SACRAMENTO -- The California Fish and Game Commission will consider Wednesday whether to broaden a recent ban on fishing in many of the state's coastal rivers and streams in order to protect threatened steelhead and endangered coho salmon.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week it had closed dozens of creeks and rivers from Big Sur to Crescent City to anglers in response to a historic drought. It also recommended that the commission expand the ban to include other waters and extend the stoppages through the end of April.
The closures are already unprecedented, said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jordan Traverso.
"To the best of our knowledge," she said, "this is the first time the department has taken this kind of emergency action."
Some of the department's low-flow closures on the north coast -- affecting several rivers, including the Eel and Mattole -- expired Jan. 31. The commission has been asked to reinstate the bans through April 30. Other areas remain closed, including numerous San Mateo and Santa Cruz county creeks, but the proscriptions will last only until March 7 without an extension by the commission.
Commissioners will also be asked to close most of the Russian River and a portion of the American River to fishing through April 30, along with the portions of all coastal streams west of any Highway 1 bridge.