Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Feather River Salmon Update

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Our friend, Manuel Saldana of MSJ Guide Service shared this report from the Feather River:

 

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Today’s trip was a grandfather/ grandson combo, both of Gridley Calif. We hit the Feather River water bright and early, and it wasn’t long before the grandson Micheal Morales rod went to tug tug, and he yells out, ‘I have a fish on!’ We also hooked several other fish but lost them during the fight of getting them to the boat. At the end of the day Charles Watson says his favorite part of the day was watching his grandson reel in his king  salmon. Great memories made on the river today.

Contact Manuel at 530-301-7455 for a great day of king salmon fishing on the Feather or Sacramento River.

 

 

NOAA’s Report On California’s Salmon And Steelhead Habitat

NOAA

 

If you have some time, here’s an interesting (and long) read the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration released the history of salmon and steelhead habitat loss in the Central Valley.

Here are some highlights:

Present Day Salmonid Habitat

 Presently, salmonids are restricted to the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River valley bottoms and a few of the lesser tributaries. The beautiful, productive upper reaches of the rivers have been removed from the fishes’ current range.  All of the black lines on the map at right, representing historical habitat, are inaccessible.   By every account, this is 80% of the fish habitat (Lindley et al., 2006) and 95% of the spawning habitat (Yoshiyama et al., 2001).

Additionally, dams have significant effects downstream as well.  Not only do they block access to habitat, they also alter water flow and temperature downstream.  And many limit the amount of proper spawning gravels that are available below the dam.

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“Did salmon ever enter Yosemite Valley?” 

 Yoshiyama et al. (CDFG Fish Bulletin 179)found that “..It appears, therefore, that salmon at one time and in unknown numbers may have approached the vicinity of Yosemite Valley, even if they did not enter the valley proper.  However, for the present, the area around El Portal or just downstream of it may be the best estimate of the historical upstream limit of salmon in the mainstem Merced River…”

 By 1920, though, after the dam was built the state Fish and Game Commission received a letter from a resident of the country near the Merced River stating that there were fifty salmon in the past for each one now….. the blame for this decrease was attributed to the construction of dams. Residents along the river in 1928 say that the salmon are so scarce that they rarely see any. They remember the fish being so numerous that it looked as if one could walk across the stream on their backs (G. H. Clark, 1929.  Fish Bulletin No. 17).
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 On the San Joaquin River, a once mighty waterway that’s fallen on hard times:

The San Joaquin River historically supported great numbers of salmonids, “Fifty or sixty years ago (1870’s), the salmon in the San Joaquin were very numerous and came in great hordes.”  (Clark 1929)  Most spawning by spring-run Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River occurred upstream of the current location of Friant Dam. Historical spawning runs may have exceeded 200,000 fish annually, ascending the river as far as Mammoth Pool (about 3,000 feet in elevation), which lies about 50 miles above Friant Dam.  (San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement)

 However, by the late 1940’s all salmon runs in the San Joaquin River above the confluence of the Merced River were gone.  

 Since Friant Dam became fully operational in the 1940s, much of the river’s water has been diverted for off-stream agricultural uses. As a result, approximately 60 miles of the river bed is dry in most years.  The photo at right is the San Joaquin River(Friendsoftheriver.org). 

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Here are some tidbits on the Feather River, which has struggled to maintain its water level and is featured in this month’s issue of California Sportsman:

In 1929 Clark described that Spring-run Chinook salmon historically ascended to the very highest elevation headwaters of the Feather River watershed prior to the construction of numerous hydroelectric power projects and diversions.  They migrated up all four major branches of the Feather River. 

 Per Clark, “The runs of salmon, both spring and fall, used to be very heavy in the Feather River previous to the building of obstructions. It is true that the mining operations in the early years may have reduced the amount of fish somewhat, but the building of dams has almost destroyed the spring run. The fall run is large, although not extremely abundant,..”

 The Feather River Hatchery, located at the town of Oroville, was built by the California Department of Water Resources to mitigate for the loss of upstream spawning habitat of salmon and steelhead due to the building of Oroville Dam.

If you’re a history nerd like I am, check it out.

 

Man Suffers Fatal Heart Attack – Bear Eats Body

(Cristen Langner/CDFW)

(Cristen Langner/CDFW)

 

Just a terribly sad story out of Northern California. A 65-year-old man suffered a fatal heart attack in Humboldt County, and most of his body was consumed by a black bear. 

From the Associated Press’ Scott Smith:

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said he believes 65-year-old Marion Williams died outside his trailer in a remote area before the bear came upon him.

Authorities discovered the remains on Monday after friends reported Williams missing for five days.

Officials tried to trap and kill the bear but called off their attempt because it is doubtful the bear is still in the area near the man’s home in Redway, about 75 miles south of Humboldt, California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan said.

Water Coolers To Save Drought-Stricken Salmon?

 

The hatchery just below Shasta Dam will need water coolers to help protect water-starved salmon. (CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)

The hatchery just below Shasta Dam will need water coolers to help protect water-starved salmon. (CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)

The California drought conditions and sizzling temperatures  have raised several concerns about the survival of hatchery salmon in the devastated Central Valley all the way north to Redding.

