Monday, December 28, 2009

Salmon Fishing in Concord?


Here is an interesting post I found at the Outdoors Forum Board from way back in 2006 its an interesting tale of the local Salmon Run here in Concord ...By Denis Cuff
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

It might sound like a fish tale: a lot of big salmon swimming past shopping carts to travel up the heavily urbanized Walnut Creek flood channel.
But a state agency is a believer. In fact, the Department of Fish and Game is going to propose letting people keep one or two salmon legally caught in the lower creek, agency officials say.
Anglers now can catch salmon, but they're required to throw them back.
Department officials say they're willing to consider relaxing the catch-and-release restriction in light of interest from anglers and hefty salmon runs during fall and early winter the past three or four years.
"There isn't any environmental benefit to stop people from harvesting fish in this area," said Kevan Urquhart, the department's fishery supervisor for the Central Coast region. "It would expand fishing opportunities."
Salmon have limited places to spawn in Walnut Creek because the fish rarely can jump over a flood control structure near Willow Pass Road in Concord.
As a result, removing some fish shouldn't damage their population, Urquhart said.
There would be one catch to the proposal, however.
Anglers could catch fish before Dec. 1 each season, but not afterward. That would prevent people from mistakenly keeping or injuring steelhead trout, a threatened species known to swim up Walnut Creek.
Local fishermen had mixed feelings about a rule change.
David McCants of Pleasant Hill said he fears allowing harvesting would wipe out the Walnut Creek salmon run.
"It's a bad idea," said McCants, a fly-tying instructor with the Diablo Valley Fly Fishermen. "You have a very large population of people in the area, and a small urban stream. I fear you'd deplete the stock in no time."
McCants predicted poaching would increase.
He said some anglers already illegally catch fish with nets or treble hooks in violation of a rule that allows fishing only by barbless hooks there.
Jim Turner of Concord agreed poaching is a problem, but added that he doesn't think it would get worse if anglers kept a fish or two.
"It would be nice to take home a fish once in a while," Turner said.
The fish in the creek die quickly after spawning, he said.
Nicole Kozicki, a state fish and game warden from Contra Costa County, said she doesn't think poaching would be worsened. Her department would continue to patrol the creek for rule violations.
She called the current poaching problem moderate, not huge.
"I think you're giving more opportunity to fishermen," Kozicki said. "Some people like catch-and-release fishing, but then there is the guy who would like to take a fish home to eat."
Fish and Game Department fishery managers and wardens intend to draw up the rule change in time for a vote this summer by the state Fish and Game Commission.
If approved, the rule would be in place in time for anglers to keep some salmon when they arrive in fall 2007.
The state doesn't do fish counts for Walnut Creek, but Jim Hale, a local biologist, estimates that 3,000 salmon came up Walnut Creek in the past season, and more than 10,000 the season before that.
Most of Walnut Creek salmon are strays or hatchery fish, Urquhart said.
But several local anglers say they've seen salmon laying eggs in creek gravel.
"You've definitely got wild fish returning to the creek where they hatched," McCants said. "It's a nice little place to fish. We should protect it."....
  Currently Salmon fishing is not permitted at all in California...So the numbers are most likely increasing and there are right now quite a few thousand very large  salmon making their way home to Concord for the holidays...

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