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Colorful Pyramid Lake Trout

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Our correspondent Craig Adkinson reports from his trip to Nevada’s Pyramid Lake:

The spring spawn means a wide-open bite. The fish are aggressive and fight so hard.

All fish were caught photographed and safely released.

I used a Phenix Shikari Trout Rod custom wrapped by Wide Open Hookers.

Okuma RTX, and Helios 25-s reels, Spooled with Seaguar Red Label 6-pound and 4-pound test lines.

I drop shoted a Chartreuse Green Lunker City 3-1/- inch minnow and or a Smokin Jigz Minnow in Sacramento Perch pattern.

I also did very well with an Owner Mira Shad “PINK” color. All Hooks were Owner jigheads, Owner Mosquito hooks, or Owner Stinger hooks.

I used a larger size with a Voss Weight Banana style for bass fishing to throw it as far as I could. Pink Trout King Jig also did very well.

I also did very well with an all-Black Marabou Jig custom-tied buy Diego Guamboas from Shimano Pro Staff, and Savon Tackle.

Wiley X. Polarized Glasses did the trick “BOSS” You could see schools of 30 to 40 fish come threw at a time. Some schools held at a minimum of 100- 200 cuties.

It was freezing you will need a Hoo-Rag so you don’t get wind-burnt bad!

 

Countdown to Trout Opener: Brown Bagging

 

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We’re counting down the days until Saturday’s statewide trout opener. Today: brown trout tips and tactics.

By Chris Cocoles

With anglers flocking to the Eastern Sierra for the April 30 trout opener, many will be targeting rainbow trout in popular lakes like Crowley and Convict.

But Southern California trouthead Craig Adkinson is hoping to score some big early brown trout in some of his favorite rivers and streams as the spring season opens in several fisheries. Generally it’s late in the season – fall – when most of the so-called “brown baggers” show up to land trophy browns. But Adkinson can catch big fish throughout the early part of the season.

One technique Adkinson and his buddies have adopted is to afix a rattle bobber atop a long leader – 5 to 8 feet in length, depending on the depth of the water they’re fishing – with a small leadhead to get the bait down into the current.

“I’ve been getting them that like that throwing it into the buckets of the creeks, or any areas where there’s a ledge and a drop-off; or behind big boulders. I’ll throw nymphs and (artificial) minnows around, and that’s how I’ve been getting a lot of big browns,” Adkinson says, adding that the rattle bobber’s vibrations help entice strikes when jigging the lures in the water.

“Others may fish in the same area and overlook it; they think it looks fishy but can’t figure out why they’re not getting bit when their jigs are bouncing around the bottom. But I’ll throw the rattle bobber in the same spot. I think with the way the rattle bobber works and keeping the jig above bottom, my jig will be right in the strike zone.”

Adkinson isn’t a big fly fisherman but collects as much information about water conditions as he can from mostly secretive fly anglers who know the high country so well. Surely they are better informed than the big-city folks who flock from Los Angeles up Highway 395 once the waters are open for business again.

“A lot of what they’re interested in is what they call a break or an underwater current break; they look for an old creek channel inside of a river,” Adkinson says. “So if you’re looking at the seams of an old river, you can see where old rivers used to be and where it will cut under the bank. You can find an area where there used to be a tree or bush close to the river.”

After a winter of heavy snowfall but not much melt, water flows will remain a little slower than they should be after the runoff. With rivers and creeks not quite washed out, most fish have been holding in what’s known as a “fast-water slick” that flows into deeper pools where water either becomes slower or faster. Trout will also sometimes hide behind submerged boulders or fallen trees.

 

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OUTFOXING A BROWN

“The browns are actually a lot smarter than the rainbows,” Adkinson says. “They don’t want to eat (typical rainbow staples like) PowerBait or salmon eggs. You have to use baits that resemble what they’re used to eating.”

Lures resembling minnows or nymph-like jigs are good choices. Browns will gorge on smaller fish like Sacramento perch and small stocked rainbows. But don’t overlook crawdads (crayfish), a key part of their diet, so lures resembling the crustaceans can be a perfect offering too.

“These techniques will work all year-round; they only vary around – depending on the water clarity – which colors you choose,” Adkinson says. “You just want realistic colors of the things that they’re used to eating. So like the fly fishermen say, match the hatch.”

Very light line – about 4-pound fluorocarbon – is also recommended.

