Category Archives: salmon

Inland Salmon Seasons Approved at Fish and Game Commission Meeting

California’s inland salmon anglers can look forward to a better salmon fishing season than last year. A projected return of 379,600 spawning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook Salmon to Central Valley rivers has allowed fishery managers to return to a two salmon daily limit with four salmon in possession. This is a welcome increase over last year’s regulations, which restricted anglers to one salmon per day and two in possession.

The Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon ocean abundance forecast of 274,200 adults allows anglers a daily limit of two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches.

“It is excellent that the predicted Central Valley returns are high enough to offer anglers the opportunity to take two salmon daily and four in possession,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon returns are predicted to be above average, and that should provide good angling opportunity.”

State and federal fisheries managers crafted conservative ocean seasons to return even more Sacramento fall-run Chinook Salmon back to the spawning grounds than normal this fall. This is required under the federal Fisheries Management Plan because long-term stock abundance has fallen below minimum management goals after several recent years when spawning salmon returns were too low. Inland fishing seasons adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission reflect this ongoing effort to rebuild stocks while providing angling opportunity.

The following bag, possession limits and seasons were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting earlier this week.

Central Valley Rivers:

Daily limit of two fish per day and a possession limit of four fish. On the American and Feather rivers, the general season opener is July 16. On the Sacramento River below Deschutes Road Bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the season opens Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 16. From below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Carquinez Bridge, the season opens July 16 and closes Dec. 16. Chinook Salmon fishing opportunity was expanded on the Mokelumne and Feather River. On the Feather River, the season change will extend fishing opportunity by additional two weeks. On the Mokelumne River, almost 10 miles of additional habitat is open to salmon fishing.

Klamath River Basin:

Daily limit of two Chinook Salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. The Klamath River adult fall run Chinook Salmon quota is 7,637 adults and the season opens Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31, while the Trinity River opens to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31. Seasons and areas with defined sub-quotas are subject to closure once the quota is reached in each subsection.

The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions will be published in the 2019-2020 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

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Media Contacts:
Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916)-327-8840 

Wade Sinnen, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 822-5119 
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1160

Feather River Smolt Release to Help Biologists Study Salmon Life Cycle

On May 8, CDFW released about 1 million fall run Chinook Salmon smolts into the Feather River at the Boyd’s Pump Launch facility. This experimental in-river release will provide fisheries biologists an important opportunity to study how fish respond under specific environmental conditions, as compared to fish released at other points in the river system.

Anglers have expressed concern that striped bass predation is high during this time period on the Feather River. While predation is always a threat to the young salmon, it is only one of the challenges they face throughout their complicated life cycle. The good news is that current high river flows favor increased downriver salmon survival.

“It’s critical that a portion of the population survives the treacherous journey downriver, eventually returning to pass their genes to their offspring,” said Jay Rowan, CDFW supervising fisheries biologist. “The traits those survivors pass on will help the species adapt to current conditions and better prepare them for long-term challenges such as climate change.”

Central Valley rivers like the Sacramento, Feather, American and Mokelumne have been modified through the addition of dams, river channelization and flow control. To maximize returns and allow for naturally occurring genetic variation, hatcheries in each river system have begun to utilize a variety of release strategies including trucking a portion of the fish downstream, utilizing ocean net pens and varying release sites to improve overall salmon resiliency and survival.

More than 30 million Chinook Salmon smolts are released from hatcheries throughout California’s Central Valley each year. This upcoming release of 1 million smolts on the Feather River is only one of almost 100 different releases taking place this spring up and down Central Valley rivers, San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay and into coastal net pens. Each release has a different intent and goals for contributions to ocean and inland fisheries, returns to the river and returns to the hatchery.

Feather River Hatchery alone will release 7 million fall run Chinook Salmon in 2019. In addition to the 1 million that will be released this week, another million will be trucked to Fort Baker in the San Francisco Bay and 5 million will be trucked to acclimation net pens in the San Pablo Bay.

Survival prospects for all releases are very good. This year’s large snow pack and high river flows are a far cry from the drought years with low clear water conditions that foster higher levels of predation, disease and other stressors. Survival out of the system should contribute to improved harvest opportunities in the near future.

Last month, CDFW released 600 spring run Chinook Salmon smolts into the Feather River. The fish were implanted with acoustic tags before their release, and preliminary data indicates that this group is showing a significantly higher survival rate as they travel downriver than fish that were released during low water years.

