Category Archives: salmon

CDFW Stocks More Than 1.45 Million Fingerling Landlocked Salmon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed its 2019 stocking of fingerling Kokanee and landlocked Chinook Salmon, planting more than 1.45 million of the popular sport fish into inland waters where they will provide recreational angling opportunities in two to three years after growing to catchable size.

This year’s stocking consisted of releasing 792,942 fingerling Kokanee Salmon into 16 waters and 672,734 sterile, fingerling Chinook salmon into eight waters. Additional allotments of the sterile – or “triploid” – Chinook Salmon are scheduled to be released later this fall into northern California’s Lake Oroville, Lake Shasta and Trinity Lake.

The 2- to 4-inch fish are stocked into landlocked, inland waters to provide a diverse fishing experience where natural reproduction is insufficient to provide a high-quality angling experience. Anglers can expect excellent opportunities in these waters in two to three years when these fingerlings reach catchable size. Stocking fingerling-sized fish is a very cost-effective way to maintain these popular, inland recreational fisheries.

After a record Kokanee egg take in 2018, CDFW had an additional number of Kokanee fingerlings available for release this year. These fish were surplus to stocking goals. To provide and enhance recreational opportunities, CDFW released these additional Kokanee into Lake Shasta in Shasta County, where anglers can expect a new fishing opportunity in the next few years. Kokanee Salmon are the landlocked version of the Sockeye Salmon native to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Instead of migrating to the ocean, the landlocked Kokanee often are able to reproduce naturally in feeder streams, inlets and along gravel shoreline in the lakes where they are stocked. Like all Pacific salmon, Kokanee die after spawning.

Monitoring and evaluations of these fisheries are vital to providing a balance between numbers of fish and their average size. Stocking too many fish may provide an abundance of fish, but not produce fish of a desirable size. To evaluate stocking efforts, CDFW has begun marking stocked Kokanee Salmon prior to their release. In 2018, CDFW marked Kokanee that were released into Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County. In 2019, marked Kokanee were released into New Melones Reservoir in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. All fish were marked with an adipose fin clip for easy identification and to distinguish from naturally spawned fish.

To assist in these evaluations, CDFW has partnered with the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. (CIFFI) and Kokanee Power (KP) to develop an online angler survey. The Kokanee & Inland Chinook Anglers Survey allows anglers to provide catch and effort data from any device with internet connectivity. Anglers are asked to report their effort and catch, both the number kept and released by size class, for each angling day. This data will assist fisheries managers in evaluating management goals for these fisheries.

CDFW would like to thank volunteers from CIFFI and KP for their continued cooperation assisting with the Landlocked Salmon Program. The careful planning, coordination and funding provided by these two organizations have contributed to the success of this program.

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Media Contacts:
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 375-5483

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

Chinook Salmon Season to Open July 1 on Portions of Klamath, Trinity Rivers

The recreational Chinook Salmon fishery will open on portions of the Klamath and Trinity rivers on July 1, as per emergency fishing regulations that have been adopted and approved by the California Fish and Game Commission and the state Office of Administrative Law.

The spring Chinook Salmon fishery will be open from July 1 through Aug. 14 on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and from July 1 through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork). The daily bag limit has been set at one Chinook Salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit is set at two Chinook Salmon.

The fall Chinook fishery will open Aug. 15 in the Klamath River and Sept. 1 in the Trinity river. The basin in-river quota is 7,637 adult Chinook Salmon for 2019. Regulations will remain the same as in 2018 with a two-fish daily bag limit, with no more than one fish over 22 inches (such as one adult and one jack). The possession limit remains the same at six fish, with no more than three fish over 22 inches (effectively three daily bag limits).

The in-river recreational adult fall Chinook quota is divided among four sectors in the Klamath River Basin:

KLAMATH RIVER

(1) 3,500 feet downstream of Iron Gate Dam downstream to the Highway 96 bridge – 1,298 fish.

(2) Highway 96 bridge downstream to the mouth of the Klamath River – 3,819 fish.

There is a sub-area closure at the mouth of the Klamath River when 15 percent of the Klamath Basin allocation has been harvested – 1,145 fish harvested below the Highway 101 bridge triggers this closure.

TRINITY RIVER

(3) Old Lewiston Bridge to Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – 1,260 fish

(4) Denny Road bridge downstream to the confluence with the Klamath River –  1,260 fish.

Please see the 2019-2020 California Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations and 2019-2020 California Supplement Sport Fishing Regulations for more information. Additionally, anglers can obtain information on Klamath Basin regulations and fall Chinook quota updates by calling the Klamath-Trinity fishing hotline at (800) 564-6479.

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Media Contacts:
Dan Troxel, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2378

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

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