All posts by Chris Cocoles

Sac Bee On California’s Striped Bass Issues

Having enjoyed one of the best days I’ve ever had on the water a couple years ago on the Feather River, I’ll always have a special connection to striped bass fishing (and the guide/friend who made it even more special and will forever be in my memories).

So it’s difficult to see so many Golden State anglers having to defend the non-native striped bass that frequent Delta waters that some feel like are damaging the state’s shaky Chinook salmon runs. Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow wrote a great piece about the controversy. Here’s a little tidbit of Sabalow’s story:

Next month, the five-member California Fish and Game Commission could decide to remove a decades-old state policy that sought to dramatically increase the numbers of striped bass to benefit the fishing industry.

The vote comes after years of lobbying from farming groups and urban water associations that have sought to reduce the numbers of hungry striped bass to benefit salmon and smelt.

They argue that with fewer stripers eating endangered fish, regulators wouldn’t impose nearly as many restrictions on the massive Delta pumping stations that send farms and south state cities water. As it stands now, the pumps are often throttled back at key times of year to protect endangered fish. Farmers say the real predator is the striped bass, not their water pumps.

Needless to say, next month’s fish and game commission meeting will be heated.

 

Fishing Report Cards Due Jan. 31

The following is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that Jan. 31, 2020 is the due date for turning in steelhead, sturgeon and north coast salmon report card data.

Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.

Anglers are required to return their report cards even if they lost their report card, they did not fish or they did not catch any fish. Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy prior to submission.

There are two ways to meet the mandatory angler reporting requirement. Online reporting through the CDFW website is easy, fast and free, and includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted.

Sport fishing report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below:

North Coast Salmon Report Cards
CDFW – Klamath River Project
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521-9269

Steelhead Report Cards
CDFW – Steelhead Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Sturgeon Report Cards
CDFW – Sturgeon Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

The Jan. 31, 2020 deadline does not apply to spiny lobster report cards. Spiny lobster report cards are due by Apr. 30, 2020, following the last day of spiny lobster season on March 18.

Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

CDFW Statement On Mountain Lion Incidents

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Willdife:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed testing on the carcass of a mountain lion killed at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County on Jan. 20, and has determined that the animal was the same one that injured a small child earlier that day.

On Monday, Jan. 20, in the late afternoon, officers responded to the park following reports of a three-year-old boy being attacked and injured by a mountain lion. After the animal reportedly grabbed the child by the neck, the boy’s father charged at it while shouting. The lion released the boy and assumed an aggressive posture. The father then threw a backpack at the animal. The lion then climbed a nearby tree, carrying the backpack in its mouth.

Before wildlife officers could reach the park, Orange County sheriff’s personnel and Orange County park rangers located the lion thought responsible for the attack. After consultation with CDFW, a sheriff’s deputy then killed the animal, since it was a clear threat to public safety.

The mountain lion was taken to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for DNA testing. After comparing DNA on the victim’s clothing to DNA taken from the animal carcass, wildlife forensic specialists confirmed the young 55 pound female lion killed in the park is the same lion that was involved in the attack.

A news conference was held Tuesday afternoon, at which the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Parks and CDFW were present. CDFW Captain Patrick Foy praised the father of the young victim for how he responded in protecting his son. The boy was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and was able to return home the same day.

Foy said CDFW estimates there are between four and six thousand mountain lions in California. Typically, lions avoid contact with humans, and attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, when a lion attack is confirmed, public safety becomes the top priority.

“Under some extremely rare and unfortunate circumstances, it sometimes becomes necessary to take a dangerous animal like this,” Foy said.

More than half of California is considered mountain lion habitat. For more information on how to better coexist with mountain lions and other wildlife, please visit keepmewild.org.

Mountain Lion That Injured Young Boy In SoCal Euthanized

Here’s more from KTLA: 

The young victim was hospitalized in stable condition following the attack, which was reported just after 4:15 p.m. at the park, which is along Glenn Ranch Road, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito.

The lion grabbed the child by the neck during the attack, Bommarito said. Authorities evacuated the park as they sought the lion, which was seen on a tree with a backpack in its mouth.

Responding deputies were told that after the mountain lion grabbed the child, the father threw a backpack at it and it let go of the child, Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.

