More Drought Issues For Valley Anglers

By Chris Cocoles

I’m heading to the Bay Area this weekend to visit my family, and in talking to a few friends and family this week, they said don’t expect to enter Seattle-like conditions (as in rain and more rain). Actually, the forecast is for possible showers on Saturday, but that won’t help California’s growing drough crisis.

The Sacramento Bee reported the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is being urged by Sierra Salmon Alliance  to shut down the American River to fishing in an attempt to  lower the fishing pressure on steelhead and salmon as the lack of rain continues to keep river levels at historic lows.

Here’s a small sample of Matt Weiser’s report in the Bee:

Salmon season has ended, but steelhead fishing is normally allowed year-round.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation this week is in the midst of curtailing water releases into the river from Folsom Dam, partly to preserve drinking water for suburban Sacramento communities. Flows in the river are expected to fall by Friday to 500 cubic feet per second, a level not seen since 1993.
A fishing closure has happened before on the American River, notably during the 1977 drought. It would have to be ordered by the California Fish and Game Commission following a recommendation from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Jordan Traverso, spokeswoman for the department, said it has no recommendation yet.
“We have a great number of people looking at this from a number of different angles, and it’s not just the American,” she said.

Here is a statement from Sierra Salmon Alliance on the hopes to shut down the American to anglers.

I remember leaving my Bay Area home for college in Fresno 1989 when California was in the throngs of a five-year drought period. But this is looking like an even worse stretch for the Golden State.