Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Lake Del Valle Update

Josue Medina of Livermore caught a 21.8-pound Lake Del Valle striper on a swimbait in the Narrows area.

Josue Medina of Livermore caught a 21.8-pound Lake Del Valle striper on a swimbait in the Narrows area.

 

Update from Josalin Coulter from the Bay Area’s Lake Del Valle:

We got a little rain here in the middle of the week but before that fisherman were catching trout. Clarity ranges from 4 feet over by East Beach to the Narrows and 10 feet from Swallow Bay and out and the temperature is 65 degrees. The best spot for trout would be the East Beach and if that is too crowded for you the Narrows by Hetch Hetchy would be a good spot to try too. Night crawlers, power bait, power eggs in bright or garlic scented colors is what they have been using. Also flies may give you some luck, too. Stripers occasionally boil in the mornings or afternoons but the big ones will take those swim baits or big top waters in a trout pattern. Catfishing has come to a standstill of nothing and bass fishing has depleted in activity. There was a plant on Nov. 19 of 1,000 pounds of trout from Mt. Lassen.

 Lake Del Valle: ebparks.org/parks/del_valle; ( 888) 327-2757

Collins Lake Late Fall Fishing

A report from our friends at Collins Lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills:

Gus Grimmett with a 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow.

Gus Grimmett with a 4-pound, 8-ounce rainbow.

With three trophy trout plants delivered already and another one on the way, the trout fishing has just been phenomenal this fall. Gus Grimmett and his Dad (Rick) fished two days in a row trolling a dodger with a worm. The first day they got seven rainbows, biggest 4 pounds, 12 ounces, and the next day they both limited out. They trolled by the dam and so did Mica Fish.

Mica Fish and Bobo with a stringer of fish.

Mica Fish and Bobo with a stringer of fish.

 

Mica trolled with a bronze lure with a red head and limited three days in a row and his biggest trout weighed in at 5 pounds. Neither of them were fishing deep at all but Mica did get a new boat and used his downriggers, but he was only 15 feet down.

Carl and Jene from Lincoln caught 10 trout trolling in the middle of the lake with flashers and nightcrawlers, most of their trout were two to three pounds each. John & Steve caught a trout limit on grubs near the islands and their monster weighed 4 pounds.

"Veebdog," "Madman" and "Gordo."

“Veebdog,” “Madman” and “Gordo.”

Three limits of trout were caught by an unusual group of guys named Veebdog, Madman & Gordo! A 4-pounder. and two 4-pound, 8-ouncer were the big boys on their stringers.

A local gal, Elaine Briefman, took a brief moment to run up and wet her line and took home two nice trout, which she hooked from shore on orange PowerBait. Chris Hazen, brought up Duane, Ron, & Dan and together they caught 10 rainbows from shore by the dam on PowerBait also. Samantha and Gordon Baio and their family caught 11 ‘bows and the biggest one on their stringer was 4.4 pounds.

Trevor LaRue, Tanner, Pappy & Bumper caught a whole lot of rainbows and they also caught the biggest one of the week (5 pounds, 8 ounces) and they were trolling with Rapalas.

Isabella and Viki Lanzaro.

Isabella and Viki Lanzaro.

Isabella & Viki Lanzaro had a blast trolling for trout with flashers and worms with Isabella’s pretty pink fishing pole she hooked four rainbows!

Paul, Serenah, and Rodney Vargas from Sacramento caught a 4-pound, 4-ounce bass on a worm and two rainbows on garlic PowerBait. Kevin & Dave slayed the BASS using plastic worms or nightcrawlers fishing on the east side and up in the north end. Kerry and Dolton Vestal from Roseville caught the biggest CAT this week, it was a 7-pound, 8-ounce catfish. and they fished with worms. Jerred Borgas from Davis fished near the rental dock and hooked his trout on rainbow PowerBait.

Collins Lake can be reached at (800) 286-0576 or (530) 692-1600.

