A summer-long salmon season?
March 10, 2007, Curry Pilot by By
Sport fishers who want a salmon season without
any days off in summer might get their wish
Two of three options being considered by
the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC)
this week would allow recreational salmon
fishing to begin in May and continue
uninterrupted through September.
"We received word of the deals today," Port
of Brookings Harbor Executive Director Dave
Scott said Friday. "The first two options are
far better than anything we've had since
One option would
allow anglers to fish for Chinook salmon, like
this one, from May 19 to Sept. 4. Wescom News
The first option would allow the sport fishing
season to begin May 19 and continue through
September 4. The second would begin May 26 through
The PFMC annually sets the salmon season for both
recreation and commercial fishing. Depending on
the year, seasons sometimes exclude weeks at a
time, known as gaps.
Last year, sport fishers had from May 15 through
July 4, and then another six days in September.
This year's third option would also contain a gap:
May 26 through July 4 and July 15 through
"These are only preliminary (options), but they
look really solid," Brookings resident Jim Welter
Welter traveled to Sacramento this week to attend
the PFMC's March meeting, when the council decides
on the three options and prepares for its public
hearings later this month.
So why the sudden generosity from the PFMC for
this year's salmon season?
"Part of the reason was there was a tremendous
return of 3-year-old fish on the Klamath," Scott
said. The Klamath is one of many in-river
waterways gauged to determine how long a salmon
season can last in order to keep salmon
This year's preseason forecast for 3-year-old
Klamath River fall Chinook salmon was 515,400, the
highest ever predicted. Last year's 3-year-old
forecast was only 44,100.
"That's just a phenomenal number," Scott said of
this year's forecast. "It's about 10 times what
they expected. They can see that this is not a
continuing downward trend."
"This is probably one of the easiest processes
we've gone through (with PFMC) because of the
abundance of Klamath fish," Welter, who has
attended council meetings for more than 20 years,
But the forecast for 4-year-old Klamath Chinook
was another story: estimated at 26,100, the lowest
The year's three options for the commercial salmon
season have also been laid out this week by the
council. The commercial area for the Southern
Oregon Coast, known as the Klamath Management
Zone, extends from Humbug Mountain to the
Unlike last year's initial call for no commercial
season at all, the council's options this year
allow periodic salmon fishing, except coho, from
April through September while utilizing quotas.
Welter said he felt there was much more to be
hoped for in a commercial season, but the quotas
should give local fishermen a chance to have a
more productive year.
If a quota is set for a certain month, he said,
large fishing operations from out of the area are
less likely to devote the time and money to travel
to the area with little chance of making a major
"The local people would have an ability to fill
that void," Welter said. "I think it lets them go
out there and make some money and helps them
The PFMC will hold three public meetings this
month to allow the public to comment on the
options. Oregon's meeting will be March 26, 7 p.m.
at the Red Lion Hotel in Coos Bay.
The PFMC will make its decision for both seasons
during its April meeting, held April 1 through
– Reach Tom Hubka at email@example.com