SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)- Saturday marks the opening day for recreational salmon season on California’s North Coast, but the weather may keep many from throwing in a line to an increased fish population.

For the first time in four years, the sport salmon season has opened in April. The Pacific Fishery Management Council estimates there are over 729,000 adult king salmon in the ocean.

Jared Davis, captain of the Wacky Jacky boat rental service at Fisherman’s Wharf, said last year was a very slow catch, but that was better than the 2008 season that was completely closed.

“They predict this year that we’re going to have 650,000 fish return to the river,” said Davis.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

In 2008 and 2009 there were court-ordered restrictions on delta water diversions that increased the number of adult salmon returning to spawn this year after a drastic population decrease.

“For years they’ve been taking more water out of the rivers that flow into The Bay. The salmon really need clean, cold water in those rivers so they can go up and spawn,” said Davis. He then cited the Sacramento, San Joaquin, American and Feather Rivers as being crucial to the fragile ecosystem.

Even though the recreational season is open, not too many boats are expected to head out because of “windy, rough conditions”, according to Davis.

“Hopefully after this wind blows through, it’ll be nice again after Tuesday,” said Davis.

This year there is a two-fish per person 24 inch minimum size limit.
Some estimates put the value of the salmon fishery at over a billion dollars annually.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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