California Drought: More Rivers Closed to Protect Steelhead and Coho Salmon

Acting to protect steelhead and endangered Coho salmon imperiled by record drought, the California Fish and Game Commission has tightened fishing restrictions along the northern coast. The commission added a number of rivers and streams to the list of those already closed. They will reopen to fishing once enough rain falls to raise water levels above the minimum so fish can swim upriver to spawn. Many rivers and streams are at their lowest water levels since measurements began in the 1950s.

Although only about five per cent of California's fishable water lies within the restricted area, the closure will be a hardship for many northern California towns depending on revenue from visiting anglers. So far, most locals understand and support the Commission's decision.

John Klar, who guides around Fortuna, may lose $20,000-$50,000 due to cancellations this winter. "We're all going to feel it," he told San Jose Mercury News. "But is it necessary? One hundred percent, yes. It is necessary to protect these fish because they are pretty easy prey right now."