Ocean Salmon Seasons Set by Pacific Fishery Management Council

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, DFG Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2878
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) has set the 2011 salmon seasons for ocean waters off California. Ocean recreational seasons will be as follows:

  • The Klamath Management Zone from the Oregon border to Horse Mountain will be open from May 14 through Sept. 5.
  • The waters from Horse Mountain to Point Arena will remain open through Oct. 30.
  • The waters from Point Arena to Pigeon Point will remain open through Oct. 30.
  • The waters from Pigeon Point to the United States/Mexico border will remain open through Sept. 18.

All zones have a daily bag and possession limit of two Chinook salmon and a minimum size limit of 24 inches. No take of coho salmon is allowed.

The PFMC also set commercial seasons. Information on these seasons, quotas, minimum size and gear restrictions can be found on the PFMC Web site at www.pcouncil.org.

The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) will meet on April 21 to review and conform ocean seasons and size limits in state waters to the new federal rules. The FGC will also set the inland salmon seasons at this time. The FGC sets all seasons in California inland and coastal waters extending three miles out.

The FGC will discuss and vote on a proposal that mirrors the dates adopted by the PFMC for ocean salmon seasons but may include additional gear and size restrictions. The proposed general sport fishing regulations and gear restrictions, along with maps of each area, can be viewed at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pdfs/salmonsport11.pdf.

Anglers can review additional ocean salmon regulations on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp. For more information, please call the Ocean Salmon Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Access to Tehama Wildlife Area to be Limited Through Summer

Media Contacts: James Chakarun, DFG Northern Region, (530) 527-8917
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) must keep a portion of the Tehama Wildlife Area (TWA) closed this summer for public safety reasons. Normally the area is opened on the last Friday in March, but recent heavy rains have made the Antelope Creek crossing unsafe. This closure will last through the summer while construction work on a new bridge is completed on Ishi Road, the main access route for the wildlife area.

Funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow DFG to replace an existing steel mesh stream crossing on Antelope Creek with a 90-foot free span bridge. The existing crossing is a barrier to fish migration. The primary purpose of this project is to remove this barrier, improve the passage of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout into the upper Antelope Creek watershed and provide a safe and reliable stream crossing for the public.

Completion of the new bridge is expected by early September. Until then, the high volume of construction traffic that will be in this remote area necessitates the closure to provide the public with safe passage in and out of the area.

During construction, the portion of TWA south of Antelope Creek will be closed to the public. Starting May 2, there will be no vehicle access on Ishi Rd. and Hogsback Rd. Only construction personnel, people associated with the project, emergency vehicles, Pacific Gas & Electric employees conducting maintenance activities and those granted special permission by DFG will be allowed access beyond that point.

Gates located at Grecian Bend, off Hogsback Road, Cottonwood Jeep Trail, Pelegran Jeep Trail and Grapevine Jeep Trail will remain closed until construction of the bridge is complete. The McClure Trail will be closed at the TWA boundary. Notices will be posted at all public access points.

The TWA is owned and operated by DFG and is approximately 20 miles east of Red Bluff, in Tehama County. TWA encompasses some of the state’s most critical black-tailed deer winter range.

DFG Wardens, Scientists and Volunteers Scoop up Wayward Trout

Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
Mike Giusti, Senior Environmental Scientist, (951) 926-7561

California Department of Fish and Game Wardens, County Sheriffs, scientists and community volunteers saved hundreds of mature trout from dying near Big Bear Lake in Northern Los Angeles County this week.

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Due to the extraordinary high water levels in Big Bear Lake hundreds of trout have been swimming upstream into culverts, dry stream beds and other flooded areas near the airport at the north end of the lake and into creeks that wind through residential areas, trapping the fish in shallow water.

This week DFG personnel rescued more than 250 trout that would have been stranded in very shallow water and died once the water receded. The fish were relocated back into Big Bear Lake.