“These fish are very vigilant – very smart and well-adapted. The bigger browns were probably caught before when they were smaller,” Adkinson says. “Or some of these fish are so smart and they’ve been hooked never get landed. You have to be smart about when you set the hook and how you set it. Make sure your drag is already set; make sure all your knots are still good.”

Adkinson says the East Walker River, Upper and Lower Owens River and Hot Creek are some of his favorites, with the reminder that some stretches call for artificial lures with barbless hooks only. CS

Countdown To Trout Opener: Lower Sac River

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Editor’s Note: With this Saturday’s statewide trout opener looming, we wanted to get you ready for the big day with a trout story a day.

Today: Fishing the Lower Sacramento River near Redding.

By Bill Adelman

If you’ve only heard, read or thought about fishing for lower Sacramento River trout, this fishery is definitely an outing that should be checked off your Golden State
angling bucket list.

We’re focusing on the creek from Redding south to Red Bluff. The greatest misconception today is that the entire lower river is closed to protect salmon, when in fact it’s only about a 4-mile stretch in Redding, ending at the Highway 44 bridge. At press time in mid-March the exact season dates had not been set, but the proposal is April 1 to July 31.

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GET SOME HELP 

This river can be intimidating to the novice, whether you’re doing a walk/wade trip or fishing from a drift or jet boat. As we all often hear, hire a guide for each different style (I was a freshwater guide for around 20 years and concur). Due to ever-changing conditions, trips are never the same. Techniques vary from day to day and season to season. Checking flows and water clarity are always good ideas prior to traveling. The Fly Shop in Redding (800-669-3474; theflyshop
.com) is a great resource, as they’ll readily give out information as well as hook you up with one of their guides. Owner Kirk Portocarrero of Sac River Guide(800-670-4448; sacriverguide.com) is another good source for this stretch of the river.

Nick Fasiano, who also organizes The Fly Shop’s private-water program, says April features some of the best fishing throughout this run. Should you have access to a boat, side-casting spinning gear while drifting is on fire right now. For many years, salmon roe or eggs were the hot ticket and will still produce, though these days don’t as consistently as they once did.

Bead-and-yarn combos are also kicking during the early spring. Some of the pros feel that the salmon numbers have been so low the past few years that trout are into feeding on their own eggs. The bigger native trout in this stretch also gorged on salmon smolt, and those numbers are also way down, thus back-trolling plugs has tapered off as well. If you wish to use plugs, look towards late winter to be the best option (please debarb all hooks, both on lures and flies, keeping in mind that from 650 feet below Keswick Dam to the Deschutes Road bridge, only barbless hooks may be used).

You’ll need a few different size beads in different natural colors, starting with a 6mm. The best way to pick the right one is if when you hook a trout and it spits up eggs, replicate that size of a bead.

Use the short-shank egg-style hook, size 6 or 8, and peg the bead about 2 inches above the hook. Adding a strip of yarn that almost completely covers the hook is deadly, and the general feeling is that it will hang on the teeth for an additional split second, allowing for a better hookset.

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LOTS OF BIG FISH

This presummer fishery will generally produce 30 to 40 fish per day, with many measuring more than 20 inches. Of course, you have to employ the correct technique. When I guided, one of my favorite early-summer trips was to take off to the east just above Red Bluff on Jellys Ferry Road and drop off a vehicle at the Bend launch ramp, then head northeast on Jellys Ferry until hitting the river and launching a drift boat off the gravel. This drift was about 10 miles and we’d run nymphs on fly rods or small spoons on ultralight spinning rods about 40 to 50 feet below the boat and slowly track across the flow. Too many grabs to keep track of when it was on.

The fly guys are in trout heaven, beginning above the Sundial Bridge near the posse grounds all the way downriver, except for that 4-mile closure. They too are looking towards midspring, as the warming temps will generate bug activity and matching the hatch results in stretched leaders. This is caddis time, which again takes off in October. A size 14 indicator with a size 16 Birds Nest, or any of the other great caddis imitations, is the most prominent plan. However, as the water warms, ditch it and try the shallower areas and riffle tailouts using a larger bushy-style stimulator dry fly with a nymph dropper. And don’t overlook the caddis emerger, which can be fished below a dry and allowed to emerge at the end of the drift, then swung directly below your position.

