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CDFW Schedules Meeting To Discuss Delta-Area Wildlife Areas

Photo by CDFW


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

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold an outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 6 in Davis regarding Bay Delta Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

The meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room, which is located at 45211 County Road 32B in Davis. State wildlife areas to be discussed are the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Complex.

CDFW’s Bay Delta Region includes 12 counties in northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.


From our Northwest Sportsman executive editor Andy Walgamott:
An annual spring survey off the Northwest Coast came up with some good and bad news for key stocks.


Krill — hugely important near the base of the ocean food web — and young Dungeness crab numbers were as high as they’ve been in some time, but there are even more pyrosomes off Oregon’s Central Coast and to the south than last year.


Jennifer Fisher, fresh off a 10-day survey between San Francisco Bay and Newport, reported the findings on the Northwest Fisheries Science Center blog.

“These are the most Dungeness larvae and juveniles we’ve collected in a long time, and we have not seen krill numbers like this since before 2015,” Fisher followed up via email.

That year, 2015, was the height of The Blob — the huge pool of warmer than usual water in the Northeast Pacific that messed things up at sea and on land — and it was also a year after pyrosomes first began to be found in our coastal waters.

By last year, the tropical gelatinous, sea-pickle thingies that are actually colonies of organisms were clogging fishing gear off our coast and even turned up as far north as the rim of the Gulf of Alaska, also a first.

While rockfish were observed feeding on pyrosomes, it’s not clear how their numbers will affect the food web. Another NOAA blog from last October states, “At this point, there are more questions than answers.”

But the May survey answered the question whether they’re still out there.

“The pyrosome catches appear slightly larger and the colonies are larger compared to last year,” reports Fisher.

They can be found starting about 10 miles off the coast, living on the bottom during the day and rising to the surface at night.


The Science Center will soon conduct another closely watched spring survey, collecting information on young Chinook and coho off Oregon.

Last year’s produced very low catches while one a couple years ago found very small fish. But the resurgence of krill is a hopeful sign that the food web could be rebuilding coming out of the hangover from the Blob.

Fisher also reported on Science Center’s blog that copepods are in a state of flux between winter warm-water communities and summer, cold-water ones that come with the upwelling.

So what does it all mean?

“The krill is a good sign, but the pyrosomes are not, since they are indicative of warm water,” she says. “And the transitional copepod community is also not a great sign for salmon. But it’s still early in the summer upwelling season, so things can certainly change.”

Angler Dies In Tragic, Freak American River Accident

Sacramento’s Fox 40 TV affiliate – see video above – shared an absolute tragedy of a story on an angler – and a husband/father of two who died in a tragic accident on the American River. 

Here’s reporter Sonseeahray Tonsall with more:

Shaun Orchid posted a picture of his afternoon fishing trip to Instagram just 10 minutes before it’s believed he lost his footing near Sailor Bar on the American River.

He drowned as the waders he used when bank fishing for shad filled with water.

“In high school he held the butterfly record for years. He was a great swimmer. So to think that he would die of drowning is nothing that anyone could ever imagine,” Orchid said.

“I was just so shocked and devastated,” said Shaun’s father-in-law, Daniel Ash.

Ash shared Shaun Orchid’s love of fishing, doing catch and release at Sailor Bar and other spots across the state for years. The thought of his own waders betraying him was top of mind Thursday.

“When we were in areas like that a lot of times we would take a belt around the top of the waders and cinch it up tight, so if we fell in it would take a little while for the water to get inside so you could stand back up,” Ask said. “I don’t see people doing that.”

Now in their grief, they just want other fishermen to be safe. That means taking a friend when they go out and possibly wearing a life jacket. They don’t want any more little ones like the couple’s children, Jase and Kallie, to be left behind.

Condolences and thoughts are with Shaun’s wife Janelle, their kids Jase and Kallie and loved ones.

SoCal Congressman Wants Delta Tunnel Project Exempt From Lawsuits

The Delta Tunnels mess is only going to get more volatile. Here’s the Sacramento Bee on a Southern California congressman who wants the tunnels project to go through so much he’s trying to sneak in a provision that prohibit legal action against the plan.

Here’s more from the Bee:

On Tuesday, veteran Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County released a 142-page draft spending bill for fiscal year 2019 for the Interior Department and related agencies.

Tucked into the bill, on page 141, is a brief provision that would prohibit state or federal lawsuits against “the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix … and any resulting agency decision, record of decision, or similar determination.” Calvert is the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

“After more than a decade of studies and more than 50,000 pages of environmental documents, all of the project’s stakeholders have had a plethora of opportunities to express their thoughts and concerns,” Calvert said in a statement. “The tough decisions about the California Water Fix have been made by Gov. Brown, Democrat and Republican legislators, and a host of water officials, and now we must move forward with the project. It’s long past time to give Californians the reliable water system they deserve.”

