Most proposals presented to the Pacific Fisheries Advisory Council point toward a productive salmon season that’s set to start Saturday, April 7,for sport fishing. The forecast looks robust — the bay is healthy and anglers are gearing up.
California Department of Fish and Game has posted that the salmon season will start between Saturday and April 30 and will remain open based on hearings and the decision of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The hearings will be in April and will set the reminder of the season for the summer months in our area.
For now, there is a limit of two fish, 24 inches or longer. Barbless circle hooks must be used by people mooching or drifting bait, and barbless hooks must be used by those trolling.
These basic regulations may remain the same for the season and are the same as last year.
The Department of Fish and Game has paper regulations in circulation at most tackle stores and online at www.dfg.ca.gov. It also has a hotline for regulations and changes: 707-576-3429.
“We are as busy as we have ever been and are just trying to keep up” reported Jim Moore of Moore and Sons Mercury Marine in Santa Cruz.
His tone was echoed by many businesses at the harbor and in the industry.
The Santa Cruz harbor is gearing up for a busy season while trying to clear the port channel of winter shoaling. Crews are also continuing to rebuild docks damaged by last year’s tsunami.
“The weekends are booked up,” reported Jimmy Rubin aboard the Becky Ann in Santa Cruz. “I am starting to fill up on the weekdays, but there is still space.
Captain Jimmy also advised that there are healthy signs of salmon in the bay, as he has observed large schools of bait fish on recent crab and sand dab trips.
“We had a fantastic year on crabs, and the sand dabs are still biting,” Jimmy said.
“The conditions look perfect: We have 53-degree water, baitfish, krill and whales feeding in the bay,” reported Ken Stagnaro of Stagnaro Charters.
Ken also noted that good conditions combined with the forecasted run should equal a good season.
We all hope Ken is right, for the sake of returning salmon counts and enough fish for us to enjoy, too.
- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at email@example.com. He also hosts a fishing show on radio station KSCO (1080) from 8:06 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through the end of August.