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Guide Scott Feist Is Ready For Ducks

Photo courtesy of Feisty Fish Guide Service

Photos courtesy of Feisty Fish Guide Service


A message from Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service:


I would like to thank everyone who came out salmon fishing this season. Fishing was good, not great, but we sure had a bunch of fun!

Now that we are approaching November, I will be switching gears into guiding Waterfowl full time. I have some excellent duck/goose properties this season. On the duck hunts, I can accommodate three hunters, and for the dry field goose hunts, up to eight.

We’re very excited to start wingshooting and should be fully operational by November 10. We have some quality dates available, so call or email us and get on the books. I look forward to seeing many of you in the duck blind this season.

Capt. Scott Feist

Feisty Fish Guide Service

California, Salmon And Rice Fields

A Sacramento-area rice field. )Photo by User "Amadscientist"/Wikimedia)

A Sacramento-area rice field. (Photo by User “Amadscientist”/Wikimedia)

Really interesting read by Yale Enviornment 360 on the growing process of flooding Central California rice fields to rear what is becoming a drought-threatening population of Pacific salmon.

Here’s an excerpt from writer Jacques Leslie:

In 2012 Cal Marsh & Farm Ventures and the scientists joined forces in the Nigiri Project, named after a kind of sushi because both combine rice and fish, to use rice fields to promote salmon restoration. The scientists have since compiled persuasive evidence that salmon benefit greatly by lingering in flooded rice fields, while Johnson has started another enterprise that uses rice fields to grow forage fish for protein.
The salmon project is likely within a year or two of overcoming the last bureaucratic obstacles keeping it from operating as a government-sanctioned method of mitigating environmental harm. Though less-developed, the forage fish venture offers the prospect of global impact by taking pressure off of wild fish stocks. Both projects suggest the rising influence of “reconciliation ecology,” which argues for the reconfiguration of human-dominated landscapes to include other species as the only way left to sustain most ecosystems.

Two centuries ago the Central Valley was largely a marshy wetland. When the Sacramento River flooded, juvenile salmon beginning their journey downstream to the ocean were cast onto its floodplain, where they stayed for months, fattening themselves on plankton and insects that were part of the floodplain’s biological cornucopia. But the construction of ever-higher levees in the 19th century, vividly described in Robert Kelley’s 1989 classic

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife/Yale e360
The Sacramento River Valley, site of initiatives to raise salmon and other fish in flooded rice fields.

Sacramento River history,Battling the Inland Sea, separated the Sacramento from its floodplain.

The result was that salmon were hurtled down the river’s main channel, reaching the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta and the Pacific Ocean too early, when they were underweight and unprepared for predators. Combined with dams, gold mining, and water diversions for agriculture and municipal consumption, the river’s isolation from the floodplain has reduced three of the Sacramento’s four salmon runs to endangered levels.

Southeast Asians have raised fish in rice fields for many centuries, but they do it while the rice is growing, using fish suited to the paddy water’s warm temperatures. What distinguished Johnson’s idea from the traditional Asian practice was that he wanted to grow salmon in the winter, after rice was harvested and water temperatures were low enough for salmon. This wasn’t even possible until the early 1990s, when California’s clean air laws placed tight restrictions on burning rice straw, the farmers’ preferred method of eliminating rice residue.

Whenever the terms salmon and farming, bells and whistles seem to go off,  but the bottom line is, California’s salmon are struggling and I’m all for solutions to help these remarkable fish. But let’s take a wait-and-see approach.






CDFW To Open Nimbus Hatchery On Nov. 2

Photo by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Photo by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife 

The salmon ladder at Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova will open Monday, Nov. 2, signaling the start of the spawning season on the American River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder at 9:30 a.m. and may take more than a half-million eggs during the first week alone in an effort to ensure the successful spawning of the returning fall-run Chinook salmon.

California is entering what may be a fifth year of unprecedented drought. Because of current river conditions, salmon are returning later in the year than typical. Overall, the fall-run Chinook salmon return numbers are lower than normal. CDFW seeks to match historic hatchery production goals this year, but that may not be possible given the conditions.

“Drought conditions may affect the number of salmon returning to the river to spawn, but hatchery workers will continue to collect eggs throughout the fall with a goal of producing four million salmon fry,” said CDFW Program Manager Dr. Bill Cox. “We are working closely with other federal and state agencies to release cold water into the river system to give salmon the best chance to get up river to the hatchery.”

