Low Numbers of Salmon, Steelhead Return to Trinity River Hatchery

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(Lewiston) The Chinook and coho salmon spawning are complete for the season at Trinity River Hatchery in Lewiston, while the spawning of steelhead will continue into the New Year.

Numbers of Chinooks, coho and steelhead both seen at the hatchery and in the river are much lower than they have been over the past four years.

“We had some big flows in Julian week 50, up to 51,400 cfs, according to the USGS gage at Hoopa,” said Mary Claire Kier, CDFW biologist “Hopefully we’ll get some good snow pack this winter and we can get the drought behind us.”

The Trinity River Fish Hatchery trapped a total of 1,509 fall-run Chinooks, including 1,311 adults and 198 grilse, this season. By contrast, the fall Chinook totals were 3353 in 2015, 7,196 in 2014, 6,631 in 2013 17,595 in 2012.

The facility trapped 524 Coho salmon, including 477 adults and 47 grilse, this fall.. That compares to 3.337 fish in 2015, 3274 in 2014 and 8,238 in 2012.

Steelhead numbers are also down at the hatchery, with only 582 counted to date. That compares to 3,272 in 2015, 2,550 in 2014, 2.302 in 2013 and 5,736 in 2012.

Fishing pressure for steelhead is very light, with few anglers getting out on the river lately. “Nobody’s coming in either bragging or whining about the fishing,” said Tim Brady of Trinity Outdoors.

Trinity Lake is holding 1,231,986 acre-feet of water, 50 percent of capacity and 76 percent of average. Releases to the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam continue to be 300 cfs.

The salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity River, the largest tributary of the Klamath River, are currently imperiled by Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels plan. The project would divert more Trinity and Sacramento River water to be used by subsidized corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.