Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Wildlife Conservation Board Approves $33.1 Million In Grants

The Feather River is one of several projects to be funded. (CHRIS COCOLES)

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

At a March 22 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.1 million in grants for 22 projects to enhance stream flows to benefit fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The Legislature appropriated funding for these projects as authorized by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). A total of $200 million was allocated to the WCB for projects that enhance stream flow.

A total of $38.4 million—including $5 million designated for scoping and scientific projects—was allocated to the WCB for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2017/18 for the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program. Projects were chosen through a competitive grant process, judged by the WCB, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board. Guided by the California Water Action Plan, funding is focused on projects that will lead to direct and measurable enhancements to the amount, timing and/or quality of water for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funded projects include:

  • A $4.8 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a project to enhance stream flow on Russ Creek by reestablishing channel alignment to provide continuous summer base flows suitable for fish passage. The project is located on the southern portion of the Eel River Estuary Preserve in Humboldt County, approximately four miles west of Ferndale.
  • A $693,408 grant to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District for the purpose of dedicating a portion of the District’s diversion water rights to instream flow use that will benefit fish and wildlife by increasing habitat for salmonids and special status species in the Mad River. The project is located on the main-stem Mad River in the Mad River Watershed with releases coming from Matthews Dam at Ruth Reservoir, approximately 48 miles southeast of Eureka and 53 miles southwest of Redding.
  • A $726,374 grant to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce summer diversions and improve dry season stream flows for the benefit of Coho salmon and steelhead trout. The Navarro River watershed is located approximately 20 miles south of Fort Bragg.
  • A $5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the Department of Water Resources and CDFW, to improve roughly 7,500 linear feet of existing channels to connect isolated ponds. This will provide fish refuge and eliminate potential stranding. This project’s design was funded by the Stream Flow Enhancement Program in 2016. The project site is within the Sacramento River watershed and is less than one mile southwest of the town of Oroville, on the east side of the Feather River.
  • $609,970 grant to the University of California Regents for a cooperative project with the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute, to expand monitoring, scientific studies and modeling in the Tahoe-Truckee Basin. The results will guide watershed-scale forest thinning strategies that enhance stream flow within an area that provides critical habitat for threatened species. The project is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range, primarily on National Forest lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Tahoe National Forest.
  • A $851,806 grant to the Sonoma Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the Coast Ridge Community Forest and 29 landowners, to install rainwater harvesting tanks and enter into agreements to refrain from diverting stream flow during dry seasons. The project area consists of 29 properties within the coastal Gualala River, Russian Gulch and Austin Creek watersheds, which discharge to the Pacific Ocean approximately 40 miles northwest of Santa Rosa.
  • Alameda Creek in the Bay Area is getting a grant to create fish ladders for salmonoids coming in from San Francisco Bay. (Mercurywoodrose/Wikimedia)

  • A $5.3 million grant to the Alameda County Water District for a cooperative project with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, California Natural Resources Agency, State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify flow releases in Alameda Creek and construct two concrete fish ladders around existing fish passage barriers. This will provide salmonids access to high value habitat upstream of the project location, approximately 17 miles north of San Jose and 22 miles southeast of Oakland.
  • A $3.9 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with U.C. Santa Barbara and the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy to remove approximately 250 acres of the invasive giant reed (Arundo donax), which will save approximately 2,000 acre-feet of water annually for the Santa Clara River. The project is located in unincorporated Ventura County approximately two miles east of the city of Santa Paula and three miles west of the city of Fillmore, along the Santa Clara River.

Details about the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program are available on the WCB website.

Bass Anglers Are Getting Cranky


The following appears in the March issue of California Sportsman: 

Story And Photos By Mark Fong 

There is no doubt that black bass love to eat crawfish, but in the spring their appetite for these little freshwater crustaceans is at an all-time high. 

Crawfish are high in protein, making them a valuable food source for bass looking to develop their eggs and build their energy stores for the rigors of the upcoming spawn.