 

Remember Your Veterans Today

For those of you who have the day off from work or aren’t in class, take some time to reflect on those who have served our country. Here’s our tribute to Veteran’s Day with this story running in the current edition of California Sportsman:

Randy Houston (with his dog, Pennie) started Purple Heart Anglers as a tribute to his older brother, Purple Heart recipient Jerry Houston. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

Randy Houston (with his dog, Pennie) started Purple Heart Anglers as a tribute to his older brother, Purple Heart recipient Jerry Houston, who passed away in 2011 (below). (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

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By Chris Cocoles
The ultimate goal is not about rehabilitation
but recreation.
But Randy Houston is being
too humble. His vision for creating opportunities
to take disabled veterans fishing
and hunting has accomplished more
than he will take credit for.
Houston started Purple Heart Anglers
(purpleheartanglers.org) as a nonprofit
organization intending for the simplest
of gestures to thank those wounded in
battle. Four years later, as he arranges
fishing and hunting trips all over California
(a group was funded to take a fishing
trip to Alaska last summer), it’s become a
healing place for American heroes to experience
the joy of the outdoors.
Busloads of veterans from conflicts as
recent as Afghanistan and as far back as
World War II, and from organizations like
the Veterans Home of California in Napa
County’s Yountville, head to New Melones
Reservoir and Camanche Lake to
fish, or Camanche Hills Hunting Preserve
in Ione to shoot pheasants.
“They show up and we go fish and
then eat. We eat a lot of food,” Houston
says with a laugh. “That’s become kind of
our mantra: we hunt, fish and eat, don’t
talk politics and we don’t do therapy. And
that’s just the simplicity of it.”

Randy Houston is proud of the flag (top left) given to him my troops deployed in Afghanistan.  (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

Randy Houston is proud of the U.S. flag (top left) given to him by troops deployed in Afghanistan. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

RANDY HOUSTON GREW up on the San Mateo
County coast in El Granada, south of
San Francisco, where he dreamed of being
a baseball player, not of combat. His
older brother by almost 12 years, Jerry,
wanted to be a solider and left home for
the Army when Randy was just 7.
“I never really got to know him that
well,” Randy Houston says. “When I got
older, the attitude I had about him leaving
home when I was kid had changed.
There was a time when my big brother
wasn’t around. He was a soldier and I
didn’t know what that was about when
I was a kid.”
Jerry Houston went to Vietnam and
was wounded twice starting in 1966,
once from a sniper’s gunshot and, after
going back, when a booby trap exploded.
After losing some fingers and his
body filled with shrapnel, he was awarded
two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star
for Valor.
In 2009, then 72-year-old Jerry was
named the national Patriot of the Year by
the Military Order of the Purple Heart and
inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of
Fame after he’d moved there. His younger
brother attended the latter ceremony.
“I was looking at a man who was different
from the one I knew,” Randy Houston
says. “Over the years he had started
using a cane and he was becoming a little
weak. When I saw him walk into the
(building) for the ceremony there was a
taller, straighter and stronger man than
I had seen before. And I realized that he
was amongst his peers. And that’s what
he was – he was military.”
It was an eye-opening experience for
Randy, who never considered a military
career, instead following in the footsteps
of the boys’ carpenter-father, Elmer. Randy,
60 and around retirement at the
time, thought about it and called his
brother. He wanted to help Jerry’s peers,
but he had no idea where to start and no
contacts. Jerry had some answers.
The Houston’s were an outdoors-oriented
family; Randy got his first hunting
license at 9, hunting in pheasant
fields around El Granada and Half Moon
Bay, and harvested his first buck at 12.
The most logical move to do his part
for Jerry’s comrades hurt in action involved
what he knew so well: fishing
and hunting.
Purple Heart Anglers was founded
under the umbrella of the Military Order
of the Purple Heart, but a couple years
later the organization became its own
501 (c) (3) nonprofit outfit. Houston says
about 1,000 disabled veterans have participated
on various outings over the last
five years.
So impactful has this and other organizations
around the country contributed
to a better quality of life for veterans,
in 2014, Randy Houston was inducted
into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame
in a ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s
Expo in Sacramento.
Trips have included the aforementioned
Ketchikan, Alaska, fishing adventure
(money was donated to secure
airfare for a small group, plus part of the
lodging costs and fishing trip), deep-sea
excursions off the California coast, salmon
fishing in the Sacramento River and
an upcoming trout trip to Lake Tulloch.
Houston says his organization always
seeks funding from outside sources and
is always willing to listen to corporations
willing to provide sponsorship opportunities
to help with costs.
“Without the donations, it’s tough,”
Houston says.
But he’s adamant about making
sure Purple Heart Anglers is about the
veterans, not he or anyone else behind
the scenes. The only banner that currently
flies during events is the group’s
purple-themed logo featuring an outline

