August 30, 2014   Headlines

Lower Klamath Low and Warm But Producing Good Numbers

The salmon action down at the spit has been solid this past week. Lots of anglers are walking and boating out with one adult (and a few odd jacks) limits on Thursday 8-28. That's the good news. The bad news is that the quota at the spit of 619 fish will be met this weekend and the spit will close to fishing Sunday evening September 31st.
The river from the estuary to confluence of the Trinity has about 800 adult fish still in the quota. Once the quota is met anglers can still retain jacks but adult fish over 22" must be released. Upriver guides are seeing 5 to 10 plus salmon and LOTS of 1/2 pound to 5 pound steelies in the mix. Most are wild with a few fin clipped fish in the mix. They are getting nearly all their action drifting roe from Blue Creek to Klamath Glen. 
With the increase in water releases off the Trinity fishing should be good this weekend. It looks like we will have another week or two before the lower river quota is filled.
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 ideal 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 Adopting successful management practices from out of state makes sense with our current out of date methods.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.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the closure of the Klamath River Spit fishery as of Sept 31.
By sundown on Sunday, Aug. 31, Klamath River anglers will have caught their sub-quota of 619 adult fall-run Chinook salmon below the Highway 101 bridge. This triggers the closure of the Spit (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) to fishing as of the following morning.
Downstream of the Highway 101 bridge to the estuary will remain open for salmon fishing until the lower river quota of 2,064 adult fall-run Chinook over 22 inches is met. As of Aug. 28, approximately 1,219 of these fish have been caught. During this period, the Spit will remain closed to all fishing. Once the quota is met, anglers may still fish but will have to release any Chinook over 22 inches. The Klamath River above the confluence with the Trinity River will remain open until 702 adult Chinook are caught.
Fall regulations are currently in effect on the Trinity River. The quota on the Trinity River is 681 adult Chinook salmon from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar Flat, and 681 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge.
Anglers can keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

Salmon Pushing In
The salmon action is the lower river is heating up. Wally Johnson reports that a bunch of fish were hooked at the Glen Hole on Thursday and Friday 8-22 with still good action upstream at Blue Creek, Starwein and Blakes. Water temp has dropped from 74 to 71 degrees and with the Feds releasing water off Trinity that downward trend should continue. Overall it sounds like guides are seeing 3 to 8 adult salmon and tons of half pounders are keeping everyone smiling between salmon hookups. Anglers are being encouraged to NOT hook and release salmon as the fish are stressed due to the drought and warm flows and many are dying after being fought.
At the mouth the official count as of Wednesday is 135. (See Sara's report just below). We heard it was slow mid week but we should see another push as the Trinity water release will push fish in early this coming week.

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.


Panther Creek vacation rental
For those of you booking a trip with one of our guides and not interested in camping and looking for something more than a hotel room check out this river front house. This vacation rental is located on the lower river at Panther Creek and sleeps up to 10. It's perfect for a family weekend getaway or larger groups. We know that a few of our readers have booked the home and have enjoyed its prime location.

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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