Salmon rules hard to find, follow

The Stockton Record
By Peter Ottesen
July 4, 2012

Getting a handle on the correct Central Valley in-river salmon fishing season likely will prove more difficult than actually hooking a fish this summer.

Woe to anglers and this writer when they consulted the 2011-12 Fishing Regulations Supplement available at area sporting goods shops, or contacted the Stockton Department of Fish and Game office directly. The information we all received was wrong.

Fact is, the new 2012-13 supplement is delayed at the printer, so retail store and Fish and Game employees are dispensing erroneous information based on an out-of-date source.

“I apologize to your Stockton Record readers for making it so difficult to get the right information,” said Scott Barrow, salmon coordinator for Fish and Game.

Barrow said the only place to get the current rules are on the Fish and Game Commission or agency website at

So, here are the rules for in-river salmon fishing season that opens July 16.

» Mokelumne River – Open through Dec. 16 from Lower Sacramento Road to the mouth. This river segment is defined as the Mokelumne River and its tributary sloughs downstream of Lower Sacramento Road, east of Highway 160 and north of Highway 12.

The upper stretch of the Mokelumne, from Camanche Dam to Highway 99, is open July 16 to Oct. 15.

Said Barrow: “The San Joaquin River, Cosumnes River, Calaveras River and the Delta will remain closed to salmon fishing, as in previous years.”

Farther south, the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and other inland rivers also are closed.

» Sacramento River – Open through Dec. 16 in the lower section from 150 feet below the Sycamore boat ramp in Red Bluff downstream to the Carquinez Bridge at Vallejo. The uppermost section of the Sacramento River from the Deschutes Road near Anderson to 500 feet upstream of the Red Bluff diversion dam is open Aug. 1 to Dec. 16.

» American River – Open through Dec. 31 from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District powerline crossing at Ancil Hoffman Park to the Jibboom Street bridge. Open through Oct. 31 from the U.S. Geological Survey gauging station near Nimbus Hatchery to Hoffman Park. Open though Dec. 31 from Nimbus Dam to Hazel Avenue.

» Feather River – Open though Oct. 15 from the boat ramp above the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet to 200 yards above the Live Oak boat ramp. The area within 250 feet of Thermalito Afterbay Outlet has been closed to salmon fishing under the authority of the Fish and Game Regional office for public safety.

Bill Houck of Stockton is relieved the new fishing rules will permit salmon fishing between Interstate 5 and New Hope Landing.

“I’m a life-long resident and love to jig fish for salmon in the Mokelumne,” he said. “Before the closure, I caught a lot of them.”

The lack of information from Fish and Game had Houck perplexed, figuring everything west of Woodbridge would be closed this year.

“I’m glad they got it straightened out,” he said.

Ty Laskowski at The Outdoor Sportsman in Stockton still is uncertain about which rules apply.

“Seems like everyone is confused, and Fish and Game is saying two different things,” Laskowski said. “There’s not a lot of reliable information out there.

“I think wardens will be writing a lot of tickets for salmon fishing violations.”

» Basic Rules – The daily inriver limit is two salmon. Barbless hooks must be used. It’s a good idea to check about further gear restrictions when the 2012-13 Fishing Regulations Supplement finally becomes available, or check the DFG website, just to be sure.

Original source