Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Collins Lake Update

 

Here’s a fishing report from Collins Lake:

Nancy Stapp and Madelyn Baker

Nancy Stapp and Madelyn Baker

Incredible trout catches this week, the biggest one was 8 pounds on a stringer brought up by Nancy Stapp & Madeln Baker. They limited out and they trolled the east side either on a Rapala or Needlefish, the guys didn’t stand a chance with this duo.

Maggie Capitano

Maggie Capitano

Another lady angler from Marysville, Maggie Capitano hooked a 7-pound, 5-ounce ‘bow on a Flicker Shad Lure.

Little Mykala outdid her brother Dylan with her huge trout weighing in at 6-pounds, 4-ounces.

Mykala and Dylan

Mykala and Dylan

 

Angel Swan

Angel Swan

Angel Swan & Brandon trolled with worms on the east side and Angel’s big catch of the day included a hefty 7-pound rainbow.

With our trout planting season in full swing, the results are undeniably tremendous and will continue to get even better as we receive more plants and start to release some of the net pens beginning midMarch.

For more on Collins Lake, go to collinslake.com.

 

Bone Dry January In San Francisco

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge stayed dry through January. (Chris Cocoles)

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge stayed dry through January. (Chris Cocoles)

 

This is not what the rain gods ordered this winter when it comes to getting out of California’s drought woes. San Francisco experienced a rain-free January for the first time in recorded history. Here’s some of the San Francisco Chronicle’s report, including some salvaged good news:

 

“We’re really concerned,” said apple grower Stan Devoto, owner of Devoto Gardens in Sebastopol.

Most of his orchards are dry farmed, meaning they rely on rain rather than irrigation. Without rain, the trees could die. Last year, he used a drip system on some trees to keep them alive.

 But Devoto is also worried about the warm weather. Apple trees need 600 to 1,000 hours of below 45-degree weather and they haven’t gotten that this year.

“It’s definitely going to affect the size of the fruit,” he said.

Yet even without a drop of rain in January, the Bay Area is officially above normal in rainfall for this time of year, Null said.

San Francisco is at 112 percent of normal while San Jose is at 131 percent, thanks to the deluge of 15 inches or more of rain in December.

But it’s going to have to start raining soon to maintain a normal pace for the season.

It looks like the area will some real rain Thursday evening or Friday. If it does, San Francisco will snap what will be 43 days of dry weather — the second longest winter dry spell.

The longest dry spell in winter months lasted 60 days, from Nov. 17, 1876, to Jan. 15, 1877, Null said.

 

 

 

Collins Lake Report

Ian and Gregory caught this trout at Collins Lake.

Ian and Gregory caught this trout at Collins Lake.

 

Kathy Hess of Collins Lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills filed this report:

Today, Collins Lake received 1,800 pounds of trout in our first private plant of this year. In this plant half the load is considered trophy-sized fish, while the other half of the fish are considered catchables. Next week we are on (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) schedule for a plant from them, then the following week (before President’s Weekend) we will get another 1,800 pounds of private stock! The weather has been so warm, perfect for camping as well as fishing so we chose to jump into our annual trout-stocking program a little earlier than normal.

This week produced another couple of 5-pound trout. The first was caught by Hilario Sandoval from Vacaville, and he used an orange/white PowerBait and hooked his from the shore in the campground.

Hilario Sandoval

Hilario Sandoval

Michael McGahan caught his limit of trout and his biggest weighed 5 pounds. Mike was trolling with Rapalas like he always does!

Michael McGahan

Michael McGahan

 

Paul and Dell Parker from Lincoln hooked onto a nice 3-pound, 12-ounce rainbow trout while fishing from the beach using a nightcrawler.

Dell and Paul Parker

Dell and Paul Parker

 

Two funny guys named “The Grease and “The Angel” fished off the beach as well using orange PowerBait and took home a nice stringer of trout (their biggest was 3 pounds, 8 ounces).

"The Grease" and "The Angel."

“The Grease” and “The Angel.”

Scott Edwards sent in a great photo of his trout catch from the beach and he used green PowerBait; his scale weighed it in at approximately 4½ pounds.

Scott Edwards

Scott Edwards

The Riewold and Vincent families fished the east bank using red PowerBait and netted a total of eight trout and they had a nice lunker that weighed 4 pounds.

The Riewold family.