of a jumping fish blended with a Purple
Heart medal.
Volunteers like fishing guides and
food vendors have offered their time
to host fishing trips and feed everyone
at the end of the day. For pheasant
hunting trips at Camanche Hills, Purple
Heart Anglers supply the birds themselves,
but the fee to hunt on the land
gets waived by the owner (Houston’s
beloved German shorthaired pointer,
Pennie, “is our No. 1 pheasant hunting
volunteer”).
When this was just a fledgling idea,
Houston set up shop with a tent in
front of a Bass Pro Shops store in Manteca
and sold raffle tickets to help fund
fishing and hunting events. But many
disabled veterans shopping there also
found their way to the booth. Over
time, 500 would sign up to be a part of
the fun.
“(Bass Pro Shops) was good to me
to allow me to sit outside in my little
tent,” he says.
In those early years, Houston rarely went
on the boat or into the field with the veterans
and the volunteer fishing or hunting
guides located around Northern or Central
California who took them out. He wants to
be in the background, and even now he’ll
many times stay behind to help prepare
the usual meal lakeside or near the hunting
land when the groups return.
“My wife would ask me, ‘Why aren’t
you going?’ And I would say, ‘It’s not for
me. It’s for the guys.’ If I take a space on the
boat and I’m not taking a space of someone
else who can go, then maybe I’ll go.
It seems funny for me to be on the boat
when there’s a veteran somewhere who
could be there,” Houston says. “I’ll wave at
the dock when they leave and welcome
them back when they get home.”
And though it’s obvious this is cathartic
for those who went through such tragic
circumstances that left them wounded
in action, Purple Heart Anglers tries to
stay away from trying to reinvent the
wheel and play psychologists.
“I’m not there to fix anybody; I don’t
know how. The only thing we do is create
a space where the veterans and the
people they’ve served and protected can
get together,” Houston says. “We can say
thank you that way.”

Purple Heart Logo

A veteran shows off a Delta striper during one of many trips arranged for Wounded Warriors, some of whom date back to World War II. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

A veteran shows off a Delta striper during one of many trips arranged for Wounded Warriors, some of whom date back to World War II. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

AMONG THOSE BRAVE men and women
who Purple Heart Anglers have thanked:
a 92-year-old World War II bomber pilot,
a 96-year-old who also fought in WWII
and 20-somethings who recently served
in the Middle East and came home with
combat injuries. There are Navy and Army
vets, Air Force pilots and Marines, both
men and women.
“As long as they have a disability rate
of 1 percent, that’s all we ask,” Houston
says, though an October fishing trip on
the Sacramento River included 14 active-
duty Marines.
Chats during downtime and meals
don’t always bring up stories about how
the vets suffered their wounds. But occasionally,
the subject comes up. In Alaska, a small group of four veterans was sitting

