The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) will consider recreational salmon season regulations for 2013 at its meeting Wednesday in Santa Rosa.
Last week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved recreational and commercial ocean salmon seasons for federal waters off the California, Oregon and Washington coasts. On Wednesday, the FGC is expected to set regulations for salmon fishing in rivers and in the state’s ocean waters, within three miles of shore.
Fishery biologists predict robust numbers of Klamath and Sacramento River fall-run Chinook off California’s coast, providing substantial fishing opportunity for 2013. However, fishing effort still must be constrained to protect vulnerable salmon populations, such as endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook.
To protect winter-run Chinook, the PFMC closed fishing off much of the California coast on Mondays and Tuesdays, from June 1 to July 9.
“California anglers can look forward to potentially excellent ocean salmon fishing,” said Marci Yaremko, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) representative on the PFMC. “The projected abundance of key stocks is well above the low levels we’ve seen in recent years.”
Salmon seasons are set largely based on forecasts of ocean salmon abundance. The forecasts this year indicate enough salmon for good fishing. Specifically, the forecast for adult Sacramento River fall-run Chinook in the ocean is 834,000, well above the target range for optimal spawner returns of 122,000 to 180,000 fish. The forecast for Klamath River fall-run Chinook is 727,600, the third highest on record.
Summary of PFMC Ocean Season:
The FGC will be considering recent federal actions on salmon when it makes its decision on ocean salmon seasons in state waters. On April 11, the PFMC set recreational salmon fisheries in federal waters from the Oregon-California border to Horse Mountain in Humboldt County to 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 FGC meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, 2777 Fourth St.,