The three major state-run hatcheries in the Central Valley – the Nimbus Hatchery in Sacramento County, and hatcheries on the Feather River in Butte County and the Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County – will take approximately 24 million eggs over the next two months in order to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

Each hatchery has a viewing area where visitors can watch the spawning process. Thousands of schoolchildren tour the Nimbus and Feather River hatcheries each year. The visitors’ center at Nimbus Hatchery includes a playground with replicas of giant salmon that are enjoyed by young and old alike. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at each hatchery, please visit the CDFW website atwww.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

There are eight state-run salmon and steelhead hatcheries, all of which will participate in the salmon spawning effort. Those hatcheries, along with federally run hatcheries, will be responsible for the release of approximately 40 million juvenile salmon into California waters. These massive spawning efforts were put in place over the last 50 years to offset fish losses caused by dams that block salmon from historic spawning habitat.

Once the young salmon reach 2 to 4 inches in length, one-quarter of the stock will be marked and implanted with coded wire tags prior to release. CDFW biologists use the information from the tags to chart the salmon’s survival, catch and return rates.


Juvenile Winter-Run Salmon Struggling To Survive

Photo by Steve Martarano/USFWS

Photo by Steve Martarano/USFWS



Depressing story from the Sacramento Bee on the expected projections of winter  juvenile salmon run in the Sacramento River.

Here are detils from reporters Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasle:

For the second straight year, huge numbers of juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon appear to have baked to death in the Sacramento River because of California’s drought, federal officials said Wednesday, bringing the endangered species a step closer to extinction. The news raises the specter of more agricultural water cuts next summer and restrictions on next year’s commercial and recreational salmon fishing seasons.

The disclosure by the National Marine Fisheries Service suggests a complicated and controversial effort to save this year’s run of salmon may have ended largely in failure, although officials said they wouldn’t have definitive numbers until late November or early December.

“We try to be hopeful, but this is not good news,” Maria Rea, the fisheries agency’s assistant regional manager, said in a conference call with reporters.

Federal officials sharply curtailed flows of water coming out of Lake Shasta, delaying deliveries of water to hundreds of Central Valley farmers who had already planted their crops, in what turned out to be a futile effort to keep enough cold water in the system to keep as many of the fish alive as possible.

If the preliminary figures prove to be reliable, it would be the second year in a row that nearly all of the juvenile winter-run Chinook were essentially cooked to death because the water in the Sacramento River got too warm. Officials estimate that last year, only 5 percent survived long enough to migrate out to sea.

Preliminary counts indicate this year’s situation is worse, officials said, although they wouldn’t quote any percentages. This year, more adult fish ran up the river than they did in 2014. Because of this, officials were optimistic that after the adult fish spawned and died in the river, more of their offspring would be swimming back down stream to the Pacific Ocean.

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State officials are likely to be under siege from these prognostications. The Golden State Salmon Association released the following statement from executive director John McManus:
“Salmon fishermen are very concerned about the alarming low number of winter run salmon being counted in the Sacramento River. We could see restrictions on our ability to make a living fishing to cover for the mistakes of federal water managers who failed to follow the law requiring them to keep enough cold water in Lake Shasta to support salmon spawning. Droughts are always hard on salmon but water management decisions made it worse this year.”



New App For Tracking Widlife

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Sportsman Tracker Launches New Mobile App Featuring The World’s Most Advanced Prediction Formula To Forecast Wildlife Movement

New all-in-one hunting and fishing app allows users to track and follow more than 200 species of wildlife

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, October 25, 2015—Sportsman Tracker, the technology company that provides cutting-edge hunting and fishing tools for tracking wildlife, has announced the launch of its newest app, which inputs eight unique variables into a proprietary algorithm to help users know where and when to find the best hunting and fishing spots. The new Sportsman Tracker mobile app enables outdoor enthusiasts to track and forecast peak wildlife activity times for over 200 different species, to log fishing and hunting experiences and to connect with friends to share photos and successes. The app is free and is available now for Android and iOS devices.

The app features Sportsman Tracker’s new proprietary prediction algorithm, Wildlife Intelligence Technology™, that is based on scientific research in the field of wildlife behavioral patterns. The unique prediction formula analyzes different environmental variables, including key weather patterns and the solunar calendar, and applies these factors to the user’s location and specific species, allowing users to identify and track the best times and days to hunt and fish.

“Since launching our platform in 2013, we’ve made more than five million predictions for hundreds of thousands of users around the world,” said Jeff Courter, co-founder and CEO of Sportsman Tracker. “Now, with a completely rebuilt mobile app featuring the world’s most advanced forecasting algorithm, we can offer logging not just for whitetail and common fish, but for more than 200 game species. In addition, we can now more accurately predict when success is most likely to occur, whether you’re hunting whitetail or fishing for bass.”