California environmental groups immediately cried foul. Eric Wesselman, executive director of Friends of the River, said the Republican-controlled Congress is attempting to silence opposition to the Delta tunnels. He and other local leaders warned this could become a pattern.

“Regardless of how anyone feels about the Delta tunnels, this piece of legislation sets a dangerous precedent for California,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, a tunnels opponent. “It’s an end run around due process and really upends states’ rights.”

Here’s some reaction from the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s president John McManus, whose organization is one of the most vocal opponents of a project conservationists believe will further wipe out an already struggling king salmon run:

“The Delta water tunnels project, formerly known as the Peripheral Canal, was defeated by voters in 1982.  This time around the project is being shoved down the throats of all Californians without allowing a vote of the people. Today we learn that Congressman Ken Calvert is proposing a law exempting the salmon killing tunnels from legal review by groups like GGSA, local governments and others.  Construction of the current version of the tunnels would break numerous laws protecting salmon and other natural resources from destruction.  Since the tunnels would wreck the environment in violation of current law, Congressman Calvert is proposing to change the law instead of changing the tunnels. “

“Salmon and other species will be wiped out if the current version of the tunnels is built, which is why GGSA and allies are already in court calling for a fair legal review.  Those in favor of the tunnels and moving more northern California water to southern California know we’re likely to win in court since the environmental damage is easy to prove.  That’s why they’re using their money and political connections to simply get the laws changed rather than comply with the law and modify the tunnels to make them less damaging.”


Clear Lake Catfish Derby This Weekend

Photo by Brian Lull

One of the first fish I can remember catching was at Clear Lake, where my family used to always spend Memorial Day weekend at a friend’s getaway home. It just happened to be right on the beach at Clear Lake in the Lakeport area. When we’d get there, the first thing that I’d do is rig up my spinning rod and put a piece of clam, chicken liver or nightcrawler and cast from the beach.

So I remember as probably a 9-year-old landing  a 3- or 4-pound channel cat when everyone else was inside the house. So I quietly tip-toed up to the side door and surprised everyone that this grimy little kid had caught a Clear Lake cat! Fun times and I miss those days, which is why I felt a little sentimental seeing this column from the Lake County Record-Bee  previewing this weekend’s Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Catfish Derby. 

Here’s Record-Bee columnist Terry Knight with more:

Fishermen come from as far away as Hawaii to compete in the derby. It is the largest catfish derby in the West and remains one of the more popular fishing contests on Clear Lake. Last year’s winner was 11-year-old Tanner Castillo of Sutter. He entered as an adult and caught a 28.81-pound catfish. The winner of this year’s derby will take home a cash prize of $4,000 while second place is worth $1,000 and third place $800. The derby pays down 20 places based on a field of at least 350 adults. The winner in the kids division pockets $100.

Derby hours are from noon Friday until noon Sunday. The entry fee for the derby is $40 for adults if received before 11 p.m. Thursday. There is a $10 late fee for entries received after that time. The entry fee for children 15 and younger is $10. The awards ceremony starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Clearlake Oaks Firehouse where there will be a barbecue, music and a giant raffle. The firehouse is also the derby headquarters and fishermen can sign up for the derby starting Thursday at noon at the firehouse. Fishermen can also sign up for the derby at the Limit Out Bait and Tackle Shop in Clearlake Oaks.

Derby fishermen can fish around the clock during the hours of noon Friday until noon Sunday. Each fisherman is allowed to weigh in one catfish. If they catch a larger one, that fish will replace the previous fish. Any type of bait may be used and that includes live minnows, cut bait and nightcrawlers. Only live catfish can be weighed in and the top three finishers must successfully pass a lie-detector test.

I want to go and finish in the top three just I can take the lie-dectector test! Go to clearlakeoaks.org/derby or call (707) 596-0248 for more information.




Sea Urchin Limits Increased

CDFW file photo

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

At its April 2018 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted emergency regulations to increase the daily bag limit for purple sea urchins taken while skin or SCUBA diving off Mendocino and Sonoma counties only. Purple sea urchins fall under the general invertebrate bag limit of 35 per day, but the emergency regulations now in effect will allow a daily bag limit of 20 gallons with no limit on possession. The emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days (until Nov. 6, 2018) unless extended by the Commission. Upon expiration, the bag limit will return to 35. A recent explosion in purple sea urchin populations off northern California has prompted requests for increased daily bag limits as an option to reduce purple urchin numbers.  The increase in purple urchin populations is one of several extreme environmental conditions contributing to a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is collaborating with commercial divers, academic researchers and stakeholders to clear purple sea urchins in select test plots in order to study the effectiveness of clearing on restoring the bull kelp ecosystem. CDFW and its partners are working on permits and procedures to conduct controlled experiments to evaluate smashing compared to collecting purple sea urchins in these test plots.

