The steelhead and spring chinook fishing season will open June 1st. The burn ban will also begin on June 1, first time I’ve seen it this early.
The Klickitat is very low for this time of year, discharge is less than half normal based on 88 years of record. Flow has been lower as of May 27 before, quite a bit lower, but it can’t be good for the fishery. Just did a little checking onto the database and found the only year on record that’s been lower in May (May avg.) was 1977 when the average May flow was 900cfs. Flows today, not an average, are ~1060 cfs. Overall 1977 wasn’t that bad a water year as the lowest it got was 612 cfs. (avg. for July & Oct. 1977). I’ve seen it a bit lower but with increasing fishing pressure and warmer water temps (automatic warmer water temps as flows decrease is assumed) it could be problematic for wild fish.
The lowest I noticed was Sept. of 1994 when the average discharge for the month was just under 450 cfs. I’m worried we could see flows even lower this year because there’s no snow left to melt except at the highest elevations, there are some quite large wetlands in the upper watershed but I have no idea what they look like today and I don’t have access anymore. If flows get low and temps rise much above 70F I’d support a closure of the steelhead fishery or dramatic limitations. Both 1977 and 1994 were very low water years that were certainly tough on wild steelhead. Here’s hoping I’m way wrong and 2015 will see plenty of cold water!