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Pacific Halibut Fishery Set To Close This Week

CDFW photo


The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will close Friday, Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2018. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2018 California recreational quota of 30,940 pounds will have been taken by this date.

California’s 2018 quota is approximately 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 quota. The quota amount is determined annually through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Pacific halibut occupy a large geographic range, from the Aleutian Islands eastward through Alaska to British Columbia and throughout ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest. Along the West Coast, they are commonly found as far south as Point Arena in Mendocino County.

CDFW closely tracks the progress of the fishery each year, to ensure catch amounts do not exceed the California quota. CDFW field staff sample public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut throughout the season, along with other marine sportfish species.

Using this information, CDFW conferred with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the IPHC, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and to determine when the 2018 quota would be attained. Formal authority to close the fishery resides with NMFS, which took action to close the fishery following consultation with CDFW.

For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, please check one of the following resources:

Better Forecast On The Horizon For California Ducks


. Photo by Debra Hamilton/CDFW

The Ducks Unlimited 2018 waterfowl forecast was released on Friday, and the results seem to bode well for California’s duck migration. Here’s some of DU’s Pacific Flyway forecast:

The majority of Pacific Flyway waterfowl are raised on the prairies of the United States and Canada as well as in northwestern Canada, Alaska, and other western states. In southern Alberta, spring arrived quickly after a wintry start to April. The rapid snowmelt caused some localized flooding and recharged many wetland basins. Following a delayed start, waterfowl breeding efforts were in full swing by mid-May. Total breeding ducks in the region were down 14 percent from the 2017 estimate but remained 28 percent above the long-term average.

“Summer was warmer and drier than average across southern and central Alberta, but carryover water from the spring runoff and localized rainfall helped maintain semipermanent wetland habitats,” reports DU Canada biologist Ian McFarlane. “Although waterfowl breeding efforts were delayed by cool spring weather, good numbers of broods were observed in many areas.” …

In the western United States, wetland conditions were variable as some areas have improved while others continue to suffer drought conditions. In California, total ducks were up 39 percent compared to the 2017 estimate and were near the long-term average. In Oregon and Washington, duck populations were up 23 percent and 16 percent, respectively, and were above the long-term average in both states.  

California’s waterfowl seasons will get started in early- to mid-October. Check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s waterfowl regulations page for more information.


Lower Klamath Salmon Quota Met; Trinity Anglers Encouraged To Return Tags

Photos by CDFW

The following press releases are courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Lower Klamath Meets Chinook Quota

Based upon California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projections of the recreational fall Chinook salmon catch on the Klamath River, anglers will meet the Lower Klamath River adult fall Chinook salmon quota below the Highway 96 Bridge near Weitchpec for the 2018 season as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12.

This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from the Highway 96 Bridge to the mouth of the Klamath River at the Pacific Ocean. The fishery at the mouth of the Klamath was closed as of Sept 4, 2018 and will remain closed to all fishing for the rest of the calendar year. The rest of the lower main stem of the Klamath River below the Highway 96 Bridge at Weitchpec will remain open to the harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook salmon (22 inches or less). All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card.

Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in other reaches of the Klamath basin, including the main stem of the Klamath River above Weitchpec and the entire Trinity River until the closure of those fisheries.

Anglers may monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the information hotline at (800) 564-6479.

For more information regarding Klamath River fishing regulations, please consult the 2018-2019 California Freshwater and Supplemental sport fishing regulations at wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

Trinity Anglers Asked To Turn In Chinook Tags

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding Trinity River anglers to return Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead tags in a timely manner.

Tag return information is used each year to calculate harvest and help biologists estimate population size of steelhead and salmon runs. This information feeds into the Klamath basin fall Chinook salmon run-size estimate and informs the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s creation of regulations and quota sizes for the Klamath fishery. The data also allows CDFW to determine if progress is being made toward the goals of the Trinity River Restoration Program. CDFW will no longer be paying rewards for Trinity River tags returned from previous seasons, according to CDFW Trinity River Project Environmental Scientist Mary Claire Kier.

“We rely on anglers returning reward tags to us in the same season that the fish are caught so we can use the information in the season-setting process,” Kier said. “Timely return of reward tags is very important to secure an accurate estimate of the annual harvest. Only tags returned to CDFW in the same season they are obtained can be used in the harvest estimates, yet we often have tags returned to us as many as 10 years late. Unfortunately that catch information has no value to us at that point.”

As a reminder, anglers must immediately release all Coho salmon and wild steelhead (those with an intact adipose fin). Tags may be removed from these species, but the fish must remain in the water during tag removal. Please use scissors or a sharp knife to remove the tag.

