Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

CDFW’s Youth Waterfowl Hunt A Success

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drought Emergency Ordered In San Diego Area

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


‘Drought Watch’ calls for voluntary conservation measures

By Ted Salois
HWD Public Affairs

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

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

See Drought Level 1 declaration notice.

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

During Drought Level 1, Helix customers are asked to:

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

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

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

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

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

6) Use recirculated water to operate ornamental fountains.

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

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

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

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

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

Sharks Catching Sharks!

By Chris Cocoles

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

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

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


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

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




S.F. Man Cited For Shark Fin Possession

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

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

Here’s the complete CDFW release:

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

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

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

Mad River Steelhead Spawning To Start

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife with a report on Mad River steelhead spawning.

Here’s the complete release:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel at Mad River Hatchery began allowing wild origin steelhead and hatchery origin steelhead to enter the hatchery Feb. 4, to start spawning operations. The hatchery action is based on an amended court-ordered stay, signed by Judge M.M. Chesney, allowing hatchery operations to proceed with conditions agreed to by CDFW and the plaintiff Environmental Protection Information Center.

The court action allows Mad River Hatchery to collect, trap and spawn wild origin steelhead for brood stock for one year. Two of the main conditions of the action were the belief by National Marine Fisheries Service that progress was made on the development of a Hatchery Genetic Management Plan and agreement on the collection of natural origin steelhead trout in the coming year.

“Collection operations went very smoothly today,” said Shad Overton, Mad River Hatchery Manager. “It is critical we include both wild and hatchery origin fish to ensure the best genetic diversity of eggs possible for future releases. Our goal is to release 150,000 yearlings next year.”

Trapping, collection and egg take were delayed due to litigation. Spawning usually starts in January and continues through March. This time window allows the hatchery to spawn returning fish throughout the run. This year’s later start is not expected to affect overall spawning operations.

Proposed Fishery Closures

Sorry to not get this out sooner, but a series of long interviews and other duties made me neglect some legitimate news. California’s drought crisis prompted the Department of Fish and Game to issue this notice of emergency regulations to close angling in affected areas in dire need of rain. Here’s the complete release


Taking swift action in response to severe drought conditions throughout the state, the California Fish and Game Commission today adopted emergency regulations to close some waters to angling as recommended by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) last week.

Specifically, the Commission adopted the following emergency regulations:

  1. Closure of the American River from Nimbus Dam to the SMUD power line crossing at the southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park until April 30.
  2. Closure of the Russian River main stem below the confluence of the East Branch of the Russian River until April 30.
  3. Extension of the low flow restrictions angling closures for the north coast and central coast areas (above San Francisco Bay) until April 30.
  4. In the South Coast District (i.e., San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties), close all portions of any coastal stream west of any Highway 1 bridge until April 30.

The above regulatory actions will become effective upon approval by the state Office of Administrative Law (OAL). At the earliest, these emergency regulations will become effective in mid to late February.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can take action to relieve our beleaguered salmon and steelhead populations from any additional stress,” said Commission President Michael Sutton. “I’m proud that the fishing community supports this action as essential for the conservation of our precious fishery resources.”

Last week, CDFW closed some waters to fishing in order to protect native salmon and steelhead from low water flows in California streams and rivers that have been significantly impacted by drought.

CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(c) to close south central coast streams to fishing from December 1 through March 7 when it determines that stream flows are inadequate to provide fish passage for migrating steelhead trout and salmon. As a result, the following waters are closed to angling until March 7 or until stream flows are sufficient to allow fish passage for returning adult steelhead and salmon (to determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the south central coast closure hotline at (831) 649-2886):

  1. Pescadero Creek and all anadromous reaches of San Mateo County coastal streams normally open for fishing, from Elliot Creek through Milagro Creek.
  2. The San Lorenzo River and all its tributaries, as well as all anadromous reaches of coastal streams normally open for fishing in Santa Cruz County from the San Lorenzo River on North through Waddell Creek.
  3. Aptos and Soquel Creeks (Santa Cruz County).
  4. The Pajaro River and Uvas, Llagas and Corralitos Creeks (Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties).
  5. The Carmel River and those sections of San Jose, Gibson, Malpaso and Soberanes creeks west of Highway 1.
  6. The Big Sur River and those Big Sur area streams from Granite Creek to Salmon Creek west of Highway 1.
  7. The main stem of the Salinas River below its confluence with the Arroyo Seco River and the Arroyo Seco River (Monterey County).

