Tag Archives: Southern California

Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon in the Eastern Sierra

The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on April 26, one hour before sunrise.

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Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Lingering winter conditions and this year’s unprecedented drought could play a major role in how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 26.

Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.

Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2014/15 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations, for regulations specific to each body of water.

In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as Wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at http://dfg.ca.gov/regions/6/

Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.

Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent the snail from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.

All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.dfg.ca.gov/onlinesales or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.

Media Contacts:            
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
James Erdman, Environmental Scientist, (760) 873-6071

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Two Santa Barbara County Men Arrested for Felony Fish Theft

Two commercial fishermen were arrested by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers early Sunday morning in Santa Barbara Harbor on felony charges of conspiracy and grand theft.

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John Wilson, 53, of Santa Ynez and Kai Griffin, 23, of Buellton, both licensed commercial fishermen, are being charged with stealing live rock crabs from fellow commercial fishermen and stealing from commercial fish markets at the commercial dock in Santa Barbara Harbor. Wildlife officers allege that the pair then sold the crabs, along with several other illegally landed species, at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

“Thanks to some good tips from the fishing community and good, solid police work, we were able to catch the suspects and stop these illegal sales,” said CDFW Lt. Wes Boyle

Wardens had received reports from commercial fishermen and two Santa Barbara fish markets regarding stolen rock crabs and other assorted species. The thefts were said to be occurring in the early morning hours. During the two-month-long investigation, the subjects were observed stealing live rock crabs from receivers in Santa Barbara Harbor and then selling them at the Farmer’s Market. The investigation also showed that the subjects were selling sea urchins, Kellet’s whelks (out of season), live rock crabs and clawed rock crabs that were illegally landed.

The suspects were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, and charges will be filed with the county District Attorney.

Media Contacts:     
Capt. Mike Stefanak, CDFW Law Enforcement, (805) 746-7590
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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CDFW To Hold Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban. The workshop will be held at 911 San Pedro Street in Ventura on Tuesday, April 15 from 7-8:30p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail a proposed plan for implementation, the PowerPoint for which can be viewed on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input. That input may help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting to the Commission at the Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento in September.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that a regulation to ban lead ammunition in the state be established by the Commission no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation to be effective no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, internal meetings with hunting organizations and now a series of public workshops throughout the state. After Ventura, planning is underway for workshops later this year in Eureka, Sacramento and San Diego.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Recreational Ocean Salmon Season to Open South of Horse Mountain on April 5

Media Contacts:
Barry Miller, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2860
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478Marine sports salmon fishing

The California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announce the recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal fishery biologists estimate roughly 934,000 fall-run Chinook salmon will be in California coastal waters through the summer. Though lower than last year’s estimate, there are still plenty of fish to allow for significant angling opportunities for salmon enthusiasts in all areas off California.

The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon but the Commission recently took action to change the salmon possession limit. Two daily bag limits are now allowed in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude). For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling. The retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Final 2014 ocean salmon regulations will be decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during their April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. and by the Commission at their April 16-17 meeting in Ventura. Final sport regulations will be published in the CDFW 2014 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet available in May at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

Three alternatives are being considered for California’s recreational ocean salmon seasons that will begin on or after May 1. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives, which can be found at the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

CDFW to Host Southern California Natural Resource Volunteer Academy

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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“The NRVP emphasizes teaching people to teach others about conservation principles,” said program coordinator Lt. Kent Smirl. “It’s one of the finest conservation volunteer programs of its kind due to the diversity of subjects the volunteers are trained in.”

CDFW is holding an NRVP training academy in Los Alamitos April 1-4, with continued training to follow. Graduates of the academy become volunteers for CDFW. These positions are unpaid. Interested individuals go through a selection process, which includes an initial screening, application, interview and background check. If selected, individuals attend an 80-hour conservation course to prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 24 hours. After completing the academy, volunteers work with a trained volunteer mentor to implement their newly acquired skills during a six-month probationary period.

Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public in the field and in a classroom setting. Applicants must show a desire to work well with others in a team environment to do tasks that free up time for paid CDFW staff.

Natural resource volunteer duties may include responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing CDFW at community outreach events, and patrolling CDFW lands, ecological reserves and coastal and inland fishing areas.

Volunteers who are successful in the application and oral interview phase will be required to have a Live Scan performed with rolling fee costs of approximately $25.  Volunteer applicants must also have a current California driver license and produce a Department of Motor Vehicle driving report showing a good driving record for the last five years.

Please contact Lt. Kent Smirl at (714) 448-4215 prior to submitting an application.

Further information and an application can be found on the NRVP website at www.dfg.ca.gov/volunteer/NRVP/.

Media Contacts:       
Kent Smirl, CDFW Law Enforcement, (714) 448-4215
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Southern California Turkey Hunting Clinic Coming Soon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and the Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California are jointly sponsoring a turkey-hunting clinic on March 15 at Hungry Valley Recreation Area in Los Angeles County.

Space is limited so hunters are encouraged to apply early. The deadline for registration is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

An experienced instructor, Alex Van will instruct this exciting clinic and cover topics of decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, calling, equipment, game care and cleaning, cooking tips and safety.

The clinic is Saturday, March 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $45. Youths 16 years and younger are free but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment.