Please return all Trinity River fish tags to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521

Anglers can obtain a form to accompany the tags at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/fish-tags or send the tags with:

  • Angler’s name and address
  • Date and location fish was caught
  • Whether the fish was kept or released

Anglers should also cut the knot off tags before sending to ensure they will clear the United States Postal Service sorting machine.


California’s Upland Bird Art Contest Approaching

CDFW photo

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting an art contest to select the design for the state’s 2018-2019 upland game bird stamp.

The California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest is open to all U.S. residents ages 18 and over. Entries will be accepted from Nov. 20 through Dec.7.

This year’s stamp will feature the white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucuraI). This smallest of North American grouse species exhibits a dramatic change in plumage from a mottled or a barred brown-yellow during breeding in spring to a pure white during the winter months, allowing this chameleon of the bird world excellent camouflage on the ground year-round in its alpine habitat. In California, ptarmigan occupy the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada from Alpine County south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Entries must include at least one white-tailed ptarmigan, preferably in a habitat or setting representative of California. Entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and a print.

The contest will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. The winning artist will be selected during a public judging event, with the date and location to be announced later.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The money generated from stamp sales must be spent on upland game bird-related conservation projects, education, hunting opportunities and outreach. CDFW sells about 175,000 upland game bird validations annually. Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. For collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps, an order form is also available on the website.

For contest information and entry forms, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/upland-game-bird-stamp.

Feather River Fish Hatchery Opening This Week

CDFW photo

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The fish ladder at Feather River Hatchery in Oroville will open Friday, Sept. 14, signaling the start of the spawning season on the Feather River.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder about 8 a.m. and will take more than 3 million spring-run eggs and 12 million fall-run eggs over the next two months in order to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

The hatchery is open from sunrise to sunset. Visitors can observe the salmon through the viewing windows and from the observation deck located at the base of the fish barrier dam. At the main side of the hatchery, visitors can observe CDFW technicians performing the spawning process. Thousands of schoolchildren tour the Feather River Hatchery each year. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at the Feather River Hatchery, please call (530) 538-2222 or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/feather-river. For information about hatchery tours, please call (530) 534-2306.

For more information about California’s fish hatcheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

Restoring The Massive Yolo Bypass Basin Helps Habitat

There is lot of activity in the Yolo Bypass Basin these days. When that means critical habitat restoration is occurring in one of the state’s most important systems, all of California benefits. Above, a February 2017 photo overlooking the flooded Yolo Causeway, a 3.2-mile long elevated highway that crosses the Yolo Bypass floodplain, connecting Davis and West Sacramento. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS

The following is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region: 

By Steve Martarano

There’s a buzz of activity in the Yolo Bypass surrounding crucial habitat restoration projects.

One project is essentially finished; another is under construction and four others are deep into the planning process.

There is almost too much activity in the Yolo Bypass Basin these days to keep track. But when that means critical habitat restoration is occurring to help fish in one of the state’s most important systems, all of California benefits.

The Yolo Bypass is a critical part of the state’s flood control system, receiving flood waters from major waterways including the American, Sacramento, and Feather rivers. When flooded, the bypass becomes one of the largest seasonal floodplains in the Delta, and a migration corridor for dozens of native fish species including Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists conduct fish rescue operations by hand at Wallace Weir in July 2018. The project includes a fish rescue facility that would return fish back to the Sacramento River. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS


Some of those corridors have become difficult for fish to navigate over the years, however, working on corrections has led to a key collaborative effort between several state agencies led by the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation.

“It’s been fantastic seeing all the progress in the Yolo Bypass, as we move forward, getting construction crews in there,” said Ben Nelson, of Reclamation’s Bay-Delta office. “These projects are important for fish passage so that sturgeon and salmonids make it through the Bypass.”

During the construction of the Fremont Weir Modification Project, this structure was modernized to widen the channel to improve fish passage to upstream fish habitat. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS


The latest piece of that migration corridor to begin construction is the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project.

The project complies with the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, which identified the importance of fish passage and floodplain rearing habitat in the Yolo Bypass, requiring the cooperative completion of several projects that accomplish these goals.

These Yolo Bypass projects may also potentially improve downstream habitat for Delta smelt, said Heather Swinney, a fish and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“These projects work to complement both NMFS’ and our biological opinions so that Yolo Bypass actions flow downstream to areas where smelt are known to occur,” Swinney said. “Restoration objectives under the biological opinions are intended to improve rearing and food web production for Delta smelt and salmon.”

Heavy equipment was used to widen the existing structure within the channel to allow for improved fish passage at Fremont Weir. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS


Fremont Weir is located near Woodland and West Sacramento in the northern Yolo Bypass area and is a 1.8-mile long concrete structure that will overtop during rain events and allow flow into the Yolo Bypass. Fish become stranded whenever the Sacramento River recedes because an existing fish ladder is too narrow and doesn’t provide adequate depth for fish to pass through the weir. In its current state, the ladder impedes anadromous fish from returning to their spawning grounds. Work began last May and is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year.

