At the annual Salmon Information Meeting held virtually on March 2, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of spawning salmon that returned to California’s rivers in 2021 and shared the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season. The 2022 ocean abundance projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook, a main salmon stock harvested in California waters, is estimated at 396,500 adult salmon, higher than the 2021 forecasts. The Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast also came in slightly above the 2021 value, with 200,100 adult Klamath River fall Chinook salmon predicted to be in the ocean this year, a value that remains well below the stock’s historical levels.
During the meeting, recreational anglers and commercial salmon trollers provided comments and voiced concerns to a panel of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives. Stakeholder input will be taken into consideration when developing three season alternatives during the March Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting. Final season regulations will be adopted at the April 6-13 PFMC meeting.
Following several years of poor returns to the Klamath River Basin, Klamath River fall Chinook salmon were declared overfished in 2018 and have not yet achieved a rebuilt status under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan. The PFMC may decide to take a conservative approach when crafting 2022 ocean salmon seasons to provide additional protective measures to this stock.
To access materials and information presented at the meeting or to learn more about the salmon season setting process, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Salmon Preseason Process web page. General ocean salmon fishing information can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Salmon Project web page or by calling the CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline at (707) 576-3429.