— Few fish biting in Monterey Bay on opening day of recreational salmon fishing

From Monterey Herald

April 1, 2017

Moss Landing >> How slow was opening day of recreational salmon fishing in Monterey Bay?

By 12:30 p.m. Saturday only three salmon had been recorded at Moss Landing Harbor. And at Monterey Harbor only a few fish were landed.

The result was in keeping with predictions by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that reduced fishing opportunities will be the norm this season. That is linked to poor river conditions because of the drought.

Even so, a few fishermen came in with beautiful salmon.

“Every time someone’s come in they’re saying, ‘I got one, I got two,’ ” said Alex Callison of the Monterey Harbor Patrol.

A couple of boats were towed in by the Harbor Patrol because their motors failed, Callison said, but that’s not unusual.

At Moss Landing, Dave Parks of Hollister landed the first fish. It was a keeper (at least 24 inches long) and was a tagged salmon. Members of the Ocean Salmon Project of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were on hand to record each fish and ask fishermen how long they had been out and how deep they were fishing.

Also on hand were Fish and Wildlife game wardens to check that fishing licenses were current.

The Ocean Salmon Project representatives knew the fish was tagged because a small fin had been removed just above the tail before it was released. These fish are also implanted with a tiny stainless silver pin in the head. It contains data on where it was hatched, its age and which run it was a part of.

The heads of these fish are sent to a Santa Rosa lab for research. More on that later.


Fish No. 2 landed at 11:45 a.m. It was a wild king salmon. “Great, I get to keep the head,” one of the three fishermen said. The three took credit for the fish. They were trolling when it struck and one of them reeled in it.

But the fish were few and far between.

“I got one bite all day,” a fisherman said after loading his boat back on its trailer.

But 45 minutes later, the boat Sea Monkey docked with an 18¾-pound king salmon on board, inside a cooling bag.

Huy Nguyen of San Jose caught the fish. It was his first time salmon fishing. He said it took about five minutes to land.

…“We’ll eat well tonight,” Dang said. “A lot of salmon poki.”

Another boat landed with a catch of 10 rockfish. The opening of recreational salmon fishing and rockfishing coincided Saturday.

…By collecting data on the tagged fish, the CDFW and other fisheries agencies are able to determine how many salmon can be taken during a season and the length of the season.

On April 10, the Pacific Fishery Management Council will make those decisions.

The salmon season that opened Saturday is for the area from Horse Mountain south to the U.S.-Mexico border. The area north of Horse Mountain will remain closed this year because of the historically low number of Klamath fall Chinook salmon.

On March 1, at the Ocean Salmon Information Meeting in Santa Rosa, it was announced there are 230,700 Sacramento River fall run Chinook adults in the ocean this year and 54,000 Klamath River fall run adults. Both forecasts were lower than in recent years, with the Klamath run among the lowest on record.

Even though a poor season is predicted, the urge to reel in a fighting salmon is strong…


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