DFG Surveys Salmon Anglers on Central Valley Rivers

The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Central Valley angler surveys have begun on the American, Feather, Mokelumne and Sacramento rivers. Over the next five months, survey crews will repeatedly visit 20 different sections of river to cover the full extent of the inland salmon fishery. Survey crews count the number of boats and anglers, weigh and measure each fish caught and collect the heads of those salmon imbedded with a coded wire tag.

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“The information the survey crews collect is vital to understanding the dynamics of the salmon fishery resource and for setting seasons in the future,” said Mike Brown, a DFG environmental scientist. “The collection of salmon heads imbedded with tiny coded wire tags provides a history of how each hatchery release has fared and gives us information that can help guide salmon management in future years.”

During the 2011 Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon sport fishery survey, crews contacted more than 4,000 fishing parties, measured 2,805 salmon and collected 652 salmon heads with coded wire tags in them. This and other baseline information were fed into a computer program that estimated the total effort and harvest of Chinook salmon in the 2011 Central Valley river sport fishery.

Those results showed approximately 60,500 salmon were caught and kept and 10,990 salmon were released for a total catch of 71,489. Seventy percent of the salmon kept were 2-year-olds, also known as “jacks.” Anglers fished on average about 14 hours to catch a salmon.

The 2012 salmon season is anticipated to be more productive than 2011.

Since 2007, 25 percent of salmon smolts released at each of the five Central Valley salmon hatcheries had their adipose fin clipped and a tiny coded wire tag inserted into the fleshy portion of their snout. Samplers check each salmon to see if its adopse fin, the small fleshy lobe on the fish’s back between the dorsal fin and the tail fin, is missing. If it is missing, the fish bears a coded wire tag.

During the survey, samplers carry large plastic bags for anglers to carry salmon after heads are removed. Upon request, the angler survey will provide the angler with a recognition letter containing information about their catch, including hatchery origin, age and release information.   Although anglers on occasion do not want samplers to take the head of their catch, most voluntarily comply once the reason for the collection is explained.

Section 8226 of the Fish and Game Code states, “Anglers upon request by an authorized agent of the Department, [must] immediately relinquish the head of the salmon to the State.”

The data collected by survey crews is essential for management of the highly popular salmon fishery.

Anglers can review a summary of the Central Valley Fall-Run Sports Fishery for 2011 at:

 http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=43505&inline=1

Media Contacts:
Mike Brown, DFG Environmental Scientist, (916) 227-4989
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478

DFG Launches Science Institute to Showcase Decades of Scientific Work and Support its Scientific Future

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, DFG Deputy Director, (916) 654-9937

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) publicly announced the first phase of its new Science Institute, available for viewing at www.dfg.ca.gov/Science.

“This website is the first part of a multi-phase approach intended to highlight the exceptional work that DFG scientists have been doing for many, many years and support our scientific future,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of DFG. “Our goal is that this Institute will help develop our current scientists professionally, by increasing skills, resources, collaboration and notoriety, as well as attract new scientists to help us plan for the years ahead.”

The website launch is phase one of the Institute. Future phases will include an archive of scientific presentations, professional development tools, better access for DFG scientists to outside science and scientific literature, a science symposium and much more.

Director Bonham prepared a video message for this website launch which can be viewed at http://youtu.be/S2Injj4sWx8.

Fish Passage Reference Database Now Available on the Web

Media Contacts:
Marcin Whitman, DFG Engineering, (916) 445-3832
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

Underwater close-up of two American River Chinook salmon.

American River Chinook Salmon. DFG photo by Matt Elyash

Department of Fish and Game biologists, managers, engineers and others have a new tool for fisheries management. It is an online database of citations of current and historic literature on the technical aspects of fish passage including engineering, biology, design and other relevant disciplines.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental and Water Resources Institute (ASCE/EWRI)-American Fisheries Society Bioengineering Section (AFS/BES) Partnership Development Ad Hoc Committee announced the availability of the Joint EWRI-AFS Fish Passage Reference Database last week at Fish Passage 2012, a national meeting in Massachusetts.

The EWRI-AFS Partnership Development Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by DFG Engineer Marcin Whitman, has created this database as part of its goal to develop initiatives for new projects to facilitate the transfer of fish passage information and technology. The database includes compilations of existing literature databases and bibliographies from multiple sources, both published and unpublished (i.e., reports, gray literature). It is intended to be a clearinghouse for new literature as it becomes available. The database will provide a resource for use by fishery biologists, managers, engineers and people in both the public and private sectors seeking information about fish passage.

“This database represents many hours of work by the committee as well as fiscal donations by ASCE, the Bureau of Reclamation, University of Massachusetts and others,” said Whitman. “This group has been the highest-performing professional volunteer group I have ever worked with and we hope this will serve as a useful resource to promote fish passage.”

The database can be accessed via http://scholarworks.umass.edu/fishpassage/. Database users may search for citations (many with accompanying abstracts) using author, journal and/or subject keywords, and may add new citations to the database through the Scholarworks web portal.

To enhance the effectiveness of the database and its repository function, practitioners in fish passage can also add records to the database using the “author’s corner” on the Fish Passage Reference Database website.

Support for the database was provided by the University of Massachusetts Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services Group, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Region 5) and the U.S. Geological Survey S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Laboratory.

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