Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Family: Mountain Lion Entered House And Attacked Dog (Updated)

CDFW file photo

UPDATE: DNA found on the scene indicates it was a mountain lion that entered the house. Frightening.

Here’s the CDFW release:

A trace of mountain lion DNA was identified in a blood sample taken from inside a home in Pescadero, confirming reports that a mountain lion entered an occupied home and took a dog off the bed where the homeowner was sleeping.

On Monday, Apr. 17, 2017, a Pescadero homeowner called 911 at 3 a.m. to report an animal had entered her home through an open door and taken her 15-pound dog, which was sleeping on the end of her bed. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded and although they did not find the dog, they reported seeing wet paw prints at the entrance to the bedroom. They notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a wildlife officer responded later that morning. The wet prints had dried and were no longer visible. The wildlife officer was unable to find any other tracks or obvious sign of a mountain lion. He did discover a small drop of blood on the door, which he collected for analysis.

Due to the nature of the report, the wildlife officer drove the blood sample to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento the same day. Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog.

The property owners are eligible for a depredation permit, which would allow them or an agent acting on their behalf to take the offending mountain lion. However, they opted not to receive the permit. No further action will be taken by CDFW.

CDFW stresses that this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen. CDFW urges residents in the area to take all reasonable actions to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with not only mountain lions, but all wildlife. For tips, please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild.

 

Was a dog’s tragic death the result of a mountain lion that entered a Pescadero (San Mateo County) family’s house?

Here’s NBC Bay Area with more:

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents on the Peninsula to lock and secure their homes after a women reported that a mountain lion attacked her dog in Pescadero, California.

Deputies responded early Monday morning to a report of a mountain lion entering a home and snatching a small dog. Vickie Fought told deputies she and her 12-year-old daughter were sleeping in a bedroom with their small dog at the foot of their bed and the back door open a crack.

Fought said they woke up in the middle of the night when their dog, Lenore, started barking.

“That’s when I saw what I thought was our bigger dog walking in,” Fought said.

Seconds later, Fought said Lenore, a 15-pound Portuguese Podengo, went silent.

Fought said she thought Lenore finally recognized the bigger dog. That was until, Fought added, “I saw the lion walk back out the door.”

Rainy Weather Postpones CDFW-Sponsored Lassen County Derby

Photo by CDFW

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

Due to safety concerns over high water and unsafe conditions, the annual Susan River Youth Fishing Derby will be postponed. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the 28th annual derby was scheduled to be held on Saturday, April 22 on the Susan River in Susanville, Lassen County.

“With all the rain we have had and the accompanying snow melt, the Lassen Sportsmen’s Club and CDFW felt it was best to postpone the event until the river conditions improve,” said CDFW Fisheries Biologist Paul Divine. “We will be working closely with the Lassen Sportsmen’s Club to find a weekend later this year to hold the event.”

Fishing derbies are held in several locations around the state and are designed to promote fishing to young people and their families. At most events, all fishing tackle, gear, bait and equipment are provided free of charge and volunteers from local angling groups help with baiting hooks to cleaning the fish.

In California, anyone under 16 can fish without a license. For complete regulations on fishing in California, as well as fish planting locations, state fishing records and more, please go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing.

 

A Look At Various Salmon Fishing Restrictions And Closures

Photo by CDFW

Here’s a breakdown of various salmon fishing regulations, including many closures along the North Coast, from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

Historically low numbers of fall-run and winter-run Chinook salmon have prompted the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) to drastically limit the state’s salmon fishery for the remainder of 2017.

Returning stock projections for fall-run Chinook in the Klamath River Basin are the lowest on record. By limiting, and in some cases closing, the fisheries for the remainder of 2017, the FGC hopes to maximize fall- and winter-run Chinook survival and reproduction and support efforts to rebuild the fisheries.

“Closing an entire fishing season is not something that I take lightly, but the survival of the fall-run Chinook in the Klamath and Trinity rivers is at stake,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “CDFW and other fisheries management partners agree that these restrictions are necessary to help recover this vital species.”

Inland, spring-run Chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. After these dates, both fisheries will close for the remainder of the calendar year. However, the nearby Smith River will remain open for fall-run Chinook, and there are additional opportunities in southern Oregon rivers. During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain open, with some restrictions, as follows.