The app also introduces logging capabilities that allow users to quickly and easily record details of their results, upload photos, add notes and rate their experiences. Current locations, dates, times, and weather information are automatically captured in each log to improve future predictions. Users may choose to keep their information and locations private or to share log details and photos with their close friends. Instant Buddy Notifications allow users to stay up to date with their friends’ fishing and hunting photos and to discover other great sportsmen in their area to follow.

The Sportsman Tracker app includes the following features for predicting, logging and sharing fishing and hunting experience:

Hourly, Daily & Weekly Predictions – A one to five star rating tells users when and where to hunt and fish. The company’s unique prediction formula, Wildlife Intelligence Technology, utilizes adaptive learning algorithms and analyzes the key factors that influence the behavior and specific movement of hundreds of hunting and fishing species for each GPS plotted location.
Hourly Weather – 10-day forecast with detailed hour-by-hour information lets users plan for wind direction changes, barometric pressure, temperature, weather conditions and precipitation.
Lake Contours: Comprehensive database of lake contours provided by Navionics in more than 18,000 lakes and rivers to help users pinpoint hotspots and plot fishing locations. Available via web only.
Log Activities – Capture memories from the woods and water by tracking and logging activities. Logs automatically include current location, date, time and weather variables, and users can choose to document their target species, number of game shot/seen, photos, notes and a star rating of their experience.
Instant Buddy Notifications – Instantly share logs with close buddies who will be notified of all log details. Enable push notifications to automatically share future logs with friends via push alert or email.

About Sportsman Tracker:
Sportsman Tracker is the ultimate hunting and fishing toolset that allows users to locate, log, report, and predict for all of their hunting and fishing activities. The company’s Wildlife Intelligence Technology prediction algorithm provides hunters and anglers with the most advanced and accurate forecast of where and when to hunt or fish. Hundreds of thousands of users have utilized Sportsman Tracker’s tools to forecast their success since 2013, logging in more than 5 million predictions in over 1.5 million locations. The company is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was founded by Jeff Courter and Jon Schwander.

For more information about Sportsman Tracker visit www.sportsmantracker.com.

Former L.A. Kings Star Mitchell Supports Fish Farm-Protesting Team

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Hockey player Willie Mitchell, who we profiled in 2014 when he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings, has been an advocate for protecting wild salmon from fish farms in his native British Columbia.

Mitchell, now the captain for the NHL’s Florida Panthers,  offered his support to see  a B.C. soccer-playing teen who spoke out against her team being sponsored by a fish farming company.

Here’s CBC with more:

The captain of the Florida Panthers, Willie Mitchell, tweeted on Friday night he would sponsor 14-year-old Freyja Reed after she was told to stop protesting about the fish farming company who sponsors her soccer league.

Mitchell called Reed’s case “outrageous” and said the ability to “speak up for what we believe in” is reason why it’s a “privilege” to live in North America.

  1. Willie Mitchell  @Willie_Mitch33 Oct 23

    The ability to speak up for what we believe in is why we are so privileged to live in N.A. Freyja Reed I will sponsor you!

  2. So outrageous! Youth being bullied about her opinion-one shared by legislators & business leaders. RT to support.

The hockey player, originally from Vancouver Island, is known for his interests in wildlife conservation.

Anissa Reed, Freyja’s mother, said Mitchell has already taken the first step to follow through on his tweet — her daughter heard from him via a Facebook message on Saturday.

Kudos to Willie, who’s a super good guy and someone I really enjoyed interviewing, for standing by Freyja in a rather ridiculous moment of petty behavior by her soccer team.


Dana Point Offshore Trips Scoring Big

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A fishing update from Dana Wharf Sportfishing 


San Mateo crew member Brandon Bennet with this nice 41-pound  wahoo.

San Mateo crew member Brandon Bennet with this nice 41-pound wahoo.

While this crazy El Niño summer may be winding down, here are some highlights. Some crazy catches are still continuing: we are up to 19 Total Wahoo for the Landing and 2 Blue Marlin!

A few stops for us this week, too, on open water schools, but the big majority of our fish were caught on kelps. Mixed grade 5– to 12-pound yellowfin tuna.

430-pound blue marlin caught on the Reel Fun with Capt. Chris Pica

430-pound blue marlin caught on the Reel Fun with Capt. Chris Pica

Things you may have missed? The Helena caught a Blue Marlin shown below and then just a week later the Reel Fun caught one, the first time the landing has ever caught one in 45 years not to mention two.

