I spent a lot of time in the Westlake Village area when I lived in Thousand Oaks in the early 2000s. One of my main Los Angeles Daily News high school football beat schools was Westlake High and I got to know a lot of great players, coaches and family members during that time. So I had some nostaliga memories when I saw this story from KABC on a family’s harrowing encounter with a mountain lion, which attempted to enter the house (see video above).
Here’s KABC’s Leanne Suter with more:
“It was kind of scary because he was kind of not wanting to leave and he charged into the window, what? Four times?” Sammy Kerr-Jarrett said.
Sammy, 8, and his mother Nadine Young were stunned when the wild cat suddenly appeared on their back patio of their home Sunday night.
“He was going to put the dog out and he freaked out and said, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy, there’s a puma! There’s a puma!'” Nadine said. “I had no idea what he was talking about. I’d never seen one before. I went to the door and low and behold there’s a huge mountain lion right there, trying to get in.”
They said the mountain lion was laser focused on Daisy, their 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier. The big cat tried desperately to get inside.
“He charged four times at the door. It was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying,” Nadine said.
She said after several attempts the animal finally gave up and disappeared in the dark. The animal, which appeared to be tagged, is no stranger to the neighborhood.
The following is courtesy of Lake Jennings in the San Diego area:
Kid’s day was a huge success. Thank you to all who came out for all the fun. Trout from the kid’s pond were being caught on nightcrawlers, pink power worms and mealworms and the fish didn’t stop biting all day. Many of the kids were so excited to catch their first fish!
Our next stocking is this week with 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout!
Saturday, February 17th is our next fishing event forNew Moon Fishingfrom 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Enjoy a night fishing or kayaking under the stars. A full-size lantern is required after 5:00 p.m.
President’s Day is Monday, February 19th. The entire lake will be open from6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Rent a boat, fish the shoreline or have a picnic! Make a weekend of it by reserving a site at the campground. Call (619) 390-1623 and we’ll get you all set up!
Did you miss Kid’s Day? The next time the kids pond will be put in the lake will be for Spring Carnival March 24th. Mark your calendars now!
Fishing from the campground shoreline is available daily from7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. even without having a camping reservation! Just purchase your permit at the campground kiosk.
The Mojave River Hatchery in Victorville, northern San Bernardino County, has reopened after an extensive and much needed overhaul to promote more efficient trout production for anglers in Southern California.
The 600-foot-long raceways at Mojave River hatchery have been renovated, repaired and modernized by hatchery staff and contractors.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invested several hundred thousand dollars on the project, including pressure washing and disinfecting 6,000 linear feet of fish rearing ponds and associated plumbing, coating all fish rearing surfaces with Food and Drug Administration-approved epoxy coating to improve fish culture conditions and installing new manifolds for the water recirculation loop to improve efficiency.
The modernization of the Mojave Hatchery will greatly benefit Southern California trout anglers. Fish production at Mojave River Hatchery has already resumed and healthy juvenile fish have been brought in from other CDFW hatcheries for additional growth at the renovated facility. The first batch of catchable-sized fish from Mojave Hatchery are anticipated in late February, with others to follow.
Millions of fertile trout eggs are also being shipped to Mojave for incubation and rearing into catchable fish for stocking later in 2018, and CDFW is continuing to stock catchable fish in Southern California from sister hatcheries farther north.
The last major renovations to Mojave River Hatchery took place more than 45 years ago.
In addition to the raceway renovation and improvements, contractors upgraded the plumbing from the hatchery building, refurbished the well pump motors, and excavated the two settling ponds and installed new, UV-resistant rubber lining.
Mojave River Hatchery is one of 13 state-run inland trout hatcheries that provide millions of additional trout fishing opportunities each year for California’s angling public.
The dry conditions are partly to blame for the worst fire season on record in California. Low humidity and lack of rain coupled with high winds fueled destructive wildfires from Mendocino down to San Diego this fall. In wine country, more than 40 people died and more than 10,000 homes were lost. To the south, the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties became the largest wildfire on record in California.
If the trend continues, forecasters say California could see, come spring, a light Sierra Nevada snowpack, a key source of water for the state during the dry summer.
The weather station in California with the longest record of recording rainfall, San Francisco, has measured just 3.4 inches of rain since the start of July. That’s only 44% of average for this time of year, said meteorologist Jan Null.
So far this December, San Francisco has received only 0.15 inches of rain.
San Francisco is already close to the halfway point in its rainy season: Jan. 19. In an average year, the city would have received 11.83 inches by then, halfway to the annual average of 23.65 inches, Null said.