  • In the Fort Bragg area, which extends from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the season will continue through May 31, reopening Aug. 15 and extending through Nov. 12 with a 20-inch minimum size limit for the season. The summer closure in this area is also related to the limited numbers of Klamath River fall-run Chinook.
  • In the San Francisco area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude), the season will close on April 30 under a 24-inch minimum size limit, and reopen on May 15 through Oct. 31 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.
  • In the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and Point Sur (36° 18’ 00” N. latitude), the season will continue through July 15, while areas south of Point Sur will continue through May 31. The minimum size limit south of Pigeon Point will remain 24-inches total length.

Other restrictions for these areas are as follows:

  • The daily bag limit is two salmon per day of any species except coho salmon and no more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.
  • For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod may be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling between Horse Mountain and Point Conception.

Shortened ocean salmon seasons in northern California were necessary partly because data show that Klamath River fall-run Chinook are most likely to be caught in ocean areas near the Klamath River mouth, with impacts on this stock decreasing the further south fishing opportunity occurs.

Concerns are also high for endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook, contributing to the decision to shorten ocean fishing seasons in areas south of Pigeon Point. Three consecutive years of low juvenile numbers, coupled with unusually warm and unproductive ocean conditions, led fishery managers and industry representatives to implement protections beyond those required by the Endangered Species Act biological opinion and the federal salmon Fishery Management Plan’s harvest control rule. Fishery data suggest that winter-run Chinook are concentrated south of Pigeon Point, especially south of Point Sur, during the summer and early fall. Ocean fishery closures and size limit restrictions implemented in the Monterey management areas are intended to minimize contact with winter-run Chinook.

Klamath fall-run Chinook are currently classified under the federal plan as “approaching an overfished condition.” Given the poor return of adults to the river the past two years, coupled with returns this fall that are expected to be just as poor or even worse, the stock is expected to be classified as “overfished” in 2018. As a result, CDFW will be working with federal and tribal partners to develop a Rebuilding Plan for Klamath River fall-run Chinook next year.

CDFW and the FGC are tasked with managing the state’s fishery resources to ensure sustainability. Given the stock status, extra precaution is warranted. Every fish counts this year – especially every fish returning to the river to spawn.

 

 

From Alaskan Salmon To The Ducks Of The O.C.

Thompson was just as comfortable wading a river in the summer as he was skating on sheets of ice winter. (PHOTO BY NATE THOMPSON)

Thompson and the Anaheim Ducks open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday hosting a quarterfinal series against the Calgary Flames. (PHOTO BY MARK MAUNO/WIKIMEDIA)

By Chris Cocoles

NHL player Nate Thompson is so in love with hockey he’d probably play it for peanuts, and he’s equally passionate about fishing thanks to an early assist from Snoopy.

An Alaskan in the truest sense of the word, Thompson’s first fishing memory included using a toy rod of the adorable beagle from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip franchise. And good grief, Charlie Brown, did that Snoopy pole ever do its job.

Thompson, who grew up in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, was just 2 years old when he and his dad, Robert, went fishing. Young Nate wasn’t exactly using state-of-the-art gear.

Back in the day, Zebco manufactured a packaged “Catch ‘Em Kit,”  complete with a ready-to-fish rod and reel, and the container it came in featured the canine himself fishing from his doghouse. It’s a good bet the gear wasn’t designed to catch an Alaskan salmon. But the following is a true story.  

“It was by complete accident. I was just throwing my line in the water and my dad was fishing next to me,” says the 32-year-old Thompson, a center for the Anaheim Ducks, who host the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series tonight after Anaheim won the best-of-seven opener 3-2 on Thursday. “He looked over and saw the pole was bending and almost to the point where it was snapping. He managed to either jump on the line or jump on the pole. He pretty much tackled the fish in the water.”

And with that, the youngster had his welcome-to-fishing moment. “After that, my dad said I was hooked,” he recalls during a phone interview.

Only in this case the hooking didn’t result in a two-minute stay inside the penalty box. Thompson had two undisputed hobbies growing up in Alaska: the outdoors and hockey; or perhaps it was hockey and the outdoors. But he’s made a living with one and enjoyed life from the other.

And while he understandably stays busy with his job in Southern California and now has an infant son to raise, Thompson’s affinity for hunting and especially fishing is the same as it was when his Snoopy gear fooled that salmon 30 years ago.

“Pretty much every fishing trip after that, when I knew (my dad) was going, I’d be running out of the house and chasing him to make sure he wouldn’t leave without me,” Thompson says. “He said it was a given when he went fishing he had to take me with him.”

