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Fighting For Wild Salmon

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A message from the Golden Gate Salmon Association:

San Francisco  —  The Golden Gate Salmon Association is disappointed in the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of genetically altered salmon as being fit for human consumption.

Genetically engineered salmon pose a serious potential threat to wild salmon stocks that our members rely on to make a living or fish for food and sport. In addition, GE salmon also pose a threat to salmon protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

Although the creator of the GE salmon, Aquabounty, claims the fish will be sterile and kept in closed tanks, other reports have suggested that as many as five percent will be fertile and able to reproduce or possibly hybridize wild fish if they escaped into the wild.

“No one knows if genetically engineered fish would spell the end for wild stocks if they escaped and hybridize but it’s not something any of us wants to find out,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.  “History clearly shows that to date, farmed salmon have escaped every form of capture where they’ve been confined.”

Farming of salmon in general requires large amounts of wild forage fish for food, produces large volumes of waste that pollute waters near the salmon farms, and produces large volumes of parasites and pollution from drugs given farmed fish to combat parasites and other fish disease.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (goldengatesalmon.org) is a coalition that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, an Indian tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largestsalmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.



Feather River King Salmon Action

Photo courtesy of MSJ Guide Service

Photo courtesy of MSJ Guide Service

A report from Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service in Yuba City/Marysville.


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Last Saturday I had Robert Feng from Taiwan chasing down some king salmon in the Feather river. Lucky for him some new fish moved upriver. Robert hooked three and landed one. The other two came unbuttoned next to the boat after the tug-a-war match! He said he had a blast and he’ll be back. We also missed three other opportunities out there.


(530) 301-7455




Sierra Snowpack Looking Better

Graph courtesy of USDA

Graph courtesy of USDA

The above graph – and one below – shows a promising El Niño-inspired snowpack in the Sierras, which not only bodes well for skiers as Ski Curbed points out, but it’s a welcome relief for drought-stricken California as rainstorms have swept through both Northern and Southern California in the last week.

Graph courtesy of USDA

Graph courtesy of USDA

Here’s Ski Curbed with more:

Looking at the colorful map above, the best places to ski right now are in blue. Lake Tahoe, Taos, and southwestern Utah have benefitted from the early snow this year, with above average bases as a result. Colorado isn’t doing poorly either, especially with a storm on tap today that’s expected to bring double digit snow totals. Meanwhile, things are looking a bit rough for the snowpack in Wyoming, Montana, and much of Idaho. But a few good storms could change that.


L.A. Man Busted For Exotic Fish Trafficking

Perhaps he got a little too much into River Monsters. 

A former West Hills – San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles – man was arrested for wildlife trafficking charges. The fish in question were exotic South American Arapaima gigas.

Here’s NBC Los Angeles via City News Service:

Isaac Zimerman, a 66-year-old American citizen, was extradited from Mexico in September to face charges contained in a 13-count indictment. Prosecutors said he used his now-defunct company, Hawthorne-based River Wonders LLC, to import Araapaima gigas, which can sometimes grow to 15 feet in length and have been known to leap from the water to catch low-flying birds, along with nearly 900 piranhas and dozens of river stingrays into the United States.

In his plea agreement, Zimerman admitted possessing those fish in California, which were advertised for sale and shipped to customers in states outside of California. The indictment also contained allegations that Zimerman engaged in additional criminal conduct related to the falsification of documents, obstruction of proceedings, false statements and smuggling of protected Arapaima gigas from Peru while on pre-trial release.

River Wonders, which pleaded guilty today through a company officer to an attempt to smuggle 10 Arapaima gigas in March 2010 from Los Angeles to the Bahamas, was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered by U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II to pay a special assessment of $400. Defense attorney Mark Werksman said the company’s corporate status would be dissolved within weeks.

Photo by George Chernilevsky/Wikimedia

Perfect Bassin’ Conditions At Lake Casitas

A report from Marc and Amy Mitrany of the Ojai Angler 


“It’s Spring like conditions at Lake Casitas” Pretty incredible for this time of year!

Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 14 is open for a reservation with perfect weather in the forecast. Call to reserve 805-701-2835

Tues. Nov. 17, 18, Fun Friday Nov. 20 or the weekend 🙂  Harvesting LIVE BAIT THREAD FIN SHAD.

