DFG Announces Changes to Central Valley Recreational Salmon Fishing Regulations

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New recreational salmon fishing regulations for the Central Valley of California go into effective on or about July 1, 2008. These regulations are the strictest ever enacted.

On May 9, 2008, the Fish and Game Commission voted to close all Central Valley rivers and streams to the retention of salmon with one exception. The Sacramento River between the Red Bluff Diversion Dam and Knights Landing will open to salmon fishing from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 with a one salmon bag limit. After these regulations go into effect, no salmon can be kept elsewhere on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers or any of their tributaries, including the American and Feather rivers.

The 2008 Central Valley salmon regulations were purposely structured as a zero salmon bag limit to allow fishing access to all of the other non-salmon species, such as sturgeon, striped bass and steelhead. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is asking the public to refrain from using any fishing method specifically targeting salmon. While catch and release fishing for salmon is not prohibited, such methods result in the inadvertent take of some salmon, (called hooking loss) which is unacceptable on a large scale during this period of severely low salmon returns.

Poor ocean conditions that lead to the diminished return of salmon this year are expected to continue affecting subsequent years’ Sacramento River fall Chinook returns making it extremely important for anglers to do their part to help expedite the recovery of the Sacramento River fall salmon stocks.

While salmon season has been closed in the ocean and reduced in the Central Valley, the Smith, Klamath and Trinity rivers are still open to salmon fishing. These temporary closures are designed to help ensure the future of salmon fishing for present and future generations.

More information on the 2008 California salmon fishery can be found at: www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/salmon and the recent Commission action at: www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/new/2008/proposedregs08.asp#7_50