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Recreational Fishing Banned On Portions Of Drought Stricken Bay Area Rivers

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Mud Cracks

Dry ground. (CBS)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — California fishing regulators have closed down recreational angling on portions of two of drought-starved rivers due to concerns about salmon and steelhead trout.

The state Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously on the fishing restrictions for parts of the American and Russian Rivers.

The move comes after California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials earlier this month closed dozens of other waterways on the state’s central and northern coasts.

The commission found that dangerously low stream flows and dwindling reservoir storage presented a danger to both species’ habitat.

“When you have these low-flow conditions you have increased predation both by avian predators and other fish species,” said Stafford Lehr, chief of fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service. On top of that, he said the angling is an issue.

Lehr explained the not-so-sportsman-like behavior of people pulling out fish stuck in deep holes because there’s not enough water to get upstream.

The closures on both rivers will extend through April 30.

Numerous fishing groups voiced support for the closures.

Dave Delmue, who works at Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, said the closures are definitely going to be a financial hit.

“As far as local guides and people that depend on this, it’s really going to hurt them. You know they won’t have any business,” Delmue said.

He added that if they can’t sell tackle, then they don’t have much by way of other items to sell. “It’s all about the fishing gear.”

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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