When swinging just the emerger such as a Poopah, imitate your steelhead drift with either a floating or 10-foot sink-tip line. As summer moves in, the evening grab can be outstanding with swung emergers, as just mentioned, or go to dries as soon as the hatch shows itself. Waders have a real advantage here, as they can slowly work the action along a gravel bar.

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A SEASON OF TROUT

Going into fall, the bite changes again and the indicator fishery kicks in, as do late-evening dry fly caddis imitations. When the king caddis show up, those bugs approaching an inch long, switch quickly and stick with an 18-inch emerger dropper.

Once the salmon show, the same set-up with beads works for the fly guys, assuming you don’t mind catching fish and don’t hold the position that beads aren’t flies. If so, use Glo Bugs – again, in an assortment of colors and sizes are necessary.

As salmon build spawning redds, they’ll dig up a bunch of bugs – mostly mayfly and caddis. Doubling up a Glo Bug with a caddis or mayfly nymph dropper is the best of both worlds; or you can use one of each and not a Glo Bug.

If the closure proposal goes through, Fasiano thinks some good news should come of it down the line.

“Another awesome byproduct of the closure is that the rainbow trout in the upper stretch of the river get a much needed break in fishing pressure,” he says. “Last year the August 1 reopening of the upper river provided some of the best trout fishing of the whole year.” CS

Seeking Action From California Hunters And Anglers

Photo by Scott Haugen

Photo by Scott Haugen

Reaction to a recent Los Angeles Times report that continued to question the makeup of the California Fish and Game Commission and its support of the state’s hunters is gaining steam.

Representatives of California’s Safari Club International issued a press release with the title: CALIFORNIA: A CALL TO ACTION HELP SAVE OUR HUNTING AND FISHING!!!

Here’s a portion of the press release:

The time is now for sportsmen and the public in general to collectively voice their strong objections to the commission/department trend in recent years of managing wildlife by emotion and unfounded opinion rather than by science and the sound principles of good wildlife management. Taking action now could make a big difference in reversing this dangerous trend and prevent further erosion of our outdoor recreational heritage.

The release goes onto encourage sportsmen and -women to read the Times report and voice concerns in the comment section.  It also suggests that hunters and anglers reach out to California Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris and explain the concerns that hunters might have.

As soon as hunting advocate  Jim Kellogg announced  he would step down from his post on the five-member commission last winter, the Fish and Game Commission has been under fire for replacing the pro-hunting commission members with more conservation-leaning replacements.

 

 

CDFW Announces Dungeness and Rock Crab Opening Locations

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

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72? N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance) to the California/Mexico border. The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude at the northern jetty of Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County to the California/Mexico border, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

Recent test results show that domoic acid levels in rock crab in Monterey and Dungeness crabs south of Humboldt Bay entrance and in Mendocino County no longer pose a significant human health risk, according to notice given today to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A closure for the recreational rock crab fishery remains in place north of 36° 58.72? N Latitude and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below) while a closure for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery remains in place north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed north of 36° 58.72? N Latitude to the California/Oregon border and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line.

The recreational Dungeness crab season in Humboldt and Mendocino counties is scheduled to end July 30 under regular open season regulations in the newly opened area while in counties south of Mendocino County, the recreational season closes on June 30.

Despite several weeks of test results that showed samples below alert levels, as a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

Areas open to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72? N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor Entrance)

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open in state waters of the Channel Islands except for an exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below)

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, near Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36° 58.72? N Latitude and in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.;

(2) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(3) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(4) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.; and

(5) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to extensively monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened throughout the state.
OEHHA Rock Crab Memo 4/22/2016:http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122565&inline

Commission Reverses GPS Hound Hunting Ban

 

Photo by Scott Haugen

Photo by Scott Haugen

With a 3-0 vote,  the California Fish and Game Commission reversed a ban on using GPS devices for hunting hounds Two organizations, the Sportsmen’s Alliance and California Houndsmen for Conservation, were among the most active advocates to overturn the ban. Starting July 1, dogs can be fitted with a GPS system.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance posted a press release  approving of the being lifted. Here is a sampling of the reaction:

“Today’s decision by the commission to allow the use of GPS dog recovery equipment for California’s hounds corrects an egregious policy that prevented hound owners from affording the greatest level of care to their four-legged hunting partners,” said Josh Brones, government affairs coordinator of western operations for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “For the commission to vote in support of the department’s recommendations to end the ban, indicates their recognition of the role and value of logic and science in resource policy-making decisions.”