 

Coho Numbers Struggling In Marin County Creeks

 

The San Francisco Chronicle has a report on some discouraging news about coho salmon returning in Marin County. Here’s reporter Ron Fimrite:

Fewer than 90 coho have made their way up meandering, forested Lagunitas Creek and laid eggs on the northwest side of Mount Tamalpais, one of California’s last great strongholds for embattled wild salmon that have never mingled with hatchery-bred fish.

It is among the worst showings of the cold-water-loving coho in nearly a quarter century, and researchers are trying to figure out what went wrong.

“We’ve been collecting this data for 24 years, and this is likely to be the second-lowest count we’ve seen in that time,” said Eric Ettlinger, the aquatic ecologist for the Marin Municipal Water District, one of four agencies that conduct the annual spawning surveys. “It’s quite bad.”

Coastal Conservation Association Will Offer Special Deals At Fred Hall Shows

Photos by CCA CAL

The following press release is courtesy of the Coastal Conservation Association of California:

CCA CAL Announces Annual Fred Hall Show Package
SAN DIEGO — The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA CAL) is once again offering the Fred Hall Show package for current and new members at both the Long Beach and Del Mar shows. Those who take advantage of the CCA CAL Fred Hall Show Package will receive:

1. 1-year membership or renewal to CCA
2. Entry into a special hourly drawing for fishing tackle, tactical gear, clothing and much more!
3. 2 tickets for a daily drawing for a 1-week Costa Rica stay at Casa Nosara (plus 2.5 hours of fishing
with Fishing Nosara).
4. New reusable CCA CAL tote bag with goodies inside
5. New design CCA CAL T-Shirt (limited to stock on hand)
6. Entry to the Fred Hall Show
That’s over $120 of value for just $50!

The show special is only available for purchase at the CCA CAL booth outside of both the Long Beach and Del Mar Fred Hall Shows. The Long Beach Show is March 4th-8th, and Del Mar is March 26th-29th.
The winning numbers for the hourly drawing will be posted at the CCA CAL inside booth every hour and can be checked throughout the day. Winners must come to the booth to show their winning number and select their prize by the end of each day of the show. Must be present to win, and limited to 1 sticker per member. All
current CCA CAL life members can receive entry to the hourly drawing for $25.
Any new member who signs up, or current member who renews their membership at our inside booth, will also receive 3 tickets into our daily drawing for a 1-week stay in Costa Rica! Anyone who signs up as a life member for CCA will receive either a pair of Costa Sunglasses (limited to stock on hand), or 50 raffle tickets
for the 1-week stay in Costa Rica. For more information about CCA CAL, please visit http://www.ccacalifornia.org/

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The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA CAL) was created in 2015 when recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts grouped together to work for the conservation and enhancement of our marine resources and coastal environments.
Today, we are working to protect not only the health, habitat and sustainability of our marine resources, but also the interests of recreational saltwater anglers and their access to the resources they cherish and use on a daily basis. CCA CAL currently consists of 2,500 members spread across 6 local chapters in Southern California, and is working to expand in Central and Northern California.

Duck Season Extended To Jan. 31 In Multiple Zones

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

California’s 2019-20 duck season will be extended five additional days this season, closing on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at the end of legal shooting hours in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin and Southern California zones that cover most of the state.

The California Fish and Game Commission last April unanimously approved Jan. 31, 2020, as the duck season end date for the three zones as opposed to the traditional closure the last Sunday in January. The five additional days are intended to provide more hunter opportunity at the end of the season when waterfowl hunting is often at its best.

The extended season maximizes duck hunting opportunity while staying within the federal waterfowl management regulatory framework. It also provides incentive to keep managed wetlands flooded for just a bit longer to the benefit of waterfowl and a host of other wetland species.

State-operated wildlife areas will be open for hunting on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, to accommodate the extended season.

The extension does not include goose hunting in the Balance of State Zone, which means the regular season for dark and white geese will close Sunday, Jan. 26, at the end of legal shooting hours. The waterfowl season in the Southern San Joaquin and Southern California zones will extend to Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, for both ducks and geese. A map of California’s waterfowl zones is available on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website.

A late season goose hunt for white-fronted and white geese will open Saturday, Feb. 8 in the Balance of State Zone and extend for five days, ending Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, except in the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area where the white-fronted goose season will remain closed.