Null said he analyzed rain records going back to the oldest precipitation record on file for California, the 1849-50 season in Gold Rush-era San Francisco. He found that there were 22 years in which San Francisco at this point in the season had similar anemic — but not abysmal — rainfall, between 2.9 inches and 3.9 inches.
And what Null found was bad news: Of those 22 years, only four of them caught up in the remainder of the rainy season and finished above the average.
“Those aren’t very good odds,” Null said.
Here’s some more Bay Area perspective on the lack of rain/snow from the San Jose Mercury News,as the state starts to feel the sense of urgency to receive some wet weather.:
“February is the peak season for snow accumulation,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA who studies Western weather patterns. “Every week that we don’t reverse this trend from here forward, it’s going to be that much harder to get to where we want to be by the end of the season.”
Nearly all of California’s rain and snow falls between Nov. 1 and March 31. So time is running short.
“The figures don’t lie,” said Doug Carlson, a spokesman for the state Department of Water Resources. “We’re at 30 percent snowpack right now, and last year at this time we were at 182 percent.”
Ominously, the forecast for the next two weeks calls for more hot weather across the state, with almost no chance of rain or snow.
The reason: A ridge of high-pressure air, which is nearly 4 miles high and stretches from the Gulf of Alaska to the California-Mexico border, has been strengthening in recent days. Such ridges, which were the main cause of the state’s 2012-2017 drought, block storms that normally bring California moisture during the winter months.
“It’s like a giant boulder sitting in the stream and preventing the stream from reaching the state,” Swain said. “The stream is the jet stream, and it’s sending storms into Alaska and British Columbia.”
As the Fresno Bee also states, the drought-like conditions could have a major financial strain on Sierra tourism like ski areas.:
This winter marks the 60th anniversary of China Peak, the 1,300-acre ski area in the Sierra National Forest east of Fresno.
But instead of celebrating, owner/operator Tim Cohee is contemplating the ultimate bummer while struggling through what he describes as the worst season he’s experienced during more than 40 years in the business.
“We have reserves, but at some point they’re going to run out,” Cohee said. “At that point you have to shut the resort down. There is a scenario – maybe it’s not this year – but there is a scenario that says the ski area no longer exists because of these droughts. …
Following five parched years (2011-16) and one year of wet, snowy reprieve (2017), we’re back to the D word. Mother Nature and Old Man Winter again aren’t cooperating. As the calendar flips to February, China Peak reports season snowfall totals of 15 inches at the base area and 28 inches at the 8,700-foot summit.
Normally, those totals are measured in feet.
During the offseason, resort staff replaced the oldest lift servicing the upper mountain, Chair 2, with a quad chair that Cohee purchased second-hand from another resort. The project cost him $900,000, and the “new” lift hasn’t carried a single skier or rider.
“We didn’t borrow any money,” Cohee said. “We paid cash for it. Like to have that back.”
The state could really use rain and snow right about now. But it doesn’t look promising for now.
When I lived in Fresno – as a Fresno State student and then a few more years after graduation – one of my favorite parts of town was checking out the bluffs overlooking the San Joaquin River. I fished a few times up the road at Lost Lake just below Friant Dam – I remember in around 2010 when I drove from the Bay Area to visit friends during a rainy winter how much water there was in the Lost Lake area when I tried to walk my dog around there (little did I know how the drought would change that in a hurry).
But the once might San Joaquin has seen some hard times over the years, so it was encouraging to see this Fresno Bee report from Brianna Calix. Chinook are spawning again in the San Joaquin!
Here’s the Bee with more:
A recent breakthrough came in fall 2017, when spring-run Chinook salmon created their nests, called redds, in the colder parts of the river below Friant Dam. The fish successfully spawned, laying eggs that incubated and hatched into tiny fry as the sexually mature fish died, part of the species’ unusual life cycle.
It was the first time in 60 years that spring-run Chinook successfully reproduced in the embattled San Joaquin, which for years has remained one of the nation’s most endangered rivers.
“Having these spring-run spawn in the river really starts to build scientific evidence that yes, spawning is possible,” said Alicia Forsythe, the restoration program manager. “One year doesn’t prove that this is going to work in the future and everything is great…We definitely need to see a number of years of data to help us come to those conclusions. But, it’s promising.”
Spring-run Chinook essentially disappeared from the San Joaquin after the Friant Dam was completed in the 1940s, drying out a 60-mile stretch of the river for more than half a century. Salmon couldn’t complete their journey back from the ocean to the river where they reproduce.
But hopefully San Joaquin is coming back, and so will the salmon.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning to capture numerous elk in northern California in late January and early February.