Thompson’s hockey career has sent him on a coast-to-coast tour across the continent, and Orange County is a whole new world than where he grew up, but it’s impossible to take the Alaskan out of his identity. In a state where winters feature frozen ponds and summers salmon runs, it’s not uncommon for skates, pucks and sticks or rods, reels and flies to define who you are.

“I look back now and whenever I go home, I kind of take for granted realizing that, ‘Wow! I grew up here.’ I know not a lot of kids get to experience what I did,” he says. “So it was a special place, remains a special place and is a cool place to call home.”

Thompson’s dad Robert and mom Cathy t were typically dedicated  hockey parents as Nate played throughout the winter growing up in Anchorage. (NATE THOMPSON)

 

SOME ALASKANS WEREN’T BORN in Alaska. But so many times you can find yourself there and never want to leave again.

The oil boom in the state helped Thompson’s parents get there. Robert is from Ohio and Nate’s mom Cathy hails from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Cathy’s parents moved north as part of the industry, and after she and Robert met in California they joined them.

Robert wasn’t much of an outdoorsman in the Lower 48, but living in our 49th state has a way of sucking you in – your kids too. Robert now lives around the salmon-filled Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage and fishes whenever possible. Young Nate and his sister, Tiffany, were introduced to the flora and fauna, even living in urban Anchorage.

“It really is the Last Frontier,” Nate says. “To be able to drive a half hour out of Anchorage, you can be in the middle of nowhere. Or you can drive to a place in Anchorage, go on a hike and next thing you know, you’re in the wilderness. There’s no place like that.”

Fly fishing became part of the father-son bonding process. They took local classes in how to tie flies and it soon became the Thompsons’ favorite outdoor pastime. Catching a hard-fighting salmon on a fly rod was a challenge Nate couldn’t get enough of.

When he got older, the endless sunlight of Alaskan summers allowed Thompson and his friends to do a “suicide run” to a nearby fishing spot, which is a lot less sinister than it sounds.

“You leave your house at, say, 8 or 8:30 (p.m.), then drive about an hour and 45 minutes to the river,” he says. “You fish and catch your limit and finish – depending on how fast – and whether it’s midnight, 1 or 2 in the morning, you then drive back home. The benefit of that is still mostly light outside. You don’t have to worry about it getting dark on you.”

“That’s one of the perks of being in Alaska in the summertime.”

Happy days back home in Alaska. (NATE THOMPSON)

IF SUMMER WAS A time for using a net to secure a salmon or trout, winter meant nets of a different kind. Thompson would lace up his skates and never be far away from a frozen pond.

“I think that’s where I improved the most as a player, playing hockey outside,” he says. “We would have practice (indoors) at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and there was an outdoor rink right next door. We’d take all our gear off and put on our hats and gloves and walk to the outdoor rink.”

Thompson and the other kids in the neighborhood spent the available daylight hours to hit the Mother Nature-created playing surfaces.

“All day, every day, whether it was playing for whatever club team I was with, or me just skating outside with my buddies,” Thompson says. “And then when it started to get warm outside, the hockey gear went away … Every weekend we’d go fishing.”

But since this is Alaska, winters are looonnnggg, so all that time on the ice would pay off for Thompson, who joined future National Hockey League players Matt Carle, a former San Jose Shark, and Tim Wallace and played together for a local youth team, the Alaska Stars.

At his side for all the games was his family. Sarah Palin might be the state’s “celebrity” hockey mom, but Cathy is one of many unsung matriarchs shuttling their sons and daughters to 6 a.m. practices and tournaments in far-flung cities and towns all over North America.

“Talking about the games, the practices, the big fish that we caught – those are the things that you just never forget,” Thompson says of his parents. “They were a team and my mom was definitely a hockey mom and my dad too was a (hockey dad). We’d have games on Saturdays and they’d be in the stands freezing their butts off bundled up in a parka jacket with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. My poor sister had to be dragged to the games. I still hear about that from her. But they were great and very supportive.”

Remember all those pickup games Thompson and friends would play? Dad would frequently be waiting in the car, heater blasting, with lunch from McDonald’s once they took a break, after which they’d head back out for another four hours of skating. Cathy wasn’t sure what to make of her young son’s proclamation that he’d be a professional someday, but clearly the kid was onto something.

It’s no wonder that all the practicing helped Thompson excel at Anchorage’s Dimond High School, and then in the major junior hockey circuit with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, with whom he was selected 183rd overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2003 NHL Draft.

Thompson made his Boston debut in the 2006-07 season and has enjoyed a solid career, also playing for the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning before getting to Anaheim. It was in Florida where he got the chance to play with his childhood friend Carle, who’s also part of a close-knit fraternity of Alaskans in pro hockey.

