All posts by ptirawildlife

Opportunities Abound for Central Valley Trout Anglers, Despite Flooding of Moccasin Creek Hatchery

Central Valley anglers anticipating California’s general trout opener Saturday, April 28 will find many local fishing opportunities despite the flooding of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Moccasin Creek Hatchery in Tuolumne County, which supplied many Central Valley and western Sierra Nevada waters with trout.

Don Pedro Reservoir, located downstream from the Moccasin Creek Hatchery, received an emergency plant of 150,000 rainbow and brook trout late last month when CDFW was granted a small window of time to return to the evacuated hatchery and rescue fish after the hatchery was flooded by a storm-swollen and overflowing Moccasin Creek Reservoir, which sits immediately upstream from it. The total weight of trout stocked to Don Pedro immediately after the flood was approximately 40,000 pounds. This emergency measure made the best use of resources in a catastrophic situation. CDFW biologists, hatchery staff and wildlife officers worked well into early morning hours to rescue fish and stock them into Don Pedro. Don Pedro is home to many species of game fish, but hadn’t been planted with trout by CDFW since 2016. Don Pedro is open to trout fishing year-round.

The San Joaquin and Kern River hatcheries, the two other trout hatcheries in CDFW’s Central Region, will continue to provide trout angling opportunities for the area and assist Moccasin Creek Hatchery in any way possible. Approximately 20,000 catchable-sized trout also will be trucked to the Central Region from another CDFW trout hatchery to support recreational angling for the trout opener.

As CDFW was able to return to the hatchery days after the flooding and emergency fish rescue, CDFW discovered thousands of additional hatchery trout alive but stranded in ponds and pools nearby created by the floodwaters. CDFW staff rescued approximately 10,000 of these trout and released them into Moccasin Creek. Moccasin Creek opens to trout fishing April 28.

At the time of the March 22 flooding, the hatchery was holding about 1.6 million fish – mostly rainbow trout but some brook, brown and golden trout as well – in varying stages of development, from just-hatched eggs to fish weighing 1 to 2 pounds.

In addition to the loss of more than 1 million fish, the hatchery suffered extensive damage estimated at $3.2 million. CDFW doesn’t expect the hatchery to be operational until the fall of 2018 at the earliest and the hatchery might not return to full production for 18 to 24 months. In planning to get Moccasin Creek Hatchery back online, CDFW shipped several hundred thousand trout eggs to other state fish hatcheries to hatch and raise for the next several months. Additionally, other CDFW hatcheries set aside thousands of juvenile trout that will be shipped to Moccasin Creek Hatchery as soon as feasible.

Moccasin Creek Hatchery sits on land owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) as part of its Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. SFPUC staff have been instrumental in providing crews and equipment for the initial clean up of mud, debris and dead fish.

Moccasin Creek Hatchery began operations in 1954 and provided trout for anglers who fish a variety of creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs located in Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Alpine and Alameda counties. The hatchery produced about 700,000 fish annually.

On average, the hatchery planted about 50,000 fish per month, but the numbers often exceeded 100,000 fish in April when waters are stocked just prior to California’s annual trout opener on the last Saturday in April.

While CDFW won’t be able to stock all the waters it had planned prior to flooding, CDFW is prioritizing the most popular trout-fishing destinations and plans to stock those waters with excess trout from some of its other 14 trout hatcheries around the state. These waters include Pinecrest Lake, Lyons Canal, the Clark’s Fork of the Stanislaus River (once the Sonora Pass opens), the Middle and South forks of the Stanislaus River, and the Middle and South forks of the Tuolumne River. All of these waters are in Tuolumne County.

Central Valley anglers making plans for the April 28 trout opener should check CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule to see if their favorite waters have been planted with trout.

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Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Dean Marston, CDFW Central Region, (559) 243-4005, ext.122

CDFW Photo: Moccasin Creek Hatchery staff, wildlife officers and fisheries biologists worked into the early morning hours of March 24 to rescue 40,000 pounds of trout from a flooded Moccasin Creek Hatchery and release the fish into nearby Don Pedro Reservoir.

 

CDFW to Sell Fishing and Hunting Licenses and More at Del Mar Fred Hall Show

San Diego area anglers and hunters can purchase their 2018 licenses, tags and Warden Stamps directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the annual Fred Hall Show this coming weekend at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The show will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“This show is a great opportunity for Southern California outdoor enthusiasts to talk directly with local CDFW personnel and have their individual questions answered,” said CDFW South Coast Region Manager Ed Pert. “Our biologists and law enforcement officers will be available all weekend to meet with the public.”

Licenses, tags and report cards will also be available for purchase, as well as the new 2018 CDFW Warden Stamp ($5). Warden Stamp sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Attendees can learn how to become a wildlife officer by speaking directly with CDFW officers, including statewide recruiting officer Lt. Chris Stoots, at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts and a free laser shot game. Attendees can also learn about historic fish-stocking procedures as a restored 1925 Dodge truck used by CDFW for transporting hatchery fish will be on display, along with a modern fish-transporting truck.