at the dinner table literally swapping war
stories. At one point, Houston had the
sensation of square peg in a round hole.
“Wait a minute: I don’t belong in this
conversation. I don’t know; I never was
there and I don’t understand,” he says. “It’s
like if you never jumped off the bridge
you don’t know what it’s like to hit the
water. I’ve excused myself from conversations
because of that. They open up
because they feel comfortable in that environment
with each other.”
Houston and some of the men and
women have talked about their experiences
– the soldier in a Humvee talking to
a colleague, and minutes later that friend
is no longer there.
What overwhelms Houston is that
when the day of fishing for bass at New
Melones or hunting upland birds in a
Central Valley field is completed, the
wounded warriors go home to their lives
and families and try to carry on the best
they can.
“That’s why (post-traumatic stress disorder)
is such an important issue. Those
in Vietnam came back with it; those in
World War II came back with it. We had a
young guy who was blown up 12 times,
and they didn’t let him go back,” Houston
says. “And he was angry. His friends were
still there doing what he was supposed to
be doing.”
But an impact, small or not, is being
made. During many events, Houston will
sit in a corner and relax after a successful
outing. But periodically one of the veterans
will walk over to him.
“They say to me that I’ve changed
their lives. I’m thinking, ‘How serious can
that be?” he says with a laugh, knowing
his intentions are just to be a small relief
among a far more complicated picture
considering what they’ve been through.
“It becomes way overwhelming.”
One disabled vet who once tried to
commit suicide now volunteers to help
cook up lunch after his peers go fishing
or hunting. The program has affected
many lives for the better. Houston and
his volunteers are not miracle workers,
just people who like to be outside
and want to share the experiences with
those who are trying to put their lives
as well as their bodies back together.
And having a sense of humor can go a
long way to cope with some unimaginable
tragedy.
“We did a fishing trip out of Brannan
Island (Rio Vista on the Sacramento River)
with some disabled vets. One of the old
guys from Yountville hooks a fish and
starts to reel it in. And about two-thirds
of the way in he starts to run out of gas,”
Houston says.
“And he’s in his 80s. At that particular
moment any good fishing buddy will
start giving him a hard time, which I did.
I said, ‘You act like an old man out here.’
He finally gets it in and says, ‘Oh, that was
hard.’ And he says, ‘I can’t help it. I just had
a stroke three months ago.’ We’re laughing
and he’s laughing. I almost fell out of
the boat. We’re all laughing hysterically
and he’s having a great day of fishing.”

Twin brothers from the Marines enjoying a day on the water. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

Twin brothers from the Marines enjoying a day on the water. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

JERRY HOUSTON, WHO was also exposed
to Agent Orange during his tour of duty,
passed away at 75 on April 21, 2011. One
trait his little brother admired about Jerry
was the honor and pride he took and
protecting and serving, whether it was
his country or family.
“It’s funny, I’ve discovered my brother
had a lot of other brothers when you’re
talking about the military brotherhood,”
Houston says.
Jerry was a man of few words while
managing to say a lot with his actions. His
widow has told her brother-in-law many
times how proud Jerry was of his baby
brother for being so gracious to fellow
wounded warriors.
Randy has learned more about his
brother since he passed from getting to
know so many others who were like Jerry:
the ones who suffered on battlefields
thousands of miles from home.
“When he was still alive, the program
was becoming more active. I’d call him
and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing.’
And in his simplicity it was, ‘Yeah, proud
of ya, boy.’ He was not a rah-rah cheerleader.
It would bring me back down
where I belong. He had a way to put
things in perspective for me.”
Purple Heart Anglers takes the approach
not to magically heal and repair,
but to just do what they can to create a
few smiles.
“It’s not hard not to stay engaged in
this program. I had a man in a wheelchair
who was 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, was
paralyzed by a gunshot and in a chair for
eight years. The first thing he was telling
me was to thank me for what I’m doing,”
Houston says.
“He had it backwards. What it does
show me is those people appreciate
what we’re doing as an organization. It
means something to them that we care.
You know, I’m a rather egotistical guy
and always have been. But this has kind
of put me on my knees. I have been completely
humbled by the participants. I’ve
seen legs missing, limbs missing, blindness,
deafness. They’ve gone through
things I couldn’t even have imagined.
And they’re coming out and having a
good day. How can you not participate
in this?”

Editor’s note: To contact Purple Heart Anglers
to donate or for more information,
email Randy Houston at randy@purpleheartanglers.
org. Write them at Purple
Heart Anglers, PO Box 1621, El Granada
CA 94018. You can also find them on
Facebook (facebook.com/pages/Purple-
Heart-Anglers/120269434661712).

Trips like this with residents of the Veteran's Home in Yountville are what Purple Heart Anglers is all about, giving back to those wounded in battle. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

Trips like this with residents of the Veteran’s Home in Yountville are what Purple Heart Anglers is all about, giving back to those wounded in battle. (PURPLE HEART ANGLERS)

Tagging California’s Sturgeon

Sturgeon are being tagged and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will now use report cards to tag catch rates. (CDFW)

Sturgeon are being tagged and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will now use report cards to tag catch rates. (CDFW)

 

Look for a story on California’s Delta sturgeon fishing in an upcoming issue of California Sportsman, but here’s a report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife about regulating the sturgeon population better through tagging and report cards:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) crews recently completed a successful season tagging white sturgeon in Bay Area waters. The tagging operation is part of a comprehensive population study aimed at managing California’s white sturgeon and its habitat.

