Tag Archives: salmon

Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishing Opens North of Horse Mountain May 16

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational ocean salmon season in the Klamath Management Zone (KMZ), the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude), will open May 16, making all ocean waters in California available to salmon fishing. The season will continue through May 31 and reopen June 16-30, July 16-Aug. 16, and Sept.  1-5 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.

Anglers fishing in the KMZ should be conscious of closures at the mouths of the Klamath and Smith rivers throughout the season, as well as a closure at the mouth of the Eel River during August and September. See California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.75 for complete river mouth closure information.

In the Fort Bragg area, which extends from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the season will remain open through Nov.  13 with a 20-inch minimum size limit. In the San Francisco area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude), the season will continue through Oct. 31 with a 24-inch minimum size limit through April 30 and 20-inches thereafter.  In the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and Point Sur (36° 18’ 00” N. latitude) the season will continue through July 15 while areas south of Point Sur will continue through May 31. The minimum size limit in Monterey and areas south is 24-inches total length.

CDFW and the Pacific Fishery Management Council have constructed ocean salmon seasons to reduce fishery-related impacts on endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook. Drought conditions and unsuitable water temperatures in the upper Sacramento River led to greater than 95 percent mortality of juvenile brood year 2014 and 2015 winter-run Chinook. Coupled with abnormally warm and unproductive ocean conditions, fisheries managers and industry representatives chose to take additional protections beyond those required by the Endangered Species Act biological opinion and harvest control rule.

Available ocean data suggest that winter-run Chinook are concentrated south of Pigeon Point, especially south of Point Sur, during the late summer and early fall. Strategic closures and size limit restrictions implemented in the San Francisco and Monterey management areas are intended to minimize harvest and catch-and-release mortality of winter-run Chinook.

The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and 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.

For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod may be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling between Horse Mountain and Point Conception.

CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.

Final sport regulations will be published in the CDFW 2016 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet available in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

###

Media Contacts:
 Jennifer Simon, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2878

Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Sacramento River Closure to Go Into Effect April 1

A temporary emergency regulation closing all fishing within 5.5 miles of spawning habitat on the Upper Sacramento River begins on April 1, 2016 and will remain in effect through July 31, 2016. Enhanced protective measures are also proposed in the ocean sport and commercial salmon fisheries regulations for the 2016 season.

The temporary emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The temporary closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run Chinook salmon by anglers.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and potential ocean fishing restrictions will help avoid a third year of substantial winter-run Chinook salmon loss.

Historically, winter-run Chinook spawned in the upper reaches of Sacramento River tributaries, including the McCloud, Pit, and Little Sacramento rivers. Shasta and Keswick dams now block access to the historic spawning areas. Winter-run Chinook, however, were able to take advantage of cool summer water releases downstream of Keswick Dam. In the 1940s and 1950s, the population recovered, but beginning in 1970, the population experienced a dramatic decline, to a low of approximately 200 spawners by the early 1990s. The run was classified as endangered under the state Endangered Species Act in 1989, and as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994.

The Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposal for the 2016 temporary closure at its regularly scheduled February meeting.

Media Contact:
Jason Roberts, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2131
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Recreational Ocean Salmon Season to Open South of Horse Mountain on April 2

California’s recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 2, 2016, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border.

The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and 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.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The recreational salmon season north of Horse Mountain remains closed and the season will be determined in April.

For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod shall be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling.

Additional ocean salmon fishing regulations for the 2016 fishing season will be decided by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during its April 9-14 meeting in Vancouver, Washington, and by the Fish and Game Commission at its April 18 teleconference. Final sport regulations will be published in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 2016-2017 Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which will be posted online in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

“Salmon abundance estimates are lower this year and there is concern that the forecasts may be overly optimistic.  Ocean and river salmon anglers can expect less fishing opportunity compared to last year, especially later in the season to protect vulnerable stocks,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Jennifer Simon.

Three alternatives are currently being considered for California’s 2016 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates, size limits, bag limits and quotas. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives that can be found on the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

###

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2878
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

Anglers, Management Agencies Grapple with Poor 2016 Salmon Forecasts

At the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of spawning salmon, and the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season. Forecasts suggest there are 299,600 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in the ocean this year, along with 142,200 adults from the Klamath River fall Chinook run. Both forecasts are lower compared to the previous few years. Salmon from these runs comprise the majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.

“The forecasts are lower than in recent years and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2016 that have reduced opportunities over last year,” said Brett Kormos, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

These forecasts, in addition to information on endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas and size and bag limits.

Chinook salmon that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2016 hatched two to four years ago, and may have been impacted by poor river conditions driven by California’s ongoing drought. Once in the ocean, the fish experienced El Niño conditions, which are not favorable for salmon or its prey.

Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. 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 salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2878
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder to Open Nov. 2

The salmon ladder at Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova will open Monday, Nov. 2, signaling the start of the spawning season on the American River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder at 9:30 a.m. and may take more than a half-million eggs during the first week alone in an effort to ensure the successful spawning of the returning fall-run Chinook salmon. 

California is entering what may be a fifth year of unprecedented drought. Because of current river conditions, salmon are returning later in the year than typical. Overall, the fall-run Chinook salmon return numbers are lower than normal. CDFW seeks to match historic hatchery production goals this year, but that may not be possible given the conditions.

“Drought conditions may affect the number of salmon returning to the river to spawn, but hatchery workers will continue to collect eggs throughout the fall with a goal of producing four million salmon fry,” said CDFW Program Manager Dr. Bill Cox. “We are working closely with other federal and state agencies to release cold water into the river system to give salmon the best chance to get up river to the hatchery.”

The three major state-run hatcheries in the Central Valley – the Nimbus Hatchery in Sacramento County, and hatcheries on the Feather River in Butte County and the Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County – will take approximately 24 million eggs over the next two months in order to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

Each hatchery has a viewing area where visitors can watch the spawning process. Thousands of schoolchildren tour the Nimbus and Feather River hatcheries each year. The visitors’ center at Nimbus Hatchery includes a playground with replicas of giant salmon that are enjoyed by young and old alike. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at each hatchery, please visit the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

There are eight state-run salmon and steelhead hatcheries, all of which will participate in the salmon spawning effort. Those hatcheries, along with federally run hatcheries, will be responsible for the release of approximately 40 million juvenile salmon into California waters. These massive spawning efforts were put in place over the last 50 years to offset fish losses caused by dams that block salmon from historic spawning habitat.

Once the young salmon reach 2 to 4 inches in length, one-quarter of the stock will be marked and implanted with coded wire tags prior to release. CDFW biologists use the information from the tags to chart the salmon’s survival, catch and return rates.

Media Contacts:
Laura Drath, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 358-2884
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944