Current Salmon Fishing News
2014 salmon season promising despite California drought
The celebrated king salmon of the West Coast won't be as abundant as last year, but ocean fishermen can still expect to reel them in by the score despite a third year of drought and
potentially dire conditions in California rivers, fisheries biologists said Wednesday.
The National Marine Fisheries Service predicted Wednesday that 634,650 fall-run chinook salmon from the Sacramento river system would be out in the ocean this year, a good sign
for local commercial and recreational fishermen and women whose livelihoods aren't likely to be threatened by major restrictions.
"The abundance forecast is pretty large," said Michael O'Farrell, a fisheries service biologist, during a presentation at a California Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting in Santa
Rosa packed with at least 150 fishermen, biologists, educators and government administrators.
The numbers are so good, he said, that the Pacific Fisheries Management Council is unlikely to order any significant restrictions on fishing when the group makes regulatory
recommendations in March.
The forecast is significantly lower than the fish count last year, which topped out at 862,525, but O'Farrell and others said there can be a lot of leeway between the forecast and the
numbers that actually show up.
The annual predictions, which are made this time of year in preparation for the spring and summer fishing season, are important because they are used to set fishing limits. Salmon
fishing is a lucrative business - not just for fishermen but also for tackle shops, harbors, marine-equipment manufacturers and restaurants all along the California, Oregon and
Chinook or king salmon were once incredibly abundant in the ocean and rivers along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, but dams, irrigation and pollution depleted the
The fish that spawn in the Sacramento River and its tributaries make up 90 percent of the salmon caught in California and 60 percent harvested in Oregon. The big fish pass through
San Francisco Bay and roam the Pacific Ocean as far away as Alaska before returning three years later to spawn where they were born in the Sacramento River and its tributaries.
Most of the other salmon come from the Klamath River.
The Sacramento population hit rock bottom in 2008 and 2009, when so few salmon came back to spawn that commercial fishing had to be banned off the coasts of California and
Oregon. The three years starting in 2007 stands as the worst period for the fish in the watershed since records were first compiled in the 1970s, biologists said.
Things have been ratcheting up since then, according to state and federal biologists. Last year, 404,666 adult salmon spawned in the Sacramento River and its tributaries, the most
since 2003. That's compared with the best year, 2002, when 769,868 fish spawned in Central Valley rivers. The number of spawning chinook is typically lower than the number in the
ocean because the fish have already run the gauntlet of predation and commercial fishing before they get to the river.
The fishing has been good recently despite the lack of rain.
"The commercial harvest was terrific," said Harry Morse, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "There were boats out of San Francisco that had 100 fish
days. That's a good day on the water."
Biologists won't know until later in the year whether drought conditions are having an effect on egg laying. If spawning goes badly this year, it won't be apparent until three years
later, when the grown-up adult salmon return to the river.
"These fish will be contributing to the fishery three years from now," O'Farrell said. "There is some lag time.
Sacramento River salmon may be moved by truck
Salmon at fish hatchery usually released in April, May
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Wildlife officials said they will consider a plan to move millions of hatchery-raised salmon by tanker trucks to the ocean if the Sacramento River and its
tributaries prove inhospitable due to the drought.
Officials fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm, affecting food supply and making salmon easier to catch by predators, the Sacramento Bee reported.
State and federal officials said Monday they were watching conditions and would be ready to implement the plan next month, barring heavy rains.
Salmon are usually released in April and May from the Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek, a tributary of the river.
The hatchery is the largest in the state, producing about 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon.
Such fish are key to West Coast salmon populations, producing most of the wild-caught salmon found in California markets and restaurants. The fish are also key to California's
robust salmon sport fishing industry.
"What this means is we'll likely have a much better salmon fishing season in 2016, when these fish reach adulthood, than we would have otherwise gotten," John McManus,
executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, told the Bee.
Unless the state sees lots of rain in March, wildlife officials worry the rivers will slow to a trickle in April and May when young salmon migrate to the sea.
The problem is heightened by water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms and cities.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is also putting together similar trucking plans for the Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers, which also produce millions of young
Some concerns over trucking the fish have been raised after evidence that the transported fish sometimes swim into the wrong river when they return to spawn as adults, harming the
unique genetic traits of the species.
A long-term study is underway to help scientists determine the least disruptive way to transport the salmon.
The trucking plan would be a one-time program meant to protect the fish during the drought. It's similar to one used during the drought of 1991-92.
The state would scrap the plan if heavy rains hit the region.
"We don't want to truck them down if conditions aren't going to be as bad as we think they're going to be," said Bob Clarke, fisheries program supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) adopted ocean and inland salmon season regulations for 2013 at its meeting today in Santa Rosa.
Forecasts of abundant Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook salmon allowed the FGC to adopt long seasons and liberal bag limits.
“California salmon fishermen have endured ‘boom & bust’ seasons over the past decade,” said FGC President Michael Sutton. “The Commission is delighted that forecast salmon
returns are high enough this year to justify greater catch limits.”
Estimates are that the numbers of returning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook and Klamath River fall-run Chinook salmon will exceed conservation objectives.
“California anglers are looking forward to some excellent salmon fishing opportunities this season,” said Stafford Lehr, CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief. “The ocean abundance and
projected inland returns are good for both the Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook. The Klamath River fall Chinook ocean forecast is the third highest since 1985.”
The newly adopted ocean salmon sport fishing regulations conform to those adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council last week. The opening date in the Klamath
Management Zone is May 1. All other zones are currently open. Complete ocean salmon regulations are posted at: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp
On all Central Valley rivers, the daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon.
