2014 could be the last good year for California salmon fishing for a while.
Today marks the start of the California salmon fishing season. As you’re reading this, hundreds of thousands of adult California salmon are swimming off the coasts of northern california.
Commercial fishermen will likely meet their quotas this year, but the coming years are looking lean.
Get Geared up for Salmon FishingHere's 7 of the best flies for salmon fishing success.
California is in the midst of an historic drought that has taken a serious toll on the state’s salmon species.
This year was dry as a bone. So dry that the state has resorted to trucking farmed salmon hatchlings en masse to the ocean.
Farmed salmon hatchlings have a harder time surviving in the wild, so there will probably be less of them in three years when they mature.
The salmon that will be coming in from ocean this year made their migration to the ocean back in 2011, which was a relatively wet year in California.
According to the LA Times, state biologists estimate there are 630,000 adult salmon currently swimming in the ocean near the outlet of the Sacramento River.
Those estimates are less than last year’s 860,000 salmon, but they’re still better than 2008 and 2009 when there were so few salmon that the state banned commercial fishing.
“Next year we’ll start seeing the real cost of the drought on returning adult salmon,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. “It didn’t rain at all in the spring of 2013 when 2015’s fish were babies trying to make it to sea. Conditions were harsh and many were likely killed.”
The bottom line: if you’re a California angler, go catch some salmon this year. It could be a while before the fishing is good again.
Will you be partaking in this year’s California salmon fishing season?