Potential Klamath regulation changes in the works

Young Bryson Burns has his hands full with this nice Eel River steelhead he caught and released last Sunday. Looking on is sister Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Pat Burns/North Coast River Adventures

Young Bryson Burns has his hands full with this nice Eel River steelhead he caught and released last Sunday. Looking on is sister Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of Pat Burns/North Coast River Adventures

Steelhead rivers in need of rain

When the California Fish and Game Commission reconvene on Feb. 11-12 in Sacramento, several new fishing regulation proposals will be discussed. There are two on the agenda that could potentially have a huge impact on the Klamath River anglers.
Both options will affect the mouth spit fishery, while one could close the world-famous Blue Creek area to fishing during the summer steelhead run and during the peak of the fall salmon season. Below are the two options:

Option 1 (proposed by the CDFW) ­­­­­­­­­­­- No catch and release fishing in Spit Area:
After internal discussion and Yurok Tribal coordination, the Department is proposing the following change to the 2015 fall Chinook spit area regulations:

All legally caught Chinook salmon must be retained. Once the adult Chinook component of the daily bag has been retained, the angler must cease fishing in the spit area. This regulatory proposal does not preclude anglers from leaving the spit area and fishing other areas once their adult daily bag has been taken. Anglers may fish other areas outside of the spit to fill the Jack (Chinook salmon less than 22 inches) component of their daily bag limit. This regulation also does do not preclude anglers from filling a daily bag composed entirely of Jacks while fishing the spit area. In simpler terms, once you catch your adults, you can’t continue to catch and release adults while trying to land a Jack.

Option 2 – (proposed by the Yurok Tribe) All Chinook salmon must be kept in Spit Area with Blue Creek closure. The Yurok tribe is proposing the following modifications to the Klamath River regulations in the spit area and on the main Klamath River below the confluence with Blue Creek:

1) No catch and release fishing allowed in the spit area to reduce pinniped predation on released fish.

2) Conservation closure below the mouth of Blue Creek to reduce catch and release in a thermal refuge area and protect late-fall Chinook holding prior to entering Blue Creek.

The first modification is to the spit area at the mouth of the Klamath River to allow no release of Chinook salmon, regardless of whether they are legally caught or foul hooked. This option provides an exception from the general snagging prohibitions in Section 2.00. The second modification would add Blue Creek to the September

15 to December 31 stream mouth closures and add a new Klamath River main stem closure from June 15 to September 14 from 500 feet above to half a mile downstream around the mouth of Blue Creek.

The California Fish & Game Commission will hear public comments on the Klamath proposals on Thursday, Feb. 12 in the Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA. To view the entire meeting agenda, visit http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2015/Feb/02111215agd.pdf.

Weekend Weather:
The next chance of rain will come Sunday evening according to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “It’s not going to be a huge storm, but we should see off and on showers stick around through Tuesday afternoon. Rainfall totals should be about an inch to an inch and a half in Del Norte and Humboldt could see from a half inch to three-quarters. After Tuesday, it looks dry the rest of the week, but we could see a change next weekend.” Kennedy said.

Salmon/steelhead report cards due
CDFW would like to remind sport anglers that the 2014 sport fishing report cards need to be submitted by January 31, even if divers and anglers were unsuccessful or did not fish at all. Anglers and divers can go online to submit their abalone, lobster, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon report cards required by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Reporting requirements for anglers and divers have not changed, but this online submission option makes the reporting faster and easier. For additional information on harvest reporting requirements, please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing

Fly Fishing Festival coming to Arcata
CalTrout brings The International Fly Fishing Film Festival to the Arcata Theatre Lounge this Friday, Jan. 30 as part of the Humboldt Steelhead Days. The International Fly Fishing Film Festival consists of shorts and feature length films produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, showcasing the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly-fishing. Humboldt Steelhead Days registrants get $5 off at the door. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit http://www.arcatatheater.com.

The Rivers:
Chetco River
The Chetco is low and clear and running at 1,430 cfs as of Wednesday afternoon. The guides who know how to work the river in low water are catching a few steelhead. A good day will see up to three fish, but most boats are working very hard for two to three hookups per trip.

Smith River
The Smith is low and clear, and the fishing has been tough this week. Guides are getting a few bites a day, and you better make them count. The fish that are being caught have been nice and bright. As of Wednesday, the flows were 2,000 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge.

Eel River (main stem)
The main stem Eel is still fishing, but it’s dropping and getting clearer. The fishing hasn’t been red-hot, with most boats reporting between three to four fish per trip.

Eel River (South Fork)
According to Darren Brown of Brown’s Sporting Goods in Garberville, not many anglers are fishing the south fork due to low, clear conditions. “Most of the people are down on the main, but you can still catch them in these low water conditions. You’ll need to be super stealthy and fluorocarbon leader is a must,” Brown added.

Van Duzen
The Van Duzen is low and clear and running around 280 cfs as of Wednesday. It definitely could use some rain to bring in some fresh fish.

Mad River
The Mad isn’t on fire, but some fish are still being caught according to Justin Kelly of RMI Outdoors. He said, “There’s quite a few fish in the river, most of the fish around the hatchery are starting to get dark. Most of the fresh fish have been coming from the lower river the past few days. The water level and color is holding pretty steady, with about three feet of visibility. The water coming over the dam is keeping the color in. Bait, Spin N’ Glo’s and jigs under a bobber are all catching fish.”

Upper Trinity
The upper Trinity is in great shape below Indian Creek reports Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service. “The water is still dirty coming out of the lake, keeping it off-color on the upper section. The Junction City to Del Loma area looks great. There’s been quite a bit of boat traffic, but not many adult steelhead have showed up yet. Boats are getting one to two per trip, along with a lot of half-pounders,” Huber added.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.

#ChetcoRiver #SmithRiver #VanDuzen #MattoleRiver #EelRiver #Steelhead #Salmon #TrinityRiver #NorCalFishing #NorthCoastFishing #FishingTheNorthCoast #PacificHalibut #RazorClams #MadRiver #HumboldtSteelheadDays

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