Information developed from tagging this year will be complemented by information provided by anglers’ 2014 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards. Anglers use the cards to record data on species, location and date of catch. The card was implemented in 2007 as part of a suite of significant changes to sturgeon fishing regulations.

“Research, management and enforcement staff work together to protect the sturgeon population and the fishery,” CDFW Environmental Program Manager Marty Gingras said. “From Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards, we know how many sturgeon were caught, where and when they were caught and what size they were. We have tremendous insight into the population’s status and ecology because we look at data from anglers and the tagging study, as well as data we develop about juvenile white sturgeon and sturgeon habitat.”

Tagging this year included a first-time collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This age and growth study was conducted by two research vessels on fishing grounds in San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay between Aug. 6 and Oct. 22. The crews caught 468 white sturgeon, 250 of which were above the minimum study size and were subsequently tagged. Most of the captured white sturgeon were about 3 feet long, which means they were born in the year 2006. The largest white sturgeon captured was just under seven feet long.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin system is the southernmost spawning grounds for white sturgeon, which is why the population and fishery typically experience major boom and bust cycles. The white sturgeon fishery was closed for decades due to overfishing, then managed with very liberal regulations for nearly 50 years. It has been further restricted since 2006 to address concerns about white sturgeon and green sturgeon populations.

White sturgeon can live more than 100 years and weigh over 500 pounds, but — even 20-plus years after the establishment of regulation to limit the maximum size of fish that may be kept — less than 10 percent of the fish seen by anglers in California are ‘oversized’ fish (greater than 60 inches fork length) and must be released. Green sturgeon are so uncommon that fishing for and harvesting them is illegal under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Anglers can submit Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards by mail or online by logging into the CDFW license system and submitting catch data here:https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/CustomerSearch/Begin

To submit Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards by mail, please send them to:

CDFW – Sturgeon Fishing Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

To receive a reward for catching a tagged fish, please submit disk-tags along with mailing address, catch date, approximate location of catch (e.g., San Pablo Bay), length of fish and fate of fish (released or kept) to:

CDFW – Sturgeon Disk Tag
2109 Arch-Airport Road, Suite 100
Stockton, CA 95206

Southern California Bass Updates

Ojai bass 2

 

Marc and Amy Mitrany of the Ojai Angler with a report on bass fishing opportunities in the Southland:

Guide Marc will ONLY be at Castaic Lake for ONE MORE month! Then we’ll take the boat back to Lake Casitas for the

30 day clean and dry quarantine inspection! 

Castaic Lake fish boiling on the surface, TOP WATER  bite with both bass and stripers.

Bass Boats available at both Lake’s Lake Casitas in Ojai and Castaic Lake in Santa Clarita.

Excellent fishing, excellent weather, limited time and space make your reservation

805-701-2835 CALL OR TEXT

Open dates :

TOMORROW Friday Nov. 7th

Saturday Nov. 8th 7-11am (half day only)

Sunday Nov. 9th

Tues. Nov. 11th (Veterans Day)

Nov. 13th or 14th

COME SMILE WITH US!

 

Ojai bass 1

 

End Is Near For Feather River King Fishing

Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service announced he’s packing it in for Chinook fishing as the Feather River’s levels are now deemed too low.

Here’s Manuel’s final report:

“(Department of Water Resources) just dropped the river flow to 800 cfs on the Feather River yesterday 11/6/14. So that wraps it up for the king salmon for me for 2014. I now will switch to stripers in the Delta for the next few months. We all need to pray for some rain. I hope to see everyone at the ISE show in Sacramento this year.  If you can stop by my booth, I would like to meet some you in person that I have not yet met.”

Call Manuel at (530) 301-7455 to book a trip.

Here a few of the final kings caught in the Feather this season:

011 (2) 017 002_edited-1 022

Meanwhile, Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service is also gearing up for Delta stripers:

The bite has been solid for the past few weeks and it should remain good until the holidays are over. I fish stripers many ways in the Delta; from live bait, spooning, casting and trolling. The fall is beautiful in the Delta with some amazing days of fishing. I am typically guiding waterfowl, but with the low water situation, I will be chasing stripers! If you would like to spend a day fishing delta stripers or would like some more information please give me a call!!!

