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Tulare County’s Water Has Vanished

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


As a former San Joaquin Valley resident, this is just downright depressing.

Tulare County – I went to college in and lived in adjacent Fresno County – is one of the state’s biggest casaulties of the drought, as Time Magazine reports:

As California faces its fourth year in a drought, the farming region of Tulare County, located three hours north of Los Angeles, is at the epicenter of the crisis. To date, 5,433 residents in this rural region twice the size of Delaware are without water. Most live in East Porterville.

PrintMany homes in Tulare County, unlike other drought-afflicted areas, are not connected to a water system; they rely on private wells supplied by groundwater. And for the past 18 months, these wells have been drying up.

Over the past year, Office of Emergency Services (OES), a county agency responsible with responding to large-scale disasters, implemented a bottled drinking water program, a mobile shower unit and a 2,500-gallon potable water tanks that are placed outside a home and connected directly to each home’s plumbing system.

Despite the county’s efforts, it can take up to six months for a family to receive emergency assistance. Tired of waiting, many families are moving to neighboring towns and out-of-state.

Californians Surpass Water Usage



Despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate amid a fourth year of drought, Californians aren’t exactly doing their part to save water.

Here’s a portion of a report from the California Department of Water Resources:

Despite continued hot conditions, Californians surpassed June’s conservation rate and reduced water use by 31.3 percent during July, exceeding Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s 25 percent mandate for a second consecutive month since the new emergency conservation regulation took effect.
For June and July, the cumulative statewide savings was 29.5 percent. Saving water in the hot summer months is critical to meeting the State’s overall 25 percent savings goal through February 2016, as the summer is when the greatest amount of water is traditionally used, particularly on outdoor ornamental landscapes. State officials urged residential water users to keep up their efforts to conserve.

Cumulative savings for June and July is 414,800 acre-feet, or 35 percent of the savings goal.

“Californians’ response to the severity of the drought this summer is now in high gear and shows that they get that we are in the drought of our lives. This isn’t your mother’s drought or your grandmother’s drought, this is the drought of the century,” said Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “Millions of conscientious Californians are the real heroes here — each stepping up to help local water resources last longer in the face of an historic drought with no certain end date.” July’s water savings moved the State 228,940 acre-feet (74.6 billion gallons) closer to the goal of saving 1.2 million acre?feet by February 2016, as called for by the Governor in his April 1 Executive Order. Cumulative savings for June and July is 414,800 acre?feet, or 35 percent of the savings goal.

Conservation programs put in place during the late spring and early summer months by most of the State’s water suppliers are now in full swing, yielding dramatic reductions in water use and heightened water use awareness. With dry conditions forecast to continue through November, the focus remains not only on enhancing current efforts but on encouraging suppliers that are behind to make the commitment to conservation and meet or beat their targets.

Free Fishing Day This Saturday!

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites all Californians to celebrate the end of summer by going fishing. Sept. 5 is the second of two Free Fishing Days in 2015, when people can try their hand at fishing without having to buy a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days are also a great opportunity for licensed anglers to introduce non-angling friends and children to fishing and the outdoors.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for abalone, steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without a sport fishing license. This year, the Free Fishing Days were set for the Saturdays near Independence Day and Labor Day (this year, July 4 and Sept. 5).

Free Fishing Days provide a low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some CDFW regions offer Fishing in the City, a program where children can learn to fish in major metropolitan areas. Fishing in the City and Free Fishing Day clinics are designed to educate novice anglers about fishing ethics, fish habits, effective methods for catching fish and fishing tackle. Anglers can even learn how to clean and prepare fish for eating.

Anglers should check the rules and regulations for the waters they plan to fish because wildlife officers will be on duty to enforce them. For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visitwww.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days.

Drought’s Devastation For Native Fish


Photo by CDFW

Photo by CDFW


Compelling and haunting story in the L.A. Times this week about the drought’s effects on California’s native fish populations, specifically Chinook salmon.

With the drought four years and counting now, the ramifications of scant rainfall totals, little snowpack and runoff and hot conditions have made survival difficult for salmon heading back from the Pacific into the state’s rivers.