“We probably had played together for six or seven years growing up all over on youth hockey teams,” Carle says. “It was a cool experience, because Nate and I kind of went different ways. We got drafted in the same year and I went to go to college (University of Denver) and he went into the Western Hockey League. So we kind of came full circle. We played against each other a lot in the NHL, but that opportunity to be on the same team was pretty special for those two years, and it will be memorable when we look back on our careers.”

They’d been friends and teammates since boyhood. Sleepovers at each other’s houses usually involved hockey talk or makeshift games of some kind.  

“We started playing together when we were 6, 7 years old and played together on every team, but when we went different routes we stayed in touch, and have been close ever since,” Thompson says of Carle. “To be able to later on play for the same NHL team – as best friends growing up – is something I’ll never forget.”

(Tampa Bay became even more nostalgic for Thompson since Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman was hired as the Lightning’s general manager during Thompson’s four-plus seasons there. His favorite player and team growing up was Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings. “He was the ultimate pro and ultimate leader who did everything right,” Thompson says of Yzerman.)

The Lightning traded him to Anaheim in the summer before the 2014-15 season, where he’s been a valuable contributor to a perennial postseason team. Only injuries have slowed him down. Thompson missed the first 25 games in 2015-16 after undergoing offseason left shoulder surgery. Then last summer, while working out he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right foot. Another operation shut him down until he was able to return to the Ducks’ lineup on Jan. 31 against Colorado, which – even as a player in a sport known for toughness – has been a remarkable recovery timeline.

“I feel really good. During the time when I was injured and rehabbing, I think the biggest thing in why I’ve been feeling so good on the ice is I didn’t waste any time,” he says. “Even when I was in a walking boot I was working extremely hard off the ice. I made sure I was ready to go when I hit the ice.”

When Thompson returned and seemed to make a seamless transition back into the lineup, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the Orange County Register that Thompson was a “glue guy” on the team.  

And sure enough, while he’s not the prolific goal scorer as hotshot youngster Rickard Rakell or Anaheim mainstays like captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Thompson nonetheless is the kind of player who endears himself to coaches for understanding his role. Thompson fits nicely as the Ducks’ fourth-line center. That fourth unit traditionally isn’t expected to produce a lot of points – Thompson had 48 career goals (with 63 assists) in 550 games, including a critical goal in the regular-season finale against Anaheim’s SoCal rival L.A. Kings  that secured the Pacific Division title – but instead establish a physical forecheck – applying pressure along the boards in the offensive zone – and occasionally generate scoring chances. As the center, Thompson also takes a lot of faceoffs and helps out on the Ducks’ penalty kill when the team is shorthanded.

Thompson (left) returned from offseason Achilles surgery and centers the Pacific Division champions’ fourth line. (JOHN CORDES/ICON SPORTS MEDIA)

“He’s someone we needed. He’s a specialty player – blocks shots, plays his role,” veteran Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano once told the Los Angeles Times when asked about Thompson. “All the teams that win Stanley Cups, they have those guys, and those guys are big parts because they do the right things and all they worry about is doing the little things. They don’t get credit, but the guys in the room give ’em credit.”

And he’s skilled enough to chip in with goals when needed, scoring twice in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs series with Nashville. Not that Thompson or his teammates have a lot of memories from that postseason. The Ducks lost to the underdog Predators in seven games, which has become a trend for one of the NHL’s best teams of the past few years but lost in a seventh and deciding home game of a series for four consecutive seasons, two with Thompson on the team.

So there’s a sense of unfinished business with these Ducks, who feature a nice blend of established veterans (Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan Kesler and Cam Fowler) mixed with some young emerging talent (Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Nick Ritchie). Anaheim’s dressing room is well aware that the players will be judged on what happens in the postseason, starting with this Calgary series.

“I feel like we have a team that’s built to win now and I think we have everything to win a championship,” Thompson says. “Hopefully we can go on a nice run and I can bring the (Stanley Cup) back to Alaska.”

Thompson (far right) has joined childhood friends like Tim Wallace (far left), Matt Carle (second from left) and Joey Crabb (third from right), all former NHL players on summer fishing adventures for years, with Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge owner Brian Kraft (second from right). Another former Anchorage hockey player, Peter Cartwright, is also pictured. (MATT CARLE)

 

Thompson’s team off the ice includes his 2-year-old son Teague and yellow Lab Eddie. (NATE THOMPSON)

 

WHEN THEIR FAMILY COMMITMENTS and other circumstances allow it, the Alaska hockey gang reunites in the summer and goes on a fishing trip with  a bunch of puckheads. The group includes Thompson, Carle, Wallace, ex-NHLer Joey Crabb and others.