The Riewold family.

Ian and Gregory (see photo at top) came up for the day to fish near the marina and caught a really good-looking trout using orange PowerBait.

For more on Collins Lake, located northeast of Sacramento between Grass Valley and Marysville, call (800) 286-0576 or go to collinslake.com.

 

 

Red Fox Sighting At Yosemite

Courtesy of Yosemite N.P.

Courtesy of National Park Service

 

Last summer during a trip to Finland, Estonia and Latvia, my friend and I spent a couple nights at a remote guest house on massive but sparsely populated Saaremaa Island, Estonia on the Baltic Sea. We had just taken some pork fillets off the grill and were eating outside and washing down our meal with a couple of Estonian beers when we noticed a critter curiously walking from a nearby field toward us. I snapped this photo before it scooted away:

Photo by Chris Cocoles

Photo by Chris Cocoles

 

Our host didn’t speak a lot of English, so when I tried to tell him we saw a fox he didn’t do more than just nod his head and smile. But I thought it was pretty cool, and through some Internet research we concluded it was a red fox – ubiquitous throughout that part of the Northern Hempisphere – that graced its presence during our al fresco meal.

So the nerd in me got really fired up when I saw this report on a hardly seen Sierra Nevada red fox that was photographed at Yosemite National Park recently (pictured at the top of the page). Here’s a good look at what a Sierra red fox looks like:

 

A Sierra Nevada red fox in Lassen Volcanic National Park. (Keith Slausen/U.S. Forest Service)

A Sierra Nevada red fox in Lassen Volcanic National Park. (Keith Slausen/U.S. Forest Service)

Here’s the National Park Service release:

Yosemite National Park is excited to report the first confirmed sighting in the park of a rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) in nearly 100 years. Park wildlife biologists had gone on a five-day backcountry trip to the far northern part of the park to check on previously deployed motion-sensitive cameras. They documented a sighting of the fox on two separate instances (December 13, 2014 and January 4, 2015) within the park boundary. The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, likely consisting of fewer than 50 individuals.
 
“We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that the red fox was sighted in the park.”
 
“Confirmation of the Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park’s vast alpine wilderness provides an opportunity to join research partners in helping to protect this imperiled animal,” stated Sarah Stock, Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park. “We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”
 
The nearest verified occurrences of Sierra Nevada red foxes have been in the Sonora Pass area, north of the park, where biologists from U.C. Davis (UCD), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have been monitoring a small Sierra Nevada red fox population, first documented by the USFS in 2010. Prior to 2010, the last verified sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in the region was two decades ago.
 
The Yosemite carnivore crew will continue to survey for Sierra Nevada red fox using remote cameras in hopes of detecting additional individuals. At each camera station, the crew also set up hair snare stations in the hopes of obtaining hair samples for genetic analysis. Through genetic analysis, the park can learn more about the diversity within the population and to confirm whether the fox(es) detected in Yosemite is genetically related to individuals from the Sonora Pass area.
 
These Sierra Nevada red fox detections are part of a larger study funded by the Yosemite Conservancy to determine occurrence and distribution of rare carnivores in Yosemite National Park. Thank you to all our colleagues who have been helping us with this project in many important ways (UCD, USFS, CDFW, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, Bureau of Land Management, and Yosemite backcountry rangers and volunteers).

 

 

 

Teaming Up To Replenish California’s Chinook Population

Photo by Dan Cox/USFWS

Photo by Dan Cox/USFWS

 

As the state’s drought issues threaten fisheries like the historically low rivers that are home to spawning Chinook salmon, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has the details on a joint plan to release as many as 600,000 hatchery Chinook next month.

Here’s the official release:

An increased number of hatchery-reared juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon produced from adults that were collected as a precautionary measure to offset anticipated in-river drought related mortality will likely be released in early February, state and federal officials said. Additional broodstock was collected last year at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery (LSNFH) because this unprecedented drought is severely impacting survival of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, a state and federally listed endangered species.

This is the second consecutive year that juvenile winter-run salmon have experienced extremely poor survival during incubation and/or emigration to the ocean, substantially impacting the winter-run population. A third consecutive year would have dramatic adverse effects on the population.