On the Trinity and Klamath rivers the daily bag limit is three adult Chinook 22 inches or longer and one Chinook jack less than 22 inches. The possession limit is nine adults and
three jacks prior to reaching the quota. All anglers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon on the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
Key elements of the newly adopted ocean and inland salmon seasons and regulations for Central Valley and the Klamath and Trinity rivers are listed below. The full regulations
package approved by the Commission will be available at www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2013/index.aspx
Open Aug. 1 through Dec.16 from the Deschutes Road Bridge near Anderson downstream to 500 feet upstream from Red Bluff Diversion Dam.
Open July 16 through Dec. 16 from 150 feet below the Lower Red Bluff (Sycamore) boat ramp to the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing.
Open July 16 through Dec. 16 from the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing downstream to the Carquinez Bridge.
Open July 16 through Oct. 15 from unimproved boat launch ramp above the Thermalito Afterbay Outfall downstream to 200 yards above the Live Oak boat ramp.
Open July 16 through Dec. 16 from 200 yards above Live Oak boat ramp to the mouth.
Open from July 16 through Dec. 31 from Nimbus Dam to Hazel Avenue Bridge.
Open from July 16 through Aug. 15 from Hazel Avenue Bridge to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauging station cable crossing near Nimbus Hatchery.
Open July 16 through Oct. 31 from the USGS gauging station cable crossing near Nimbus Hatchery to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) power line crossing the
southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park.
Open from July 16 through Dec. 31 from the SMUD power line crossing at the southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park to the Jibboom Street Bridge.
Open July 16 through Dec. 16. from the Jibboom Street Bridge to the mouth.
Open July 16 through Oct. 15 from Camanche Dam to the Highway 99 Bridge.
Open July 16 through Dec. 31 from the Highway 99 Bridge to the Woodbridge Irrigation District Dam, including Lodi Lake.
Open July 16 through Dec. 16 from the Lower Sacramento Road Bridge to the mouth. (For purposes of this regulation, this river segment is defined as Mokelumne River and its
tributary sloughs downstream of the Lower Sacramento Road Bridge, east of Highway 160 and north of Highway 12.)
Open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing from Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 with a daily bag limit of four Chinook salmon, no more than three adult Chinook salmon 22 inches or greater
when the take of adult Chinook is allowed and a possession limit of twelve Chinook salmon, no more than nine adults 22 inches or greater when the take of adults is allowed. The
2013 quota for the Klamath River basin is 40,006 fall-run salmon greater than 22 inches. Once this quota has been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches long may be
retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than 22 inches). A weekly CDFW status report will be available by calling 1-800-564-6479.
Open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14 with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River
from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.
Open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 with a daily bag limit of four Chinook salmon, no more than three Chinook salmon 22 inches or larger and a
possession limit of twelve Chinook salmon, no more than nine adults greater than 22 inches. The 2013 quota for the Klamath River basin is 40,006 fall-run salmon more than 22
inches long. Once this quota has been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches long may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than 22 inches. A
weekly CDFW status report will be available by calling 1-800-564-6479. The Trinity River main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge
in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.
Open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited from the
confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.
All other regulations for bag and possession limits for trout, salmon and other species, as well as general information about restrictions on fishing methods and gear on the above
rivers, are available on the CDFW website at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations
Summary of PFMC Ocean Season:
The FGC also adopted sport fishing ocean regulations consistent with those adopted April 11 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. From the Oregon-California border to
Horse Mountain in Humboldt County the season will run from May 1 through September 8. In the Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg areas, the season opened April 6 and will continue
through November 10. The minimum size limit in these ports north of Point Arena will be 20 inches the entire season.
Between Point Arena and Pigeon Point, in the San Francisco area, the PFMC set the season to be open seven days per week through November 10, except from June 1 through
July 9, when Mondays and Tuesdays will be closed to salmon fishing. The minimum size limit is 24 inches through the end of July, and 20 inches thereafter.
For the areas south of Pigeon Point to the U.S-Mexico border, including Monterey Bay, salmon fishing will continue seven days per week through October 6, except from June 1
through July 9, when Mondays and Tuesdays will be closed to salmon fishing. The minimum size limit will remain 24 inches throughout the season.
The ocean bag and possession limit in California is two salmon of any species except coho. For complete California ocean salmon regulations, please visit the ocean salmon web
page at: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429.
|The Sacramento river is one of the most popular rivers for
Sacramento River is "Sacramento river king salmon fishing".
The Season opens in mid July and runs through
mid December. The Sacramento does not receive a strong
spring run of king salmon, but is world renowned for it's fall
run. These fish will range from 10-50+ lbs and are some of
the biggest King Salmon in California.
One of the most popular methods for Sacramento river
salmon fishing is back trolling. Generally Flatfish or
kwickfish are used, But back trolling roe or spinners can
also be effective for Sacramento river salmon. In the late fall
on the lower Sacramento river around sac, trolling spinners
is most effective due to the slower currents. Sacramento
river king salmon fishing is a must for any angler. Generally
finding water with little or no pressure is very easy due to
the size of the river. We will fish from Colusa to Red Bluff
and Isleton to verona.
Another world class fishery on the Sacramento river is
"Sacramento river striper fishing". Sacramento river
striper fishing is best in the spring and in the fall. Top
choice for stripers is trolling various minnow imitating lures
through different depths depending on the time of year.
Other methods include soaking bait,bouncing minnows,
jigging,top water and plastic worms are also very effective.
These fish will range from 5-50lbs and are very strong
fighters. We will fish from Rio vista all the way up to
colusa,ca. The Sacramento river is world class fishing in
your back yard.
Capt Brandon Beachum
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|2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER SALMON SEASON
JULY 16 - DEC 16
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|2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER
SALMON FISHING RATES
$175.00 PER PERSON
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