This time of year is always a hard one for me. Loss of daylight, beginning of the cold wet season, nostalgia for summer fishing opportunities. However, it is also the beginning of the new year that will provide more opportunities in the coming year, plus crabbing opportunities (which I hear has been pretty good so far). There has been good news so far with this fall’s initial rains, which has allowed the coastal Chinook salmon to access all of the upper watersheds and have a successful spawning cycle that will hopefully produce abundant juveniles this spring, and more fishing opportunities on the ocean in coming years (200 adult Chinook reported at Van Arsdale fish ladder through Thanksgiving). Similarly, the predicted poor adult fall-run Chinook salmon escapement on the Klamath River has been better than expected, with lots of jacks (7,000 adult Chinook on the Shasta River alone through October 5). So hopefully this will translate into some salmon fishing opportunity in the coming year.
HASA continues to be active in saltwater sportfishing, both now and in the future. Tom provides another excellent update on the PFMC efforts on Page 10, and Casey provides an update on his participation in MREP that seeks to help us better understand the PFMC process and be more effective in representation (see Page 12). This investment into future is important for all of us to help preserve fishing opportunities for the next generation. Speaking of next generation, HASA has continued to support local fishing derbies to encourage new young anglers to our sport. HASA has again supported the Burnt Ranch derby, as well as the Trinidad Pier derby (see Page 8). Seeing the smiles on those kids’ faces reinforces the importance of our continued support for these events. Many thanks to Ken Jones, Ed Roberts, and others for all the hard work they put into these events.
I encourage folks to see the rockfish review on Page 10, as there are some important updates on current rockfish regulations that you should be aware of in case you are thinking about heading out on the water soon. First, the season is still open through December, yet we are again constrained by the 20 fathom (120 ft) depth limit due to us exceeding our yelloweye rockfish allocation. As Tom points out, the increasing use of descenders are helping reduce yelloweye mortality for those fish that are released; however, it appears that there is still a large number of anglers that are misidentifying (and harvesting) yelloweye rockfish, which is limiting our ability to have flexibility on increased fishing depth. While the northcoast wasn’t the biggest culprit, we need to do a better job in yelloweye rockfish identification and education to all coastal anglers. CDFW has a very helpful identification sheet that should be printed on a color printer and be on board everyone’s boat that is rockfishing, In case you don’t have it, here is a link to the ID guide: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=138378&inline
Lastly, the Humboldt Tuna Club board is still under construction, but the temporary site is still up (www.humboldttunaclub.com/smf). If you would like to contribute an article to future newsletters, or have suggestions on a topic you think would be interesting to HASA members, please share with Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hope everyone has a good holiday season!