Elevated water temperatures in the upper Sacramento River last summer and fall resulted in extremely high mortality (95 percent) of brood year 2014 winter-run egg and fry. Resource managers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) believe that a collapse of the 2014 natural spawning winter-run brood year may have occurred. Of the naturally spawned juvenile winter-run Chinook that survived (five percent), it is estimated that 95 percent are in the Delta now and these remaining fish are being tracked carefully through enhanced Delta monitoring, implemented as part of the joint agency drought response. Biologists expect these fish to remain and rear in the Delta through mid-March, until they are cued to exit to the bay and ocean through a significant rain event.

Because of this, CDFW, USFWS and NOAA Fisheries have implemented measures like the collection of additional broodstock at LSNFH to protect the remaining winter-run from further harm and to improve their habitat. The hatchery currently has approximately 600,000 juvenile winter-run ready for release in the near future.  This is over three times the size of the usual release.

Measures, which will continue to be implemented in the coming year, include:

  • Increasing numbers of hatchery-produced winter-run juveniles and timing their releases to increase their chance of survival.
  • Rescuing and relocating juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead back to the Sacramento River.
  • Managing ocean and river salmon harvest to reduce winter-run catch.
  • Increased monitoring of all stages of winter-run (e.g. redds, juvenile emigration downstream and through the Delta, and adult returns).
  • Gravel and Habitat Restoration Projects on the upper Sacramento River
  • Utilizing drought resources to focus on drought specific projects:
    • Enhanced salmon and steelhead monitoring in the Upper Sacramento River Basin
    • Restoration projects on Battle Creek
    • Developing plans for introductions of winter-run into Battle Creek

Careful management of the state’s limited water resources to protect the remaining winter-run will be necessary to recover this important salmon species. One of the most important steps to the successful protection of winter-run is maintaining cool water temperatures from May through October in the upper Sacramento River where winter-run spawn.  Winter-run depend on cool water for incubation and juvenile survival.  Actions to address this issue are included in the Interagency Drought Operations Strategy Released on December 12, 2014 and Drought Operations Plan submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board on January 15, 2015. Another necessary step is to maintain river flow levels during key periods to prevent dewatering of winter-run eggs and recently hatched fry. Resource managers estimate the juvenile production and provide this information to state and federal agencies that operate the Central Valley Project and State Water Projects. State and federal partners along with water users are discussing these and other important steps.

Remembering 2014, Previewing 2015 With Scott Feist

Photo courtesy of Scott Feist

Photo courtesy of Scott Feist

 

 

Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service filed this preview of his 2015 season:

It’s that time of year again, ducks are flying and salmon are safe for another season. As 2014 comes to an end, I just want to thank all of you for your support this past year and plug you in on the coming year’s events. I was as busy this year as I have ever been, and loved every minute of it. From a wide-open striper bite to some very good king salmon fishing, what a year it was! I would like to tell you about this past year, and also mention the upcoming fishing in 2015.

What a year it was for both striped bass and king salmon! The 2014 striper season was full of excitement and many smiles. It was shorter in general due to lower water, but we sure did put the hurting on them! I started the year off in the Delta around March, and caught quality stripers until the end of May, both on the rivers and delta. From stripers, I ran some summer trout and American shad trips awaiting the July 16 salmon opener. Both of these trips offer lots of action, and some beautiful scenery. I found that all the parents that brought their kids to catch trout and shad, ended up having an equal amount of fun as their kids! After the trout/shad fishing, I focused my energy on getting ready for the king salmon opener. July started off solid, not great, but as the season progressed, so did the fishing. It was a very good season, but not spectacular. I had to fish further north than normal, but the fishing was good; the grade of fish were large like the previous year. Since wrapping up king salmon fishing in late-October, I have been spending some quality time with my family and doing shows gearing up for the 2015 season!
I will start fishing sturgeon from February 1st until the stripers start biting in the Delta around the beginning of March. I will fish Delta stripers until they start invading the Sacramento and Feather Rivers for their yearly migration to spawn. The prime time to fish stripers is between March 1 and March 31 on the Delta, and April 5 through May 10 on the Rivers. If you know you’re going to want to book a striper trip, please reserve your date soon as this is my most popular trip, and space fills fast. From stripers, I will run some river trout/shad fishing trips until salmon reopens in mid-July. Then I’ll start guiding waterfowl in late October and early November 2015.
Here’s to another incredible year with all of you,

 

 

California Land Among RMEF Preserved Places

Photo by Steve Martarano, USFWS

Photo by Steve Martarano, USFWS

 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation  has set aside two areas in California – one, near Pinnacles National Park southeast of San Jose; the other, in Siskiyou County in the Little Shasta Valley – among a group of Western locations to be protected as elk habitat.

