March 25, 2017    Headlines

 Salmon Options
Salmon Opens April 1st

The salmon season opens next Saturday 4-1. Of the three options on the table all give us sport anglers the month of April to fish. The other two (option one) calls for a season of April 1-30 then reopening May 15 through October 31st. Option two calls for a season of April 1-30th and then June 15th to October 31st. The third option calls for a season of April 1-30th. From what we are hearing the NMFS is pushing for option 3 or April only. We have our fingers crossed that we see option 2 or the month of April and then June 15th through Halloween.
We expect most Bodega bay based party and six pack boats to head out and work the 50 fathom curve from the BB weather buoy to Ten Mile beach. This is the first year where we will see the full results of trucking hatchery fish to the Bay and Delta in 2014. If those fish survived we could be in for a surprise of better action than anyone expects. Party boats have lots of room available.
Rick on the New Sea Angler will be running salmon trips and will likely be pulling crab gear as an added bonus. The rockfish season opens April 15th and many boats could do the hat trick of salmon, rockfish and crabs through the spring months.
We will have party boat scores and updates next Saturday 4-1.

After three months of wet and wild weather the seas are calming and we are seeing renewed interest in our coastal fisheries. On Sunday 3-19 Rick on the New Sea Angler was out for the first time in over a month. He had a light load of 12 anglers on board for a crab and dab trip. Fishing out in 300 to 350 feet they landed 235 sand dabs. Not wide open action but enough for the table. Rick reports that feed conditions look great. There are rafts of more birds and acres of anchovies in the area. He also saw some scattered krill and Dungeness larva on the surface. If this bait holds together this will be a good place to start the salmon season. Rick said they wrapped up the day pulling through their pots of 116 crabs or four short of limits.
Rick is beginning salmon trips on April 1st. The rockfish season opens April 15th and he will be offering both salmon and rockfish and combo trips that will include crabs during the spring months.

2017 Sport Salmon Season Options:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The final 2017 salmon options for the upcoming season have been released. There have been changes in the past few days and the reason for the update to this story. For sport anglers they range from good (greater Bay Area) to Bad (Monterey bay) to Ugly (Eureka) which will be closed to fishing this year. The link at the bottom contains all the details and we are posting the general options below. The one concern is that in all areas the third option calls for just a 30 day season in April. We are hoping that overall we see options that are close to what the 1st and 2nd options call for.
For commercial anglers it's sadly all bad news with very limited openings and time on the water.

Sport Options
Cal / Oregon border to Horse Mountain: All three options now call for a full closure for the waters from the Cal Oregon border to House Mountain will be closed for the 2017 season

Horse Mountain to Point Arena:
Option 1: April 1st to 30th. Then May 15th to October 31st
Option 2: April 1 to May 31st and then July 1st to the 12th and then September 1 through November 12th.
Option 3: April 1-30th.

Point Arena to Pigeon Point:
Option 1: April 1-30th then May 15th to October 31st
Option 2: April 1-30th then June 15th to October 31st.
Option 3: April 1-30th

Pigeon Point to Point Sur:
Option 1: April 1- July 15th
Option 2: April 1 to June 30th
Option 3: April 1-30th

Here's a link to the proposed recreational seasons

Note to readers:
After a year plus of meetings and rejections the Golden Gate Salmon Association has finally received approval to begin a new salmon net pen project in Bodega Bay. I'm proud to be on the Board of Directors of this organization who are working hard to recover our salmon runs. The Bodega Bay salmon net pens hold promise to bring more salmon to the back decks of both sport and commercial anglers. GGSA has more net pen projects in the works and I encourage readers of USAFishing to support all that GGSA is doing.
Our salmon runs can not recover without the support of sport and commercial anglers and the advocacy of conservation groups like GGSA.

