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
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.
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.