Tag Archives: salmon

2019 Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishery to Open Off Much of the California Coast in April

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 6 in the Monterey management area, between Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border. In the Fort Bragg and San Francisco management areas, between Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) and Pigeon Point, the recreational salmon fishery will open on Saturday, April 13. The Klamath Management Zone (Horse Mountain to the Oregon state line) will remain closed for the month of April. The remaining 2019 season dates will be finalized next month.

At its meeting this week in Vancouver, Wash., the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) made the decision to open limited sections of the California coast on April 6 and April 13. Returns of Sacramento River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook in 2018 were insufficient to overcome their “overfished” status this year.

“Continued concerns over the overfished status of Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook, as well as protections for threatened and endangered stocks, are expected to limit salmon seasons in certain times and areas this year,” said Kandice Morgenstern, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “Despite these constraints, we expect California sport anglers to see a greater amount of fishing opportunity overall compared to last year.”

Traditionally, fishing in the Monterey area is better early in the season. Recreational fishing representatives prioritized opening this area ahead of others on the California coast, though it may lead to decisions to close the season earlier in Monterey than in other areas. Delaying the opener in areas to the north should allow for more fishing opportunity there later in the year, when catch rates are typically better.

Final season dates will be decided during the April 9-16 PFMC meeting in Rohnert Park. The public is invited to comment on the PFMC’s season proposals at that meeting, at a hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 at the Hampton Inn (1160 Airport Park Blvd.) in Ukiah, or through the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

In April, the minimum size limit in the Fort Bragg management area is 20 inches total length. In the San Francisco and Monterey management areas, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

Anglers are advised to check for updated information when planning a salmon fishing trip. Season dates, bag/possession limit information, and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the NMFS ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

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Media Contacts:
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

 

‘Slightly Improved’ Forecast for California’s 2019 Ocean Salmon Season

California’s 2019 ocean salmon fishing season should be slightly better than last year’s, according to information presented at this week’s annual Salmon Information Meeting held in Santa Rosa by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The ocean abundance projections for Sacramento River fall Chinook (SRFC), a main salmon stock harvested in California waters, is estimated at 379,600 adult salmon, an increase over 2018 forecasts. This may result in increased fishing opportunity in some central coastal areas. The Klamath River fall Chinook (KRFC) abundance forecast of 274,200 adult salmon is lower than 2018 forecast, but still an improvement over low forecast numbers seen in recent years.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the increase in ocean abundance of SRFC will translate into more fishing opportunity this year,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Kandice Morgenstern.

Recreational anglers and commercial salmon trollers at the meeting provided comments and voiced concerns to a panel of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives. Stakeholder input will be taken into consideration when developing three season alternatives during the March 6-12 Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting in Vancouver, Wash. Final ocean salmon seasons will be adopted during the April 9-16 PFMC meeting in Rohnert Park.

The PFMC may take a conservative approach when crafting 2019 ocean salmon seasons since both SRFC and KRFC stocks are considered to be overfished under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan due to three years of low spawning escapement. Additionally, persistent concerns over protected Sacramento River winter Chinook and California Coastal Chinook could limit fishing opportunity south of Point Arena and north of Point Sur, respectively.

For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website or call the ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429.

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Media Contacts:
Chenchen Shen, CDFW Ocean Salmon Team, (707) 576-2885
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

CDFW Awards $13.2 Million for Fisheries Habitat Restoration and Forest Legacy Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 41 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds, as well as forest legacy restoration.

The grants, which total $13.2 million, are distributed through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). They include $994,421 allocated for timber legacy restoration projects and approximately $12.2 million for anadromous salmonid restoration projects. FRGP monies come from a combination of state sources and the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

“We are excited to fund this round of projects, and to support the restoration and protection of habitat critical to our salmon and steelhead.” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “This year’s devastating wildfires and looming drought continue to put our fisheries at risk, making the work of our stakeholders that much more important.”

In response to the 2018 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 89 proposals requesting more than $37 million in funding. All proposals underwent an initial administrative review. Those that passed were then evaluated through a technical review process that included reviews by CDFW and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

The 41 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.

The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Issues Reminders for Salmon Anglers in the Central Valley

Fall-run Chinook Salmon fisheries are currently open in several rivers in the Central Valley, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding anglers to be aware of regulations regarding possession of Spring-run Chinook Salmon, as well as the bag and possession limits specific to the Mokelumne River.

Spring-run Chinook Salmon in the Feather River

Spring-run Chinook Salmon are protected by both the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. The largest population occurs in the Feather River where the Feather River Hatchery has a tagging program for this protected run.  Spring-run Chinook Salmon are tagged and released in the low-flow channel of the Feather River to allow them the opportunity to spawn in an area of the river that is closed to fishing. However, they sometimes stray from the closed section of the river and are subsequently caught and kept by anglers.

CDFW asks anglers to return any tagged spring-run Chinook Salmon to the river. (See photo for identification.)

Mokelumne River Bag and Possession Limits

The bag limit for fall-run Chinook Salmon on the Mokelumne River is two fish, and the possession limit is four fish, as per the 2018-2019 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations.

The bag limit for fall-run Chinook Salmon on the American, Feather and Sacramento rivers is one fish, and the possession limit is two fish, as per the 2018-2019 Supplement Sport Fishing Regulations.

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Media Contacts:
Colin Purdy, CDFW, North Central Region, (916) 358-2943
Karen Mitchell, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-0826
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Nimbus Basin will be Closed to all Fishing as of March 2018

The Nimbus Basin on the lower American River will permanently close to all fishing as of March 1, 2018, as per fishing regulations amended by the Fish and Game Commission in December 2017.

The closure will take effect from Nimbus Dam on the lower American River to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gauging station cable crossing approximately one-half mile downriver (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 7.50(b)(5)(A) and (B).

Under current regulations, the American River from Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue bridge piers is open to fishing all year (CCR Title 14, section 7.50 (b)(5)(A)), and from the Hazel Avenue bridge piers to the USGS gauging station cable crossing about 300 yards downstream from the Nimbus Hatchery fish weir from Jan. 1 through Aug. 15 (section 7.50(b)(5)(B)).

Closure of the Nimbus Basin to fishing is part of the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project, which involves reorienting the hatchery’s fish ladder into the Nimbus Basin and removing the existing fish weir. This project will create and maintain a reliable system of collecting adult salmon and steelhead broodstock for the hatchery and increase the amount of natural spawning and rearing habitat available in the lower American River.

The changes will also minimize American River flow fluctuations associated with installation and removal of the hatchery’s weir and eliminate health and safety concerns relative to the deterioration of the existing weir structure. The new spawning habitat opened up by the permanent removal of the weir will improve juvenile salmon production and increase harvest opportunities downstream.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIR/EIS) for the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project in 2011. Planning is currently underway and construction is scheduled to begin in federal fiscal year 2019. The EIR/EIS is available for download from www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/hatchery.

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Media Contacts:
Jeanine Phillips, CDFW North Central Region Fisheries, (916) 358-2030
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478