Scott Feist can be reached at (530) 923-2634.

 

 

 

Sacramento River Fishing Trips

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A message from Kirk and Lisa Portocarrero from Sac River Guide: 

 

KING SALMON FISHING  &
 COMBO TRIPS HAPPENING NOW

Sacramento River King Salmon fishing out of Anderson, Calif.
  The chromers are here. Bright chrome salmon are arriving. Combo trips – salmon, trout and steelhead trips have been great, too catching salmon the first half of the day and catching trout and steelhead for the rest of the day. Bring the rain gear, just in case. Weather is cooler now, this
expected in November. But so are the BIG, monster salmon. The month of November is know for producing the large salmon on the Sacramento River.
Salmon season closes December 16.
WILD RAINBOW TROUT FISHING & STEELHEAD
FLY FISHING 
Sacramento River fishing
Lower Sacramento River fly trout and steelhead  fishing is excellent.Trout fishing Redding area,
trout fishing is good. Rainbow trout fishing, fly fishing;
trout are 18 inches to 25 inches.
Fishing areas from Redding to Balls Ferry ramp.
Remember,  this is a year-round fishing.
STEELHEAD FISHING
Trinity River

 

Weaverville, Calif.
 Trinity River has been red hot fishing now for steelhead.
 We are trout and steelhead fishing daily and fishing has been fantastic. Nice beautiful steelhead!

 

        Fishing is amazing: Call us today
(800) 670-4448                     

Feather River Salmon Bite Remains Hot

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Feather River Chinook continue to end the fall season with a bang, says Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service in Marysville:

 

004

 

New salmon are still moving in both the Feather and Sacramento rivers. The temperature on the Feather river has dropped to 58 degrees. Salmon are holding in the deeper holes on the river.
Bryan, Sylvester and Thomas all had fun reeling their limit of  hard fighting king salmon. All fish were caught while back bouncing flat fish with a sardine wrap topped with ProCure Bloody Tuna Oil.
Use EXTREME CAUTION when navigating the Feather river. It is extremely low.
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MSJ Guide Service: (530) 301-7455.

 

 

 

Last Sentencing For Abalone Poacher

Photo courtesy of CDFW

Photo courtesy of CDFW

 

It appears the book has been closed on a massive abalone poaching arrest by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Here’s the CDFW’s release (with a graphic breaking down all the punishments handed down to the poachers:

 

After almost a year of court procedures, the last of 18 abalone poachers arrested in a 2013 sting has been sentenced. All 18 suspects were found guilty or pled no contest to the charges.

On Aug. 29, 2013, California wildlife officers simultaneously served 13 search/arrest warrants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento on 18 suspected abalone poachers. The last of the 18, Dung Tri Bui of San Leandro, was recently found guilty in Mendocino County Superior Court after a week long jury trial. Bui was convicted of three misdemeanor counts, including take of abalone for commercial use, conspiracy to take abalone for commercial purposes and take of abalone greater than the daily limit. He was sentenced to 36 months summary probation, $15,000 fine and a lifetime ban on fishing (including the take of abalone). Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Daniel Madow presented the case.

In total, $139,883 in fines and 11 fishing license revocations were handed out to the 18 subjects. All of the subjects received summary probation ranging from one to three years. All seized dive gear was ordered forfeited by the court. Mendocino DDAs Heidi Larson and Tim Stoen and support staff also spent a tremendous amount of time on these cases along with numerous staff from the Sacramento District Attorney’s office.

“We had excellent support from the respective District Attorney’s offices for taking these crimes seriously and prosecuting the poachers to the full extent of the law,” said Asst. Chief Brian Naslund of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division. “The gear forfeiture, fines and lifetime fishing license revocations for California’s worst poaching offenders will hopefully put them out of the poaching business permanently.”

Poachers Charges Revoked Fine Probation
         
SF Bay Area        
Khoa Dang Nguyen 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 36 months
Chinh Quan Le 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 36 months
Hung Vo 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $15,000 24 months
Toi Van Nguyen 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 24 months
Dung Tri Bui 5521.5, PC 182, 29.15[c] Lifetime fishing $15,000 36 months
Hai Van Ha 5521.5, PC 182, Lifetime abalone $1,353.50 24 months
Duoc Van Nguyen 5521.5, PC 182 Lifetime abalone $1,353.50 24 months
Andy Phan 2000/29.15 [c] Lifetime abalone $1,537 24 months
Charlie Le PC 182 No $1,420 24 months
Nhan Trung Le PC 182, 2000/29.15[c] No $1,888 24 months
Suong Hung Tran 29.15[c] No $1,771 24 months
Chuyen Van Bui 1052[f] No $1,303 24 months
Diep van Nguyen 2000/29.15[c] No $1,537 12 months
Khoa Ngoc Nguyen 29.16[b] No $1,420 12 months
         
Sacramento        
Dung Van Nguyen 5521.5, PC 115 (a) (F) Lifetime fishing $15,000 32 mo State prison
Tho Thanh Phan 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $15,000 24 months
Hiep Ho 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $20,000 26 months
Hung Van Le 2000, 29.16(a) No $1,303 24 months

PC 115 Forgery of government documents
PC 182 Conspiracy to commit a crime
F&G Code 5521.5 Unlawful to take abalone for commercial purposes
F&G Code 2000 Unlawful possession of California’s fish and wildlife
F&G Code 1052 Unlawful use of another’s hunting/fishing license
Title 14 – 29.15 abalone overlimit
Title 14 – 29.16 abalone report card violations

The original press release announcing the bust can be found at
http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/cdfw-officers-arrest-13-poaching-suspects-in-oakland-and-sacramento/.

The case was investigated by the CDFW Special Operations Unit, a specialized team of wildlife officers tasked with investigating illegal black market sales of California’s fish and wildlife resources.

 

Dungeness Crab Opener Saturday

(PHOTO BY CDFW)

(PHOTO BY CDFW)

 

I remember a couple years ago spending a weekend with some friends at their Bodega Bay getaway. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and one of the highlights was walking around the grounds of the school where Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds, was filmed. But the visit was also right around the Dungeness crab opener, so needless to say we took advantage of some of the freshest shellfish you could find and had a Friday feast.

Saturday marks the 2014-15 crab opener, and here’s the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s release on what you need to know:

California’s Dungeness crab sport fishery opens statewide this Saturday, Nov. 1. Every year at this time, recreational crab fishers eagerly set out in pursuit of these tasty crustaceans. Some set hoop nets and crab traps from boats and piers while others fish crab loop traps on the end of a fishing rod. Still others will dive in to take the crabs by hand. Regardless of the method, Dungeness crabs are one of California’s most popular shellfish.

“Dungeness crab catches tend to be cyclic with several years of high crab numbers followed by a few years of lower catches,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz. “Recent seasons have been characterized by high Dungeness crab production so we may begin to see more average catches in the near future.”

The most popular methods for catching the crustaceans are with crab pots (or traps), loop traps and hoop nets. There is no limit to the number of pots or nets that can be fished recreationally, except when fishing from a public fishing pier where only two fishing appliances may be used. Recreational crabbers may keep up to 10 Dungeness crabs per day of either sex, or six crabs if fishing from a party boat south of Mendocino County. No one may possess more than one daily bag limit, and no Dungeness crab may be taken from San Francisco or San Pablo bays, which are important crab nursery areas.

CDFW reminds sport crabbers that traps and nets for Dungeness crab may not be set before 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1. Those fishing with hoop nets should remember that regulations require raising the nets to the surface to inspect the contents at least every two hours. Any undersized crabs or other species that are accidentally caught can be more quickly released. This regulation ensures that fishermen closely monitor their gear and do not allow any equipment to be abandoned in state waters. Trap fishermen should also closely monitor their traps because lost trap gear can become a self-baiting crab killer.

The recreational size limit for Dungeness crab is five and three-quarter inches measured across the shell, directly in front of and excluding the lateral spines. Crab taken from party boats south of Mendocino County must measure at least six inches across. For a measurement diagram, please see the CDFW website athttps://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=36325&inline=true.

Unlike rock crab species that are fished along rocky reefs, Dungeness crab are usually found on sandy or sand-mud bottoms. Dungeness crabs generally prefer cooler northern and central California waters and are uncommon south of Point Conception. They are typically found at depths of less than 300 feet, although they have been documented down to 750 feet.

For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, please visit the CDFW Marine Region website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/crabs.asp.