“Just a good couple days since we’ve known each other for just about our whole lives,” says Thompson, who also shared many wonderful days in the field with not just family and friends but his beloved black Lab, Diesel, who loved to swim the same waters his owner/dogfather fished in.  

“I’ve been always been a dog lover, and my dad had three Labs. I first had Diesel when I was 20 and he went through a lot of cities with me,” says Nate, who lost Diesel at 11 years old last June. “He was my first dog, and it was tough. Losing a dog is losing a family member.”

But a new four-legged son, yellow Lab Eddie, joined Thompson’s growing family, which also includes son Teague, who turns 2 in May.

(Thompson is now a single dad, and in late March he was trending on the internet and the social media spin cycle when multiple gossip websites reported he was romantically linked to HGTV personality Christina El Moussa, now a frequent tabloid newsmaker after splitting with her TV co-host husband.)

For obvious reasons, Teague takes up a lot of possible fishing time, but it’s easy to envision this dad getting his son on the water. Snoopy rods might not be Teague’s first piece of gear, but his dad will be glad to share the same outdoors he’s grown to love as much as playing for a Stanley Cup in the O.C.  CS

“I look back now and whenever I go home, I kind of take for granted realizing that, ‘Wow! I grew up here.’ I know not a lot of kids get to experience what I did,” Thompson says. “So it was a special place, remains a special place and is a cool place to call home.” (NATE THOMPSON)

Sidebar HOCKEY PALS IN SEARCH OF A MONSTER TROUT

In hockey lingo, they call it “lighting the lamp” when a player scores a goal. Childhood Alaskan fishing and hockey bros Nate Thompson and Matt Carle are on a personal quest to turn on the red light.

This is a story of two Alaskans in search of the holy grail. But this doesn’t involve a goblet and Indiana Jones’ last crusade to find it, but instead it’s a 30-inch rainbow trout they have vowed to land during their return trips to the Last Frontier.  

Carle, the same age as the 32-year-old Thompson and a longtime NHL veteran who is also from Anchorage, remembers one trip to the Bristol Bay area where both anglers came agonizingly close to beating each other to the punch.

“It was the last day, our last chance that we’d have at a fish,” Carle remembers. “And I caught mine and it (measured out at around) 29½. And then within an hour or two Nate caught a 29½-incher. That was probably one of the most fun days I’ve had while fishing.”

It was breathtaking for each to witness the other’s rod bend heavily upon the strike and see that gorgeous trout leaping from the river’s surface.

“You think, ‘Wow, this could be it,’” Carle says. “We get both the fish and you measure them but they’re a little bit short. Of course, that’s always going to keep us coming back.”

Thompson (middle) and former NHLer and close friend Matt Carle ( right) show off their nearly 30-inch dueling rainbows. (MATT CARLE)

They were even in the same boat when it happened, though Thompson says his was closer to 29 inches.

“We were both so close,” Thompson says. “I think he still got me by half an inch. Someday we’ll both do it; it’s just a question of who gets the bigger one.”

“It’s an excuse to go back up to try and go up and catch one,” adds Carle, who began his career with the San Jose Sharks. “So when I do actually catch one, I guess the next thing will be to try and top it. I certainly have a place on my wall for that fish to get mounted.”

On a different trip, the guys were able to get to Alaska in the fall, when they’re usually busy with their jobs. But the league endured a lockout that delayed the start of the 2012-13 season until January.  

“I thought that was going to be my opportunity because I able to go to the lodge when we could close it down; it was the first week of October, and as long as I was playing, it was going to be the latest I could get up there and get an opportunity,” Carle says.

But that late into the fall, the Kvichak River, which flows from Lake Iliamna to Bristol Bay, was flooding, creating a murky mess and tougher fishing than anticipated. It was unfortunate timing, given that the work stoppage allowed the guys a rare opportunity to fish when they normally were starting their seasons.

“We still had a great time and caught some nice fish,” Carle says. “But nothing over the 30-inch mark.”

Carle, after being traded by San Jose, went onto a nice career with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers (reaching the Stanley Cup Final with both teams before falling short against the Chicago Blackhawks both times). Carle retired during the 2016-17 season and may have the leg up on his buddy with more chances to fish as Thompson continues his hockey career. But the guys are rooting for each other in this quest.

