California Salmon Fishing Opening Day 2012

April 7, 2012 – The Santa Cruz Harbor

salmon fishing opening day 2012
Santa Cruz Harbor 6:30 AM April 7, 2012

Today is the day we have all been waiting for once again.  Another long winter without any fresh salmon in the freezer is coming to an end.  Saturday is the beginning of the salmon fishing season here in California, and for all the sport fishermen, that is the best news of the year.  But that’s not all.

This year, the fishing is expected to be much better than last year.  There have already, in the first few hours of the season been reports of many nice sized salmon being caught just off the coast in areas like Monterrey Bay, and especially in Santa Cruz.  Since we will be fishing ourselves out of Santa Cruz Harbor in just a few more minutes, I can safely say that there are hundreds of boats heading straight out or near the Soquel Hole to try and locate the fish.

santa cruz fishing boats - california
6:30 am salmon boats leaving Santa Cruz Inner Harbor

Bayside Marine, one of the local fish and tackle shops here in Santa Cruz was booming with customers up until about 9:00 pm last night.  Although many of the people hanging around the tackle shop were pretty much loaded from sipping on beers all day, it was pretty impressive to see so much action all in anticipation for the opening day of the salmon fishery here on the coast.

If you start talking with the locals, you’ll get your usual mix of exactly how and what is the best way to catch the fish.  Conventional thinking goes back to what I consider to be pretty boring – trolling around some lures.  But, trolling for salmon, especially early in the season is the most common and popular fishing method.  People love to attach different lures, or hoochies to the end of the line.  And some people like using a flasher or dodger, which is thought to attract the fish as well.

But, for people like me, trolling around with your engine blasting out fumes all day is no fun.  So, like you’ve seen before from past years, we’ll be mooching with some threaded sardines once again and hopefully getting the chance to put a nice big pink fleshed salmon in the box(or two or three).

Salmon fishing regulations are largely unchanged since last year.  Each licensed angler is allowed to keep 2 fish, and the salmon need to be at least 24 inches in length.  No silver/coho salmon are allowed to be taken.  Only king salmon are allowed.  You can figure out which type of salmon you have caught by looking at the gums of the fish.  If the gums are white, that is a silver salmon and you must release it immediately.  If the gums are black in color, that fish can be kept as long as its 24 inches long.  More details about the fishing regulations can be located at the California Fish and Game Website.

Good Luck fishing this year, and hopefully we’ll see some 20 and 30 pound salmon on the first day!

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