During the days when the water is cold, crawfish begin an extended period of inactivity. In late winter, rising water temperatures not only draw crawfish out of hibernation but trigger bass to begin their prespawn activity. This dynamic makes for some excellent bass fishing action for anglers who understand and can capitalize on this relationship.

The longer days and rising water temperatures signal prespawn bass to move into the shallows. At the same time, these fish start to feed less on shad and more so on crawfish. When this occurs, there is no better lure for imitating the movements of a crawfish than a crankbait.



Every spring, bass show up in predictable locations. Points, flats and small cut areas with rock are good places to begin your search. Because the water is cold, you want to work the crankbait slowly, making every effort to crawl the lure over the rocks. Make a long cast and use a slow, steady retrieve. When it makes contact with structure, pause the bait and then start reeling again; this can be a strong triggering mechanism. 

Keep in mind that the idea is to mimic a crawfish as it scurries along the bottom. Experiment with speed and cadence until you find the most productive retrieve.


There are lots of good crankbaits on the market. On my home waters in Northern California such as Berryessa and other lakes, I have had good results with the IMA Pinjack 200. It weighs in at 7/16 ounce, making it easy to cast, and at 2¼ inches it has a nice profile that matches the crawfish found in the region’s clear-water lakes. The Pinjack runs 6 to 8 feet deep and has a nice tight wiggle. I like to throw a red- or orange/red-colored bait this time of year. The hot craw and the delta fire craw patterns work extremely well during the spring. 

I’ll throw the Pinjack on a medium-heavy-action 7-foot, 3-inch Cousins Tackle FRB 733PT Glass Rod. I’ll then match it to a low-profile casting reel spooled with 10-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line.

Don’t miss the opportunity to get in on some great spring time bass fishing. Mimicking a crawfish with a crankbait is a good starting point. CS

No Contest Plea Entered In Monrovia Neighborhood Deer Case

Photo by Robyn and Chuck Tapert via KTLA

Last September, a Southern California man was accused of using a bow to shoot a deer right next to a residental neighborhood in Monrovia. At the time, Michael Jackson Rodriguez proclaimed his innocence in terms of hunting amid residential homes.

Rodriguez said he shot the deer earlier that day in deer hunting Zone D-11 above Monrovia but failed to kill the animal.

“I didn’t want it to suffer any more than it had to because of my bad shot,” he said. “It moved at the exact time I fired my arrow so I didn’t hit in the kill zone. I hit it high in the back of the spine area.”

Rodriguez said the wounded deer ran off and he was able to track it to the neighborhood in Monrovia Hills.

“I wasn’t up there to shoot an animal in a residential area,” Rodriguez insisted. “I was following up a wounded animal and trying to take him out so he wasn’t suffering any more.”

But last week Rodriguez entered a no-contest plea to unlawful taking of an amimal. The L.A. Times has more:

Michael Jackson Rodriguez entered his plea Tuesday to one misdemeanor count of possessing fish or wildlife taken unlawfully, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Under the negotiated plea deal, a judge sentenced Rodriguez to three years of summary probation and 30 days of community service.

Rodriguez must also surrender all hunting licenses and is prohibited from hunting while on probation. He also has to pay a $1,000 fine to the state Fish and Game Preservation fund and must also give up his seized property — which includes a bow, arrows and remains of the deer — to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to the prosecutor.

Rodriguez was accused of killing a deer with a bow and arrow in a Monrovia neighborhood on Sept. 14. It is illegal to shoot a deer or discharge a deadly weapon within 150 yards of a home.

Very Limited Ocean Salmon Season Opens On April 7

Chinook photo by CDFW

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

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 7 from Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border. The recreational salmon fishery will remain closed in all other areas off California during the month of April.

At its meeting this week in Rohnert Park, Calif., the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) made the decision to open only a limited section of the California coast on April 7. California’s recent drought combined with poor ocean conditions has resulted in three consecutive years of low abundance for Sacramento River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook, pushing both into “overfished” status.