Close to the beach, the excellent half day fishing continued. Great kelp bass fishing with some nice bonito mixed in there, and we’re still seeing some yellowtail along the edges of the bigger kelp beds.

Capt. Shane Mansur and angler Steve Khachadoorian weigh in Steve's wahoo caught aboard the Sum Fun.

Capt. Shane Mansur and angler Steve Khachadoorian weigh in Steve’s wahoo caught aboard the Sum Fun.


Dana Wharf Sportfishing


(888) 224-0603


Sick Deer Have Been Frequent In Central California

Photo by USFWS

Photo by USFWS

According to this release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,  a large amount of deer have become ill throughout the Central Valley in recent years – as far north as Siskiyou County all the way to the Fresno area.

Here’s the release:

Over the last two years, CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) has received more than 50 reports of sick or dead deer in urbanized areas from Siskiyou County to Fresno County.

Evidence collected from deer carcasses suggests that adenovirus hemorrhagic disease is one of the main causes. While fatal to deer, it is not harmful to humans, livestock or pets.

“While the sight of sick or distressed deer can be unsettling, it’s not cause for alarm,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Ben Gonzales. “Occasionally, we see viruses run through various deer populations, especially those on the urban fringe. Many diseases are transmitted through direct contact and are worsened when deer congregate in small areas. It’s important for residents not to provide food or water sources for deer.”

Wildlife veterinarians and biologists are documenting outbreaks, but there are no treatments for most viral diseases. Many outbreaks will run their course through a population and then reappear sporadically.

Adenovirus symptoms include nasal and anal bleeding, foaming at the mouth, weakness and instability. It can strike fast and without warning. Residents can see apparently healthy deer one day and find them dead the next morning. The public can report sick or dead deer to their CDFW Regional office.

Though deer and other species have to work harder to survive during drought conditions, they are equipped to survive and do not need handouts.

California’s deer population plays an important role in the ecosystem. They serve as prey species for predators and keep vegetation in check. More information on living with deer can be found at keepmewild.com.

CDFW’s WIL monitors and manages population health issues in California’s native wildlife. It provides resources to field staff in assessing wildlife populations, mortality response, biological sampling, captures, rehabilitation and more. Additional information and news can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/wil/ and https://calwil.wordpress.com/.

Former NorCal Resident In New Kayak Fishing Series

Photo by Discovery Channel

Photo by Discovery Channel

Look for our November issue to read a Q&A with former Eureka-area resident Jason Schmidt (pictured at top), who is one of the featured Hawaiian kayak anglers of a new Discovery Channel series, Pacific Warriors. Above are a couple of video clips – featuring Hawaiian legend freediver Kimi Werner – of the new show, which premieres on Friday at 10 p.m. Pacific.

Darrah Springs Hatchery Reopening After Disease Crisis


CDFW photo

CDFW photo

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Darrah Springs Hatchery, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), was partially released from quarantine on Oct. 9 after being in quarantine since May because of whirling disease.
Extensive DNA testing of the fish by a commercial sciences lab have determined that all the trout in the hatchery building and the lower rearing ponds are free of the disease and the hatchery is resuming normal operations for that portion of the facility.
“We were able to save thousands of fish by isolating them from the disease and will be able to grow and plant them into state waters very soon,” said Linda Radford, CDFW Regional Hatchery Supervisor. “Unfortunately part of the hatchery is still infected and we will have to destroy some fish.”
The upper part of the hatchery, located near the town of Paynes Creek, is still infected with the disease; the fish there will be destroyed, recycled and used for pet food and other purposes. The fish rearing areas still infected will be dried up and not utilized until the water supply can be either disinfected through a water treatment system or pathology testing verifies that the water supply no longer is infected.
Approximately 160,000 fish will be euthanized. The disposal of infected hatchery-raised trout is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of disease to non-infected state waters where the fish would normally be planted.
Whirling disease is caused by Myxobolus cerebralis, a protozoan parasite that destroys cartilage in the vertebral column of trout and salmon. It can be fatal to infected trout and salmon but does not affect humans or other wildlife or fish. The whirling disease parasite is naturally present in some streams and rivers in California. Hatchery outbreaks are unusual but not unheard of (there has never been another outbreak of whirling disease in the department’s hatcheries in northern California).
Darrah Springs Hatchery supplies catchable trout for waters in Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties and is one of 21 state-run hatcheries that provide millions of fish for California anglers.