Whenever Carle and Thompson can get away with their families, they head back home and join other friends to fish at Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge, where they know the trout – especially the ones over the magic 30-inch plateau – are waiting.

“I think (lodge owner) Brian Kraft has it rigged,” Carle jokes. “That way we’re always coming back.”

Thompson doesn’t expect any trash talk if he or Carle reach the milestone length before the other.

“I think it’s just going to be two guys looking at the fish and then looking at each other,” he says. “Besides, we’re both competitive and there doesn’t have to be much said.”

A holy grail of a trout speaks for itself. CC

Sidebar THESE AREN’T THE BOSTON BRUINS

As you might expect, Nate Thompson has a lot of stories from fishing in Alaska. This is just one that came to mind:

“If you’ve seen those postcards of the bear catching a salmon jumping up a waterfall, we went to that area, Brooks River Falls in Katmai National Park. And we were fishing there for rainbow trout, and the bears are just there to look for salmon, but they’re all around you. At this park you can’t even bring ChapStick because the bears can smell it.”

“But we’re fishing there with the bears, and we had an indicator on the end of the line, an orange bobber. And one of the bears was kind of behind and was moving back and forth and would get out of the way as we were walking. The bear saw the orange bobber at the end of the line and started charging at the line. The bears, when they’re in that water, will cut through the river like butter, and one of the guys with us wasn’t from Alaska and thought the bear was charging him and not the line. He basically jumped on the end of his line, dove in there and kept swimming across the river. He had to check his shorts after that.” CS

Raahauge’s Hungry Hollows Shoot Scheduled For April 22

The following information is courtesy of Raahauge’s Sporting Clays in Dunigan:

HUNGRY HOLLOWS SHOOT – SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017
AT RAAHAUGE’S SPORTING CLAYS

ENTRY FEE: $79

*OPEN SQUADDING* (3 or More Shooters)

INCLUDES: AWARDS
MAIN EVENT
100 NSCA REGISTERED TARGETS HOA 1st SMALL GAUGE:
(NSCA fees included in all prices) Class: M – E 1st each gauge (3 or more)
1st in Concurrent
*LUNCH INCLUDED*

1st in Hunter
Super Sporting
1st in Class M-E & Hunter Class
NSCA Registered (3 or more in each class)
50 Targets Check in Time: 8:00 am Small Gauge: 12ga. True Pair Start: 8:30 am
20*28*410*SxS*Pump
Entry: $43  per gauge 5 Stand 12 Targets $5.00

Small Gauge can be Shot on The Friday Before the Shoot!

Take I-5 to the Dunnigan Exit # 556. Go 4.8 miles West to the junction of Rd. 86 and Rd. 8.
You will see the Raahauge’s sign before you reach the entrance.

Contact info:

(530) 724-0552

Web

 

PFMC Sets Restricted California Ocean Salmon Season

. (DAN COX/USFWS)

Last month we talked about a rather bleak outlook for the 2017 ocean season, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s final determination for Northern California’s spawning Chinook season will be very limited after the council met in Sacramento. 

Here’s what the council determined for California, including a closure of all waters around the Eureka/Crescent City area:

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to protect Klamath River fall Chinook, and south of Point Arena (in northern California), they are also affected by the need to protect Sacramento River winter Chinook. Returns of spawning Klamath River fall Chinook are projected to be the lowest on record in 2017 due to drought, disease, poor ocean conditions, and other issues.  At the same time, the Council must protect Sacramento River winter Chinook, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.  Because both of these fish intermix with other stocks in the ocean, fisheries targeting more abundant stocks must be constrained.

Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries off the central Oregon coast will allow Chinook retention from March 15 through October 31. Coho fisheries consist of a mark-selective quota fishery of 18,000 in mid-summer (compared to 26,000 last year) and a non-mark-selective quota fishery of 6,000 in September (compared to 7,500 last year), both open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain.

The Brookings/Crescent City/Eureka areas are closed for the entire season to conserve Klamath River fall Chinook, which are most abundant in these areas.  Fisheries further south all opened on April 1. In the Fort Bragg area, the season will close during June, July, and half of August, then reopen through November 12.  In the San Francisco area, the season will close during the first half of May and reopen through October 31.  Salmon fishing will remain open through July 15 in the Monterey Bay area and through May 31 for areas south of Monterey Bay.