The use of GPS is legal for every other kind of dog in California including those used for upland and waterfowl hunting, livestock herding and pets. In addition, California’s former ban on the use of this recovery equipment for hounds was contrary to the attitudes of the rest of the country, as it was the only state in the nation to have had such a ban.

“We are delighted by the decision of the commissioners to correct this flawed regulation in stark rebuke of the irrational arguments of the animal-rights community that inexplicably argued against this animal welfare measure,” said Brones.

 

Gullwing Paddles Provides A New Toy For Paddlers

 

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Gullwing Ergonomic Kayak Paddle Creates Hand Paddle Conversion Kit
—Gullwing Paddles is proud to announce their new product, the Gullwing Hand Paddle conversion kit. New to the market, this conversion kit allows you to transform our lightweight nylon and fiberglass blades into powerful hand paddles. By removing the blade from the aluminum shaft, you can simply attach the PVC grip by snapping it onto the blade. The hand paddle’s unique design allows you to navigate through tough spots like under hanging trees, rocky shores, and narrow waterways. This hand paddle easily cuts through water creating substantial improvement in power allowing you to maneuver easily while fishing.
For over 10 years Arthur Carlow, creator of Gullwing Paddles, has made a mission out of creating a unique, ergonomic kayak paddle here in the U.S.A.. Based on a revolutionary patented design, it’s become the most efficient and ergonomic paddle on the market today. Positively buoyant, lightweight and durable are only a few of the facets that make this the ultimate kayak fishing paddle. The blades are made of reinforced nylon and angle forward to offer the paddler maximum surface area, which translates into more efficient power.
Gullwing Paddles currently make two models, the 230 and 215. For fishing the Gullwing 230 is longer than the typical kayak paddle and better accommodates the fishing kayak’s wider shape. The paddle itself is uniquely designed to balance across the kayak’s prow or fit snugly along the gunwale, thus eliminating awkward coping with a paddle when the fisherman’s attention needs to be on the cast or the catch. The Gullwing 215 is a standard paddle designed for stress-free, recreational kayaking.
Both models feature the unique forward-angled and asymmetrical blade design which allows the user to glide on the water instead of digging through it. The nylon/fiberglass-reinforced blades can be easily changed. The ergonomic contoured and bowed handles of Gullwing paddles are made of powder-coated aluminum alloy T-832 ALUMINUM, and are also hard-coated to produce a tough abrasive-resistant surface that delivers improved durability and resistance to corrosion.
The paddles are so unique, easy to use, and low impact, that they are a great accessory to a large variety of kayak enthusiasts. Additional information on the versatile Gullwing line is available on its website, gullwingpaddles.com.

Q&A With Deadliest Catch’s Josh Harris

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From our friends at the Discovery Channel:

EPISODE DESCRIPTION:

 

Deadliest Catch
Airing Tuesday, April 19 at 9 PM ET/PT on the Discovery Channel

Josh Harris is forced to take over the Cornelia Marie. Sean Dwyer gets his first taste of the angry sea. Greenhorns on the Cape Caution are slapped to attention. Weather, mechanical failures, and inexperienced crews complicate matters across the fleet.

Key Storylines:

  • In the episode airing on Tuesday: After a killer King Crab season, Josh struggles to find any Bairdi Crab. In the midst of pulling empty pots, things get even worse. A nasty flu knocks his co-captain Casey McManus out of the wheelhouse, forcing Josh Harris to take the wheel alone. And he’s not just pulling pots. He has to get out there and find the crab.
  • This season young skipper Josh Harris must step out of the shadows to claim his birthright on the legendary vessel once commanded by his father, the late Captain Phil Harris.
  • The boat has finally gotten an overhaul – complete with new electronics and engine room. But making the boat like new comes with a steep price. To pay for the overhaul, Josh had to sell a majority of the boat to investors meaning if he can’t find crab, the investors will find someone else who can.

 

Sneak preview of Tuesday’s new episode:

 

 

 

 

Q&A With Josh Harris, Deadliest Catch Captain of the Cornelia Marie

This season your boat got a complete overhaul.  Are you happy with the changes you made?  Has it made crabbing any easier?

I am happy with the changes. Obviously the boat interior and exterior look much better.  But having new equipment eliminated a lot of the stress worrying about mechanical failures.

