By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
It will be legal to fish the ocean for salmon this July 3 and 4, thanks to the efforts of local squeaky wheels.
The California Department of Fish and Game released the open season dates for ocean salmon fishing recently.
"We were going to keep them closed for the entire month of July, but representatives from up there said they would like it open at least those two days," said Scott Barrow, a marine biologist for fish and game.
Paul Kirk of the Klamath Fisheries Management Council, Chuck Blackburn of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and Rich Taylor, administrator for the Crescent City Harbor District all moaned when July was set to be closed for recreational salmon fishing here.
With Fourth of July week perhaps the busiest part of visitor season for Del Norte County, the three men implored decisionmakers to keep at least those two days open.
The ultimate decision on when the season is open and closed lies with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, a federal agency.
PFMC has jurisdiction over waters past the three-mile marker and Fish and Game presides over the three miles closest to shore.
Several local advisory commissions do have input on what the PFMC decides, however.
So when the preliminary plan to close the Del Norte section of ocean for July came, local councils got busy lobbying for a change.
None of the men were available for comment yesterday.
Barrow said July was set for closure because endangered coho salmon are found in large numbers during that month.
"And coho usually swim higher up than chinook, so invariably, when people are going for chinook, they hook a coho," Barrow said.
Open season begins May 15 through June 30, closes, then re-opens July 3 and 4. It opens again Aug. 1 through Sept. 15.
Anglers have a bag limit of two salmon of any species except coho or steelhead. The fish can only be taken by angling and must be more than 20-inches long.
Information on other regulations is available on the Ocean Salmon Hotline (707) 431-4341 or Fish and Game's Web site: www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/oceansalmon.html.