Tom Gogola, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN
The California salmon fishing season that ended last week was OK this year, says John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, “but not as good as last year.”
In February, the National Marine Fisheries Service said an estimated 650,000 Chinook salmon would leave the Sacramento River for the Pacific Ocean this season—an estimate offered as a portent of good things to come, despite the drought.
But salmon fishing in California, McManus fears, is going to get worse before it gets better—and that’s if it ever does improve. This year, he says, salmon anglers working the colder waters to the north tended to fare better. “Southern Oregon was quite good,” he says, “the Eureka area, the sport fishery was quite good. Sonoma was OK.”
The Marin County coast, he says, “got OK in late September and remained surprisingly strong in October.”
The problem for the salmon, however, is the ceaseless drought with its various fallouts. Looking ahead, says McManus, the prospects for a healthy and sustainable salmon fishery are decidedly grim.
McManus describes a “desperate situation for spawning fall run king salmon in the Sacramento Valley this year,” because of high water temperature in the Sacramento River and surrounding tributaries.