How often do you think of your dad, the late Captain Phil Harris?  Is there any lesson that he taught you, that you still find useful today?
I think of my dad every single day. His sayings always replay in my mind. On a daily basis I find myself repeating things he used to say. The crew does it, too. I’m always thinking of him. He was the greatest.

What do you think is the toughest part of your job? 
The toughest part of the job by far is dealing with mother nature. You never know what she’ll throw at you.


What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining the Deadliest Catch crabbing boats in the Bering Sea?

School is incredibly important – you need to stay in school. Anyone who considers fishing should have a backup plan.

 

 

 

 

California Salmon Outlook Not Good

Photo by Jolitime Sportfishing

Photo by Jolitime Sportfishing

This is a bit of an older report, published last Thursday, so apologies for not getting it out sooner. But the prospects for the state’s 2016 ocean salmon season look bleak at best.

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kurtis Alexander with more:

First, there was no crab in the cook pot. Now the grill may be left short of salmon.

Responding to profound threats to California’s quintessential catch, federal fishery regulators laid out new restrictions Thursday for the state’s commercial salmon fishing season, scheduled to begin next month, as well as to the sport season, which started April 2.

The move, designed to protect fish hurt by drought-depleted rivers and warming ocean waters, will cut fishing opportunities by as much as half compared with last year, anglers say. It’s bad news for seafood lovers hoping to get their hands — and mouths — on the beloved filets, at least at a decent price.

 “Salmon is scarce, and we got people eager for it,” said Dave Bitts, a Northern California trawler who serves as an adviser to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the agency that drafted the fishing rules. “I suspect salmon is going to be harder to get, and it will probably be more expensive. But it’s hard to say how much.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to finalize the restrictions by the end of the month.

Check out the whole story. It’s a really informative read.

 

Pressure Mounting From Disgruntled California Hunters

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It’s been a rocky period of change for the California Fish and Game Commission, the kind of change that’s not exactly endeared itself to the state’s outdoorsmen and -women. specifically hunting.

In late December, longtime comissioner Jim Kellogg stepped down, admitting “I’m leaving pretty much out of frustration,” he said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m just tired of being the only one fighting the fight for the hunters and fishers.”

Hunters believe the five-member commission is leaning heavy on conservation issues and away from the rights of the hunting community. Recent additions to the Fish and Game Commission were perceived to be conservation-first advocates.

The Los Angeles Times published a report on Saturday that reinforces the notion that the state’s hunting and fishing community is none too pleased with the direction of California’s outdoors administration.

Here’s a sample of Times reporter Patrick McGreevy’s story:

The number of Californians who hunt has dwindled to less than 1% of the population, but some who still carry rifles outdoors complain the state commission overseeing them has become too cozy with the animal rights movement.

Now Gov. Jerry Brown is facing pressure from outdoor enthusiasts to fill two vacancies on the five-person Fish and Game Commission with people who understand hunters and anglers and their role in conservation.

“The commission has shifted from a philosophy of conservation to one of preservation, meaning its direction has gone to where fishing and hunting are more and more limited and very difficult,” said Marko Mlikotin, executive director of the California Sportfishing League. 

McGreevy shared some disappointing, if not disturbing, numbers.

Kellogg acknowledges that the California of his youth does not exist any more. Forty years ago, 608,455 people had California hunting licenses, when the state’s population was 21.5 million. Last year, 272,229 hunting licenses were issued though the state’s population is 39 million.

Many of the decisions the commission has made regarding specifically predator hunting in recent months has created tension within what’s left of the hunting cosmos. Here’s McGreevy with more:

Hunters were furious when the commission voted in 2014 to list gray wolves as endangered despite a recommendation by staff that it was not justified. But the clashing of interests came to a head in August when the commission voted 3-2 to ban all commercial bobcat trapping in the state though the department’s director recommended against it on the grounds there was no evidence the species was endangered.

Jack Baylis, then-president of the panel, supported the ban, joining a majority bloc that argued the state lacked the science to support continued trapping. The vote was blasted by outdoor activists including John Carlson Jr., president of the California Waterfowl Assn.

“We didn’t think Baylis was as balanced on the issues as he could have been,” said Carlson, who was executive director of the commission before 2010. “He went against some of the science-based recommendations of the department.”

There are a lot more details McGreevy covered, so this is a great read and I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s the link again .