KLAMATH RIVER



 

July 07, 2014   Headlines

Springers Push In
Lower Klamath Low and Warm

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. The better news is there are already a few steelies showing up and come July we should see a good push of both adult and half pound steelies.
On the Trinity Dave Jacobs reports that there are small pockets of fish holding in the deeper holes from Lewiston to Gary's Falls. He was out on Friday June 27 and reports they are working hard for 1 to 3 hookups per day but there are fish to be caught but you have to be persistent.


Challenging Summer and Fall Salmon Season Ahead
Low 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 and possibly top 80 degrees in the estuary in August.  

The 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 adults.
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 likely 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 come October. Like last year, as the nights get cooler and shorter water temps will drop and the fish will make their way in liley in a huge push. We saw some excellent scores for guides last October and the I would expect that after  slow August and September that fishing will improve for those here later in the season.
Pictured above: the mouth of the Klamath on July 6th 2014 sent in by Gdm.


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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