Mostly cloudy

Slow start to sport salmon season

  • Sport fisherman wait to trailer their boats at Westside Park in Bodega Bay, Saturday July 10, 2010. Of all the vessels in the photo, not one salmon was hooked. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2010

High winds off the North Coast for most of the past week have thwarted plans for the much-anticipated start of recreational salmon fishing.

The sport season opened April 2, but only a few small boats made it out during a brief window Monday off Bodega Bay, local fishermen said.

Mother Nature has otherwise put the season on hold - though a calm period Sunday may provide one highlight to an otherwise dreary week.

Otherwise, "the weather's keeping everybody in," U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Chris Eylerts said from the Bodega Bay Station.

"It's terrible," said Les "Tiger" Fernandes, owner of Fish On Charters in Bodega Bay, which had to cancel several trips this week. "It's frustrating for me and for all the clients."

Both sport and commercial salmon fishing were banned in 2008 and &‘09. Commercial fishing — not yet started this year — was severely curtailed last year, as well.

The 2010 sport season remained open through Sept. 6, making it about two months shorter than a full season, and fishing was allowed just five days a week.

Rosier population estimates for chinook salmon this year suggest a full fishing season at long last, local fishermen said.

"We're anxious to get out," said Rick Powers, captain of the 65-foot New Sea Angler that because of a major retrofit would be in the boat yard another 10 or 14 days in any case.

Everyone is champing at the bit to see what the season has to offer, though the few fish reportedly caught Monday were a good sign, Powers said. "Because when the weather gets flat, we'll have a lot of boats looking all over, and hopefully we'll find them like we did last April."

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