“It was pretty amazing to see 3 and 4 pound trout flopping in 2 inches of water on the side of the road way.  We had a lot of people ask what we were doing and most were very appreciative of our efforts,” said DFG Senior Environmental Scientist Mike Giusti.

Department officials will continue to watch the lake levels and will come back to the area and rescue more fish if necessary.

Ocean Salmon Fishing Season to Open April 2

James Phillips, Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2375

Andrew Hughan, DFG Office of Communications, (916) 322-8944

For recreational fishing enthusiasts, springtime is in the air — and this year, in the water as well. Saturday, April 2 is opening day for salmon fishing in ocean waters off most of California and for the first time in many years the forecast suggests anglers may have many a tight line to look forward to.

Both the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved the April 2 opening date based on scientific information suggesting that the Sacramento River Fall Chinook ocean population size is more than 700,000 fish — almost triple last year’s forecast.

“We are cautiously optimistic that Sacramento River salmon stocks have recovered to the point that fisheries this year — our California sport and commercial ocean fisheries as well as river fisheries — can be sustained while still being confident that enough fish will return to natural spawning grounds and hatcheries to reproduce next fall,” said the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Marija Vojkovich, who represents the state of California on the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The April 2 opening date applies to waters south of Horse Mountain (near Cape Mendocino) southward to the U.S.-Mexico border. For waters north of Horse Mountain to the California-Oregon border, the opening date will be determined in mid-April, but is anticipated to be a date in May.

When the 2011 recreational season is open off California, salmon fishing is allowed seven days per week, the minimum size limit is 24-inches total length, and the bag and possession limit is two fish per person. The retention of coho salmon and steelhead remains prohibited in all ocean fisheries.

Sacramento River fall chinook generally comprise 80 to 90 percent of the salmon catch in ocean waters off California. Therefore, the forecast for this stock plays a crucial role in determining when and where fishing opportunities can be provided. In 2008 and 2009, virtually no fishing was allowed because of low abundance forecasts and poor returns of fish to the Sacramento River Basin. Fishing in 2010 was also constrained for the same reasons.

Approximately 125,300 adult fall Chinook returned to the Sacramento River Basin in the fall of 2010, exceeding the minimum goal of 122,000 adult fish. In 2009, the return of adult Sacramento River Fall Chinook salmon was an all-time low of approximately 39,500 fish. The 2010 return is the highest observed since 2006.

Most charter boat operators no longer carry one-day licenses for purchase. DFG reminds anglers to purchase their license ahead of time at one of approximately 1,500 license agent locations or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/.

For complete regulations as well as additional information on the 2011 fishing season, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp.

DFG Hosting Natural Resource Volunteer Academy

Contact: Kent Smirl, DFG Law Enforcement, (714) 448-4215
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is recruiting applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The NRVP provides conservation and enforcement education through public service while providing biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to DFG.

DFG is holding an NRVP training academy in Los Alamitos from April 25 to May 6, Monday through Friday. Graduates of this academy become volunteers for DFG. These positions are unpaid.

Interested individuals go through a selection process which includes initial screening, application, interview and background check. If selected, individuals attend an 80-hour conservation course to prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 24 hours. After completing the academy, volunteers work with a trained volunteer mentor implementing their newly acquired skills during a six-month probationary period.

Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills, and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public in the field and in a classroom setting. Applicants must show a desire to work well with others in a team environment to do tasks that free up time for paid DFG staff.

DFG Natural Resource Volunteers have no law enforcement authority and are trained to be educational ambassadors for the department, donating their time in a variety of areas. Some of these areas include responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing DFG at community outreach events, patrolling DFG lands, ecological reserves, and coastal and inland fishing areas, and disseminating useful information to the public.

Applications must be received by April 15, 2011. Please contact Lt. Kent Smirl at (714) 448-4215 prior to submitting an application.

Further information and an application can be found on the NRVP website at www.dfg.ca.gov/volunteer/NRVP/.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News