“Fishing seasons are being curtailed this year in an effort to increase spawner escapement to the Sacramento and Klamath river basins in 2018,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist Kandice Morgenstern.

Where fishing is open in April, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. Additional season, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at

For the first time, state ocean salmon fishing regulations will automatically conform to federal ocean salmon fishing regulations using the new process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95. In the past, the California Fish and Game Commission needed to adopt the April season recommended by the PFMC. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the NMFS ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

Salmon seasons beginning on or after May 1 will be decided during the April 5-11 PFMC meeting in Portland, Ore. The PFMC is considering alternatives for California’s 2018 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates and size limits. The public is encouraged to comment at a hearing on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m.

, at the Laurel Inn and Conference Center, 801 West Laurel Drive in Salinas. Comments can also be submitted through the PFMC website at

NOAA On Saving Winter-Run Chinook

The following  is courtesy of NOAA West Coast Fisheries:

Biologists are capitalizing on a unique opportunity this year to “jump start” the recovery of Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon, one of the nation’s most critically endangered species.

These fish were once a thriving population running in the thousands every year from the Pacific Ocean, up the Sacramento River for hundreds of miles to cool, snow-fed streams like the Little Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers, and Battle Creek.

Since the building of dams and other river impediments, the abundance of winter-run has plummeted and now the single remaining population spawns only in the Lower Sacramento River below Keswick Dam. That spawning location is far below their historic habitat in a section of river exposed to summer heat, where their survival depends on temperatures artificially controlled by cold-water releases from Shasta Dam.

Winter-run juvenile Chinook salmon being prepared for release at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on March 2. Approximately 29,000 endangered winter-run were released that morning into the North Fork of Battle Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River where they once thrived. The fish are from the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery captive broodstock program. Photo: Steve Martarano, USFWS


Today, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon are listed as an endangered species under both federal and state law and were named one of NOAA Fisheries’ eight “Species in the Spotlight,” meaning they are among the nation’s most at-risk species of facing extinction and are in need of focused attention.

Fortunately, the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery below Shasta Dam has kept the salmon from going extinct by augmenting the wild population with offspring from the hatchery’s conservation supplementation program.

Winter-run juvenile Chinook salmon being prepared for release at Coleman National Fish Hatchery. Photo: Steve Martarano, USFWS


This year, not all of the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon from this program were required to supplement the natural spawning population below Keswick Dam. So they will instead be reintroduced into the North Fork of Battle Creek, where they once thrived. Recovery managers hope the 200,000 juvenile fish will expand the current range of the fish and help in its recovery.

“This is our attempt to ‘jump start’ the recovery of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon by expanding their range into a watershed that has undergone substantial habitat restoration over the past several years,” said Maria Rea, Assistant Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Central Valley Office. “We have been preparing a comprehensive plan for reintroduction of these fish, and we are excited that this opportunity to use the 2014 cohort of captive brood stock allows us to begin implementation this year.”

Preparing the tanker truck at Coleman National Fish Hatchery. Photo: Steve Martarano, USFWS

North Fork Battle Creek is historic habitat for Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners have improved habitat in the creek as part of a long-term restoration project for salmon and steelhead.  Since 1999, the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project has spent over $100 million to restore approximately 48 miles of prime salmon and steelhead habitat. Crews will release the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon into North Fork Battle Creek in groups throughout March and April.

USFWS’ Brad Carter begins releasing approximately 29,000 endangered winter-run juvenile Chinook salmon into the North Fork of Battle Creek. Photo: Laura Mahoney, USFWS


In August, after the fish hatched at the Livingston Stone Hatchery, they were immediately trucked to the Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek so the juveniles could imprint on the smell of the waterway in preparation for their return migration in 2020.

All of the juvenile salmon will be tagged and fin clipped prior to release, allowing fish biologists to track their survival, growth and ocean distribution, as well as to detect them when they return to Battle Creek.

