alaska) from a guide on the
California Sportsman radio show on July 13 reporting 7 adult
spring run salmon and 14 adult steelies.
Here on Saturday 7-26 there are reports of guides and private
boaters seeing 2 to 10 adult steelies and 1 to 3 salmon. Most of the
action has been around Blue Creek and in the faster riffles and
flats from the Glen to Blue Creek.
There are also salmon staging at the mouth with fish moving in and
back out with the tides. We have second hand reports of bankies
landing a few very scattered salmon at the mouth and the gillnets
taking a few in the estuary. If the mouth (spit) holds it's present
location this allows the estuary to flush and each high tides brings
an influx of cooler ocean water. If the mouth slides south (which is
often the case in low flows years like this) a bar will form and the
estuary warms up as the warmer river flows are not able to flush
out. Last season with a long south facing mouth the estuary warmed
to the high 70s and while fishing was great on the spit in August
and September the salmon held in the ocean until late September when
rivers water temps dropped. With flows even lower this year I would
expect that we will see the mouth move south in the coming weeks.
Currently we have some springers moving through and adults caught
before August 15th typically don't count towards the fall run quota
until late in August.
In the time being hope for early rain and an increase in flows that
may cool the river.
and Fall Salmon Season Ahead
flows, low quotas and high water temps will result in tough fishing conditions
for Klamath anglers this salmon season.
This summer and fall will bring some of the most challenging conditions on the
Klamath river since the early 90s. With the current drought, the Klamath river is under a
"critically dry" definition which means that releases off upstream dams will be
cut to a bare minimum. As of Friday July 4th flows off Lewiston dam (Trinity lake)
are at 450CFS.
On the upper Klamath at Iron gate flows are currently at 900cfs This is going to
result in extremely low and warm conditions in the lower river. Water temps will
likely climb to the high 70s in the estuary in August.
PFMC set the quota for the ENTIRE Klamath River Basin
fall run of 4,184 adult Chinook salmon, with the lower river to get half
that number. Spit anglers (Klamath mouth )will only receive 15% of the quota.
Quotas for the lower river are just over 2000 adult fish while the upper Klamath
river is allowed just 711 fall Chinook salmon. Trinity
anglers will be allowed to 1,380 fish between the lower and upper rivers. The daily bag limit will be three (3) fish per day with
of which only one can be over 22" (adult)
and two (2) jacks, and a total of 9 Chinook in possession, and no more than 3
One only has to look at the 2013 season when low flows and water temps in the
estuary kept the bulk of the run holding outside the mouth. While "spit'
anglers saw great action and easy limits the salmon fishing inside the estuary
and lower river was very slow. Estuary temps were running in the mid to high 70
degree range August through September (2013) and few salmon were willing or able
to move into the lower river.
With river flows this season being even lower than last I expect we see even
more challenging conditions this season. They include:
With low river flows the river will close repeatedly
all summer especially during periods of high tides and higher swell.
High temps in the estuary will act like a curtain that will kept fish in the
ocean as they will be unwilling to push through the hot water temps in the
estuary. Last season we saw temps in the mid to high 70s through late September.
They could climb even higher this season with the low river flows.
Guides will be catching some fish in those spots that have cooler
flows like the mouth of Blue Creek but warm river temps will
have the salmon coming in spurts
With the low "spit" quota I would expect the quota will be reached before
Labor day. If so anglers will NOT be able to fish the spit even for jacks.
This will be devastating for the few last campgrounds and businesses still
holding on. (There were so many infractions handed out at the spit last season
both Fish and Wildlife and local guides proposed the closure after 15% of the
total quota is reached not the quota on the entire river). With few accessible public areas to fish outside the
mouth and the bars around Klamath Glen bank anglers will have little access to
the lower river fishery. Guides of course will have the entire river to fish.
Despite all these challenges there will be better fishing late September.
Like last year, as the nights get cooler and shorter water temps will drop and
the fish will make their way in likely in a huge push. We saw some excellent
scores for guides last October and the I would expect that after slow
August and early September that fishing will improve for those here later in the
Pictured above: the mouth of the Klamath on July 6th 2014 sent in by Gdm.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
1,150 dams have been removed
51 dams were removed in 2013.