October 21, 2015   Headlines

Fall Salmon Last Push

Upper Klamath
The steelie action from Seiad Valley and down to Happy Camp is picking up as fresh steelhead push up river behind the salmon that are now starting to spawn. On Monday 10-19 Wally Johnson said the bite was much improved as they put away the flies and started side drifting roe. His two clients did real well landing 6 adults in the 4 to 6 pound class and a dozen or so "half pounders" running 12 to 17". Wally says the steelies are laying in the riffles below the salmon that are laying eggs and kicking up gravel to make their redds. Water temps are dropping and the bite has been getting better by the day. Wally has dates open this coming week and dates open in November. 

Lower Klamath
There are still decent numbers of late salmon pushing into the lower river. On Sunday 10-19 guides saw scores of 2 to 4 adult salmon  plus a few jacks and fewer steelies in the mix. The lower river action is winding down and it's now time to look upriver to the Trinity and middle to upper Klamath for a better bet.

The mouth pushed back open on Monday 10-5 and another big push of fish moved through the lower river. On Saturday 10-10 Wally Johnson passed along some news from the lower river. Wally said that guides in his circle saw 5 to 10 fish per boat through Friday but the action was beginning to drop off as though fish are moving through very quickly. While the lower river from the Glan to Blue Creek was best earlier in the week the best action steadily moved up and Wally said he heard of guides going above Pequan creek to stay on top of them. There is still 2000 or so adults left in the lower river quota and it does not look like it will be reached this season.

On a sad note long time guide Gary Farley had a mishap on Saturday and died on the river he lived on. Wally says that the word was that he was running up river near Rivers West Lodge and there was an accident. Gary was ejected from the boat and drown. Longer time guide Rich Mossholder was at Rivers West and heard something unusual and headed down from the lodge. He was in his boat and on sceen in just a couple of minutes and found Gary in the water and his clients safely on the bank. At this time no one knows what exactly happened (heart attack?) but Gary died as a result. I had the pleasure to fish with Gary a couple of times on the Smith river. He was not a man of many words but when he did speak his gravelly voice and dry sense of humor kept you laughing. He will be missed and we give our condolances to his family.

Upper River
Wally Johnson will run his first trip on the upper river on Monday 10-12. He says there are lots of salmon redds in all the riffles and counted over 20 just behind his house. He is not seeing a lot of steelies among the spawning fish here but has heard of good action down in the Somes Bar and Happy Camp sections and will be fishing down river on Monday.
In the section below Iron Gate the water is very clear (word is that the BOR put in some type of a filtering system on the released water side) but the fishing has been slow. Wally says scores are ranging from 3 to a high of 12  salmon per day this past week. This is well below the average of the past few years. It's possible that the fish are spawning lower in the main stem or the bulk of the upper river run made it into the lower river late due to the mouth pinching off through much of September. Mid to late October is the peak of the season on the upper river.

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.

Caught Fish? Looking for timely informative updates? Check out a FREE trial to the Northern California Hotsheet, California's fastest growing fishing newsletter. The Hotsheet is emailed three to four evenings per week direct to your desktop. No hunting the web for information or waiting on an outdated magazine to arrive in the mail. These in-depth reports keep you on top of what is happening TODAY so you can catch more fish tomorrow! Just $3.50 per month when you subscribe for one year. You can receive a free week's trial copy by e-mailing a request to hurleyjacks@aol.com
www usafishing

USAfishing.com Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved