Fishing the North Coast
Anglers fishing for salmon on the Eel River this fall may want to proceed with caution.
An unintentional omission in the regulations has resulted in that “targeting” salmon this year will not be allowed. On page 31 of the 2013-2014 booklet under General Provisions, it states that every body of water listed below (meaning the alphabetical list of waters with special fishing regulations) is closed to the take of salmon and salmon fishing, unless otherwise noted.
What that means for North Coast anglers is salmon fishing is only allowed on the Klamath, Trinity, and Smith rivers. Targeting salmon on the Eel, Mattole, Van Duzen, Mad, and Redwood Creek is not allowed.
When I posed the question to the local state Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding the change in regulations, the response from Sacramento read as follows: “The adopted 2013 Freshwater Fishing Regulations (on page 31, Part 7.50), state that freshwater angling for salmon is closed in all waters unless otherwise noted in the table on Page 41, Part 7.50(b), where a bag limit is specified (see Klamath and Smith entries), or as a water where a “0” bag or possession limit is indicated. Salmon inadvertently caught while angling for steelhead with a valid SH report card, or for other species (e.g., pikeminnow) is allowed during open seasons on waters like the Eel or Mad rivers.
This was an unintentional omission in the regulations. The Department will propose regulation changes to the Fish and Game Commission that will allow targeted catch and release (zero bag limit) salmon angling next year in appropriate waters.”
For more information, contact Fisheries Branch, Karen Mitchell 916-445-0826.
For Matt Wells, the warden with the CDFW who covers the lower Eel River, concentrating on apprehending the most egregious violators of fishing laws, namely people snagging, fishing at night, and those illegally retaining salmon and steelhead is priority number one.
”The new regulations haven’t changed my focus and I’ll continue to work fishing activity on the Eel River like I normally do. I spend a lot of time working the river and I continually monitor the run of fish, looking for fish in locations where they may be vulnerable to poaching. As with any regulation, I’ll be using good discretion when determining whether or not a citation is warranted,” Wells added.
Wells would like to remind anglers fishing for steelhead that they are required to make an entry, consisting of the month, day, and location code, on their steelhead report card prior to wetting a line. “I would especially like to remind anglers to do everything in their power to ensure the fish they catch are released in good condition so the fish can complete its long, hard journey to the spawning grounds.”
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