California’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days, open to those possessing a valid Junior Hunting License and Harvest Information Program validation, will take place Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones.

Several – but not all – state-operated wildlife areas will be open to accommodate youth hunters that weekend. Federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. A Federal Duck Stamp or E-Stamp is required for hunters 16 years of age and older. Daily bag and possession limits apply along with all other waterfowl regulations for the 2019-20 waterfowl season. The regulations are available on CDFW’s Waterfowl Hunting webpage.

Mountain Lions Hang Out Together In Crazy Video Footage

Fascinating video out of Jackson in the Gold Country of the Sierra foothills and reported by the Associated Press:

“We shared the videos and photos with several of our wildlife biologists, and none of them could recall ever seeing five mountain lions together,” said Peter Tira, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Here’s video of the cougar congestion:

NWF: HOUSE SHOULD APPROVE HUNTING/FISHING BILL

The folliowing is courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2020) — The U.S. House of Representatives should swiftly pass the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, following the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage today of the bipartisan bill, which includes multiple hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation priorities. The bill, introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), would be another significant win for wildlife and sportsmen and sportswomen nationwide.

“At a time when one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction and lawmakers struggle to agree on anything, the Senate is again showing that conservation can bring our leaders together to achieve real progress — and we thank Chair Barrasso and Senator Carper for their incredible leadership. The House should follow suit and pass these common-sense, bipartisan investments to restore wildlife populations and conserve our outdoor heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The ACE Act confronts systemic challenges facing wildlife by restoring essential wildlife habitat like wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay, fighting Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk, and removing invasive species. While we still have much more work to do, this is an important victory for bipartisan solutions that the House should swiftly affirm.

“This bill’s passage is a testament to its bipartisan co-sponsors — Senators John Boozman, Ben Cardin, Kevin Cramer, Tammy Duckworth, James Inhofe, Shelley Moore Capito and Chris Van Hollen — as well as the leadership of lawmakers like Senator Martin Heinrich.”

The ACE Act will:

  • Establish a Chronic Wasting Disease task force to develop an interstate action plan for state and federal cooperation relating to the disease;
  • Commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the pathways and mechanisms of the transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease in the United States;
  • Reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act until 2025;
  • Encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation;
  • Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2025;
  • Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program until 2025;
  • Reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2025;
  • Establish a program to provide grants to states and Indian tribes to compensate livestock producers for losses due to predation by federally protected species such as wolves or grizzly bears; and,
  • Establish a Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for technological innovation to reduce human-predator conflict using non-lethal means.

Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.

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The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Three-Time Winner For California Upland Bird Stamp Contest

 

The following is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

A painting of a ruffed grouse has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2019-2020 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind.

Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the annual contest determined the official design for this year’s California Upland Game Bird Stamp. Klinefelter also captured the top spots in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contests, as well as the 2009-10 California Duck Stamp Contest.

Artists submitted an original depiction of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). These medium-bodied forest dwellers are the only member of the genus Bonasa, and have a range extending across North America. In California, they inhabit riparian and conifer forests in the northwestern portion of the state. Ruffed grouse have intricately barred or variegated plumage in shades of brown and gray, depending on environmental variables, with a conspicuous neck “ruff” and dark tail banding which they use to attract mates. Their most notable courtship ritual, however, is their “drum display” – a low-frequency booming sound created by beating their wings against their bodies.

Contest entries were judged recently by a panel of experts selected for their knowledge in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The judges praised the composition and fine detail of the painting, specifically noting the accuracy of the feathers. They cited the excellent coloration with “good barring on the belly and speckle on the back” that blends nicely with the autumnal aspen forest in the background. The panel also appreciated the in-flight depiction which allowed a full display of the grouse’s intricate plumage, something Klinefelter found challenging yet rewarding.

“Ruffed grouse are agile fliers and I thought painting them in flight would make a good picture,” he said. “The plumage blends well with the background – they have cryptic coloration.” He went on to say that while he has only seen ruffed grouse in captivity, he enjoyed imagining them in their native California habitat.

Broderick Crawford of Clayton, Ga., placed second. Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minn., placed third. Buck Spencer of Junction City, Ore. received honorable mention.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW’s Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request. Monies generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, and outreach and education. CDFW annually sells about 170,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 17,000 stamps.

Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.