The Fremont Weir will improve fish passage conditions in the channel that extends from the existing fish ladder downstream to an existing deep pond by removing one agricultural road crossing and replacing another with a structure that allows for fish passage through the Tule Canal and continued agricultural utility.

The Wallace Weir structure replaced a seasonal earthen dam with a permanent, operable structure that would provide year-round operational control. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS


The Wallace Weir project is just a couple of “minor fine tunes” away from completion, said DWR’s Maninder Bahia, the project manager who has overseen all of the Yolo Bypass projects the past nine years. Construction began at Wallace Weir in 2016, and centers around a water control structure on the Knights Landing Ridge Cut where it enters the west side of the Yolo Bypass. The original dam, which washes away during high flow events, was replaced with a permanent structure that will prevent migration of salmon and sturgeon into the Colusa Basin Drain.

Wallace Weir also includes a facility to allow for efficient trapping and relocation of fish to the Sacramento River, which is currently accomplished by hand during low-water periods by California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Completing that facility is the final piece to Wallace Weir, Bahia said.

Other planned projects in the Yolo Bypass include:

Agricultural Road Crossing 4 Fish Passage Project

A road crossing that spans Tule Canal just south of where the Sacramento Bypass connects with the Yolo Bypass, it has also been identified as a fish passage impediment. The crossing provides the ability to impound water for agricultural and waterfowl purposes. Water Resources is in the process of developing early conceptual options to improve fish passage through the Tule Canal in the Yolo Bypass and construction is scheduled to begin in 2019.

Lower Putah Creek Restoration Project

The project will create a new creek channel that will improve fish passage and native fish habitat where Putah Creek joins and flows through the Yolo Bypass, including seasonally flooded wetlands. The project will connect Putah Creek with previously restored tidal channels along the Toe Drain and widen and enhance those channels to create tidal habitat and provide better passage for salmon. The project will also improve fish passage to and from spawning grounds on upper Putah Creek by installing a structure that will better control the seasonal timing and magnitude of creek flows. Planning for this project is at the conceptual design level and is scheduled for construction in 2020.

Lisbon Weir Fish Passage Project

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019 to modify Lisbon Weir, which is considered a key upgrade for adult migrating fish. Lisbon Weir delays migration in the Yolo Bypass. When the bypass is not flooded, salmon can only pass this rock weir when flood tides open a small section of flap gate or when a strong high tide overtops the weir. This project would improve fish passage throughout the tidal cycle while maintaining a reliable agricultural diversion. Planning for this project is at the conceptual design level.

Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage

The wide-ranging Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project would primarily consist of a new Fremont Weir headworks structure (structure at the head or diversion point of a waterway), a new outlet channel, and downstream channel improvements. Each of these facilities is a potential outlet channel that will be chosen from the east, center, and west alternatives in the Yolo Bypass. Each channel alignment would terminate downstream into the existing Tule Pond to improve fish passage and increase floodplain fisheries rearing habitat in Yolo Bypass and the lower Sacramento River basin. The project is currently in the alternatives development phase. A public draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report was released in December 2017 and a final statement/report is expected later this year. Anticipated construction is scheduled for 2020 or 2021.


Lake Jennings A Great Holiday Fishing Option

Photos courtesy of Lake Jennings


The following press release is courtesy of Lake Jennings in the San Diego area:

  • It’s finally LABOR DAY WEEKEND! FridaySaturday and Sunday, 8/31-9/2the lake will be open 6:00 a.m. to midnight with full size lanterns required after 8:00 p.m.  We will also be open on Labor Day, Monday, 9/3, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Labor Day marks the end of our night fishing season. But mark your calendars for October 6th! The lake will be open until 10:00 p.m. for New Moon Fishing!
  • The lake will be stocked with our final stocking of the season, 1,000 lbs. of catfish this week! The grand total for the season was a whopping 10,000 lbs!
  • Anglers are finding lots of catfish in Eagle Cove and Half Moon Cove biting on mackerel and nightcrawlers. One angler last weekend even reeled in a nice 16+ lb. cat in Eagle Point on mackerel.
  • Bass have been caught all over the eastern portion of the lake from Cloister Cove to Sentry Point. Try using Senkos and nightcrawlers. Anglers were blowing it up on shad all around the dock!
  • We’re also seeing those cute bluegill and redear panfish biting on mealworms and wax worms over off Eagle Point and in Half Moon Cove.
  • Enjoy a fun-filled day at the lake this Labor Day cruising around the lake, fishing the coves, or picnicking with friends!
  • Kayaks are available for rent and feature multiple rod holders and water tight compartments. Children can kayak if their parent or legal guardian is also kayaking and they can physically operate the kayak themselves. Are your kiddos not quite ready for that? Paddle boating is a great option for crusing on the lake and fun for the whole family.
  • Come visit us at the campground. Pets are allowed at the campground as long as they are on a 6 foot (or shorter) leash. The fresh air and outdoor excitement are sure to keep them going.
  • Lake Jennings is a drinking water reservoir and remember, no body contact is permitted.
  • For camping reservations just give us a call (619) 390-1623 or visit www.lakejennings.org to make your reservations. Come spend a few days with us!

