All posts by kmacinty

Mojave River Hatchery to Temporarily Close to the Public

The Mojave River Hatchery near Victorville in San Bernardino County will be closed to the public as of May 1, to allow for maintenance and repairs of the raceways, buildings and equipment. The facility is expected to reopen in approximately three to four months when all repairs are complete.

All fish currently at the hatchery will be stocked by the end of April. During the temporary closure, the rainbow trout that would normally be hatched and raised at the Mojave River Hatchery will be instead be raised at the Fillmore Hatchery and stocked from there to Southern California waters.

“We understand that anglers are concerned about their favorite fishing spots being affected, but rest assured, we will continue to stock the 66 waters in six counties with trout just as we have done in the past,” said CDFW Senior Hatchery Supervisor Gary Williams. “The work being done will make our operations more efficient and result in better fish production for Southern California.”

Once the maintenance projects are complete, the hatchery will resume all operations and reopen to the public.

To view the statewide fish planting schedule, please go to https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants.

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Media Contacts:
Gary Williams, CDFW Desert Region, (760) 241-8472
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1 with Additional Season Dates for 2017

The 2017 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will commence Monday, May 1 for the first of four open periods. This season’s dates are May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The open and closed periods are intended to provide fishing opportunities from spring through fall.

The 2017 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 34,580 pounds – about 5,000 pounds more than the 2016 quota.

During the annual rulemaking process, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received input expressing interest in maintaining the 2016 season dates, but also adding additional open fishing days in 2017 that align with holiday weekends. In response, and in light of the increased quota, CDFW recommended a longer open season to the National Marine Fisheries Service which included Memorial Day weekend, in addition to Independence Day and Labor Day weekends.

The season dates are expected to continue to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity throughout the season while ensuring the quota is attained. As in 2015 and 2016, the open dates are not guaranteed days, and the season could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota.

Again this year, field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. CDFW will examine this information in comparison to expected catch rates and if the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, a closure date will be determined and the public will be notified.

The public can follow the progress of catch through the season on the CDFW Pacific halibut website, which will be updated weekly with the latest catch projection information (see link below).

Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814

Pilot Peak Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Released into Truckee Basin Waters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will start releasing Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout into Truckee area waters to give Sierra Nevada anglers the opportunity to catch some trophy sized trout in a year or two. 

Last week CDFW received a shipment of cutthroat trout eggs from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex in Gardnerville, Nevada. This is the second shipment of eggs in the last two years and is part of a joint effort between the USFWS and CDFW to bring a native, trophy sport fish to the Truckee River Basin. 

“Anglers have been pulling some amazing, trophy-class Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout out of Pyramid Lake in Nevada for the last several years, and we really wanted to get this strain of fish for our anglers here in California,” said Jay Rowan, senior environmental scientist for CDFW’s North Central Region Hatchery Program. “Hopefully we will start seeing some really big ones showing up in a few years.” 

The Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout is a lake form of cutthroat trout. This particular strain is native to the Truckee River Basin and is known for their aggressive feeding behavior and large size. 

“They are an interesting fish to raise … being wild, they are a little wary, but they seem to take to feed fairly well,” said Steven Schnider, a CDFW fish and wildlife technician. “They are aggressive, so if you don’t separate them when they are young, you will see the bigger fish with tails sticking out of their mouths.” 

This piscivorous (fish eating) behavior is what allows the Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout to grow quickly and to such large sizes. In choosing which waters to plant, CDFW fisheries biologists have targeted waters that have robust bait fish populations. 

“We did a survey of anglers in some of the Truckee basin reservoirs back in 2010, and 85 percent of the anglers we interviewed were in favor of CDFW stocking Lahontan cutthroat trout in these waters,” said Rowan. “I think those results were largely driven by the success of Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout at Pyramid Lake.” 

Stocking of the sub-catchable size fish from last year’s eggs will begin as early as next week and will continue as the snow melts and planting trucks can gain access. Lakes to be stocked include Echo, Fallen Leaf, Donner, Boca, Prosser, Stampede and Webber lakes.

The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex is an integrated fishery program that includes the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility and Fishery Assistance. The program emphasizes the connection of fishery management with the health of the lake and river habitats upon which species depend.

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Media Contacts:
Jay Rowan, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2883
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit online or return their cards by April 30, 2017, as required by law. The cards must be reported even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters.

Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery. Card holders should review their report cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate.

Any 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return their card(s) by April 30, 2017 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, they may choose to skip the 2017-2018 fishing season to be able to purchase a spiny lobster report card a following season at no extra cost. If multiple spiny lobster report cards were purchased, please report all cards, including lost cards, to avoid the non-return fee when purchasing a spiny lobster report card next lobster fishing season.

Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards or by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program, please visit CDFW’s California Spiny Lobster webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Travis Buck, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Mountain Lion DNA Found Inside Pescadero Home

A trace of mountain lion DNA was identified in a blood sample taken from inside a home in Pescadero, confirming reports that a mountain lion entered an occupied home and took a dog off the bed where the homeowner was sleeping.

On Monday, Apr. 17, 2017, a Pescadero homeowner called 911 at 3 a.m. to report an animal had entered her home through an open door and taken her 15-pound dog, which was sleeping on the end of her bed. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded and although they did not find the dog, they reported seeing wet paw prints at the entrance to the bedroom. They notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a wildlife officer responded later that morning. The wet prints had dried and were no longer visible. The wildlife officer was unable to find any other tracks or obvious sign of a mountain lion. He did discover a small drop of blood on the door, which he collected for analysis.

Due to the nature of the report, the wildlife officer drove the blood sample to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento the same day. Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog.

The property owners are eligible for a depredation permit, which would allow them or an agent acting on their behalf to take the offending mountain lion. However, they opted not to receive the permit. No further action will be taken by CDFW.

CDFW stresses that this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen. CDFW urges residents in the area to take all reasonable actions to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with not only mountain lions, but all wildlife. For tips, please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild.

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Media Contact:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692