Experimental Salmon Release Scheduled for Bodega Bay

Baby salmon spell hope after recent down years
Petaluma, CA. – The Golden Gate Salmon Association is pleased to announce 250,000 baby salmon are scheduled to be released in Bodega Bay in late May.  The release will be part of an experiment designed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn how well the fish survive, where they go in the ocean, where they return to as adults, and how big a contribution they ultimately make to the ocean and inland salmon fishery.  This is the first time baby hatchery salmon have ever been released in Bodega Bay.
“GGSA worked tirelessly to win support for this project which we first identified over 12 months ago”, said GGSA founder Victor Gonella. “It will not only yield valuable biologic information, but also a harvest of hope for a strapped community.”
After being transported from the hatchery where they were born and reared for several months, the fish will be offloaded from tanker trucks into a floating net pen at Spud Point Marina. They’ll be held up to a few hours to allow them to reorient from the truck ride and then released to the ocean on the outgoing tide.  Survival of fish released in this way is expected to be much higher than for similar fish released at Central Valley hatcheries. 
GGSA couldn’t have put the pieces together to make this happen without generous assistance from a number of groups and individuals.  Among these, the Commercial Salmon Stamp Committee including Bodega Bay fisherman Stan Carpenter.  “We hope this leads to more fish for everyone in the future,” said Carpenter.
Most of all GGSA is grateful for the continued cooperation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) who overcame multiple hurdles and months of work to finally get this project done.
“The Department appreciates the issues facing the salmon fishery and local communities as well as native salmon stocks in low abundance,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer.  “This collaborative study is intended to shed light on how enhancement salmon may interact with native river stocks.”
The Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Festival offered financial support to offset the cost associated with the project. Spud Pt. Marina harbor master Noah Wagner and Sonoma Country Regional Parks have generously offered use of their dock and crane to unload the fish. 

The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Regulations for California’s popular red abalone sport fishery have changed in 2017. Due to concerns about the declining population, the season will be shortened and the take limit reduced.
The 2017 season will be shortened by two months, with the traditional opening date of April 1 now delayed until May 1. The fishery will also close a month earlier than usual, on Oct. 31.
The annual (calendar year) limit is changing from 18 abalone to 12. As in the past, no more than nine abalone may be taken south of the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
The red abalone catch is being reduced because surveys conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found that red abalone populations in deeper waters are on the decline due to unfavorable environmental conditions. Over the past three years, growth of kelp — a major food source for abalone – has declined significantly. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone. Details can be found at
Other regulations relative to abalone remain unchanged. Fishing for abalone will be allowed from 8 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset in waters north of San Francisco Bay. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The daily bag and possession limit remains at three. Parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park remain closed to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at
Northern California’s recreational red abalone fishery is enjoyed by tens of thousands of divers along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. A recent CDFW study estimated that approximately 31,000 abalone divers derived between $24 million and $44 million per year of recreational value from the fishery. The value of this fishery declined nearly $12 million after stricter regulations were imposed in 2014 following a harmful algal bloom that killed thousands of abalone in Sonoma County. Information about the study can be found at
The changes to the abalone regulations were approved by the Fish and Game Commission at their Dec. 7 meeting, under emergency rulemaking provisions that allow fast-tracking of the approval process when there is an urgent need for regulatory change.

Nearly all the salmon caught along the coast this year are there thanks to the Golden Gate Salmon Association. If not for their efforts to push both state and federal hatchery managers to truck fish over the past three years of drought we would have likely NOT had a season this year or next. I encourage readers to support this great organization and their efforts to return our salmon fishery to it's past glory. You can visit their website and see all that they are doing to make that a reality.

Vacation Rental at Point Arena
 Brand New House in Irish Beach with 2 bedrooms and a huge loft. Sleeps 6. Blue Water Ocean View to the Point Arena Light House and great local fishing. The house is located on a private court with access to the Members only Irish Beach.


Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. Does your organization have an upcoming event? Contact us at and we will gladly post the information on our reports pages.

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar

 Party Boat Contacts:
The Bodega Bay Sportfishing  Center is currently booking trips on the New Sea Angler. They also book the six pack Sandy Ann, Profishn't and during the summer the Predator. Reservations can be made at 707 875-3344.

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46013

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46013

Marine Weather
With the Point Arena, San Francisco and Bodega Bay buoys all out of service it's been tough to judge conditions. There are some land based weather stations, wave rider and even webcams that readers can use to assess current conditions.  The Point Reyes wind observations or wave conditions at the San Francisco wave rider buoy are good tools for Golden Gate anglers.  For Bodega Bay anglers you can use both the Point Reyes wind observations and the Bodega Bay Marine lab web cam at Horseshoe Cove and conditions at the Point Arena light house. For Monterey based anglers looking for conditions inside Monterey bay can use the Monterey Bay Aquarium buoy.




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