Sac Bee On California’s Striped Bass Issues

Having enjoyed one of the best days I’ve ever had on the water a couple years ago on the Feather River, I’ll always have a special connection to striped bass fishing (and the guide/friend who made it even more special and will forever be in my memories).

So it’s difficult to see so many Golden State anglers having to defend the non-native striped bass that frequent Delta waters that some feel like are damaging the state’s shaky Chinook salmon runs. Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow wrote a great piece about the controversy. Here’s a little tidbit of Sabalow’s story:

Next month, the five-member California Fish and Game Commission could decide to remove a decades-old state policy that sought to dramatically increase the numbers of striped bass to benefit the fishing industry.

The vote comes after years of lobbying from farming groups and urban water associations that have sought to reduce the numbers of hungry striped bass to benefit salmon and smelt.

They argue that with fewer stripers eating endangered fish, regulators wouldn’t impose nearly as many restrictions on the massive Delta pumping stations that send farms and south state cities water. As it stands now, the pumps are often throttled back at key times of year to protect endangered fish. Farmers say the real predator is the striped bass, not their water pumps.

Needless to say, next month’s fish and game commission meeting will be heated.