Come smile with US!


Wednesday, Nov. 11 Chuck and Corbyn LIVE BAIT THREAD FIN SHAD!!

Monday November 9th Tim, Janie and Meg Bass and Big Catfish! Live bait shad!

Sunday Nov. 8th Jim and Brian from Bakersfield CA with Lake Casitas Bass and Crappie with Guide Marc.

Friday Nov. 2 Dirk and Chuck afternoon Lake Casitas Bass Fishing with Guide Marc Mitrany

We have Don and Ester from Los Angeles CA Monday Nov. 2.  With some great afternoon catches!  Using live bait threadfin shad, Morning trip on Monday used all artificial baits with some Lunker Potion Fish Attractant and caught several nice bass too!

Big bucket mouths! Oct. 26 at Lake Casitas Mike with his 7 pounds and Xavier 8,.with his 10 pounds from Paso Robles.

A REEL TREAT using live thread fin shad as bait this time of year!!

Call me for reservations, We love to help get you hooked up on some bass!

Marc and Amy Mitrany

805-701-2835 talk or text


Return Your Sturgeon Tags


Poster: 'Tagged Fish Wanted'


We’ll have a report on Northern California’s S.F. Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta sturgeon fishing in the December issue of California Sportsman. Here’s the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on sturgeon tags:


CDFW offers monetary rewards for the return of certain marked tags. The tags are smaller than a dime and located behind the rear dorsal fin. Anglers who return a tag will also receive a certificate of appreciation from CDFW. Additional information and the form for returning tags can be found on the CDFW website.

“Protecting the white sturgeon fishery and the sturgeon populations requires research, collaboration, adaptive management and enforcement,” said CDFW Program Manager Marty Gingras. “Angler participation is a vital component of the information-gathering process – we rely on them to help us complete the loop.”

Working in Suisun and San Pablo bays from August through October, crews collected information on 18 green sturgeon, tagged 190 white sturgeon, and collected information on 169 white sturgeon that were either too small or too large to tag. In an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and a new collaboration with San Francisco Estuary Institute, USFWS staff was also on board CDFW boats to collect various tissues as part of an age-and-growth study and a study monitoring selenium concentrations in white sturgeon.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin river system is the southernmost spawning grounds for both white sturgeon and green sturgeon.  Sturgeon in California can live more than 100 years and weigh over 500 pounds, but anglers most often catch sturgeon 3-4 feet in length.  The sturgeon fishery in California was once closed for decades due to overfishing. Today, commercial harvest of white sturgeon is not allowed, and recreational harvest of white sturgeon is regulated by size limit, daily bag limit and annual bag limit. Green sturgeon is a threatened species and neither commercial nor recreational harvest of those fish is allowed.

Serialized tags are provided with each sturgeon fishing report card to help enforce the bag limits. To enable law enforcement to cross-reference the tag with a particular card, anglers must permanently fix a tag to each kept white sturgeon until the fish is processed for consumption.

Anglers are required to return their 2015 sturgeon fishing report cards by Jan. 31, 2016.

woman fishing

Your Chance To Have Your Voice On California Water Bill

Man holding large fish


The following is courtesy of Keep America Fishing:


California Salmon need your help.

Four years of drought have caused huge problems for California salmon runs. A new bill, looking to fix this situation, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. However, it’s a “good news-bad news” situation.

The Good – Smarter use of available water and keeping federal protections in place for threatened California runs.

The Bad – Targeting of “invasive predators” like striped bass for eradication.  This species has coexisted with salmon for over 100 years. This is a water issue, not a fish issue.

What’s next? Contact Senators Feinstein and Boxer, thanking them for their efforts and asking them to support California sportfishing by protecting all fish.  Keep the good parts of the bill and throw out the bad.

Since this issue is so complicated, we’ve written a letter for you that hits on the points that impact sportfishing.  Click the link below, add your own thoughts, and take action today.

Click here.


American Sniper Screenwriter On Movies And Veterans

Photo by Warner Brothers/TNS

Photos by Warner Brothers/TNS

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served our country (and a heartfelt thank you). Check out this Men’s Journal interview with American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall on how movies can provide veterans with some perspective.

