Northern CA Freshwater

Nimbus Basin permanently closed to fishing

BY ANDY MARTIN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 07, 2018

SACRAMENTO — Anglers are reacting to the closure of Nimbus Basin on the lower American River to all fishing.

The California Fish and Game Commission voted in December to permanently close all fishing on the American from Nimbus Dam to the USGS gauge station cable crossing one-half mile downriver. The closure went into effect March 1.

Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle said he has heard from anglers for and against the closure. Some are not happy, he said, but there are plenty of anglers who don’t have a problem with the closure, since the basin has long been a popular spot for people to floss or snag salmon.

“The average fisherman really doesn’t care if the basin closes,” Barnes said. “There is plenty of good water to driftboat and salmon fish. There is plenty of good water to driftfish. Some people are used to having a bathtub to fish in where the fish can’t go anywhere. I am looking forward to people having to learn how to fish.”

One consequence of the closure could be added pressure in areas that remain open, Barnes said. There will still be people fishing, and now that effort will shift from Sailor Bar downstream. Prime areas to catch salmon with roe or spinners, steelhead with nightcrawlers and Corkies, and shad with small grubs or flies are still open, Barnes said.

DFW officials said the closure of Nimbus Basin to fishing is needed because of the re-orienting of the Nimbus Hatchery fish ladder into the Nimbus Basin. The existing fish weir will be removed as part of a fish passage project on the American River.

The change will minimize flow fluctuations on the American River.

An environmental impact study was completed in 2011. Construction of the modified fish ladder begins in 2019, although the closure is now in effect.

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