Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Emergency regulations allow CDFW to extend angling restrictions in coastal waters experiencing prolonged, low-flow conditions from drought

An adult Coho salmon swims in a coastal river. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The California Fish and Game Commission has adopted emergency regulations allowing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, to extend low-flow related fishing restrictions on portions of the Smith, Eel and Russian rivers and a number of other coastal rivers and streams through April 30 if needed to protect runs of salmon and steelhead.

“We’ve observed extended periods of drought and warming climate trends over the past decade,” said Jonathan Nelson, environmental program manager for CDFW’s Anadromous Fishes Conservation and Management Program. “The added flexibility to manage the health of our fisheries through extended angling restrictions on coastal waters when low flows create potentially lethal conditions is paramount to the long-term survival of our salmon and steelhead populations.”

The emergency regulations took effect Jan. 31.

Before the change, CDFW was allowed to enact low-flow specific angling closures on coastal rivers in Del Norte and Humboldt counties including the Smith, Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and Mattole rivers through Jan. 31 of each year and in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties including the Gualala, Russian, Napa rivers and several others through March 31 each year.

The emergency regulations have been added to the 2021-2022 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations online. For a complete list of the coastal rivers subject to low-flow restrictions, please review the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 8.00(a) and (b).

CDFW will make information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1:00 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as to whether any river or stream will be open or closed to fishing. It is the responsibility of the angler to call and obtain information on the status of any stream.

For information about coastal rivers in Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, call 707-822-3164.

For information about coastal rivers in Marin and Sonoma counties, call 707-944-5533.

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