The successful release of these fish is the culmination of many years of planning, cooperation, and tremendous efforts in rearing the fish and in restoring their habitat. It’s also an incredible milestone toward the recovery of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon.

“Maintaining these critically endangered fish outside of their historic range and below Shasta dam is not a sustainable strategy, especially considering the likelihood of more drought years,” said Rea. “We must work together to reintroduce these salmon to their historic habitat in Battle Creek and the McCloud River, if we are to recover them for future generations.”

READ MORE about recovering California’s salmon

Home Page photo: Laura Mahoney, USFWS

CDFW Says Many Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards Have Yet To Be Returned

CDFW Environmental Scientist Mike Harris holds a white sturgeon he just tagged in the Delta. (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 reminding sturgeon anglers to return their 2017 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards as required by law. Although the deadline to report their catch was Jan. 31, 2018, so far about 13,754 – or 31 percent – of the 44,374 report cards have been returned. Sport fishing regulations require that all sturgeon anglers return their report cards, even those who did not encounter sturgeon and who did not fish for white sturgeon.

“Anglers who return their report cards are providing very good data, helping to protect the white sturgeon fishery, and helping to rebuild the populations of white sturgeon and threatened green sturgeon,” said Marty Gingras, CDFW Sturgeon Program Manager. “This is especially important given the years of drought that harmed recent sturgeon reproduction.”

California’s white sturgeon and green sturgeon are anadromous, meaning they move from the ocean or brackish water to spawn in freshwater. Because their populations were reduced by commercial fishing in the 19th century, sturgeon fisheries were mostly closed from 1901 through 1953. Since 1954, recreational fishing for white sturgeon has been allowed, and the fishery continues to be restricted in an effort to rebuild it. Green sturgeon is a federally listed threatened species and may not be fished for or harvested.

Anglers can return their overdue report cards by mail to the address printed on the card or – until April 1, 2018 — they can report online at the CDFW website at

Coyote Attack On Cal State L.A. Campus




A coyote bit a 5-year-old boy on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, leading to a pursuit of the animal and shots fired on Thursday night. 

Here’s CBS2 in Los Angeles (which also posted the video above):

The shooting happened around 8:15 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Dept. said. LAPD is assisting in the investigation.

A 5-year-old boy who was walking on the campus with his mother was bitten by a coyote around 6:40 p.m.

A short time later, what’s believed to be the same coyote made an aggressive move towards a female student, who then reported it to police.

Officers said the coyote was hit but ran off.

The good news was the boy who was bit will be OK, but despite the mostly urban setting of the campus located near the intersection of the 710 and 10 freeways east of downtown, there could be more animals on campus.


Happy 115th Birthday, USFWS Refuge System

Klamath Basin Refuges photo by USFWS




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

Refuge System Marks 115 Proud Years

Snow Geese Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Snow geese take flight at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.  Photo: Benjamin Hoffman

Get outdoors and celebrate your wildlife heritage. On Wednesday, March 14, the National Wildlife Refuge System marks its 115th anniversary.

National wildlife refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protect thousands of species and provide access to world-class recreation, from fishing and hunting to wildlife watching and nature photography.

President Teddy Roosevelt created the first wildlife refuge on March 14, 1903, when he protected brown pelicans at Pelican Island, Florida, from slaughter by market hunters.

Today’s Refuge System includes 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts, and covers about 150 million acres of land. The Refuge System also includes five marine national monuments. There’s at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

By providing hard-to-beat opportunities for fishinghuntinghikingbirdingcanoeing and nature photography, refuges also generate income for local communities. They pump $2.4 billion into the national economy and support more than 35,000 jobs, according to the Service’s Banking on Nature report. More than 53 million people visit refuges every year.

No matter where you live or travel, you can enjoy nature at a refuge near you. Use our zip code finder to locate a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district near you.