From Times reporter Bettina Boxall:

Spawning winter-run Chinook would never choose to hang out on the outskirts of Redding on a day when the city baked in 111-degree heat. They would prefer to swim in the cold, spring-fed waters of the McCloud and other Sacramento tributaries to the north.

But for about 70 years, those historic spawning grounds have been out of salmon reach, blocked by the towering concrete face of Shasta and the buttresses of its smaller sibling, Keswick Dam.

“This is as far as fish can go on the Sacramento main stem,” fishery biologist Ryan Revnak said as he steered his boat upriver toward Keswick, which regulates flows from Shasta’s hydropower plant.

Revnak, who works for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, pointed out the gravel beds where the salmon built their nests, called redds. A female, close to death after laying her eggs, hovered in shallow water near the bank. A dead male, his procreative work also done, floated by.

Salmon eggs and emerging fry need cold water to survive. The river temperature shouldn’t top 56 degrees. Last year in the spawning grounds below Keswick, it climbed above 62 degrees. Only 5% of the 2014 brood stock lived.

In the story, Boxall visits the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery at Shasta Dam, which has endured heartbreak in terms of loss of salmon.

Last summer, a narrow, rock-rimmed stretch of the blue-green Sacramento River near Redding turned into a mass graveyard for baby salmon. Upstream releases of water from Shasta Dam were so warm, virtually an entire generation of endangered winter-run Chinook was wiped out. 

The tanks and egg trays are bathed with circulating water released from the dam. Last summer, hatchery managers had to use chillers to maintain the proper temperature. They may have to do the same this year.

To counter the drought losses, Livingston has ramped up production. The hatchery team is spawning 300 adults this year and come winter will release twice as many juveniles into the Sacramento as it normally does.

But even in good years, only a tiny fraction of those young hatchery salmon survive to adulthood and return to spawn. And if river conditions aren’t right, their offspring will perish.

Facing that grim scenario, Livingston last year established a captive brood stock, which the hatchery will raise for the entire three-year life cycle of the fish. If worse comes to worst, it will function as a fall-back population. “You can’t give up trying,” said Assistant Hatchery Manager John Rueth.

In the meantime, he added, “All of us keep praying for this massive El Niño.”

That El Niño scenario, which unfortunately could also create a whole new set of problems in the state (not to mention not even reverse the curse of this wretched drought), may be a salmon’s sole Christmas wish list this holiday season.




Reservoir Levels Update

Folsom Lake is at 21 percent capacity right now. (JOHN CHACON/CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)

Folsom Lake is at 21 percent capacity right now. (JOHN CHACON/CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES)


Here’s an update on reservoir levels from the California Department of Water Resources.

Some notable numbers (with current percent of capacity)

Trinity Lake (29)

Lake Oroville (31)

Shasta Lake (40)

Folsom Lake (21)

Camanche Lake (20)

New Melones Lake (13)

Don Pedro Lake (32)

Stampede Reservoir (14)

San Luis Reservoir (19)

Lake Cachuma (19)

Castaic Lake (38)

Lake Perris (36)




Get Your Duck Calls Ready




Photo courtesy of Sue Graue photography

Photo courtesy of Sue Graue photography


Our friends at Kittle’s Outdoor Sports in Colusa (530-458-4868) provided this release for this weekend’s big duck calling contest:

The 2015 California State Duck Calling Championship & Outdoor Expo will be in Colusa on August 29 and 30 at the 10th Street Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Kittle’s Outdoor Staff is proudly hosting this event for the fifth year in a row. “Each year we spend months preparing for this event, hoping to bring in new and exciting products, sales, events, and much more,” said Pat Kittle, owner of Kittle’s Outdoor & Sports.
He added that this is the perfect weekend plan for everyone in the family, from experienced hunters to young aspiring hunters. There will be two free seminars on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, on Saturday morning after opening ceremonies, there will be a FREE Junior Duck Calling Workshop hosted by Three-time World-Champion Brad Allen and Junior World Champion Ryan Sherbondy.
This year, California Waterfowl Association will be joining the event in the park as their Regional Duck Calling Contest becomes part of the Colusa event. “
That means there are 2 contests that can get you your ticket to the World Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas,” said Kittle. There are also multiple other CA state contests that are not World Qualifiers, but bring in a lot of competition!
Kittle announced that there is a full line of for the two-day gathering:
9 am – Dedication of events followed by Free Junior Calling Workshop.
10:30 am – Junior / Intermediate Duck
11:30 am – Junior / Intermediate Speck
12:15 pm – Seminar: “Speck Hunting My Way” with Ben Williams
1:30 pm – CWA Regional Duck Calling Championship World Qualifier ($50 entry fee)
3 pm – CA State Live Duck.
6 pm – CWA Fundraiser Hunter’s Party at Steelhead Lodge Bar & Grill