From Jan. 31 through Feb. 4, CDFW will capture as many as 43 adult Rocky Mountain elk (nine bulls and 34 cows) in Lassen, Modoc and Siskiyou counties in northeastern California. From Feb. 6 through Feb. 8, CDFW will capture up to 16 Roosevelt elk cows in Humboldt County in northwestern California.
The elk will be captured on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as well as on private properties with permission from landowners. CDFW is grateful to the USFS, timberland owners and other private landowners that are providing access to their lands for the captures.
Under the direction of CDFW veterinary staff, CDFW wildlife biologists will lead the captures. Capture crews will locate elk via helicopter, capture them with net guns and restrain the captured animals for tagging.
Each elk will be ear tagged and fitted with a GPS collar. Pregnant female elk from specific herds will receive an additional transmitter that will monitor their pregnancies and aid biologists in finding their calves in the spring. The collars will provide detailed information about elk for approximately two years. This information will enhance CDFW’s knowledge of current elk distribution, abundance, calf recruitment, survival and habitat use.
For additional information regarding captures in Lassen, Modoc or Siskiyou counties, please contact CDFW Wildlife Biologist Reid Plumb at (530) 598-6011. For information regarding captures in Humboldt County, please contact CDFW Environmental Scientist Carrington Hilson at (707) 445-6493.
OK, someone contact Fran Tarkenton and let’s bring back an episode of That’s Incredible. Only a cheesy 1970s TV show that shared the weirdest tales of freak events and bonafide miracles could make sense out of this.
(Remind me to add hang-gliding with my dog on the bucket list.)
Newsweek has more on this – well – incredible act of nature.
An earthquake that caused a tsunami watch for the entire West Coast of the United States really did create waves—in Death Valley National Park. And those tiny waves, known as a seiche, may prompt the creation of more of an extremely rare species of tiny fish.
The earthquake’s shaking caused the Devils Hole pupfish—a critically endangeredspecies of fish that are a bit shorter than your average golf tee and are found only in one pond in the park—to spawn, the National Park Service said on Wednesday.
“It’s crazy that distant earthquakes affect Devils Hole,” Kevin Wilson, an aquatic ecologist at Death Valley National Park, stated in a press release. “We’ve seen this a few times before, but it still amazes me.”
The Devils Hole pupfish, also known as the desert pupfish or Cyprinodon diabolis, may be one of the rarest species of fish on Earth. Whether or not they are the rarest fish is up for some debate—and can change even with small population fluctuations. Current estimates place the number of Devils Hole pupfish at 115; a recent estimate of the red handfish, found off Tasmania, Australia, indicated that between 40 to 80 fish might exist. Nevertheless, some called the pupfish “the rarest fish in the world” when the population was down to 35 fish in 2013, as Scientific American reported.
Here’s the full NPS press release:
DEATH VALLEY, CA – A powerful earthquake off the coast of Alaska caused water to slosh in Devils Hole, in Death Valley National Park.
The magnitude 7.9 earthquake’s epicenter was in the Gulf of Alaska, approximately 170 miles south of Kodiak, Alaska, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake happened in the early morning hours of Monday, January 23, 2018.
Minutes later, the earthquake’s impact was felt about 2,000 miles away in the Nevada desert.
“It’s crazy that distant earthquakes affect Devils Hole,” said Kevin Wilson, Aquatic Ecologist for Death Valley National Park. “We’ve seen this a few times before, but it still amazes me.”
The phenomenon is technically known as a seismic seiche. They are standing waves in an enclosed body of water (such as a lake or a pool) caused by an earthquake’s seismic waves.
“That sounds a lot like a tsunami,” said Wilson, “but tsunamis are caused by an earthquake moving the ocean floor up or down. Tsunamis can generate much larger waves.”
Fortunately, the temblor triggered only an 8-inch tsunami in the Pacific Ocean. The seiche in Devils Hole caused waves over one foot high.
Devils Hole is a water-filled limestone cave in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. It is part of Death Valley National Park. The site is the only natural habitat of the critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish, which numbered only 115 fish in the most recent survey.
The park isn’t too concerned about the quake’s impact on the fish. “The pupfish’s food source will probably be a little reduced for a bit, but it is expected to rebound,” said Ambre Chaudoin, Biological Science Technician. A primary component of the pupfish’s diet is algae growing on a shallow sunlit shelf at the top of Devils Hole.
Chaudoin observed the fish spawning after the seiche, which she said is their normal reaction to events that disturb the habitat. The fish’s color changed for spawning, with the males gaining a brilliant blue color. Devils Hole pupfish normally only spawn in spring and fall.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Conservation groups (Monday) slammed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s flawed draft Elk Conservation and Management Plan as weak on elk recovery and short on science.
