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State’s ocean recreational, in-river salmon sport fisheries close

Members of the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously this past week to close in-river salmon sport fishing in the Klamath River Basin and Central Valley rivers for the second consecutive year.

As part of its annual process for adjusting seasons and bag limits, the Commission voted to prohibit the take and possession of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento, American, Feather and Mokelumne rivers and their tributaries, as well as prohibit the take and possession of fall-run Chinook salmon in the Klamath and Trinity rivers and their tributaries. They also adopted the emergency closures of the spring Chinook salmon sport fishing seasons on the Klamath and Trinity rivers and their tributaries.

The regulations are expected to take effect no later than July 1, 2024, following approval by the state Office of Administrative Law.

The in-river closures align with the recommended closure of both commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries off the California coast by the Pacific Fishery Management Council due to continued low abundance. Federal fisheries managers have since enacted a full closure of ocean salmon seasons in California. The state’s ocean salmon sport fishing seasons and regulations automatically conform to federal regulations unless the Commission acts otherwise.

In other action, the Commission took steps to limit the spread and impacts of chronic wasting disease (CWD) on California deer and elk herds. CWD was confirmed in two California deer for the first time earlier this month. The Commission approved additional changes to regulations governing the importation of cervids (hoofed mammals including deer, elk, moose and reindeer) into California and strengthened disease testing requirements to meet with current U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

Lastly, the Commission approved regulation changes regarding issuing special hunt permits and drawings. The changes will allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to administer and offer the hunts through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS), ensuring fair and equitable distribution of available permits and reducing barriers to entry into the draw process.

Commission President Samantha Murray along with commissioners Eric Sklar, Darius Anderson and Jacque Hostler-Carmesin participated virtually in the May 15 teleconference meeting. Commission Vice President Erika Zavaleta did not attend.

The meeting agenda, along with supporting documents and background information, is available on the Commission website. Archived video of past Commission meetings is available online. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for June 19-20, 2024, in Mammoth Lakes and via Zoom and phone.