Here are some interesting points Hall made in the piece:

I hear that Warner Bros. is donating a portion of the profits from sales of the American Sniper DVD to the Wounded Warrior Project.
There is going to be a pretty decent donation heading that way. That’s a huge deal. That means a lot to these guys and their welfare. Movies like ours shine a light on some of the issues, but there has to be follow-through there with the public. People still don’t know how to participate or how to help. We’ve been talking about trying to push through a Veterans Bill Of Rights. I’m hoping the film i’m directing, Thank You For Your Service, will open that conversation again and address in a really true way what happens when these guys get home and how long that wait is for these families.

Are soldiers still reaching out to you?
I have a lot of families that are coming up there with stories they want to tell. What I’m realizing from all of this is that Chris’s story was his story. It may have been representative of the sacrifice of every soldier, but within that sacrifice is thousands of different stories that are just as important to tell or to document. Just a few weeks ago, I was participating on a stage reading of “The Sky Was Paper” at the Kennedy Center in D.C. You hear these letters from veterans. Not just U.S. soldiers, but soldiers from Germany, Russia, and Japan. What you realize is that war is this plague of destruction on mankind that reaps a toll on families over time.

War movies have been made for decades, but you seem to really be searching for a connection with the soldiers. What drives that?
There’s this incredible way that some of these guys are able to speak about what they’ve seen. They’re able to articulate it in a way we never could, they saw something and were able to bring back this understanding of the destruction of war. Some of the guys find hope in the experience. What they saw in war makes them want to live more, live better, because they’ve been so close to death — they understand the value of life more clearly.

Great insight frim Hall on what too many Americans forget about: when these brave men and women return home from the front, many are still involved in a fight, and say what you want about the role snipers have on both sides, American Sniper among the most influential films of this era that depicts what veterans must endure and how difficult it is for them to get back to a normal life.

Remember these brave Americans today!


General Pheasant Season Opens Saturday

Pheasant in flight. Photo by CDFW

Pheasant in flight. Photo by CDFW


We have a pheasant story and two yummy recipes for these popular upland birds in our November issue. That’s because the general pheasant hunting season opens this weekend.

Here’s the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with details:

The second weekend of November brings a popular tradition for many families in California – the opening of pheasant season. Although the overall wild pheasant population has been decreasing in recent years and the number of shoot days have been reduced on some wildlife areas, opportunities are still available on state-managed lands.

The 2015 general pheasant season will open Saturday, Nov. 14 and extend through Sunday, Dec. 27. For 2015, the daily bag limit is two males per day for the first two days of the season, and three males per day thereafter. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

Native to Asia, the ring-necked pheasant was introduced to California as a game bird species in the late 1800s. Though they flourished in California for decades, numbers have been dropping since the most recent high in the late 1990’s. Total pheasant harvest on public areas in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys declined from a high of 4,828 roosters in 1998 to 1,120 last year.

“Wild pheasant populations have declined in the Central Valley due to a number of factors – changing agricultural practices and loss of upland habitats combined with increased use of insecticides and predation,” said Scott Gardner, Upland Game Bird Coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “There are still enough pheasants to sustain a rooster-only hunting season, but the numbers look nothing like they used to.”

In response to the continued decline, CDFW is entering the third year of working with Pheasants Forever and the United States Geological Survey to implement pheasant population assessments and identify factors limiting their populations to develop potential management actions. Initial findings were presented at a pheasant workshop earlier this year and information on the workshop and ongoing research can be found on CDFW’s website atwww.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/birds/pheasant.

In 2010, CDFW reduced the number of days that certain wildlife areas will be open for pheasant hunting due to a decline in the number of hunters targeting pheasant and the cost to operate check stations during the first week of the season. For the upcoming season, hunters should be aware of the following restrictions on wildlife areas:

  • Type A wildlife areas in the Sacramento Valley (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, and Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area (Little Dry Creek, Llano Seco and Howard Slough Units) and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, and only the first Monday (Nov. 16) during the pheasant season. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area will also be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season.
  • Type A wildlife areas in the San Joaquin Valley (Los Banos Wildlife Area, Mendota Wildlife Area, North Grasslands Wildlife Area, Volta Wildlife Area and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge) will be open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only during the pheasant season. Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge, Freitas Unit will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 14-16). The Kesterson blind area will be open for pheasant hunting on the first Monday of the pheasant season (Nov. 16).
  • In the event some units experience closures for waterfowl hunting as a result of the drought, the goal will be to open for pheasant hunting on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during the general pheasant season. Permits for entry will be issued at the check station through a morning lottery. Specific information will be available from affected wildlife area offices. Additional entry will be available through first-come, first-serve lists at the check station.
  • The Wister Unit of Imperial Wildlife Area in Imperial County and San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County will continue to be closed to pheasant hunting this year.
  • Type C wildlife areas will remain open as normal.

