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Delta Watch

California Salmon Season Fully Restored

Commercial and recreational fishermen in California are getting ready for the first full salmon fishing season in four years. The California Fish and Game Commission has announced a six month inland salmon season to begin on July 16th and federal fishery regulators are expected to announce the opening of a full commercial season for ocean salmon soon.

After a sudden population collapse in 2007, salmon runs reached drastically low levels in 2008 and 2009, causing a complete shutdown of salmon fisheries in California. While blame has been levied upon several different stressors, the National Marine Fisheries Service has attributed the majority of the decline to poor oceanic feeding conditions.

Those oceanic conditions have dramatically improved over the past two years, with cold water flows carrying much needed nutrients, and salmon runs are beginning to reap the benefits. Every major hatchery on the Sacramento River has seen populations of fall-run salmon double from 2009 numbers. Meanwhile, the Stanislaus River has seen dramatic increases in salmon populations this year. And, the California Department of Fish and Game has reported record fall -run Chinook salmon on the Eel River. Other hatcheries throughout the state have reported improvements in fall salmon runs, which bodes well for other salmon runs that migrate during other parts of the year.

The commercial salmon season did open in 2010, for the first time since 2007, but only lasted a span of eight days. That was not nearly long enough to support the once flourishing salmon fishing industry in California.

Continued efforts to address the Bay-Delta food web, predation by non-native species and other stressors on the Delta ecosystem are still necessary to continue to maintain California's salmon runs.

Sac Bee Salmon Chart

Fishery experts forecast banner salmon season
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle (March 8, 2012)

Is the end of salmon near?
Post from Discovery News (Sept. 13, 2011)

State OKs Sacramento Valley salmon fishing season
Article from the Sacramento Bee (April 22, 2011)

California's salmon fishermen gear up for strong season
Article from the Associated Press (April 14, 2011)

Expected salmon comeback renews fight over water
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle (April 7, 2011)

Recreational salmon season opens after a three-year lull
Article from the San Jose Mercury News (April 2, 2011)

California coast salmon fishing restored to normal
Article from the Sacramento Bee (March 15, 2011)

Salmon forecast brightens fishing season 
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle (March 10, 2011)

Huge jump in Calif. salmon predicted in 2011
Article from the Associated Press (March 1, 2011)

Hopes raised for salmon
Article from the Mendocino Beacon (Feb. 25, 2011)

Salmon set for revival on San Joaquin River 
Article from the Fresno Bee (Feb. 7, 2011)

Better salmon returns give Calif. fishermen hope
Article from the Associated Press (Feb. 4, 2011)

Improved salmon numbers a step in the right direction
Article from the Marin Independent Journal (Jan. 20, 2011)

Experts and anglers pleased with higher Chinook numbers for Mokelumne River run
Article from the Lodi Sentinel (Jan. 12, 2011)

Chinook salmon run coming back in the Valley
Article from the Fresno Bee (Dec. 28, 2010)

Chinook salmon return in record numbers to Eel River
Article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (Dec. 28, 2010)

A gift of Christmas salmon: Chinook smash record at Eel River's Van Arsdale
Article from the Eureka Times Standard (Dec. 24, 2010)

Wild coho salmon run in Marin County renews hope
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle (Dec. 17, 2010)

Salmon count rising in Stanislaus River
Article from Modesto Bee (Dec. 5, 2010)