Fishermen say salmon season the best in years

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Fishermen are calling this year's salmon season the best they have seen in years. After years of drought, they say the recent rains have really helped improve the crop.

"We had five years of drought, we didn't catch any fish then. It's been tough for the fleet and the buyers and everybody because fish has been real expensive," said Larry Collins, President of the San Francisco Community Fisherman's Association.

"The salmon rebounded this year and man they are here and they are beautiful fish. I've eaten it 3 or 4 times and it is delicious," Collins added.

Russell Miller was fishing off the coast of Eureka, but came to San Francisco when he heard about the success fishermen were having here. He came into the docks Friday morning with more than 200 fishes.

"A lot of years we averaged 50 fish. When there's some around we feel fortunate if we catch over 100 or so," said Miller, who caught 220 on this trip. He plans to stay here and keep fishing until July 1, when he says state regulators will enforce a 10 day long break.

"It looks like the industry is healthy enough for the next few years," he said.

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There was a line of boats waiting at the docks Friday morning to unload. It looks like word has spread that this is the place to be.

"We are catching fish like we haven't caught in at least 10 years. The boats are all coming in with a couple hundred fish. Everyone is telling me the ocean is loaded with fish," Collins said.

A big supply is good for prices. Whole Foods Market on California Street said king salmon is on sale right now for $22.99 per pound.

The fishermen we spoke to are concerned that buyers got out of the habit over the years of taking fresh salmon home because of the price or lack of availability. They hope consumers will head to the market and grab some fresh salmon for their summer BBQs.

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