Newsom: Recreational fishing won’t be shuttered completely

By: By Debra Kahn

Gov. Gavin Newsom today assured anxious recreational anglers that sport fishing season would only be delayed this year due to the coronavirus, not canceled outright.

State regulators are weighing whether to suspend, restrict or delay recreational fishing to maintain social distancing requirements at marinas, launch ramps and other locations. Newsom said he has heard from officials in rural counties who are worried their streams would be inundated with sport fishers and said decisions would be made on a county-by-county basis. “I am getting inundated by people that are concerned that we’ve canceled the fishing season,” he said in his daily press conference in Sacramento. “That is not the case. We are not canceling the fishing season in this state of California, we just want to delay.” 

The state Fish and Game Commission tried to have a phone meeting today to consider giving the Department of Fish and Wildlife the authority to restrict sport fishing due to the coronavirus. Hundreds of people called into the meeting and didn’t mute their phones, disrupting the proceedings, one observer said. “I would characterize it as chaotic,” said John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association. “It certainly didn’t allow the commission to meet.”

Washington state has shuttered its sport fisheries through May 4, while Oregon’s season is still largely open except on the Columbia River, which it shares with Washington.