Registration forms are available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced/index.aspx. After registering, participants will receive an e-mail with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

Hungry Valley is located along Interstate 5 near Gorman, approximately 30 miles south of Bakersfield and 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Media Contact:       
Lt. Dan Lehman, Advanced Hunter Education Program Coordinator, (916) 358-4356
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Wild Turkey

Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

Three agencies working to survey bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains are seeking volunteers to assist in the annual sheep count.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep are seeking individuals to assist biologists March 1-2, 2014 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation on Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either CDFW, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 1, 2014.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined more than 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the increase with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.

Please sign up online at http://www.sangabrielbighorn.org/San_Gabriel_Bighorn_Sheep_Home.html . If you do not have access to the internet, you may call either (909) 627-1613 or (909) 584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, Society for Conservation (805) 431-2824

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Bighorn sheep

CDFW Hunter Education Courses Offered for Eastern Sierra Youths

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a series of hunter certification classes in Inyo and Mono counties for teenagers who would like to learn to hunt. Students who successfully complete a class will earn a lifetime hunter education certificate, necessary for purchasing a hunting license.

“Last year we brought the hunter education to several schools in the Eastern Sierra and every one of them asked us to come back this year,” said Lt. Bill Daily, CDFW supervising warden for the area. “It’s very encouraging to see how many of the students took an interest in not only the hunting but the conservation as well.”

The courses will be offered at no charge for seventh and eighth graders in Bishop, Big Pine, Round Valley, Mammoth Lakes and Coleville schools. Parental or guardian approval is required for all students.

In addition to serving as a prerequisite to purchasing a hunting license, hunter education programs are a valuable education tool for beginning hunters to learn about firearm and hunting safety. The hunter education program produces responsible, knowledgeable and involved citizens – young men and women who understand the importance of complying with hunting laws, behaving ethically and wildlife conservation.

The one- or two-hour daily classes are taught by CDFW officers during the regular school day or immediately afterward. Classes will be offered at the following locations:

  • Jan. 6-17 at Mammoth Lakes Middle School
  • Jan. 21-Feb. 2 at Big Pine Middle School
  • Jan. 27-Feb. 7 at Bishop Middle School
  • Feb. 4-21 at Round Valley Middle School
  • Feb. 24-March 7 at Coleville Middle School

Youth interested in attending the classes must attend seventh or eighth grades at a participating school. Parents may register their child through the school administration office.

Media Contacts:
Bill Dailey, CDFW Law Enforcement, (661) 203-6380
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Deadline Approaching for Hunter Education Course in Eastern Sierra

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now registering participants for the last hunter certification classes of the season in Inyo and Mono counties. The class is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Bishop Civic Center’s Counsel. The deadline to register is Jan. 11.

The class is for those who have already completed the online portion of the mandatory hunter education course to receive a hunting license. Inyo and Mono county residents who want to obtain their hunting license may complete the basic study portion online at their own pace, followed up by the four-hour certification class with wildlife officers. To register for the online portion of the course, please go to www.huntercourse.com/usa/california/.

After completing the online course and receiving a passing test score, a $24.95 fee will be charged for a completion voucher. Applicants will need to bring this document to the final certification class in order to receive a hunter education certificate. The four-hour follow-up class consists of two hours of review, one hour of gun handling techniques and one hour for the hunter education test.

Applicants must pre-register for the follow-up class. Registration closes one week prior to the class. To register, please contact Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593.

A complete list of hunter education classes statewide may be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/classes-home-study.aspx.

Media Contacts:
Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 920-7593
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Officers Snag Diver off Catalina Island

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers cited a 46-year-old Ventura County man for using rubbing alcohol to force fish out of rocks and capturing them to sell. The diver was cited for two Fish and Game Code violations: use of chemical while collecting marine aquaria and unlawful take of marine aquaria at Catalina Island, which is prohibited by law.

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On the afternoon of Nov. 13, officers from the patrol boat Thresher observed a large recreational sailboat with commercial fishing license numbers painted on the stern anchored in Emerald Bay on the northeast coast of Catalina Island. Officers boarded the boat and found a man sport fishing. The angler told the officers that his partner was SCUBA diving.

Officers entered the 62-degree water and observed a diver squirting a liquid (later determined to be rubbing alcohol) from a bottle into cracks of rocks. The liquid was forcing small fish, Blue Banded Goby (Lythrypnus dalli), into the open water where the man then caught them with a small aquarium fish net and immediately put them in a small plastic receptacle attached to his SCUBA gear. The warden used a mask and snorkel from just below the water’s surface to watch the diver squirt the bottle twice. The warden then dove down, showed the diver his warden identification, and directed the diver to come to the surface. Before ascending, the diver left one of his squirt bottles on the rocks and attempted to drop a small, mesh bag containing another squirt bottle. A warden retrieved both squirt bottles and the mesh bag.

Once on the sailboat, the suspect told the officers he was a licensed marine aquaria collector and his buyers were paying him $10 per fish.  He stated that he did not know it is illegal to use rubbing alcohol to catch the small fish, or that it is illegal to partake in marine aquaria collection operations off Santa Catalina Island.

The diver had 63 goby fish in the plastic receptacle attached to his gear. During the interview, officers saw another plastic sealed container underneath the boat. The second container was holding an additional 109 goby fish.  The fish were counted, photographed and returned to the sea.

The man’s dive gear was seized and charges will be filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

The marine aquaria laws that protect Catalina Island prevent collectors from depleting local species around the island. Collecting marine aquaria from the ocean is legal with the proper permits.

Media Contact:
Lt. Eric Kord, CDFW Law Enforcement (858) 538-6017
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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