After four long years, local anglers were greeted with the news of a full-length Chinook salmon season for 2011.
The Deparment of Fish and Game released a statement Thursday announcing the return of salmon fishing to the region, citing an increase in Northern California's salmon population over the last two years.
In 2008, the DFG was forced to close all salmon fishing to anglers for the first time in history. The following two seasons allowed only one month of fishing.
“Anglers will again be able to enjoy salmon fishing, while individuals and communities that rely on income from this industry will hopefully begin to recover from the economic losses they’ve experienced over the past few years,” said Director of the Department of Fish and Game, John McCamman.
Local bait and angler shops are gearing up for what they hope to be a turn around season for them.
"It's going to help our business's immensely," said The Fisherman's Wearhouse manager, Craig Kamikawa. "We're stocking all the essentials for the full salmon season."
From July 16 to December 31, local anglers will be allowed to fish for Chinook salmon from the Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue Bridge. Several other locations along the American River, west of the Hazel Ave. Bridge, will be open to fishing as well. The DFG website has a list of full locations and regulations.
A regular Fishing License is required for those ages 16 and older. Licenses can be purchased for $46.00 on the DFG website, as well as, many locations throughout the area.
With the reopening of salmon fishing to the area arises the question, is the decision premature?
Although numbers are up from recent years, they are nowhere near what they were in the past. In 2002, the salmon population running through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was at an estimated 1.5 million Chinook. In 2010 that number had dwindled to 150,000, according to the Pacific Fishery Managment Council.
The Fishery Management Council also notes the Pacific Oceans changing currents reduced the food available to salmon and largely is at fault for the collapse of the salmon population. Other factors include disease, the Chinook being eaten by other species and being sucked into Delta water irrigation pumps while journeying to the ocean.
In a little more than a month's time, Fair Oaks and surrounding area residents are expected to flock in large numbers to the American and Sacramento Rivers in hopes to land the famed Chinook salmon.