Commercial Fisheries

Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to the Florence South Jetty, Oregon open on April 15 and will run through July 31 with intermittent closures to reduce impacts on Klamath fall Chinook. This area will also be open in September and October. Fisheries from the Florence South Jetty to Horse Mountain, California will be closed for the entire season to reduce impacts on Klamath River fall Chinook.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (in the Fort Bragg area), there will be a 3,000 Chinook quota ocean fishery during the month of September, after 2017 Klamath River fall Chinook spawners have entered the Klamath River.

In the area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco), the season will be open for most of August and all of September. From Pigeon Point to the Mexico border (Monterey), the Chinook season will be open in May and June. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro (subset of the San Francisco area), open October 2 to 6 and October 9 to 13.

Needles Affiliate Added To America Outdoors Radio Lineup

The following press release is from our friends at America Outdoors Radio and host John Kruse:

Host John Kruse with America Outdoors Radio is proud to announce his weekly show will now be broadcast on KTOX AM 1340/ FM 104.1 in Needles, California, on KPJC AM 1220 in Oregon’s capitol city of Salem and on WSDT AM 1240 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The hour-long show focusing on fishing, hunting and the shooting sports launched last June and is now heard on 40 stations around the country.  America Outdoors Radio is sponsored by the American Shooting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Magazine, California Sportsman Magazine and the Alaska Sporting Journal.  You can find out more at http://americaoutdoorsradio.com/

Countdown To ‘Fishmas’ In The Sierra

Bridgeport Reservoir is looking good as the Eastern Sierra prepares for the April 29 trout opener. (JEFF SIMPSON/MONO COUNTY TOURISM)

The following press release is courtesy of Mono County Tourism;

MONO COUNTY, Calif. –The official start to the fishing season in Mono County has been dubbed “Fishmas” because it’s the most wonderful time of the year for anglers. Another reason to celebrate: Mono County in partnership with Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Inyo County, has just released a new Fishing Map outlining top fishing destinations in the front country of both Inyo and Mono counties.

Mono County is well known as an exceptional trout-fishing destination, and the 2017 season, starting on April 29, is following a historical winter that will fill lakes and streams to levels that haven’t been seen in years.

“We are looking forward to the best opening day conditions since 2012, both in terms of the amount of fish being planted and the healthy water levels of our lakes,” said Jeff Simpson, Mono County’s economic development manager.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has planned 660,000 pounds in fish stocking allotments for Mono County and Inyo County, currently scheduled for every other week along with holidays and local events, according to James Erdman, an environmental scientist with the department.

In addition to CDFW’s allotments, Mono County plants 3,200 pounds of fish, with the majority of the six-to-nine-pound trophy trout arriving before opening day, and an additional 21,200 pounds of fish before the end of the season in the fall. In total over 675,000 pounds of fish are stocked in tandem with Mammoth Lakes, Inyo County, Bishop and private marinas and resorts along with the CDFW.

Some of the Mono County streams and lakes regularly stocked throughout the fishing season include Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin (which includes Twin, Mary, Mamie and George), the June Lake Loop (June, Gull, Silver and Grant), Saddlebag Lake, Lundy Lake, Big Virginia and Little Virginia Lakes, Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, Bridgeport Reservoir, Robinson Creek and the West Walker River. CDFW staff attempt to visit waters prior to opening day to generate a list (including photos) of waters that are ice free and accessible to fishermen.  Please visit the CDFW website to find a list of open waters in Inyo and Mono counties. At the time of this release, the following fishing hotspots are thawed and road accessible: Crowley, Convict, June, Gull, Silver, and Grant lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, the East Walker and West Walker rivers, as well as parts of the Lower Owens River.

Fishing Opener Events:

The official Mono County Fishing Opener kicks off on April 29 with numerous events, derbies and festivities, including the classic Fishmas Day Celebration at Tom’s Place, Crowley Lake’s Big Fish Contest, Round-up at Convict Lake, the Monster Trout Contest in the June Lake Loop, and the WON 395 Big Fish Sierra Trout Opener.

For a complete list of fishing events all season long at Mono County, visit MonoCounty.org/Fishing or contact Mono County Tourism at 800-845-7922.

California’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest Goes To Palos Verdes Resident

Seventeen-year-old Sue Yeon Park, of Ranch Palos Verdes, Calif., won best of show in the California level Junior Duck Stamp art contest held Thursday at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows, Calif. Credit: Byrhonda Lyons/USFWS

With my newfound appreciation for the Federal Duck Stamp contest, here’s a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region on the California Junior Duck Stamp contest. 

