All posts by Chris Cocoles

A California Rockfish’s Remarkable Journey

By Andy Walgamott, on March 6th, 2014

Call it the OR7 of groundfish.

Though the species isn’t exactly known to be finloose like highly migratory Chinook and albacore (or footloose as a certain GPS-collared wolf), a black rockfish tagged off Monterey last summer was hooked this past weekend up near Newport, Ore. – a 600-mile swim.



An angler aboard Yaquina Bay Charter‘s boat the Gracie K hauled in the fish, which bore a tag from the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.

After it was reported, the charter office posted that it received this message from CCFRP:

“Your fish was tagged and released in the Point Lobos reference site, was at liberty for 194 days, and moved approximately 606 miles (net distance traveled). This makes your Black Rockfish the new record for distance travelled by a CCFRP tagged fish!”

An official at the program told Northwest Sportsman that they’ve been tagging black rockfish since the mid-2000s to study their movement.

She said only four have shown longer movement, but nothing like this.

The species is hugely important to coastal sport fisheries and to better understand them both Northwestern states have been studying them.

Oregon biologists have also been tagging black rocks with tiny PIT tags since 2002. Fishing with volunteers out of Newport they’ve inserted around 30,000 of the devices. According to a webpage on the project, one out of every 100 fish brought back to the docks on Yaquina Bay by sport fishermen has a tag, about 2,500 or so black rockfish.

Up the coast 18 miles or so in Depoe Bay, Ore., however, only four of those fish have been recovered.

One angler who has participated in ODFW’s effort reports that many are caught within a cast or three of where they were tagged.

A WDFW study found that 75 percent of rockfish it tagged moved 6 miles or less, but 2 percent moved 60 miles or more. Maps show how far some went  from tagging locations off the Washington and north Oregon Coasts, with one swimming from roughly Neah Bay south to Newport, and one from the Cape Falcon, Ore., area turning up off Eureka.

Black rockfish were the stock that showed the most benefit from California’s marine protected area program, according to a 2013 article in the San Jose Mercury News, but the migratory nature of a few kinda makes you scratch your head about what that mysterious ol’ ocean is capable of.

CDFW Leadership To Speak At Fred Hall Show

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be conducting a special panel discussion on various fish and wildlife topics at the Fred Hall Show, which continues today through Sunday at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Here’s the DFG release:

Five members of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) top leadership will participate in a panel at this weekend’s Fred Hall Show at the Long Beach Convention Center.

They will be part of a panel discussion taking place Saturday, March 8 at noon at the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Stage. Director Charlton H. Bonham, Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries Dan Yparraguirre, Chief of Law Enforcement Michael Carion, Chief of Fisheries Stafford Lehr and Marine Region Manager Craig Shuman will answer questions from the public on a variety of fish and wildlife related topics. Pete Gray, host of Let’s Talk Hook Up, Southern California’s premiere fishing radio show, will moderate the panel.

CDFW will also have several booths at the show. CDFW staff will answer questions and all licenses, tags and report cards will be available for purchase. The new 2014 CDFW Warden Stamp will also be available ($5) to help fund the purchase of equipment for CDFW enforcement.

Show attendees can learn about becoming a wildlife officer at the law enforcement trailer on the patio of the Long Beach Convention Center. The trailer is full of beautiful fish and wildlife mounts and contains a free laser shot game. There’s also a fishing pond on the patio stocked with rainbow trout for kids to fish from the CDFW Fillmore Hatchery. An antique CFDW truck will also be on display.

Admission is $15 for adults and children under 16 and active military personnel are admitted free.

Don’t forget anyone with a ticket who attends the Fred Hall Show this weekend can sign up at the California Sportsman booth (space No. 317) and get a free one-year subscription to the magazine.


Fred Hall Show Subscription Special: One Year With Paid Admission

California Sportsman booth at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show. (BRIAN LULL)

California Sportsman booth at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show. (BRIAN LULL)

By Chris Cocoles

March Madness means more than just college basketball. In Southern California, the popular Fred Hall Shows – “The Ultimate Outdoor Experience” – debut on Wednesday with the Long Beach Convention Center show that runs through Sunday. California Sportsman is one of the key sponsors for the show this week, and anyone buying an admission ticket can also head to our booth at space No. 317 and sign up for a complimentary one-year subscription to California Sportsman.  Our magazine is your local fishing and hunting resource for California, and recent cover stories have included actors Joe Mantegna and Michael Rooker, and NASCAR star Kevin Harvick. Look for Major-League Baseball stars who hunt and fish to appear in upcoming issues. So if you’re headed to the Fred Hall Show, make sure to hit up our booth and get 12 free months of fishing and hunting tips, feature stories, gear reviews, outdoors news and personality profiles.





From Geese To Stripers


Here’s a report from versatile Northern California guide Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service:

The late-season goose hunt in the Valley was a blast! We shot geese all five days and did our part in managing the goose population one bird at a time… I am now gearing up to start striper fishing the Delta in mid-March! I still have some quality dates left for both river and Delta striper trips. Come spend a day catching some hard hitting, great eating fish. I spend a lot of time out in the field but I will get back to you as soon as I’m able. Call to book your trip now! Office: (530) 923-2634; cell: (530) 822-6314; email: 


Hollywood’s Tough Guy, Michael Rooker

Photo Courtesy of Michael Rooker

Photo Courtesy of Michael Rooker

By Chris Cocoles

Even if you don’t know recognize the name, Michael Rooker, I guarantee you if you’re a movie fan, you’ve seen him on the big and small screen. From Days of Thunder to The Walking DeadRooker personifies the go-to guy for rough around the edges character actors. Rooker is our cover story for our just released March issue of California Sportsman that’s now available. Here’s a sneak preview of Western Shooting editor Rachel Alexander’s Q&A with the likable and approachable Rooker:

C.S. What kind of guns do you shoot on The Walking Dead?

M.R. I carry a 1911 and M16 on the show. I have two knives. I shoot whatever is available.

 C.S. What are your favorite guns?

 M.R. Benelli is one of my favorites; I have a shotgun and love it. I have a 1911. I like those. I have a government Model 1911; they’re not usually that accurate. My gun is a single stack and a .45. If I were in a competition, then I’d have to shoot a 9mm. That sport is all about speed. I really want to shoot my old classic guns. But everyone warns me, “don’t shoot them, you’ll lose 50 percent of the value the first time you pull the trigger back.” They’re the most gorgeous guns, my single-action Colt .45.

 C.S. I hear you take cast mates out shooting to help train them for the role. What’s that like?

M.R. Whenever somebody needs help, I’m always game to take him or her out. I have a small number of places that I like to shoot. I usually take people to outdoor shooting ranges like Angeles Shooting Range in Los Angeles County, which is only two minutes from my house. 

 C.S. You are always flipping people off, but I understand it’s part of the F Word campaign to stop bullying. How did you get involved with that?

 M.R. They wanted to change a negative to a positive. They wanted to get a lot of celebrities, actors and high-profile folks in the entertainment business to join in and help these kids that get bullied a lot to understand that they can change that around. They don’t have to be the victim anymore. They can use the image of the finger – the bird – as a metaphor, as something positive to change attitudes towards that gesture.






Steelheading On The Trinity Peaking Now

Kirk Portocarrero of with this report on the Trinity River’s outstanding steelhead fishing: Fishing Update
Trinity River Steelhead – 9 pounds, 28 inches
Trinity River Fishing
  Hello Everyone,
Just wanted to give you an update on Northern California fishing for the month
of March.
For those of you that are wanting to steelhead fish, the Trinty River steelhead
run is now taking off now! We are getting rain we need, and it is helping this
winter steelhead run, look at these huge steelhead !
        (February 26, 2014- 12 pounds, 31 inches Trinity River Steelhead)
We will be fishing for the Trinity River for Steelhead until March 21st.
We are fly fishing and spin fishing for these steelhead, we can accommodate
any angler.
 REMEMBER:   We are also fly fishing the Sacramento River for
Rainbow trout daily. WE FISH EVERY DAY. 
                     Call us or email us today,  to reserve a day.
            1- 800-670 -4448           or
Thank you. Sincerely,
 Pro Guide & Outfitter Kirk Portocarrero

CDFW’s Youth Waterfowl Hunt A Success

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:


Wildlife Areas and National Wildlife Refuges are vital to the conservation of waterfowl and native marsh dwellers. (CDFW)


Junior hunters and their mentors lined up like flocks of ducks at 5 a.m. at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area check station waiting to sign in and go hunting on Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Feb. 1 and 2. Only hunters 15 years of age and under accompanied by a non-hunting, mentoring adult can hunt waterfowl on these dates.

By 6:30 a.m. they were scattered across the marshlands of Gray Lodge Wildlife Area ready to hunt. They averaged a little over four ducks each by day’s end.

Cory Macintyre took his 10-year-old son, Alex, and 12-year-old daughter, Kate, to Gray Lodge. The Macintyres recently took up hunting and are learning the skills of duck hunting on public lands. Alex shot a Gadwall duck banded in northeast Oregon in 2007. While Gadwall ducks are very common at Gray Lodge, harvesting a banded one is rare.

“This is our first full season of duck hunting and it is a blast but there is a lot to learn,” Cory Macintyre said. “I just hope there is water here next year so I can bring the kids. They are excited and we have a lot invested in shotguns, waders, camo clothes, decoys and shells.”

A successful hunt depends on habitat and in the case of wetlands that means water. Water was significantly limited this year and all irrigation deliveries to Gray Lodge ended in late December. As drought conditions took hold and no rain fell for longer than 50 days, wildlife managers had to make tough decisions on when and where to put water to maintain wetlands for wildlife.

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area’s 9,182 acres provide feeding and roosting habitat for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese throughout the migratory season, and nesting habitat for resident ducks during the spring and summer. With 95 percent of California’s historic wetland and riparian areas lost, Gray Lodge is vital to waterfowl and provides habitat to a vast array of native California species, both plant and animal.

“It was a real challenge this year to utilize our limited water resources,” said Andy Atkinson, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist. “Our efforts resulted in providing critical habitat for more than one million ducks and geese that stayed on and in the vicinity of the area for the vast majority of the season and resulted in excellent hunting and waterfowl viewing opportunities.”

Safety standards are of paramount consideration when establishing the number of young hunters accompanied by their mentors that can hunt on a wildlife area. Wildlife managers try to give mentored hunters more room to hunt by increasing the ratio of huntable acres per hunter. This spreads the mentored hunters out more, reduces competition and increases the likelihood of success.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days provide a unique opportunity for mentored hunts for young hunters. Statewide an estimated 20,000 out of 68,000 California waterfowl hunters purchased passes to state-operated hunting programs on wildlife areas and federal refuges in 2012.

Drought Emergency Ordered In San Diego Area

Our friends at the Helix Water District, who provide us regular reports on popular San Diego area fishery Lake Jennings released this news on a drought emergency order:


‘Drought Watch’ calls for voluntary conservation measures

By Ted Salois
HWD Public Affairs

Helix Water District announced its declaration of “Drought Level 1” at a regular meeting of the board of directors Wednesday in response to California Governor Gerry Brown’s recent declaration of a “Drought State of Emergency” and San Diego County Water Authority’s declaration of Drought Level 1 last week.

Drought Level 1 is a “Drought Watch” that calls for the public to voluntarily follow a list of conservation measures.  No mandatory restrictions are expected this year, as Southern California water agencies have made significant investments over the last decade to increase water storage to help the area withstand dry seasons.

See Drought Level 1 declaration notice.

Northern California is experiencing extreme conditions and additional Southern California conservation will help ease the strain on the entire state water industry.

During Drought Level 1, Helix customers are asked to:

1) Stop washing down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or patios, except when necessary to alleviate safety or sanitation hazards.

2) Stop water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, low head drainage, or overspray, etc. Similarly, stop water flows onto non-targeted areas, such as adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, hardscapes, roadways, or structures.

3) Irrigate residential and commercial landscape before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only. Consider limiting lawn watering and landscape irrigation using fixed spray sprinklers to no more than 10 minutes per day. Irrigation run-time should be adjusted to avoid runoff.

4) Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.

5) Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only. Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipment is used. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.

6) Use recirculated water to operate ornamental fountains.

7) Wash vehicles using a bucket and a hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system, or at a commercial site that reclaims water on-site. Avoid washing during hot conditions when additional water is required due to evaporation.

8) Serve & refill water in restaurants & other food service establishments only on request.

9) Offer guests in hotelsmotels, and other commercial lodging establishments the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.

10) Repair all water leaks within five days of notification by the Helix Water District unless other arrangements are made with the general manager.

These water conservation measures are per the District’s Drought Response Policy and Procedure, Section 4.9, adopted by Resolution 08-32 on July 16, 2008. for more information and for water savings tips.

Sharks Catching Sharks!

By Chris Cocoles

We profiled former San Jose Sharks hockey star – and avid outdoorsman – Owen Nolan a few issues ago. Nolan, who hosts a fishing and hunting TV show, has taken out many former and current hockey players on his outdoor adventures. And via his Twitter account, he provided this great photo of some of the current Sharks fishing for and catching – wait for it – a shark!

San Jose players Andrew Desjardins, Tommy Wingels, Joe Thornton (who, like Nolan, has already won an Olympic gold medal for Canada) and Raffi Torres took advantage of the NHL’s Olympic break while other NHLers participate in the Sochi Games by doing some fishing off the coast near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Here’s what they landed, per @OwenNolan11:

A few @SanJoseSharks put a real shark in the boat. @AndrewDesjardin @TommyWingels Big Joe & Raffi Torres #sharks
Embedded image permalink


The hockey players also landed and released a marlin (which Nolan’s Sportsman360 TV Facebook page had photos of), which probably didn’t resonate with hockey fans today as much as Team USA’s thrilling 3-2 shootout win over host Russia, a game featuring a key goal from the fishing Sharks’ teammate, Joe Pavelski. 

No word on whether or not Thornton, Desjardins, Torres and Wingels were sent to the penalty box for “hooking.”




S.F. Man Cited For Shark Fin Possession

Shark fin soup has become one of the most controversial food-related items due to the perceived inhumane treatment of sharks coveted for the Asian food delicacy. Action movie star Jackie Chan recently spoke out against the treatment of sharks that have had their fins cut while alive.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers revealed a citation for a San Francisco resident for possession of shark fins with the intent to sell.

Here’s the complete CDFW release:

Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently cited a San Francisco man for possession of shark fins for sale.

On Jan. 29, wildlife officers conducted a fish business inspection on Kwong Yip, Inc. out of San Francisco, and found what appeared to be shark fins for sale on the premises. It is unlawful to possess shark fin for sale in California. They cited the owner, Michael Kwong, age 42, of San Francisco for the violation. As part of the investigation, wildlife officers seized 2,138 lbs. of product believed to be shark fin. Ongoing analysis is required to verify that all of the seized product is actually shark fin.

Fish and Game Code (FGC) 2021, the law that prohibits possession of shark fin for sale, went into effect in 2011, but included a phase in period to allow restaurants and other businesses to sell off remaining stock. As of Jul. 1, 2013, no person may possess shark fin for sale.