Also featured will be information on CDFW’s Fishing in the City and hatchery programs and a free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by the CDFW Mojave River Hatchery. Those who fish at the pond will receive a fishing passport book and official fishing passport stamps. CDFW Fishing in the City staff will teach casting skills to young anglers at a stocked bass tank, and bass-fishing professionals will provide tips and demonstrate their fishing skills.

Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 62 years and older, or $10 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children under age 15 are free.

For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com.

Anglers Urged to Return Overdue 2017 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding sturgeon anglers to return their 2017 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards as required by law. Although the deadline to report their catch was Jan. 31, 2018, so far about 13,754 – or 31 percent – of the 44,374 report cards have been returned. Sport fishing regulations require that all sturgeon anglers return their report cards, even those who did not encounter sturgeon and who did not fish for white sturgeon.

“Anglers who return their report cards are providing very good data, helping to protect the white sturgeon fishery, and helping to rebuild the populations of white sturgeon and threatened green sturgeon,” said Marty Gingras, CDFW Sturgeon Program Manager. “This is especially important given the years of drought that harmed recent sturgeon reproduction.”

California’s white sturgeon and green sturgeon are anadromous, meaning they move from the ocean or brackish water to spawn in freshwater. Because their populations were reduced by commercial fishing in the 19th century, sturgeon fisheries were mostly closed from 1901 through 1953. Since 1954, recreational fishing for white sturgeon has been allowed, and the fishery continues to be restricted in an effort to rebuild it. Green sturgeon is a federally listed threatened species and may not be fished for or harvested.

Anglers can return their overdue report cards by mail to the address printed on the card or – until April 1, 2018 — they can report online at the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing#44521416-harvest-reporting.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Marty Gingras, CDFW Sturgeon Program Manager, (209) 234-3486

Spring Turkey Hunting Season Approaches, Special Hunt Opportunities Abound

California’s 2017-18 general spring turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 31 and extends through May 6. The archery-only hunting season follows immediately afterward, running from May 7-20.

Young hunters will have additional opportunities to bag a spring tom turkey. Junior Hunting License holders may hunt the weekend before the general opener, March 24 and 25, and the two weeks after the general season closes, May 7-20, using shotguns or any other legal method of take.

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and an upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required of Junior Hunting License holders.

Nonlead shot is required when taking wild turkeys with a shotgun anywhere in the state except when hunting on licensed game bird clubs. These regulations apply to both public and private land, including all national forests, Bureau of Land Management, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) properties. For more information on nonlead ammunition regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition.

CDFW is offering 89 separate special turkey hunting opportunities throughout the state. Starting this year, application for these special hunting opportunities must be made through CDFW’s Automated License Data System.

Hunts are grouped into three separate drawings: Junior hunts, General Opening Weekend hunts and Balance of Season hunts. There is a $2.42 application fee and only one application per hunter is allowed for each drawing. Applications allow hunters to select their top three hunt choices in order of their preference. Hunters may only be drawn once per application. The application deadlines for these hunts are as follows:

  • Junior Hunts: Saturday, March 3, 2018
  • Opening Weekend General Season Hunts: Saturday, March 10, 2018
  • Balance of the Season Hunts: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

To apply for these hunts, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, sign into your account, select the “Purchase Licenses” link and select “2017 – Hunting” from the menu on the left side of the page. Spring turkey hunt application items will be available under the “Drawings” section on the right side of the page. After submitting your application, checking out and completing payment, you will be able to download a receipt confirming your entries into the drawing.

For more details and descriptions of these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/turkey-hunts.

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Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Karen Fothergill, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 716-1461

Spanish-Language Hunter Education Course Offered in Santa Clara County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is teaming up with Reed’s Indoor Range in Santa Clara to offer a Spanish-language Hunter Education Course later this month.

To obtain a hunting license in California, new hunters must pass a Hunter Education Course. CDFW’s Hunter Education Program and Reed’s Indoor Range will offer a two-day course in Spanish on the weekend of Feb. 24-25 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $20 per person. All course materials, including the written final exam, will be offered in Spanish. Advance registration is required at Reed’s Indoor Range, 1100 Duane Ave., Santa Clara, 95054.

“A California hunting license is a passport to outdoor adventure, good times with friends and family, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle,” said Lt. Bart Bundesen, CDFW’s Hunter Education Coordinator for the North Coast. “At the same time, a California hunting license carries a lot of responsibility with regard to safety, ethics, values and a commitment to protecting the state’s wildlife and natural resources. The department embraces diversity. That’s why it’s so important to provide this training to our Spanish-speaking constituents.”

For more information, please contact Fred Elizondo at Reed’s Indoor Range at (408) 970-9870 or by e-mail at fred.elizondo@gmail.com.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Lt. Bart Bundesen, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (415) 892-0073