The recreational salmon seasons have been set for 2018, and it appears to be a mixture of good news and bad for California anglers. Klamath River fall run Chinook are likely to be one of the better fishing opportunities due to higher returns that will support both ocean and inland salmon seasons. But returns for Sacramento River fall run Chinook – the main stock of salmon supporting California’s ocean and Central Valley river fisheries – have been low for the third consecutive year, pushing them into “overfished” status.
In order to meet conservation goals for Sacramento River fall run Chinook, some ocean salmon seasons have been shortened and the daily bag and possession limits for Central Valley river fisheries have been reduced.
“The goal is to get even more fish back to the spawning grounds this fall than would be required in a normal year,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer.
In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council constructed conservative ocean salmon seasons for 2018, in the hopes of producing higher numbers of returning spawners. The California Fish and Game Commission set similar ocean seasons.
The 2018 recreational ocean salmon season for the California coast is as follows:
In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open June 1 and continue through Sept. 3.
The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, will open June 17 and continue through Oct. 31.
The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened