All posts by Chris Cocoles

Ocean Salmon Season Off To A Great Start

Salty Lady Fishing photo

What struggles? 

California’s recreational salmon season, which opened late last month, is too a fantastic start around Bay Area waters. Check out this from NBC Bay Area:

Since the opening of the season between Point Arena and Pigeon Point on June 17, recreational skippers have reported packed boats with anglers catching limits of two fish apiece.

“Epic salmon fishing,” Davis said. “The best we’ve seen in a lotta, lotta years.” …

… Ecologists say recent measures by state hatchery managers to truck salmon smolts lower in the river systems to give them a better chance at survival during California’s drought are helping.

John McManus, director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, said some of the larger fish getting hauled in this year may be the result of those efforts in 2015.


This Bear Is Surely Having A Better Summer Than Many Of Us

As if our lives aren’t boring enough already, but when a bear is living the dream while we’re at work, it’s all over! But above is some video from an Altadena backyard hot tub session for this frockling bruin in Southern California. Here’s more from People: 

Earlier this week, Altadena, California, resident Mark Hough shared a video of a bear who’d hopped his fence and climbed down into his hot tub.

The bear was enjoying his time in the bubbles, but needed a little something extra. So he found a margarita Hough had left behind and downed it.

If this bear has taught us anything, it’s go for it this summer – just not in Mark’s or anyone else’s backyard hot tub who didn’t invite you.

Today Is Your Birthday, America

Photos by Chris Cocoles


Today is a day to relax,  throw some meat on the grill, drink a beer – or a soda – and to remember how Founding Fathers and never forget why we got here. Happy Fourth of July!

Fishing Crew Rescued Off Santa Cruz Coast

Harrowing moments over the weekend for a small fishing boat crew. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two fishermen off the Santa Cruz coast.  Here’s more from NBC Bay Area:

A jogger on the beach near Wilder Ranch State Park told the Coast Guard about 6:30 a.m. Sunday that two men were stranded on a rock off the coast there, and that the two men called out to that jogger for help.

The fishermen had gone out on their 27-foot fishing boat earlier in the morning, and the boat had struck an object in the water not far from the rocks onto which they reached by swimming, according to Coast Guard Cmdr. Tim List, a Sector San Francisco search and rescue mission coordinator.

Coast Guard search-and-rescue teams brought the fishermen to safety.

Wildlife Forever Introduces New Program To Map Invasive Species

A New National Effort to Increase Citizen Science Capacity to Map Invasive Species in America’s Wild Places.

White Bear Lake, MN – In partnership with the University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, USDA Forest Service, and other organizations across the United States, Wildlife Forever has launched a nationwide citizen science volunteer capacity-building program called Wild Spotter.  Designed to help locate and map aquatic and terrestrial invasive species in Wilderness Areas, Wild & Scenic Rivers, and other wild places across the 193 million-acre National Forest System,

Press Release Image 300x300lf2 4this new program engages and empowers the public, local communities, states, tribes, and many other groups to help the Forest Service confront the threats from harmful exotic plants, animals, and pathogens that invade America’s beautiful and economically important wild places.  The Wild Spotter program provides the tools these volunteers need to help locate, quantify, map, and report invasive species infestations in a simple and effective manner, while raising public awareness about invasive species and promoting collaborations across the landscape.

“We started the collaboration with these great partners to design and build the Wild Spotter program to expand citizen science volunteer capacity on 12 pilot National Forests and Grasslands distributed from East to West across the U.S., primarily to gather important occurrence data on invasive species and how they are impacting Wilderness Areas, Wild & Scenic Rivers, and other Natural Areas”, said Mike Ielmini, National Invasive Species Program Manager in the USDA Forest Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The first set of National Forest System units participating in the Wild Spotter program, includes the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest (Idaho), Lincoln National Forest (New Mexico), Santa Fe National Forest (New Mexico), Bridger-Teton National Forest (Wyoming), Payette National Forest (Idaho), Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (Oregon), Siuslaw National Forest (Oregon), Ozark-St. Francis National Forest (Arkansas), Daniel Boone National Forest (Kentucky), Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (Wisconsin), Monongahela National Forest (West Virginia), and Shawnee National Forest (Illinois).  Additional National Forests and Grasslands and other wild places across America will be added annually.“As many new partners and groups scrambled to join this effort, and the demand increased for more places to be added to the Wild Spotter effort, we quickly realized the potential this program had to rapidly accelerate citizen-science support nationwide to address the invasive species threat, not just for National Forest Wilderness Areas and other wild places, but across the entire landscape. We have designed the program to benefit everyone across the landscape and boost citizen science capacity while raising public awareness and action”, Ielmini added.

The elements within the Wild Spotter program provide adaptable tools and technologies for engaging a diverse array of public stakeholders and user groups, including natural resource agencies looking for community engagement opportunities. Utilizing a targeted list of “most wanted” species, volunteers receive information and support to get started as a Wild Spotter volunteer; all free.  Once a Wild Spotter volunteer identifies and reports a species, the data is verified by experts and then made publically available through a networked invasive species inventory database hosted by the University of Georgia.

“The invasive species identification and mapping technology of Wild Spotter is based on the national Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System – EDDMapS for short”, said Chuck Bargeron, Associate Director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, and one of the principal partners working with the Forest Service on the project.  Bargeron noted that by using EDDMapS as a platform for the Wild Spotter program, it allows everyone to help locate, quantify, and map invasions anywhere in the country.

“We are very proud that Wild Spotter is expanding citizen science volunteer capacity against invasive species by capitalizing on the outdoor activities of millions of people who are already enjoying some of the most beautiful places in America, to help us gather information on the locations of these harmful exotic invaders in any ecosystem.  Like the idea of ‘see-something, say-something’ the Wild Spotter greatly enhances the early detection and rapid response capabilities of agencies like the Forest Service”, said Bargeron.  “Mapping, quantifying, and reporting new infestations early helps our biologists and other land managers to implement better strategies for prevention, control, and eradication”, said Allen Rowley, Director of the Forest Management, Rangeland Management, and Vegetation Ecology Units for the Forest Service in Washington, D.C.

Invasive species threaten access, productivity, and ecosystem health to millions of acres of public and private lands and waters.  Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas, Wild & Scenic Rivers, and other natural areas are extremely vulnerable to invasion, and represent some of America’s best intact landscapes that must be maintained in their natural state for native plants and animals to flourish. “The Wild Spotter program expands our ability to accomplish mandated Wilderness stewardship responsibilities against invasive species, with the help of the public, and ultimately protect these wild places from the associated degrading effects of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species.  This is especially exciting to launch the Wild Spotter program in the same year as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act”, said Sue Spear, Director of the USDA Forest Service’s Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Resources.

Wild Spotter utilizes a free mobile mapping app for Apple and Android devices including a comprehensive website that boosts volunteer capacity and training to help increase capacity.  “This program has tremendous appeal and ability to engage citizen scientist volunteers, friends’ groups and the entire conservation community into taking action against America’s greatest threat to our public lands – invasive species”, said Pat Conzemius, Executive Vice President for Wildlife Forever, “and don’t forget to check out the new Wild Spotter Facebook page.”, Conzemius added.

If you want to become a Wild Spotter or learn more about the program, visit the website:  Like us on Facebook.  Join the effort to Map Invasives in America’s Wil

Canoeist Off Oceanside Gets A Love Tap From A Shark

Canoeist Julie Wolfe experienced a little too much of the Pacific Ocean’s natural environment when her boat was bitten by a shark.

Here’s San Diego’s ABC 10 News with more, including an interview with Wolfe:

“I wasn’t sure if it was chasing me, so I was paddling real fast. And then about a minute into my paddle, I felt a tug,” she said. “I felt it tug on my paddle, and that’s when I screamed like a little girl, aaaahhh!!”

Despite her canoe taking on water, Wolfe was able to make it back to shore.

Wolfe was unable to see the shark due to the nature of the attack, but after talking with an expert at the Shark Research Institute, Wolfe learned it was an 11-12 foot great white shark that bit her canoe. 

Wolfe said that the expert told her she was likely in the shark’s feeding area and it just wanted her gone.

Wolfe deadpanned to the station that she had no problem getting out of the way. Glad she’s OK.

Fox 5 in San Diego also had a report:

Makes Plans Now For California’s July 7 ‘Free Fishing Day’

CDFW photo

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

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is encouraging all Californians to give fishing a try for free on July 7 and Sept. 1, 2018.

CDFW annually offers two Free Fishing Days, typically around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. On these two designated days, people can fish without having to buy a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days also provide an easy opportunity for licensed anglers to introduce non-angling friends and children to fishing and the outdoors.

“Free fishing days provide endless opportunities to enjoy California’s wild places with family and friends,” said Charlton H. Bonham, director of CDFW. “Whether catching a trout in a mountain stream or simply enjoying a spectacular sunset, you’ll never regret time spent fishing.”

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements and fishing hours and stream closures, remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, or spiny lobster anywhere in the state, or for salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

Anglers residing in urban areas also have opportunities to fish close to home. Some CDFW regions also offer Fishing in the City, a program that allows children to learn to fish in major metropolitan areas. For more information on the Fishing in the City program, please visit

All anglers should also check the rules and regulations at for the waters they plan to fish because wildlife officers will be on duty to enforce them. In addition, information on fish planting is available at and a fishing guide can be viewed at

For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit

Central Calfornian Ish Monroe Wins Bassmaster Event

Ish Monroe, who hails from Hughson in Stanislaus County, won last weekend’s Bassmaster Elite event on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisc.

Here’s Monroe himself via B.A.S.S:

So, when I say that every win means more than the last one I’m saying that they are harder to come by and so I treasure them more. There’s more pride in winning against the best. It’s a feeling that isn’t like anything else I’ve ever experienced.

That feeling came over me on Saturday night after I weighed in a 17 pound sack. I knew I could put a winning bag together on Sunday if things held for me. But I also knew that anything could happen and that if I faltered, even a little bit, I wouldn’t win.  …

This win is as good as it gets. I can only imagine what it’ll be like to get another one in the future that’ll feel even better!

Here’s the release from one of Monroe’s sponsors, Maxima:

The water rose about the same speed as Monroe climbed the leader board. After an unexpected and highly frustrating boat grounding, attempting to navigate far back into the shallow back channels on day 1, Maxima Pro Staffer, Ish Monroe, converted the mishap into opportunity. Unable to reach his chosen destination, which he knew held the key to winning, Ish allowed patience to prevail. Every day he forged further into the back channels throwing frogs and topwater baits. He went from 20th, to 6th, to 3rd to the podium for the win on the final day. With a 4-day total of 65-07, he weighed nearly a pound more than the runner-up. Ish choose to cast 65-pound, Maxima Braid 8 for its durability and strength.

Dead wild pig with hunting rifle resting on it

New Bill Would Provide More Opportunities To Hunt California Hogs

Wild pigs in a green field


California’s year-round pig hunting opprtunities just might beome even more available to sportsmen and -women, says this Sacramento Bee report from Ryan Sabalow.

Wild pigs are considered invasive species, and per Sabalow, have created quite a mess with many in the Golden State. With much of the hunting chances for hogs on private land, a new assembly bill appears to allow more hunters to score a pig and allow farmers fed up with pesky wild hogs to help eradicate a species that habitate in nearly every county in the state.  Here’s more from the Bee’s Sabalow:

Cremers is advocating for Assembly Bill 2805, authored by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-Madera, which would change the status of California’s wild pigs from a game species regulated similar to deer, elk and bear to a new category.

The change would allow farmers to kill pigs without a hunting license or what’s known as “depredation permits” — what the state’s wildlife agency normally issues when game animals damage property.

Bigelow’s bill “helps streamline the process to make sure it’s easier to try to deal with this nuisance,” said Tyler Blagg, whose family ranches several thousand acres in Nevada County on land that he says is overrun with feral hogs. Due to safety and other concerns, Blagg’s family does not allow recreational hunters on their lands.

Farmers like Blagg long have chafed at needing special permission from the state to kill a nonnative species they consider a pest, and they say recreational hunting alone does little to decrease the numbers.

It’s a really interesting read, including the idea that part of the new plan would see significant lower costs for hunters to have the proper documents to harvest hogs.





Truckee River Gets A Transplant Of Native Lahontan Cutthroat

Photo by Dan Hottle/USFWS

The following press release is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 

Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, are on track to stock more than 50,000 native Lahontan cutthroat trout into the mainstem Truckee River and in Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, Nevada, this year.

A Lahontan National Fish Hatchery stocking truck pulls into Verdi Pond in Verdi, Nevada, in preparation to stock thousands of native Lahontan cutthroat trout. The stocking is done each year in the Truckee River system. Credit: Dan Hottle/USFWS

The stocking is part of an ongoing effort to increase recreational fishing opportunities and to provide public awareness of decades worth of conservation efforts for the famed “monster trout.”

The Lahontan cutthroat is the state fish of Nevada. The prehistoric-era lacustrine, or lake-dwelling, form of the species resides in Nevada’s Pyramid Lake, the Truckee River and Tahoe Basin. It was conserved and raised from a broodstock at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery in Gardnerville.

Over the past 20 years, the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex, where the fish are raised, has expanded partnerships with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the state of California to help raise this unique population of Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Every year, tens of thousands of fish are stocked in the Truckee River Basin, so anglers from all over the world can experience the thrill of catching a unique native species.

Reno, Nevada resident Benjamin Harris and his son watch as hundreds of yearling Lahontan cutthroat trout are released into Rock Park in Reno in May. Credit: USFWS

Benjamin Harris, a Reno resident, and his son were lucky enough to witness a recent stocking on the city’s north side Rock Park in late May.

“My son and I had a great time watching these incredible fish being moved from the big hatchery truck into the river,” said Harris. “We appreciate the opportunity the biologists gave us that day to learn more about the Lahontan cutthroat and all the hard work that’s gone into conserving it. My son and I made a lot of great new fishing memories.”

Stocked fish are 8-10-inch catchable yearlings that are transported by truck from the hatchery to ponds and stream locations and released at different points along the 120-mile length of the river system between Pyramid Lake and California’s Lake Tahoe.

A total of 14 locations are being stocked with roughly 40,000 destined for the Truckee River and nearly 12,000 headed for local angling ponds in Verdi and Reno.

A juvenile Lahontan cutthroat trout at Lahontan National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS

“The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex is excited about the ongoing opportunity to collaborate with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to provide native Lahontan cutthroat trout to recreational anglers in the area,” said Lisa Heki, the complex’s project leader. “The re-establishment of this beautiful, unique trout back in its Truckee River home is the result of decades worth of work from our dedicated tribal, state and federal fish biologists who are proud to continue to make the Truckee Basin a world-class native fishing destination.”

Stocking will continue into mid-July, and the hatchery crew hopes to release up to 50,000 new cutthroat before the season winds down.

Fisheries biologists encourage members of the public to visit the Truckee River for a chance to catch a world-class, native trout.

Biologist Erik Horgen releases Lahontan cutthroat trout into Nevada’s Pyramid Lake. Credit: USFWS