Here’s the full RMEF release:

 

MISSOULA, Mont.—Shortly before the ball dropped to ring in 2015, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation closed the deal on seven different land projects in four states that permanently protect and conserve 10,565 acres of vital elk habitat. Three of the projects, two in Montana and one in North Dakota, create 3,601 acres of new public access and enhance access to thousands of more acres of public lands.

“We appreciate these conservation-minded landowners and our conservation partners who worked with the RMEF to protect and maintain this crucial habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation.

Four of the projects are voluntary conservation easement agreements between landowners and the RMEF to permanently protect habitat on private acreage for the benefit of wildlife. The other three are land acquisitions. RMEF purchased ownership of two Montana properties which will be conveyed to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and contributed funds toward a North Dakota Game and Fish Department acquisition.

“These Montana and North Dakota projects are a win-win for wildlife and those who enjoy the outdoors. What was once private land that benefits a wide array of species is now permanently protected and will be added to expand three existing wildlife management areas,” added Henning.

 

 

A few more details on the two California areas protected:

Morellini Creek Conservation Easement, California
The Philip S. Berry estate donated a conservation easement to the RMEF on approximately 2,500 acres of Tule elk habitat south of California’s Pinnacles National Park (previously National Monument). The easement will protect the property’s natural oak, grass, and scrub ecosystem and continue to provide habitat for its small resident Tule elk herd as well as black-tailed deer and a wide variety of wildlife.

Little Shasta – Fogg Gulch Conservation Easement, California
RMEF teamed up with the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and a committed landowner to permanently protect 640 acres of prime elk habitat in north-central California. The ranch is located on rolling foothills with seasonal drainages in Little Shasta Valley. The easement will protect important Roosevelt elk habitat, including riparian areas, that is also used by antelope, black-tailed deer, mule deer and other wildlife.

California’s Only(?) Wolverine Entering Late Stages

Photo by National Park Service

Photo by National Park Service

 

Fascinating story about California’s only known wolverine.

From the Los Angeles Times:

 

The animal is now at least 7 years old, says biologist Chris Stermer, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, meaning death could be imminent and the species would cease to exist in California.

Cameras in the Tahoe National Forest last caught the image of the male wolverine in November near Truckee.

After it was photographed, scientists gathered genetic material such as hair and droppings, so they could keep track of any population changes.

The most recent genetic sampling was consistent with material tested in 2008 and made it clear: There are no new wolverines in California.

Wolverines are the largest land-dwelling species of the weasel family but resemble small bears with bushy tails. The animals are known for their ferocity. They’re found in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, preferring snow and little human interaction.

“Wolverines by nature are elusive,” Stermer said. “They are just very difficult to see.”

 

Caples Lake Ice Fishing Mack

With much of the country mired in a recent deep freeze, even parts of California are feeling the effects.In the high country of the Sierras, ice fishing is a possibility at Caples Lake in Alpine County.

From the Caples Lake Resort:

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This pretty 17-inch Mackinaw was caught by Kirkwood resident Josh Otto, jigging a silver Kastmaster in 10 feet of water at Caples Lake Resort.

The ice is 6 to  8 inches thick, and ice skaters and fishermen have been on the lake for about two weeks. Come out and enjoy the sun, scenery, and ice at Caples Lake Resort, located just 1 mile east of Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

Drew & John

Caples Lake Resort

209-258-8888

www.capleslakeresort.com

Sac River Guide Steelhead and Bass Trips

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Our friends at Sac River Guide provided this update:

 

Hope you are all ready for some great fun on the water . We are kicking off 2015 fishing the Trinity River for steelhead. Fishing is fantastic and now is the time to get into some nice size steelies.
 We fish every day, so grab that jacket and let’s get fishing.

We have already started fishing Lake Shasta for bass fishing.  We have plenty of water and the bass fishing is great!  This will push us right along into the trout and salmon shortly,  so get ready to reel in one after the other with some action on beautiful Lake Shasta!

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BOOK NOW .
 Call us or email us today. We take bookings year round , so no matter how soon you want to fish or if you planning to visit us this Spring, let us help you get the date reserved.