Recreational and commercial anglers attending the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s salmon information meeting in Santa Rosa on March 1 received mixed news regarding the status of Sacramento River and Klamath River fall Chinook stocks, the drivers of the California and Southern Oregon ocean salmon fisheries.

Anglers can expect increased restrictions, but the exact regulations will be crafted by fishery managers, with input from the public, over the next several weeks.

The adult returns of both stocks were well below minimum escapement goals in 2017, while the projected ocean abundance for both stocks is modest compared to historic averages.

The 2017 adult spawning escapement of Sacramento River fall run Chinooks was only 44,574 adults in 2017, reported Vanessa Gusman, CDFW environmental scientist. This is well below the conservation goal range of 122,000 to 180,000 fish.

This is the second lowest return ever. In 2009, when the fishing industry was shut down, the return was 40,873.

The 2017 Klamath Basin fall Chinook run was the fifth lowest in 39 years of records and 43 percent of the 39-year average.

“The adult fall Chinook natural escapement conservation threshold of 40,700 was not managed for or met this season,” said Wade Sinnen, CDFW environmental scientist.

On the other hand, there was an increase in the number of jacks and jills (two-year-old Chinook) that returned to spawn in 2017 in both the Sacramento and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

“Higher jack returns, as seen in 2017, can indicate the potential for increased abundance of adult (three years old or older) Chinook for 2018 fisheries,” said Harry Morse, CDFW information officer.

The 2017 Sacramento River jack counts were well above normal. A total of 24,375 jacks returned to the Upper Sacramento, Feather River and American River Basins in 2017.

Likewise, the number of 2-year-old jacks in the Klamath is 21,903, above the long-term average and a precursor for age three abundance.

The jack and jill counts are employed to model the ocean abundance forecasts for the year. Forecasts by Dr. Michael O’Farrell of NOAA Fisheries presented at the meeting suggest there are 229,400 Sacramento River fall Chinook adults and 359,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults in the ocean this year.

Over the next two months, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) will use the 2018 fall Chinook ocean abundance forecasts, in addition to information on the status of endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook, to set ocean sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas and size and bag limits. A range of three alternatives will be proposed, from which one will be chosen at the April PFMC meeting.

More information: CDFW ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service salmon fishing hotline at (800) 662-9825.

Pardee Lake Trout: The recreation area hosted the NorCal Trout Angler’s Challenge on Saturday.

"Although the forecast called for rain and even snow, the fishing was great, and a total field of 130 anglers participated in this event - double the amount from last year,’ said Vince Harris, President/CEO, Angler's Press Outdoor Promotions.

D.J. Woodring of Pleasanton won first place in the adult division of the event with a 2.93-pound rainbow trout caught while soaking PowerBait from shore. Information: (209) 772-1472.

Delta and Suisun Bay Sturgeon: Fishing has been tough in Suisun Bay and the West Delta, but the action showed some improvement recently.

“We went fishing for a few hours on Sunday, and I landed a 15-pound striper while Larry Nelson caught a 9-pound bass while using whole herring,” said Captain Jonathan Smith of the Happy Hooker. “We fished above the Benicia Bridge at 30 feet deep.

“On Monday, my father, Chris, and I went out for a couple of hours and landed two stripers to 12 pounds. We also released an oversized sturgeon," he added. "We hooked the sturgeon on grass shrimp and eel and the stripers on herring." Information:(510) 223-5388.