HASA President on salmon, Humboldt Bay

by Scott McBain

What a winter! After three years of drought, the heavens opened up and provided us with record rainfall all across California. While the news for salmon fishing over the next two years is bleak, there are some bright spots in that juvenile salmon production in all of our California rivers this spring will likely be some of the best on record for those adults that did make it back to spawn last fall. Floodplains in the central valley have been under water for most of the winter and spring, providing excellent rearing and growth for young salmon. In addition, the coastal watersheds have largely been spared from huge scouring floods, and spring temperatures and flows have been excellent. Hopefully there will be a strong return to ocean salmon fishing in two years when these fish mature.

Despite the lack of an ocean salmon season, there are still lots of opportunities for other species once the weather improves (see Tom Marking's article on additional rockfish and halibut opportunities.) I hope that everyone has a chance to land a Pacific halibut this year!

As most of you may know, with the wetter water year and lack of dredging near marinas in Humboldt Bay, launching your boat and using certain areas of the marinas is difficult to impossible. There are a variety of factors involved that have led to this crisis. There are a series of immediate short-term needs (make the ramps functional, make the marinas functional), as well as a long-term need of where to deposit the spoils for annual maintenance. Developing a short-term and long-term plan is critically important to HASA and our members, as well as the economic engine of Humboldt Bay. HASA is gearing up to try to help on a solution to both the short-term and long-term dredging needs; however, the short-term dredging needs are going to be very difficult to achieve this summer. It is important that you express the importance of maintaining our boating facilities to City of Eureka and Humboldt Bay Harbor District representatives, so this stays at the top of their priority list. 

The mission of Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers is to represent North Coast fishermen's historic and ongoing right to sport fish along the Northern California coast; advocate reasonable and rational sport fishing seasons and regulations; educate our members and the general public about the economic and cultural contributions of sport fishing to our local economies; and promote sustainable stewardship of the resource.