But extreme measures seem to be in the works as a desperate attempt to help fish survive sinking water levels. Artificial coolers are going to be utilized. 

From the Associated Press:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers installed the coolers at the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery at the foot of northern California’s Shasta Dam this summer when water temperatures hit the mid-60s — too tepid for the half-million winter-run baby salmon growing there, said Scott Hamelberg, a federal hatchery manager. …

The big water coolers are a first for the federal hatchery, necessitated by warmer-than-normal water in California’s third year of drought.

At the American River hatchery east of Sacramento, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also are installing giant coolers to bring down water temperatures for the hatchery’s young salmon and trout, hatchery manager Gary Novak said.

Certain endangered species of trout at that fishery “don’t really tolerate the heat too well,” Novak said.

Smaller coolers in tanks are cooling various other fish rescued by wildlife officials after California’s drought dried up their home stretch of rivers and streams entirely.

The fish refrigerators are the latest unusual measure taken by fish and wildlife managers to protect fish and California’s $1.4 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry while most of the state remains in the most severe category of drought. In June, state wildlife officials used tanker trucks to evacuate 2 million fish from hatcheries deemed dangerously warm.

CS Correspondent Haugen Joins Alaska Outdoors Television

CS correspondent Scott Haugen was added as a host on the Outdoor Channel for an Alaska-themed show. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

 

 

California Sportsman contributor Scott Haugen, who teams with his wife, Tiffany, for their monthly “From Field to Fire” column, will appear on the Outdoor Channel network as a host. Here’s the release:

Anchorage, Alaska – 59th Parallel
Productions Inc., a television entertainment company,
announced today the addition of Scott Haugen as host
to the Alaska Outdoors Television team joining its 8th season in production, airing weekly on the Outdoor Channel network. For nearly 20 years noted outdoor author and TV host, Scott Haugen has been a familiar name in the hunting and fishing world.

“There’s no place I know that’s as captivating and inspirational as Alaska,” shares Haugen. “The people, land and wildlife are so unique, and there are many great stories to unveil.”

Having lived for years in Alaska’s Arctic, and hunted and fished throughout the state, I’m elated to be part of the Alaska Outdoors team, and to return to the Outdoor Channel.”

When living in Alaska Haugen ran an extensive trapline, fished and hunted birds and big game. He also tracked down and killed a man-eating polar bear with his Winchester .30-06 when living in a village
bordering the Chukchi Sea, a story we look forward to sharing.

“Having a host with a solid reputation in
the outdoor industry, who has proven himself in the state for a quarter-century, adds great value to Alaska Outdoors TV,” offers Tim Delarm, Executive Producer of Alaska Outdoors TV.

Scott Haugen has hosted various shows for the Outdoor Channel’s original programming sector, including Adventures Abroad, Game Chasers and Salmon, Trout, Steelhead. Haugen has appeared on more than 400
TV episodes, penned over 1,700 magazine articles and written more than 15 books to include best-selling hunting and fishing books on Alaska, and is on the editorial staff of three Alaska-based magazines.

He continues to write over 100 magazine articles a year and deliver over 50 seminars, annually, making him a great addition to the team. Alaska Outdoors Television can be seen every week on the Outdoor Channel 3x weekly – Anchor slot Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information on Alaska Outdoors Television visit the series websites at Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or www.alaskaoutdoorstelevision.com.

Congrats to Scott!

Marijuna Site Cleanup In Trinity County

As this suggests, busted marijuana farms face a lot of cleanup issues. (TIM E. HOVEY)

As this suggests, busted marijuana farms face a lot of cleanup issues. (TIM E. HOVEY)

Pot farms in California seem to be a threat to the state’s tenuous salmon populations, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is out to do its part to clean up some of the sites.

Here’s the CDFW’s release:

California wildlife officers will work with several allied agencies and scientific personnel to clean up six polluted illegal marijuana cultivation sites to protect three species threatened with extinction. The sites encompass habitat of the federally endangered Coho salmon, federally threatened northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher, which was recently proposed for listing as federally threatened.

Scientific data conclusively proves how pollution from illegal marijuana cultivation has further degraded habitat quality for each species, and how bioaccumulating rodenticides, common to illegal cultivation sites, continue to acutely affect the northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher. Consequently, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) applied for and received Section 6 federal funds earmarked to benefit such species to conduct cleanup operations after the sites were eradicated and secured.

Wildlife officers from CDFW, the California Air National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office conducted the raids and eradication of each of the six sites in mid-summer, and marked them for return and environmental reclamation. The growers are alleged members of one or more international drug trafficking organizations. In addition to polluting the land and water and destroying habitat, they represent a serious threat to public safety.

Personnel from all agencies will work together to restore the sites to as pristine a condition as possible. They will remove the entire infrastructure of the grow site including rodenticides, fertilizers, pesticides, human waste and garbage and thousands of feet of irrigation tubing.