Upland game hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when hunting on all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For more information please see the CDFWnonlead ammunition page .

All hunters must carry a current California hunting license in their possession. Adult hunters (18 or older) must also have an upland game bird validation. The full upland game bird hunting regulationsand a summary as well as the lands regulations for 2015-2016 can be found on CDFW’s website.

The modifications of the shoot days on Type A wildlife areas are pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 550(i)(1).

For more information on specific hunting opportunities, hunters should contact the CDFW office in their region and check theCDFW website.

Kayak Warriors In Paradise

Andy and his wahoo catch.

Photos courtesy of Discovery Channel

The following story appears in the November edition of California Sportsman:

By Chris Cocoles

Imagine pushing a kayak into a pristine mountain lake. You paddle into a secluded cove and leisurely cast flies in calm waters waiting for a fat trout to bite the nymph on the other end. It’s the kind of Norman Rockwell moment anglers everywhere dream of.

In Hawaii, commercial fishing out of a kayak is a whole different world. As Discovery Channel’s new series, Pacific Warriors, explains, this is serious business – fresh tuna, mahi-mahi and marlin are worth big bucks to restaurants – and a dangerous occupation. Sharks, strong currents and weather are all hazards that make this quite a challenge for only the most fearless and hearty combatants.

Pacific Warriors chronicles Hawaii kayak anglers all over the state, including the Big Island’s Andy Cho and Rob Wong Yuen, Maui’s Jon Jon, Oahu’s Boogie-D and his protégé Jason Valle, plus free-diving savant Kimi Werner, the show’s only woman but as tough and defiant as anyone else.

“Kayak fishing is the most extreme kind of fishing,” Cho, known among the Big Island’s fishing poobahs as “The Godfather,” said on the show’s premiere episode in late October. “You’re the captain, crew, angler and the motor – all in one. I’m not doing this for fun; I’m trying to make money.”

On Kauai, California native Jason Schmidt and his fishing partner, Adam King, are less experienced than many of the grizzled local professionals. But they’ll take on the rugged N?pali Coast in search of prized catches that can deliver big bucks.

Schmidt, who grew up fishing the chilly waters of the Northern California coast around Eureka, chatted with us about the warmer yet treacherous waters he takes on in Hawaii.

Jason Schmidt about to impale his catch with his kage.

Jason Schmidt about to impale his catch with his kage.

Chris Cocoles What was it like living in Humboldt County, where fishing in the Pacific is such a big part of the communities?

Jason Schmidt I moved to Humboldt County in my early 20s. I lived in Trinidad, which is a tight-knit fishing town. Commercial and recreational fishing definitely shapes the communities up there. Generations of fishermen really helped refine it.

CC Did you do a lot of salmon and steelhead fishing in the great rivers like the Klamath, Trinity, Eel, etc.?

JS Yeah, I spent countless days pitching flies for steelhead all through the Six Rivers Wilderness Area.

CC Can you share a memory or two from fishing in California?

JS I have lots of great memories from up there. I once spent a whole summer living on my friend’s ranch in Maple Creek. I would walk down to the upper Mad River and rock hop for miles and find dozens of little honey holes catching beautiful little steelies. I would never see another person out there for days on end. Lots of peaceful moments on that river.

CC What prompted you to move to Hawaii?

JS I moved to Kauai in 2000 pretty much chasing the dream. As an avid waterman, living in Hawaii is the ultimate proving grounds. Pursuing big-wave surfing and warm water is what drove me there.

Hawaii legend Kimi Werner trailing a shark underwater.

Hawaii legend Kimi Werner trailing a shark underwater.

CC What was your career experience fishing in a kayak? Was that developed in California?