The plan is meant to guide the management and continued recovery of the state’s three elk species — tule, Roosevelt and Rocky Mountain elk. California’s elk population is only a fraction of the species’ historic numbers. Even so, the draft sets recovery targets that are far too low to make any significant gains.
Today’s comment letter notes that the draft plan lacks some basic information on elk abundance and distribution — numbers needed to inform hunting quotas. Without that data, hunting risks population decline or even loss for already-struggling herds. The proposed plan relies on hunting to deal with elk and human conflicts when other methods — such as hazing, fencing and relocation — are likely more effective. It also lays the groundwork for killing wolves if arbitrary elk population targets are not met.
“This draft plan is short on sound science and cheats our beloved elk populations of the meaningful recovery actions they need to thrive,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The state’s proposal to move toward killing wolves to boost elk populations is not supported by any research and is not how Californians want to see wildlife managed.”
“Elk almost went extinct in California because of past mismanagement,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director at the Environmental Protection Information Center. “The draft elk plan worries me because it doesn’t appear to be based on sound science but rather a desire to expand hunting. The draft plan needs peer review before the state starts implementing its proposals.”
The state fish and wildlife department developed the elk plan with funding, input and lobbying from hunting and agricultural interests — but not from advocates or experts on elk conservation, research, education or ecotourism. As a result, the draft elk plan focuses too much on controlling elk to benefit hunting and ranching interests. The plan proposes increasing elk hunting by 10 percent, without any information or evidence that increasing hunting tags will be effective to address elk conflicts. The plan acknowledges that state wildlife officials have no idea what constitutes the minimum population necessary for long-term viability of elk herds.
“Slow progress has been made recovering elk in California, but we can do a lot better,” Miller added. “The focus should be on expanding existing elk herds and improving habitat connectivity, along with reintroducing elk where possible. The state’s hunting tag quotas for elk should be based on good science, take into consideration herd size and population trends, and support elk recovery.”
Historically there were an estimated 500,000 elk in California. There are now approximately 5,700 Roosevelt elk, 1,500 Rocky Mountain elk and 5,700 tule elk. Tule elk occur only in California.
Because many of the proposed management activities and unsubstantiated assertions in the draft plan lack scientific basis, conservation groups are asking that the plan be peer-reviewed by independent wildlife biologists with expertise regarding elk.
The plan attempts to scapegoat California’s newly returning wolves for unrelated elk population trends. Similar to the department’s 2016 conservation plan for gray wolves in California, the draft elk plan proposes arbitrary triggers for removing and killing wolves (as well as coyotes and bears) if elk population thresholds or hunter big game tag allocations aren’t met.
As written, the plan promotes fear-mongering that wolves could significantly affect or extirpate elk populations, an assertion that lacks any scientific basis. The plan also falsely claims that the state’s Wolf Stakeholder Working Group supports their proposal to kill and remove wolves based on these arbitrary thresholds.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) advocates for the protection and restoration of Northwest California’s forests, public land, and wildlife, using an integrated, science-based approach, combining public education, citizen advocacy, and strategic litigation.
The following press release is courtesy of the American Sportfishing Association:
The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) senior leaders met with several California members and partners in a three-day visit, hosted by the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing the Chinook salmon fishery in California.
During their visit, dubbed “salmon camp” by Pro Troll President and GGSA/ASA member Dick Pool, ASA’s Vice President for Industry Relations, Glenn Hughes, Government Affairs Vice President Scott Gudes and Conservation Director, Mike Leonard, took part in a roundtable discussion with the GGSA, anglers, charter boat operators, river guides, commercial fishing representatives and environmental groups. Hughes will assume the role of ASA’s President onApril 1.
(L-R) Dick Pool, president, Pro-Troll, two representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, Randy Repass, chairman, Golden Gate Salmon Association, and ASA Conservation Director Mike Leonard, discuss salmon recovery.
Discussions focused on the importance of timely cold fresh water flows, habitat restoration and hatchery programs as they pertain to the fall run of Chinook which is the cornerstone of ocean and river fishing for salmon in California.
The ASA team was accompanied by Christy Plumer, Chief Conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Soren Nelson, Pacific Southwest States coordinator for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
Hughes noted, “Our Bay Area members went all out to provide us with an in-depth education on California salmon issues. Clearly, a healthy salmon fishery is essential to our industry and jobs.”