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Media Contacts:
Colin Purdy, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2943
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8911

 

 

Recreational Ocean Salmon Seasons Opening in May

Ocean salmon anglers off the California coast will be able to spend more time on the water this year chasing after Chinook Salmon (also known as King Salmon). Sport fisheries in the Klamath Management Zone will open from late May through early September. Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas will reopen mid-May after a short-term closure and will continue through the end of October. The Monterey management area is open now and remains open through late August.

The 2019 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open May 25 and continue through Sept. 2.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, opened April 13. Fishing closed on April 30, 2019, reopens on May 18 and will continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 6 and will continue through Aug. 28.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Point Arena. In the San Francisco area, the minimum size limit was 24 inches total length through April 30. When this area reopens on May 18 it will be 20 inches total length for the duration of the season. In the Monterey area the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length for the whole season. The daily bag limit is two Chinook Salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of Coho Salmon (also known as Silver Salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

Ocean salmon season lengths were restricted in certain areas to limit harvest of Sacramento River fall Chinook, the main stock supporting California’s ocean fishery. Under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan, this stock is classified as “overfished” following low returns of spawning adults in recent years. In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council made the decision to limit the fishery so that a greater number of adult fish return to the river to spawn this fall.

These season dates and size limit restrictions in combination also serve to minimize impacts of the ocean salmon fishery on ESA-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook and California Coastal Chinook stocks, as required by federal law.

Ocean salmon regulations in state waters automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95. Federal regulations for ocean salmon were published in Federal Register 84, section 19729 on May 6, 2019, and were effective as of that date.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline. Before engaging in any fishing activity for ocean salmon, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

  • CDFW website, www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline, (707) 576-3429

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Media Contacts:
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

 

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) is seeking nominations to fill three vacancies on the FRGP Peer Review Committee (PRC).

Pursuant to the Public Resources Code, Section 6217.1, the 14 representatives of the PRC are appointed by the Director of CDFW to provide advice and oversight of, and recommend priorities for, grant funding under FRGP.

Seven of the PRC’s 14 representatives are recommended by the California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout. Three representatives are County Supervisors from coastal counties recommended by California State Association of Counties.

The remaining four PRC seats represent the following interests: one representative from the agriculture industry, one representative from the timber industry, one representative of public water agency interests and one academic or research scientist with expertise in anadromous fisheries restoration.

The agriculture industry, timber industry and academic or research scientist seats are currently vacant, and CDFW is now accepting nominations from the general public for these seats through May 31, 2019. The appointed representatives serve four-year terms, and these appointments extend until January 2022, starting with the PRC meeting scheduled in the fall of 2019.

Representatives must reside in or represent interests in coastal and Central Valley counties in which native salmon and steelhead exist.

To nominate a representative for any of the above open seat, please email a nomination package to FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov, or send by mail to:

Timothy Chorey, FRGP Coordinator
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Watershed Restoration Grants Branch
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Nomination packages must include a cover letter detailing the candidate’s qualifications, a resume of the candidate and verification that they represent coastal or Central Valley counties in which salmon and steelhead exist. For more information or any questions, please contact Matt Wells at (916) 445-1285 or FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 445-1285

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $13 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 11 stream flow enhancement projects were approved at an April 4 meeting of the Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.

Funded projects include:

      • A $499,955 grant to the University of California, Davis for a cooperative project with the University of California, Berkeley that will apply the newly developing California Environmental Flows Framework to inform decisions regarding instream flow enhancements in the Little Shasta River in Siskiyou County and San Juan Creek in Orange County, by defining target hydrologic regimes that meet ecological and geomorphic objectives.
      • A $1.5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in the Oroville Wildlife Area in Butte County. The project will reconnect the Feather River to approximately 400 acres of its historic floodplain, increasing the frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and enhancing habitat for anadromous salmonids.
      • A $1.98 million grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the CDFW, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest and Bella Vista Foundation to enhance hydrologic and ecological function and improve base flows during the low flow period within Lower Perazzo Meadow in Sierra County.
      • A $621,754 grant to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DWR and State Coastal Conservancy to construct an off-channel storage pond on Klingman-Moty Farm. Combined with irrigation efficiency upgrades and a commitment from the landowner to forbear diversions during the low flow period, the project will improve instream flow conditions in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County.
      • A $1.78 million grant to the Ventura Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Ojai Valley Inn, the city of Ojai, the Thacher School, and a diverse array of other partners. They will develop an Integrated Water Management Framework for Instream Flow Enhancement and Water Security and complete planning, permitting and outreach to advance 25 stream flow enhancement projects to an implementation ready stage.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420