JS I have been fishing since I was a kid. I grew up with all sorts of small boats. At an early age, my brother got a used touring kayak, which I would use to go dig clams with. Eventually I strapped a piece of PVC to make a rod holder and the rest began to fall in place. Northern California is really where I decided to dedicate my lifestyle to being a waterman. Fishing and surfing on that wild coastline really humbles you quickly. It helped me understand what power is in the North Pacific.

CC You started as a kayak tour guide, but meeting Adam King convinced you guys to get into the fishing business. How did that come about?

JS Soon after moving to Kauai, I started guiding the N?pali Coast on kayaks, which was how I met Adam. We became good friends right off and began our journey into kayak fishing. In the early years we targeted more near-shore fish, which eventually evolved into hunting for pelagic fish. We found a niche market for our sustainably caught fish in local restaurants.

CC Clearly, there are advantages to fishing out of a kayak, such as being able to get the boat into places where bigger boats might not be able to get to. What are some of the others,  and are there some disadvantages as well?

Isaac Brumaghim holds a fish in a kayak.

Isaac Brumaghim holds a fish in a kayak.

JS Because of the small footprint and low overhead costs to fish off the kayak, we are able to keep the prices of our catches affordable for the local community. It’s a very sustainable way to fish and advocates stewardship for this valued resource. Because the kayak is easy to transport, it gives us more options to quickly access prime fishing grounds.

CC Fighting a trophy fish from a kayak in the Pacific Ocean current sounds like part thrilling rush and part terrifying insanity. What is that experience like?

JS Fighting a trophy fish from the kayak is an incredible feeling. It really helps give respect to the beasts we are hunting. The one-on-one battle is very humbling to feel the strength of the animal and power of the ocean it swims in. It’s a very primal feeling.

CC Is there a sense of freedom when it’s just you, the kayak and this big open water you’re fishing from?

JS Yes, it’s that feeling of freedom that drives me the most. I think that’s my biggest draw to kayak fishing. That separation and self-reliance on the ocean wilderness. I find a lot of time to clear my head out there and focus on a task. I now relay it to keep balance in my life.

CC Without giving much away, what can we expect from Pacific Warriors?

JS Pacific Warriors is a collection of extreme kayak anglers with diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, but all share the passion for hunting big fish from their kayaks. I think it will paint a colorful picture of our lifestyles in this beautiful place.

Jason Schmidt.

Jason Schmidt.

CC I have some friends who lived on the Big Island and they tell me about how competitive the fishermen are there. Do you have to have an edge to make it there in the industry?

JS Yes, fishermen tend to be very protective of their honey holes, but again, the ocean is vast and offers opportunity to those who put the time in. The kayak really hones your fishing skills – the simplicity and quietness of the craft is the edge. It really keeps you connected; things out there really begin to become instinctual. People’s desire to eat sustainable-caught fish has opened up a unique niche market for us here.

CC It seems absurd to think otherwise living in beautiful Hawaii, but do you miss the Northern California coast?

JS Northern California will always be deeply rooted for me. I grew up a lot there and it is where I found my place as an extreme waterman. It has so much to offer between the great fisheries, abundant natural areas and open space. The rugged empty coastline is very close to my heart.

CC If I’m traveling to Hawaii, what kind of fishing plan should I have?

JS I recommend folks visiting Hawaii and want to fish should look to find a local angler to help direct them. There are great shoreline fishing places, but conditions can be quite dangerous if you’re not familiar with the spots. There are also many charter boats that offer opportunities to hunt for the trophy fish. Kayak fishing here can be very dangerous for even an experienced angler and I would highly recommend going with an experienced guide. It would also be the best way with the help of local knowledge.

CC How many shark encounters have you faced from your kayak?

JS I pretty much deal with shark encounters every time I’m fishing on my kayak. Sharks like to take advantage of hooked fish; it’s an easy meal. It’s usually a race to get the fish boated before it gets taxed. There’s a mutual respect, though we are very similar as apex predators. CS

Editor’s note: New Discovery Channel episodes of Pacific Warriors (discovery.com/tv-shows/pacific-warriors) can be watched on Friday nights (check your local listing). For more information on Jason Schmidt and kayak fishing on Kauai, check outfacebook.com/Sea-Soljahs-Kauai-Kayak-Fishing-Alliance-214099145346832.