The team met with state and federal conservation and natural resource officials in Sacramento including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA’s Central Valley Salmon office, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The team visited several facilities across the Central Valley including federal water pumping facilities, projects designed to reduce juvenile salmon losses as they journey down the Sacramento river to the Golden Gate and the Mokelumne River Hatchery which has been particularly innovative and effective at achieving results by increasing returns of Chinook Salmon and Steelhead.
Throughout the sessions, there were in depth discussions of new projects and procedures that could increase salmon stocks and harvest. ASA, GGSA, along with state and federal officials agreed to continue to work on these improvements.
Recent activity by Congress has created additional challenges for sustaining California salmon. In December 2016, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), which included provisions to redirect water to agriculture and undercut environmental protection for salmon and other fisheries. ASA is closely watching bills that are currently being debated to extend these efforts and divert even more water for agriculture.
Gudes observed, “Over a century of diverting water and habitat destruction have pushed salmon runs to historic lows. The good news is that anglers, the commercial industry and many environmental groups have joined together to stand up for salmon. If California and the federal government could clean up Southern California’s air pollution in the past thirty years, clearly they have the ability to save and increase salmon runs in Northern California.”
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.
Capt. Jonathon Smith of Happy Hooker Sportfishing. (Photo by Mark Fong)
The following appears in the January issue of California Sportsman:
By Mark Fong
For over 35 years, the sportfishing charter boat operation Happy Hooker has provided San Francisco Bay Area fishermen with the finest saltwater fishing experiences.
The story of the Happy Hooker (510-223-5388; happyhookersportfishing.com) begins with its iconic Northern California captain. Jim Smith, who retired last year after nearly a half decade as a charter boat skipper, raised a fishing family. Today, his three sons Steve, Chris and James are all fixtures in the sportfishing industry. When Capt. Jim left the wheelhouse, he passed the responsibility of carrying on the family business to his middle son Chris, himself a veteran charter boat captain.
“I am really excited to have the opportunity to carry on the family legacy and to share this experience with my son Jonathon,” Chris Smith says. “We look at the Happy Hooker as a member of the family; this boat has so many fond memories. Look at how many people we have met and how many friendships we have made over the years – some of our customers have been fishing on this boat as long as I have.”
“We work hard to provide the high-
quality fishing experience and hospitality our customers can count on. We are always looking for new ways to make the experience just that much more enjoyable and memorable.”
Sharing the duties behind the wheel with Chris is his son Jonathon, who started his fishing career as a deckhand on the Happy Hooker with his grandfather during summer breaks at the age of 13. Since then he has spent extended periods of time working on a commercial crab boat and captaining six-pack charter boats in the Bay Area.
Happy Hooker Sportfishing is comprised of the namesake vessel, the Happy Hooker, and its six-pack boat, the Defiant. The Happy Hooker is 56 feet in length and carries a full load of 36 passengers. For a more personalized fishing experience with one-on-one instruction, the Defiant is a 34-foot catamaran that will accommodate up to
Both boats are available for private charter, corporate events, and open-load fishing. With Happy Hooker Sportfishing, the choice
Author Mark Fong (left) with Capt. Chris Smith. (Photo by Mark Fong)
ON THE WATER FOR STURGEON
Fishing season kicks off at the beginning of the calendar year. January is a month of transition. After spending the previous eight months operating out of the Berkeley Marina, the Smiths move their boats to the Martinez Marina in preparation for sturgeon season.
Winter is prime time for targeting sturgeon, with Martinez’s Carquinez Strait location the ideal spot from which to base operations. The fish can be found throughout the San Francisco Bay system, but the Martinez area is truly sturgeon central, as San Pablo Bay lies just to the west and Suisun Bay is a short boat ride to the east.
“We have some great things planned this winter on the Happy Hooker,” says Jonathon Smith. “We are going to be running light loads – eight to 12 anglers. There will be plenty of room to spread out and fish. The big boat has a heated cabin, TV and we will have hot coffee and a pot of chili on the stove.”
By mid-April, the boats return to the Berkeley Marina and the focus shifts to potluck fishing with live bait for the highly prized California halibut and striped bass in San Francisco Bay. In addition, the Smith family plans to run midweek salmon trolling trips. And as summer progresses towards the fall, rockfish and lingcod will take center stage.
“Traditionally the sport crab season opens the first Saturday in November,” Capt. Jonathon says. “The crab/rockfish combo trips are very popular.”
It is not often that anglers get the opportunity to fish for rock cod and to pull a string of crab traps all in the same day. The reward more often than not is a cooler full of tasty crab and rockfish fillets just in time for the holidays.
If you would like to get in on some of the hottest fishing in the West with one of the best charter boats in the business, Happy Hooker Sportfishing has generations of family tradition behind it. CS