From author Rebecca Fabbri:

Held annually by the Service’s Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program showcases the incredible waterfowl artwork created by students from kindergarten through 12th grade from across California. This year, the judges analyzed a staggering 2,276 entries.

“Just seeing the use of medium, such as watercolor is really impressive,” said Polly Wheeler, assistant regional director for refuges. “Also the precise anatomical correctness of the waterfowl was really amazing. We really had unbelievable talent this year.”

A realistic acrylic painting of a king eider by Sue Yeon Park, age 17, Rancho Palos Verdes, made the 2017 Best of Show for California. Her artwork will be submitted to Washington D.C. to compete with the other states’ Best of Show winners during the National Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest on April 21, 2017.

The national winner’s design will be made into the 2017-2018 Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

“I think what’s most amazing is that you have so many kids who care about conservation,” said Paul Souza, Pacific Southwest regional director. “I was amazed by how advanced their thinking was about the interconnection of ecosystems and wildlife and people and habitats. There’s just a clear understanding of the linkages of a healthy environment.

“People taking the time to bring their passion to art for conservation and how many of them share their conservation strategies are an inspiration. Conservation is an activity that’s never done; it’s something that’s a work in progress every single day,” he said. ” To see the passion of youth for conservation gives you hope for the future because we know that there will be people who will step in as conservation professionals and continue the legacy that we love.”

Mixing Fishing Nets And Hockey Nets

Photo courtesy of Nate Thompson

One of our feature stories of the April issue is a profile of Anaheim Ducks center Nate Thompson, who just happened to score his first point of an injury-shortened season last night as the Ducks beat Calgary to close in on a Pacific Division title (the playoffs begin next week). The April issue is now on sale – look for it at outlets such as Barnes and Noble, Ralph’s and Vons around Orange County or the Southland, or give us a call at 800-332-1736 to order a copy. Here’s a preview:

John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

By Chris Cocoles

It really is the Last Frontier,” Nate says. “To be able to drive a half hour out of Anchorage, you can be in the middle of nowhere. Or you can drive to a place in Anchorage, go on a hike and next thing you know, you’re in the wilderness. There’s no place like that.”

Fly fishing became part of the father-son bonding process for Nate and Robert. They took local classes in how to tie flies and it soon became the Thompsons’ favorite outdoor pastime. Catching a hard-fighting salmon on a fly rod was a challenge Nate couldn’t get enough of. 

When he got older, the endless sunlight of Alaskan summers allowed Thompson and his friends to do a “suicide run” to a nearby fishing spot, which is a lot less sinister than it sounds.

“You leave your house at, say, 8 or 8:30 (p.m.), then drive about an hour and 45 minutes to the river,” he says. “You fish and catch your limit and finish – depending on how fast – and whether it’s midnight, 1 or 2 in the morning, you then drive back home. The benefit of that is still mostly light outside. You don’t have to worry about it getting dark on you.”

“That’s one of the perks of being in Alaska in the summertime.”

IF SUMMER WAS A time for using a net to secure a salmon or trout, winter meant nets of a different kind. Thompson would lace up his skates and never be far away from a frozen pond. 

“I think that’s where I improved the most as a player, playing hockey outside,” he says. “We would have practice (indoors) at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and there was an outdoor rink right next door. We’d take all our gear off and put on our hats and gloves and walk to the outdoor rink.” 

Thompson and the other kids in the neighborhood spent the available daylight hours to hit the Mother Nature-created playing surfaces. 

“All day, every day, whether it was playing for whatever club team I was with, or me just skating outside with my buddies,” Thompson says. “And then when it started to get warm outside, the hockey gear went away … Every weekend we’d go fishing.”

But since this is Alaska, winters are looonnnggg, so all that time on the ice would pay off for Thompson, who joined future National Hockey League players Matt Carle, a former San Jose Shark, and Tim Wallace and played together for a local youth team, the Alaska Stars. 

Nate with his dad, Robert (above) and mon, Cathy.  (Nate Thompson)

At his side for all the games was his family. Sarah Palin might be the state’s “celebrity” hockey mom, but Cathy is one of many unsung matriarchs shuttling their sons and daughters to 6 a.m. practices and tournaments in far-flung cities and towns all over North America. 

“Talking about the games, the practices, the big fish that we caught – those are the things that you just never forget,” Thompson says of his parents. “They were a team and my mom was definitely a hockey mom and my dad too was a (hockey dad). We’d have games on Saturdays and they’d be in the stands freezing their butts off bundled up in a parka jacket with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. My poor sister had to be dragged to the games. I still hear about that from her. But they were great and very supportive.”