In addition, CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(a) to close north coast streams to fishing when it determines that the flow at any of the designated gauging stations is less than minimum flows stated in regulation through January 31. Today, the Commission decided to extend the end date of that authority to April 30. As a result, the following north coast streams will be subject to angling closures until April 30 upon OAL approval (to determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the north coast closure hotline at (707) 822-3164):

  1. The main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road with the Eel River to the South Fork Eel River.
  2. The South Fork of the Eel River downstream from Rattlesnake Creek and the Middle Fork Eel River downstream from the Bar Creek.
  3. The main stem Van Duzen River from its junction with the Eel River to the end of Golden Gate Drive near Bridgeville.
  4. The main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to Cowan Creek.
  5. The main stem of the Mattole River from the mouth to Honeydew Creek.
  6. The main stem of Redwood Creek from the mouth to its confluence with Bond Creek.
  7. The main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to the mouth of Patrick Creek (tributary of the Middle Fork Smith River); the South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tyron) bridge and Craig’s Creek to its confluence with Jones Creek; and the North Fork Smith River from the mouth to its confluence with Stony Creek.

Under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(b) the following central coast streams, which are currently subject to angling closures through April 1, upon approval by OAL will now be subject to angling closures until April 30 (to determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the central coast closure hotline at (707) 944-5533):

  1. Sonoma Creek (Sonoma County), and all streams tributary to the Pacific Ocean (and its bay) in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, except the Russian River.
  2. Napa River (Napa County) between Trancas Avenue in Napa and Oakville Cross Bridge near Yountville.

“This is about keeping as many adult spawning salmon and steelhead in the rivers as possible,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Stafford Lehr. “We are fully aware of the impacts these closures will have on anglers and related businesses. However, anglers have overwhelmingly supported the decision to close fisheries because they are the original conservationists. They understand the severity of this drought.”

These closures affect recreational fishing only as there are no commercial fisheries in California’s inland rivers. This is the first time the Department and Commission have taken this type of emergency action due to drought.

The closures listed above represent only about five percent of the fishable rivers in the state. There are still plenty of opportunities for California anglers to catch fish in the state’s rivers and streams. Additionally, California’s coast offers substantial ocean fishing. Both are subject to current regulations already in place. For more on fishing in California, please visit

Current low stream flow conditions will prevent the movement of migrating anadromous fish. Stream flows in many systems are inadequate to allow passage of spawning adults, increasing their vulnerability to mortality from predation, physiological stress and angling. Furthermore, survival of eggs and juvenile fish in these systems over the coming months is likely to be extremely low if the current drought conditions continue. These angling closures on selected streams will increase survival of adult wild steelhead and salmon.

With California facing its driest year on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Last week, the state tookaction to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations that impact the environment and the economy. In January CAL FIRE hired 125 additional firefighters to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions, the California Department of Public Health identified and offeredassistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought. Also last month, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture also released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.

CDFW low flow closure hotlines:

North coast: (707) 822-3164
Central coast: (707) 944-5533
South central coast: (831) 649-2886

Lake Del Valle Update

Carl Ludwig from Fremont caught a Stringer of two trout and one smallmouth Bass weighing at 8.96 pounds on Power Eggs at the East Beach.

Carl Ludwig from Fremont caught a Stringer of two trout and one smallmouth
bass weighing at 8.96 pounds on Power Eggs at the East Beach.