9 am – Dedication of events; CA State Canada Goose Youth & Adults
10:30 am – CA State Duck Calling Championship World Qualifier ($50 entry fee) 12 noon – Seminar: “Setting up a Successful Decoy Spread” by Deadly Decoys.
1 pm – CA State Speck
2:30 pm – CA State Two Man Meat. Duck 2 team limit per person.

Sponsors: Colusa Casino Resort, Browning, Merlo Waterfowl Company, Hevi-Shot, J.J. Lares Championship Calls, California Waterfowl, Fish Dog Ben Williams Outdoors, Mariani, Sitka, Tanglefree,

Some Promising Sac Kings

A chrome king  caught on salmon  eggs cured with new Liquid Egg Brine from Pro-Cure in the "redd" hot color. (MSJ GUIDE SERVICE)

A chrome king caught on salmon eggs cured with new Liquid Egg Brine from Pro-Cure in the “redd” hot color. (MSJ GUIDE SERVICE)


Low water levels and high surface temps on Northern California rivers like the Feather are a concern, but for now king salmon fishing is an option on the Sacramento. Friend of the blog/magazine Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service reports some early success with the hope for even better fishing as fall approaches.


A 20-pound king caught on a Killer Brad K16. (MSJ GUIDE SERVICE)

A 20-pound king caught on a Killer Brad K16. (MSJ GUIDE SERVICE)



Caples Lake Catches

Alex Patz and his trout. (CAPLES LAKE RESORT)

Alex Patz and his trout. (CAPLES LAKE RESORT)

From Caples Lake Resort 

Another 3-pound rainbow, caught August 23 by Alex Patz from Oakland, on a crawler behind flashers trolling behind a kayak at the Caples lake spillway.

Cole and Jason Taira were fishing when they caught this big trout. (CAPLES LAKE RESORT)

Cole and Jason Taira were fishing when they caught this big trout. (CAPLES LAKE RESORT)

This 4-pound trophy German brown trout was caught on August 22 by Sacramento residents Jason & Cole Taira in a Caples Lake Resort rental boat using night crawlers.

Water temperature is still 67 but should start to cool down as the weather change comes in next week.

Happy Catching!

Caples Lake Resort




The Wolves Are Here


CDFW photos

Where there’s one wolf there are bound to be more, an entire family actually. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s trail cam shot above shows what appears to be a family of five pups and other shots of individual adults. These wolves are now being called the Shasta Pack (which one is Peter Lawford?).






The Sacramento Bee has a full report, and here’s the CDFW’s release:


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has photographic evidence of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California.

After trail cameras recorded a lone canid in May and July, CDFW deployed additional cameras, one of which took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old and others showing individual adults. Because of the proximity to the original camera locations, it is likely the adult previously photographed in May and July is associated with the group of pups.

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”

CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.

Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were extirpated. Aside from these wolves and the famous wolf OR7 who entered California in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in the state was here in 1924. OR7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.

n June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.

CDFW is completing a Draft Wolf Management Plan and will release it soon. Throughout the plan’s development, CDFW has held numerous meetings with stakeholders. Currently, CDFW is incorporating comments from a stakeholder advisory group, and considering revisions due to implications of this news, before releasing the draft plan to the general public. Public meetings will be scheduled to receive public comment on the draft plan.

In addition to the trail cameras, CDFW relies on help from the public to glean information about wolves in California. The public can report wolf sightings on CDFW gray wolf website atwww.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/Sighting-Report.

Though wolves rarely pose a direct threat to human safety, CDFW recommends that people never approach, feed or otherwise disturb a wolf. For more information about staying safe in wolf-occupied areas, including what people should do if they encounter a wolf, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/FAQ.