Some things you can do on wildlife refuges:

The Bay Area Has A Mountain Lion Problem

California Department of Fish and Wildlife



My sister lives in San Mateo, not too far but really close to a lot of wilderness areas, a few years back I was hanging out at her house with my dog and her dog and watching TV when I heard some pretty loud commotion in the backyard, along with the whining barks of a dog next door. Everyone else was out at the time and when they came back I was convinced a mountain lion had scampered through their yard and into the neighbor’s yard. Of course, I was probably wrong, but years later it doesn’t so far-fetched anymore.

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, several Bay Area communities – and admittedly in areas where it seems like mountain lion sightings seem more feasible – are enduring a big cat issue. 

Here’s reporter Patrick May with a few communities on cougar watch:

On the Prowl in Pescadero

Residents in and around this sleepy coastal burg have been on edge in recent days as county officials are warning the public there may be an aggressive mountain lion in the area. Over the weekend, a resident in the 5000 block of Pescadero Creek Road let their small pet outside the home around 9 p.m. Saturday. A short time later, the resident reportedly heard the pet yelp and it has not been seen since.

County officials said that while they can’t positively confirm that it was a lion that snatched that particular pet there have been reports recently of an aggressive lion in the same area that has killed livestock. Officials cautioned residents to keep a sharp eye on their pets and any livestock in their care, especially late at night and early in the morning. …

Fear Near Sonoma’s “Little Slice of Heaven” 

In the getting-too-close-for-comfort department, the large cats have been reported in the vicinity of the historic Penngrove Elementary School where the bench out front bears this carved message: “A Little Slice of Heaven.”

Residents in this bucolic hamlet of 2,500 wedged in between Cotati and Petaluma have been calling authorities in the past few days to report what they believe is a mountain lion in their neighborhood. The fact that some sheep deaths have also been reported has fueled fears for some in the rural area.

Officials from Sonoma County Animal Services and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were called out but investigators could not confirm whether a mountain lion was, in fact, roaming the local ranches. That did not calm the nerves of locals who reportedly saw the large cats near the grade school and then passed on reports over the social-media site Nextdoor. …

Possible Pumas Among the Eichlers

A mountain lion was spotted the other day in Eichler Highlands in San Mateo County, one of the most architecturally historic pockets of the entire Bay Area. Officials with the county said that the cat was seen at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1800 block of Randall Road. Officials said the animal was not aggressive and that it ran away when it saw people nearby.

A subsequent search of the area turned up no sign of the cat. The Highlands subdivision constitutes the largest contiguous Eichler development anywhere, with more than 700 of the renowned homes built over an 11-year period from 1955 to 1965. If the mountain lion is still around, it’s been prowling through a neighborhood with chock full of classic examples of the work of all the main  Eichler architects: Anshen & Allen, Jones & Emmons, and Claude Oakland.

Stay safe in mountain lion country, everyone.

Look Ma: Both Hands

Via the Orange County Register, check out the above video of a crazy but effective way to score some tuna for fish tacos, sashimi or a big fillet for the grill.

Here’s more from the paper:

Lawrance Quigley, a 52-year-old Dana Point resident, was doing his ritual surf check when he saw a crowd gather near the rocks by the jetty. He hopped out of the car and whipped out his cellphone to capture the moment on video.

“Got your fishing license?” a man is heard joking in Quigley’s video.

“It’s pretty odd,” said Quigley, who owns the fishing clothing line Fishworks. “The funny thing is, he missed it and the fish came back, like a dog.”

At first, Quigley thought it was a yellow fin tuna, which would have made the sight even stranger considering the cold water temperatures dipping into the 50s. Yellow fin typically only show up in warmer waters.

But upon closer inspection of still shots, Quigley said, he now believes it was a blue fin tuna, which can tolerate colder waters. He estimated the fish was about 25 to 30 pounds.

At an angler trade show in Long Beach over the weekend, Quigley said, he was peppered with questions — people asking, “Dude, was that for real?”

“It’s definitely a strange, odd thing,” he said.