Our friends at Lake Del Valle, in the East Bay Area in Livermore, provided their latest fishing report:

Lake Del Valle Fishing Report February 6, 2014
This last week fishing hasn’t been at its best with the rain and wind
coming through. Water level has rose a couple feet with water
temperatures still cold at 47 degrees. Drifting and cast and retrieve
along the Lower Narrows and East Beach seems to work best for Trout.
They are hitting Kastmasters, Micetails, and bright colored PowerBait.
A few catfish have been reported being caught on anchovies or chicken
livers in the South End of the Lake. Large and smallmouth bass have
been been reported biting off deep diving crankbaits and bass jigs
along the rock walls in the Narrows. No stripers have been reported
this week but best bet is to try swimbaits or anchovies in Swallow Bay
and Lower Narrows.

Marcos Mendoza caught this 7.27-pound rainbow on a Kastmaster at the East Beach area.

Marcos Mendoza caught this 7.27-pound rainbow on a Kastmaster at the East Beach area.

Fish Plants:

1-23-14 750 pounds (Mt Lassen)
1-30-14 750 pounds (Mt Lassen)
2-5-14 750 pounds (Mt Lassen)


Sac River Guide Report

Kirk Portacerro, “The Sac River Guide,” provided this report:

Photo courtesy of Sac River Guide

Photo courtesy of Sac River Guide


Sac River Guide Announcement

                                           RAIN ON THE WAY !  Let’s Go Fishing !

We are on the Chetco River now fishing for coastal Steelhead.
 We still have openings available in February and March , these are the prime months to fish. 
 Call us today to reserve your spot.
The time to hit the Steelhead on the coast is now.
 Watch for more updates on our Fishing Report page.
 Thank you for fishing with us. We will see you soon .
 Kirk and Lisa Portocarrero



Mountain Lion Attacks Man In Riverside County

Photo courtesy of USFWS

Photo courtesy of USFWS


A Super Bowl halftime break allowed me to share this story courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A mountain lion attacked a homeless man in the city of Perris in Riverside County. Here’s the CDFW report:


Riverside County Man Attacked by Animal

FEBRUARY 2, 2014 BY 

A 50-year-old homeless man is recovering in a hospital after allegedly being attacked by a mountain lion in Perris over the weekend.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital Saturday morning with injuries consistent with a mountain lion attack – lacerations, puncture wounds and bite marks at the base of the skull.

He had surgery Saturday night and his condition is unknown.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officers and biologists responded to the area and were unable to locate the lion. Baited traps have been set in an effort to capture the lion and officers are on scene.

CDFW will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the actual offending animal is destroyed. DNA samples were collected from the victim to match with the lion if it is captured. If the animal is found it will be destroyed in the interest of public safety.

“The first priority of any law enforcement agency is the safety of the public and we are doing everything we can to find and capture this animal before it can harm anyone else” said CDFW Assistant Chief Dan Sforza. “We are asking nearby residents to be aware there is a lion in the area and to be careful with their pets and children.”

The attack happened off of Highway 74 west of the 215 freeway.

If confirmed this will be the 15th verified lion attack on humans in California since 1986. The last fatal attack was in Jan. 2004 at Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County. A 63-year-old man survived a lion attack in July 2012 in Nevada County.

For more information on living with wildlife:

To receive more detailed, up-to-date information directly from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department via e-mail, register for “Nixle” alerts at or more directly at  Or, text your zip code to 888777 to receive text alerts only.

The incident is under investigation.

Getting to the Bottom of California’s Microstamping Mandate

Dave Workman, who’s written for California Sportsman and does a regular column in our sister publications, weighed in on the ongoing issue in the state regarding California’s new law mandating microstamping in all semiautomatic handgun models. Ruger CEO Michael O. Fifer and Smith & Wesson president and CEO James Debney both made statements in federal court this week.

We’ll let Workman tell you more:

Both Ruger and S&W confirmed several days ago that they will not be microstamping handgun models as required by the California law, which was signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but takes full effect this year. In statements submitted to the court in support of the SAF lawsuit both gun company CEOs were critical of the technology.

In his statement, Fifer bluntly observed, “There is no workable microstamping technology today, and Ruger believes that California’s microstamping regulations make compliance impossible.”

Debney concurs in his statement, noting, “Smith & Wesson does not believe it is possible currently to comply with California’s microstamping regulations. Quite simply, the state law requires the technology to perform at a level that it cannot.”