CDFW reminds recreational participants that the new recreational limit allows urchin collection while skin or SCUBA diving by hand, and that there are regulations against waste of fish.  Recreational harvesters of urchin must put harvested urchins to use.  Smashing and disposing of sea urchins in the trash is still illegal.

Besides collecting purple urchins to extract gonads for eating, the urchins can make a good addition to compost material.

Oroville Fishing Is Fit For A King

Photo by Chris Cocoles


On Saturday I had a chance to fish Lake Oroville – north of the Yuba City-Marysville area – with Manny Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service – in search of landlocked king salmon. We had a good day.

Saldana explains here how he sets up downriggers from his boat on the massive lake:



Here’s Saldana getting a good workout from a smallish but feisty king:

And finally, check out one of six salmon we got into the boat (we hooked but lost another 10 or so throughout a sun-splashed May morning in the Central Valley):

Look for our report on this trip in the June issue.

Photos by Chris Cocoles



Tension On The Klamath Basin Border

Klamath River photo by Guy Smith/CDFW

The Sacramento Bee has a good piece on the tension going on among multiple parties regarding Klamath Basin water rights:

Now the stage is set for another round of conflict on the Klamath River, the result of a dry winter and a court ruling by a federal judge in San Francisco.

In late April, Judge William Orrick, siding with Indian tribes and commercial fishermen, ruled that a significant share of water that farmers needed for their spring planting is going downstream to aid troubled fish populations.

A few days later, the farmer-run Klamath Irrigation District, in a letter from their attorney, told the federal government that it planned to open the gates on a government-owned canal in southern Oregon. That would allow Klamath water to flow onto onion, potato and wheat fields in time for planting season.

The story has a little more on how the river system’s fish population are affected by this mess:

The Bureau of Reclamation operates a network of dams, pumps and canals known collectively as the Klamath Project. The region covers about 200,000 acres of land on both sides of the border, serving several hundred farmers.

In 2017, Judge Orrick in San Francisco ordered Reclamation to use more of the Klamath’s waters to flush out a lethal parasite called C. shasta, which has devastated fish populations.

Orrick’s ruling was a major victory for the Hoopa Valley, Karuk and Yurok, California’s three largest Native American tribes, whose economies rely heavily on salmon fishing in the Klamath’s and Trinity’s lower reaches. Although it isn’t harmful to humans, C. shasta killed much of the threatened juvenile coho salmon population during the recent five-year drought.

The drought and a separate disease also plagued another salmon species vital to the tribes, the Chinook. For the first time in history, so few adult Chinook returned to spawn last year that the tribes had to forgo their fall fishing season. The fish are so important to the river tribes’ cultural identities and their impoverished communities, tribal health officials were worried about suicide outbreaks.


Mother’s Day Fishing Special From Dana Wharf


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The following press release is courtesy of Dana Wharf:


Moms can fish FREE on ANY 3/4 and any half day trip she chooses on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13. And if she wants to go on a Whale Watching Trip, mom receives a free glass of champagne.

Help Us Celebrate 47 Years in Dana Point Harbor

It’s our annual Anniversary Special and Thank You for being a valued customer. We’ve rolled back the prices May 15 – May 21
Take advantage of our in store promotion for our email members!*

1/2 day fishing tickets for future trips only $15 (normally $46)
3/4 day fishing tickets for future trips only $35 (normally $64)
ALL DAY fishing tickets on the Fury for future trips only $55 (normally $75)
Whale Watching tickets for future trips only $15 (normally $45)

*Print/show this email at the store when you purchase your tickets for a future dateThis special is not available online and is not valid on same day tickets are purchased. Limit 10 total tickets per email member.
No other discounts apply.

Fish Overnight and All Day

The 65-foot Fury has overnight and all day trips. The bunkroom is furnished to sleep 46 passengers, blanket and pillow provided for each bunk. Book your epic fishing trip today!Join us on our 1/2 day and 3/4 day trips running all week long. We’re targeting all kinds of species. Check the schedule

Twilight fishing has begun – every Tuesday,  Friday and Saturday night only $29

Check Dana Wharf Sportfishing Schedule

Charter a Boat this Summer

Board any of our clean, well-equipped vessels or private yachts for an unforgettable trip! Dana Wharf Sportfishing charters come with expert captains, friendly crew and live bait.The time to book your fishing charter is NOW! We are taking reservations for summer fishing season and dates go fast call us today 949-496-5794 ext 2