By Michelle Ma , The Daily Triplicate May 14,
2008, Crescent City
State fisheries biologists assured business owners,
fishermen and community members gathered at Tuesday's
Klamath Chamber of Commerce meeting that recreational
salmon fishing on the Klamath River system will be
abundant this year, even though other rivers in California
will be severely restricted to protect the Central Valley
fall chinook stock.
Officials and community leaders urged Klamath
businesses to prepare for an influx of fishing guides and
sport fishermen from the Sacramento River this fall who
are banned from most of their in-river fishing
opportunities in the Central Valley. These fishing
restrictions reflect the Sacramento fall chinook fishery
collapse that has caused coast-wide ocean salmon fishing
closures to protect that stock.
But salmon returning to the Klamath this year are
projected to be strong. That will provide for an in-river
allocation of 22,500 fall chinook for recreational
anglers, the second largest in 30 years. The tribal
allocation will be 27,000 fish.
"Our stocks are not going to be exploited this year,"
said Larry Hanson, a senior fisheries biologist with
California Department of Fish and Game. "They are going to
return in really, really good numbers. We are, for the
first time, in an enviable position."
The California Fish and Game Commission still has to
approve these numbers at its meeting in late June, but
Hanson said he is confident the allocations would be
implemented as recommended. The fall chinook season on the
Klamath and Trinity Rivers will begin Aug. 15, and most of
the catchable fish will be large 4-year-old salmon.
For Klamath businesses, news of a likely abundant fall
chinook fishery on the river couldn't come at a better
time, said Klamath Chamber of Commerce President Paul
Crandall. He said a number of Klamath business owners have
been confused by regional and national media reports that
say salmon fishing in all California rivers will be closed
this year, which is incorrect.
The Chamber invited Department of Fish and Game
biologists and representatives from the non-profit
American Fishing Foundation to explain that fishing on the
Klamath will not be restricted this year. Crandall said he
expects local businesses to thrive from an influx of
Central Valley fishermen who hear about the Klamath
River's generous sport allocation.
"It's my sincere hope that Klamath realizes the
economic boom they've been deprived of the last six
years," Crandall said.
If the recommended allotment of 22,500 fall chinook
salmon is approved by the California Fish and Game
Commission, 11,250 of those would go to sport anglers in
the Klamath below Weitchpec. The Klamath above Weitchpec
will receive about 3,800 salmon, and the upper and lower
segments of the Trinity River will each get about 3,700
"I had no idea we were going to have that many in the
fishery this year," Hanson said at Tuesday's meeting. Last
year's allotment for in-river sport anglers was about
10,000 fall chinook. Part of the reason for this year's
steep increase is because no salmon are being caught in
Along with basin-wide allocations, this fall sport
fishermen will be able to catch three chinook salmon each
day—two adults and one 2-year-old fish known as a "jack."
They are allowed a possession limit of nine chinook, which
includes six adults and three jacks, Hanson said.
Pending approval by the California Fish and Game
Commission, a number of additional changes occur this
year, including an increase in the daily catch and
possession limits on hatchery steelhead and trout in the
Representatives from American Fishing Foundation
headquartered in Klamath told chamber members about the
Labor Day fishing derby on the river. Treasurer Mark
Warner said a number of participants will travel to
Klamath for the derby, which raises money for local
Warner said he hopes to spread the word throughout the
state that fishing will be strong on the Klamath this
fall. He said he gets up to 20 calls each day from
fishermen down south asking if there is a fall chinook
season on the Klamath.
The answer is "yes" every time, he said.
Reach Michelle Ma at email@example.com.