Photo courtesy of San Diego Sportfishing

Photo courtesy of San Diego Sportfishing


The following report was written by San Diego Sportfishing:


An army of volunteers began arriving at sunup at Shelter Island pier in Point Loma on Saturday, August 8th.  San Diego Sportfishing Council event coordinator Vic Gamboa led the team of volunteers provided by International Game Fish Association (IGFA), San Diego Rod & Reel Club, San Diego Anglers, UPSAC and San Diego Fly Fishers. Staging for free 13th Annual Young Angler Tournament went quickly as the team performed like a well-oiled machine.

Registration of the 150 participating young anglers went quickly and each angler was provided a “goodie” bag with T-Shirts, hats, terminal tackle and other promotional items.   At 8:30 AM John Campbell, the event MC flipped the switch on his megaphone and welcomed the junior anglers ages six through 15 and their parents and signaled the start of the tournament.  Children and parents alike dashed to their preferred spots on the pier. Bags of cut bait prepared earlier were opened and hooks baited. Throughout the morning judges rushed to lucky anglers with fish to mark their scorecard and assist with the release of the fish calling for the photographer to record events.

Mid-morning, Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore Products and his team began serving his famous fish tacos, each with a big smile and comment. Soon there was a steady stream of anglers and parents for the free lunch of tacos or hotdogs donated by Stump’s Village Market of Rancho Santa Fe plus all the fixings and drinks.

All morning Michael Farrior, I.G.F.A. Trustee and his wife Susan visited with the children and parents. CA Fish & Game had set up informational display and provided fish identification materials, Fish & Game regulations and measuring rulers which identified the legal length of various fish species.

At 12 noon M.C. John Campbell declared lines out and the process began to determine the winner in each age category between six and 15. Winners were scored on a point system to allow for catch and release. There was one winner in each age category between six and 15.

All winners received a rod and reel combo from OKUMA Fishing Tackle, fishing trips, whale watching trips or tickets to other San Diego attractions and an official gold embossed IGFA certificate.

Winners in each category were:

Age 6 Duke Kuahi- San Diego
Age 7 Jake Marzi- Winchester, CA
Age 8 – We had a tie – Fernando Vasquez & Abel Yano- both from Chula Vista
Age 9 Aryana Padilla- San Diego
Age 10 Ethan Mayes- San Diego
Age 11 Andrew Padilla- San Diego
Age 12 Brayan Lopez- Vista
Age 13 Seth Mose- Imperial Beach
Age 14  Luke  Daigle- San Diego
Age 15 Thomas Orozco- Union City

Overall tournament winner was 10 year old Ethan Mayes of San Diego who won the coveted top spot with multiple catches of bass and sculpin. He was awarded a custom carved bone and Hawaiian shell necklace by Carver Bob Cox and will have his name added to the perpetual trophy provided by sculptor David Wirth.

Sponsors of the Young Anglers Tournament include Port of San Diego, IGFA, OKUMA Fishing Tackle, Anglers Distributing, Anglers Arsenal, Friends of Rollo, H&M Landing, Point Loma Sportfishing, Fisherman’s Landing & Tackle Shop, Everingham Bait Company, Queasy Pops, Promar\Ahi, Big Hammer Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Fathom Bistro & Tackle Shop at Shelter Island Pier, Stumps Market, Catalina Offshore Products, Specialty Produce and Squidco. Prizes for the tournament included rods and reels, hats, T-shirts, and fishing gear and deep sea fishing trips. Loaner Gear, Bait, and terminal tackle were provided by Okuma Fishing Tackle, Anglers Distributing, and Friends of Rollo.

The San Diego Sportfishing Council is California non-profit corporation established in 1979 to promote San Diego fishing as an attractive marine recreational activity, to increase awareness and availability of “how, when and where” information on sportfishing opportunities. The San Diego Sportfishing Council produces the annual Day At The Docks event each April and coordinates a Partnership in Education with area schools which provides free fishing trips to groups of students and chaperones throughout the school year.

For more information, please call the San Diego Sportfishing Council at (619) 234-8793 or log onto the website at: www.sportfishing.org