Boaters: Help Prevent The Spread Of Invasive Species

Invasive species like quagga musssels can be prevented with smart boat care. (CDFW)

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels native to Europe and Asia. They multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web and ultimately impact native and sport fish communities. These mussels spread from one waterbody to another by attaching to watercraft, equipment and nearly anything that has been in an infested waterbody.

Invisible to the naked eye, microscopic juveniles are spread from infested waterbodies by water that is entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets. Quagga mussels have infested 33 waterways in Southern California and zebra mussels have infested two waterways in San Benito County.

To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any waterbody are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that contacts the water before and after use.

“As the summer boating season comes to an end, boaters are reminded to clean, drain, and dry their watercraft and equipment after every use to limit the spread of invasive species and help conserve California’s irreplaceable plant, fish and wildlife resources,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Habitat Conservation Planning Branch Chief Rick Macedo said.

Take the following steps both before traveling to and before leaving a waterbody to prevent spreading invasive mussels, improve the efficiency of your inspection experience and safeguard California waterways:

  • CLEAN — inspect exposed surfaces and remove all plants and organisms,
  • DRAIN — all water, including water contained in lower outboard units, live-wells and bait buckets, and
  • DRY — allow the watercraft to thoroughly dry between launches. Watercraft should be kept dry for at least five days in warm weather and up to 30 days in cool weather.

CDFW has developed a brief video demonstrating the ease of implementing the clean, drain and dry prevention method. In addition, a detailed guide to cleaning vessels of invasive mussels is available on the CDFW’s webpage. Additional information is available on the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) website.

Travelers are also advised to be prepared for inspections at California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Border Protection Stations. Over the past 10 years, more than 1.45 million watercraft entering California have been inspected at the Border Protection Stations. Inspections, which can also be conducted by CDFW and California State Parks, include a check of boats and personal watercraft, as well as trailers and all onboard items. Contaminated vessels and equipment are subject to decontamination, rejection, quarantine or impoundment.

Quagga and zebra mussels can attach to and damage virtually any submerged surface. They can:

  • Ruin a boat engine by blocking the cooling system and causing it to overheat
  • Jam a boat’s steering equipment, putting occupants and others at risk
  • Require frequent scraping and repainting of boat hulls
  • Colonize all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces, causing them to require constant cleaning
  • Impose large expenses to owners

A multi-agency effort that includes CDFW, DBW, CDFA and the California Department of Water Resources has been leading an outreach campaign to alert the public to the quagga and zebra mussel threats. A toll-free hotline, (866) 440-9530, is available for those seeking information on quagga or zebra mussels.

Archery Hunter Mauled By Wounded Bear He Arrowed

An archery bear hunter’s encounter with a bruin he hit didn’t go so well in Riverside County.  Here’s more from the Los Angeles Times’ Hannah Fry:

Three people were hunting together Friday at about 7 p.m. when one of the hunters shot a bear with an arrow. When the man approached the wounded bear, it attacked him, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy said Tuesday.

The man suffered severe injuries to his upper torso, face and arms and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The bear eventually died from its wound.

CDFW, State Water Resources Board To Host Cannabis Permitting Workshops

The following press is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will be hosting cannabis permitting workshops in Fortuna, Redway and Ukiah in late August and early September. Workshops are open to cannabis cultivators, consultants and anyone with an interest in the topic. There is no cost to attend.

Each workshop will include presentations by CDFW and SWRCB about the requirements for and process of obtaining proper permits for cannabis grows. Workshop attendees will have ample time to talk with agency staff about individual projects. Representatives from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, CAL FIRE  and county permitting and planning departments will also be available to answer questions.

The workshops will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday, Aug. 29
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
River Lodge Conference Center
1800 Riverwalk Drive

Thursday, Aug. 30
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Mateel Community Center
59 Rusk Lane

Wednesday, Sept. 5
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Ukiah Valley Conference Center
200 S School St.

For more information, please visit CDFW’s cannabis program webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis and the SWRCB cannabis program webpage at www.waterboards.ca.gov/cannabis.