Fish and Game Commission Approves Klamath, Sacramento River Salmon Seasons

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On April 12, the California Fish and Game Commission at a teleconference meeting approved full recreational fishing seasons on the Klamath/Trinity and Sacramento River systems, but the bag limit on the Sacramento has been reduced from two to one fish.

In contrast with last fall when recreational salmon fishing was closed on the Klamath and Trinity rivers due to the low number of project fall-run Chinooks projected to return, the Commission approved a season of August 15 to December 31 on the Klamath River and September 1 to December 31 on the Trinity River.

The Klamath Basin quota this season is 3,409 fish 22 inches and over. The bag limit is 2 fish, with not more than one adult over 22 inches. The possession limit will be 6 fish, with not more than 3 adults over 22 inches.

In addition, the Klamath Spit Area at the mouth of the river has additional regulations:

• This area will be closed to all fishing after 15 percen tof the total Klamath River Basin Quota has been met
• All legally caught adult salmon must be retained.
• Anglers must leave the split area once the adult daily bag limit is met.
• Anglers can fish other areas of the Klamath River to fill their daily bag limit (i.e. jack component.)

After approving the Klamath season, the Commission approved the same seasons in effect as 2017 on the American, Feather and Sacramento. However, the bag limit is reduced to 1 fish and the possession limit to 2 fish.

James Stone, President of the Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, read a letter from the Association requesting delaying the adopting of the Central Valley salmon regulations until the June Commission meeting.

“Just 48 hours ago the Pacific Fisheries Management Council announced its recommendation for ocean fishing regulations,” wrote Stone. “Based on this timeline the Department of Fish and Wildflie is providing less than two days for the consideration and adoption of regulations to address the inland river fishing. We strongly recommend the Commission delay adopting inland river regulations until the upcoming June Commission meeting, to allow more time for public input and promote a transparent and engaged process with stakeholders.”

He added, “If the Commission decides to adopt regulations immediately, we recommend the following:

  • 1 adult Chinook salmon bag limit for the full season, mimicking the 2017 season, plus
  • 1 jack (under 22 inches). Hatcheries are unable to utilize these fish (jacks) for spawning purposes. Past practice of our state hatcheries has been to remove these jacks from our rivers and give them to local tribes and food banks Over 20,000 jacks were distributed in this manner last year alone. Instead of killing them and removing them, we recommend recreational anglers be allowed to participate in their harvest.”

The Commission agreed to the association’s request for a jack salmon, but they said it wasn’t possible this year because of the way the current regulatory process is structured.

On Tuesday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved the recreational and commercial ocean salmon seasons for the West Coast.

Recreational fisheries from Humbug Mt, Oregon to the Oregon/California border will be open from mid-May through late August. The area from the Oregon/California border to Horse Mountain, California will be open from June through Labor Day.

Fisheries from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point (Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas) will be open from mid-June through October. The area from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico border (Monterey area) is open now through early July.

“It has been another challenging year for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders and the public as we strive to balance fishing opportunities with the conservation needs we are facing on Chinook and coho salmon stocks, both north and south of Cape Falcon,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. “The Council has recommended ocean salmon seasons on the west coast this year that provide important protections for stocks of concern, including Lower Columbia River natural fall Chinook, Puget Sound Chinook, Washington coastal coho, and Sacramento River fall Chinook.”

“This year’s package includes some very restrictive seasons in both commercial and recreational fisheries along the entire coast. Low abundances of Chinook and coho are in part due to the poor ocean conditions the adult fish faced as juveniles when they entered the ocean, and poor in-river habitat and water conditions. Tribal, commercial, and recreational fishers continue to bear a large part of the burden of conservation,” said Council Chair Phil Anderson.

For more information, please go to the Council website’s salmon season recommendations for 2018 salmon management: