[env-trinity] Eureka Times Standard 4 19 10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Apr 19 10:47:51 PDT 2010

The salmon puzzle

Eureka Times-Standard-4/19/10

By John Driscoll


There are dozens of pieces to a salmon season. For a salmon season to be
good, however, those things must fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and not
work their way apart over the summer. 


First, you need to have salmon. One thing nobody ever seems to know is just
how many salmon are out in the ocean, no matter how sophisticated the
computer model being used. An educated guess seems to be nearly as


Next, you need to have food in the ocean. Large numbers of salmon eat
enormous amounts of krill, sardines, anchovies and squid, and the abundance
of them depends on the third requirement: Wind. Northwest wind, to be
specific, wind that literally stirs the cold water and its nutrients from
the ocean bottom to feed those lesser creatures that feed our king salmon. 


Fourth on the list is not too much wind. Weather off the North Coast can not
only make it unsafe to head to sea, but excessive northwest wind churns up
the water so much that it turns almost black, and salmon don't bite in black
water. Last year, you had to motor 14 miles out to find water clear enough
to put a salmon on the hook. 


Fifth is the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The council decides how
much we get to fish, when and where, and it has a tough time of it. It's got
fishermen on the one side and laws on the other, and sometimes they agree
and sometimes they don't and always they are dealing with estimates of the
number of salmon swimming in an enormous swath of ocean -- estimates are as
rough as the winter Pacific. 


Among the things the council determines is the length of the season. The
shorter the season, the less likely you are to get on the water. Unlike
pursuits that aren't weather dependent, you can't just want to go salmon
fishing so badly that you'll go no matter what; the ocean is dangerous.
Also, a short salmon season doesn't account for the natural shifts in salmon
migration along the coast. You may not be able to wait until the bite is
hot, or skip fishing when it's cold. 


This year, the season runs from May 29 to Sept. 6, a season so generous
compared to recent years that it begs for fireworks. If nothing else, it
calls for perspective, a final component that doesn't make or break the
productivity of a salmon season, but does instill an appreciation that makes
you enjoy it to its fullest. 


We've suffered enough on the North Coast in the past several years to have
lots of perspective. And that perspective should make up for the lack in any
other pieces of the puzzle this year.



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax (call first to fax)

415 519 4810 mobile

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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