Fishery scientists and experts forecast a low Chinook salmon run for 2017. The Klamath River fall run is expected to be the lowest on record.
During the annual Ocean Salmon Information Meeting in Santa Rosa, federal and state fishery experts updated their estimated numbers of spawning salmon and the return of Chinook salmon to California. The new numbers are disappointing for recreational and commercial fishermen alike.
The fishery experts indicate that 230,700 Sacramento River fall run Chinooks of adult age are swimming in the ocean. In addition, 54,200 Klamath River fall run adults were also counted. Unfortunately, these forecasts are lower than for any previous years. Moreover, the Klamath fall run will be one of the lowest on record.
Male Spring Chinook (CDW)“
“With a poor forecast for Klamath fall run and continued concerns over the winter run, California anglers will see reduced Chinook fishing opportunity as compared to last year,” said Brett Kormos, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
Of course, these disappointingly low numbers of fish are mainly due to the extreme drought conditions in California during the past years. Despite heroic efforts of wildlife agencies to save as many salmon as possible, the extremely poor condition of the river water eliminated many of the hatchlings.
These efforts included trucking of the hatchlings to holding pens in the lower Delta and improving the hatchery infrastructure to keep the smolt alive under extreme water conditions.
While humans could change and improve certain conditions, they could, of course, not cool the unusually warm ocean water along the California coast.
Forecasts suggest there are 230,700 Sacramento River fall run Chinook adults in the ocean this year, along with 54,200 Klamath River fall run adults. Both forecasts are lower than those of recent years, with the forecast for Klamath fall run being among the lowest on record. Salmon from these runs typically make up the majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.
The forecast data and other information about the endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook will become the basis for sport and commercial season dates, commercial quotas, as well as for size and bag limits.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council and the California Fish and Game Commission will decide season dates and regulations over the next two months.
In the meantime, anglers and fishermen can get general salmon fishing information by calling the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429. Anglers can also visit the website of the Ocean Salmon Project for general information.
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