On Oct. 16, representatives of the media will be escorted into one of the grow sites. The general location will be in Trinity County off of Highway 299, midway between Whiskeytown and the coast. It is a 40 minute hike from the road. Those joining the tour should be in good physical condition, wear long pants and long sleeves with good hiking boots, wear gloves and have eye protection, wear a wide brim hat, carry plenty of water (most operational personnel will have 100 ounces or more CamelBak style water containers) and an energy bar type of snack. Photographers are advised to prepare for the extremely dusty conditions that result from working underneath a helicopter.

Klamath Chinook Quota Met

Anglers will have no reached its goal of adult fall-run king salmon caught on the Klamath River king.  (ALAN'S GUIDE SERVICE)

Anglers will have now reached the goal of 702 adult fall-run king salmon caught on the Klamath River. (ALAN’S GUIDE SERVICE)

By sundown, the Klamath River’s king salmon catch projection of 702 adult fall-run fish will have been reached.

Here’s the CDFW release:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projects that Klamath River anglers will have met their upper Klamath River catch quota of 702 adult fall-run Chinook salmon above the Highway 96 bridge by sundown on Friday, Oct. 10.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 11, anglers may still fish but can no longer keep adult Chinook salmon over 22 inches. They may still keep a daily bag of three Chinook salmon under 22 inches in the Klamath River above the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchepec.

The fall-run Chinook salmon quotas on the Trinity River are 681 adult Chinook salmon from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar flat and 681 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge. These sub-area quotas have not been met yet, and anglers may retain one adult Chinook salmon as part of their three fish daily bag limit.

CDFW reminds anglers that a salmon report card is required when fishing for Chinook salmon in anadromous portions of the Klamath basin.

Steelhead fishing remains open, with a daily bag of two hatchery steelhead or trout and possession limit of four hatchery steelhead or trout. Hatchery steelhead or trout are defined as fish showing a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). Anglers are also required to possess a steelhead report card when fishing for steelhead.

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

Irvine Lake Planting Browns

An Irvine Lake brown trout (PHOTO BY IRVINE LAKE)

An Irvine Lake brown trout (PHOTO BY IRVINE LAKE)

 

From Irvine Lake, which opens its season on Oct. 31

NEWS FLASH; Irvine Lake’s October 31 Trout Opener to receive 10,000 pounds of rainbows AND 10,000 pounds of brown trout.

                The prospects for Irvine Lake’s upcoming 2014-15 public trout season opener, scheduled for Friday, October 31 just got more exciting. Some 20,000 pounds of trout will be planted just prior to opening day, of which 10,000 pounds will be the lake’s always popular bright Calaveras rainbows, and 10,000 pounds will be beautiful hook-jawed brown trout. This will be the largest single stocking of brown trout in the history of Irvine Lake. Even better, the lake will plant at least 5,000 additional pounds of trout each and every week until next spring, ensuring that Irvine Lake will be the Southern California’s best trout fishing destination all winter long.

Follow Irvine Lake on Facebook, on the web at IrvineLake.net or call 714-649-9111

Drought Causing More Bear Break-Ins?

(Cristen Langner/CDFW)

(Cristen Langner/CDFW)

 

It really hit me how dire California’s drought crisis is becoming when I received my October issue of National Geographic, which included a lengthy report and included some staggering photos of ridiculously-low lakes like Oroville and Shasta, not to mention once fertile Central Valley farmlands now looking like a reincarnation of the Oklahoma Dust bowl days, which ultimately brought farmers from the Great Plains to then lush California for a chance at a better life.

Just one more reason to be concerned about the continuing trend of water shortages is what seems like an abundance of bears breaking into homes around California’s and Nevada’s Sierras communities. The bruins’ lack of food and water sources, which may or not be directly tied into the drought conditions around the state, is an issue, says a report from Fox 40 in Sacramento. Here’s more news from AccuWeather’s Kevin Byrne:

The dearth of water has stalled the growth of available wild foods, such as grasses, natural fruits and nuts, which grow in upper regions of the Sierra Nevada that the bears call home.

When these natural foods fail to mature in the volume needed, there is not enough to sustain the bear population in Nevada or California’s Lake Tahoe Basin, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Spokesman Chris Healy said.

“Often times, unfortunately, because a lot of our urban areas here in Nevada are right up to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the bears will extend their search for garbage,” Healy said. “And the more the drought conditions have affected the natural food supply for the bears, means that we’re going to have more interactions with bears searching for garbage.”

Eighty percent of the state of Nevada is under severe drought conditions, with half of the state suffering from extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. … 

Across state lines in California, black bears routinely wander into urban environments throughout the Sierra every year, said Jason Holley, a supervising wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

While there have been some interesting bear incidents that could be attributed to the drought this summer, there’s no direct data to show correlation to the drought, Holley said.

“The one thing we do suspect, is that since this drought is so severe and it’s gone on so long, we do suspect that it has increased the need for bears to wander farther in finding their food and finding their daily water needs,” he said.

“And in turn, that increases the likelihood that they come across people or they come across roads.”