August 26, 2015   Headlines

Fall Salmon Pushing In

Lower Klamath
Releases off the Trinity river have raised flows and slightly dropped water temps in the lower Klamath this past week. Temps have ranged from 74 and dipped to 69 degrees after the first pulse made it down to the lower river. As of Tuesday 8-25 the salmon bite remains slow but guides are reporting decent steelhead counts in the faster riffles where the fish are concentrated due to the high water temps. Wally Johnson says that most of the guides are seeing 3 to 6 steelhead and one to three salmon per boat and it's still very early in the season. As the nights get shorter and water temps drop the fishing will only improve come September.
Anglers at the mouth have picked up 371 fish over the past ten days. On the next set of big tides we should see a bigger push of fish.

More Soap Box:
Fall quota numbers as of Tuesday are 689 lower river adults have been caught out of a total lower river quote of 7,067. The sub quota for the spit (mouth) is 2,120 of which 371 have been caught. (pictured left the mouth of the Klamath on 8-7)
The mouth of the river, as it usually does in a drought years was pushing south but this past weekend Yurok tribal members dug a new channel so the river could flow directly west. The current mouth is now just a 100+ feet long after the "dig". Funny how any state or county government agency can not breach a river mouth (like the Russian river in Sonoma county) without a permit yet  Yurok tribal members can dig out a new channel without  any oversight from the feds or their own so called fishery managers. (We are guessing Dave Hillemeire who is the fishery biologist for the Yurok tribe possibly Oked the said breach of the mouth of the Klamath estuary that has several endangered and threatened listed runs of salmon and steelhead).
Dave wrote us in response to out "Soap box" paragraph below that he disagreed with my opinion on the tribal netting. Dave all I have to say is that until your tribal members can take only fish from sustainable runs nets don't belong in the river. Gillnets take and kill all species and your tribal take 1000s of endangered Shasta, Scott and Trinity coho, steelhead and chinooks salmon that are on the brink of extinction. The State and the Feds (NOT the Yurok tribe) have spent 10s of millions of dollars to bring back these runs only to have gillnets continue their take of these ESA listed endangered runs.
I will add (Dave) that your  tribal policy of not working commercial nets in the estuary two days per week does NOT ALLOW FOR ANY ESCAPEMENT as your so called "subsistence" nets fishing just upriver are fished 7 days per week 24 hours per day. We all see the tribal "subsistence" netters (wink wink we are fishing for our elders) returning with 1000 plus pound loads of salmon that are caught by tribal boats power drifting gillnets through the holes (AT NIGHT) that are then quickly loaded onto trucks at first light.  Dave, why do tribal subsistence anglers fish at night? Is it because you don't want the public to know or see what is actually happening?

Lower Klamath
Low and warm flows are keeping the first push of fall run salmon down in the estuary. 20 plus year Klamath guide Wally Johnson reported on Tuesday 8-11 that there are salmon being taken by trollers working the lower estuary from the mouth to the Raqua Inn. Overall counts are running at 0 to 3 fish per boat. Up river guides are seeing a few decent steelie counts and a few scattered salmon bouncing roe from the Glen Hole to Starwein to the Orchard. The section around Blue Creek is closed to sport fishing as it has been declared a "thermal refuge" due to the drought conditions but that said is not closed to gillnetting, only sportfishing.
Salmon counts should only improve in the estuary and at the mouth as we go into bigger tides next week. As we go into September and water temps cool the upriver action will only get better. Until then trolling in the estuary and working roe in the early morning hours in the lower faster riffles where fish tend to hold for steelies and the occasional salmon will be your top bet. 
Wally begins trips this next week and has space open through September to mid October during the peak of the run.

Soap Box
The Yurok tribe pushed for several closures that only affect sport anglers including the half mile section around Blue Creek and at the mouth of the river but none that would hamper their gillnetting. Funny how the biggest harvesters only want to close sport fishing "to protect the fishery"  while they do NOTHING to stop the rape of this fishery by their own tribal gillnets. What a crock as gillnets take 1000s of endangered silver salmon and wild steelhead annually and wiped out the entire sturgeon run on this river in the late 1980s with their gillnets.
But "trust us natives "as we have the "best interest of the salmon in mind". It's our religion, our heritage... yadda yadda yadda. I have spent four decades fishing the Klamath and have seen first hand the pillage and rape of this fishery by  those who claim they have some heredity right, tradition or religion to destroy this fishery.
Ever since the gillnets have been allowed the local economy has swirled slowly swirled  the drain. Most of the local markets, restaurants, campgrounds and businesses have closed but we now have a Casino, and once again this year a huge pot raid by the feds on tribal land that was tapped into the local watershed depriving salmon of water. Of course the tribe knew nothing of said grows. 
Just my .02

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.

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