Category Archives: Fishing (Sport)

Spiny Lobster Report Cards Due by April 30

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit online or return their cards by April 30, 2018, 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 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return his or her card(s) by April 30, 2018 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2018-2019 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, he or she may choose to skip the 2018-2019 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, all cards, including lost cards, should be reported 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/FishingHarvest or by mail to:

CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Road
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:
Marina Som
, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4229

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

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.

 

Plentiful Fishing for Crappie Proves Tempting for Poachers

Wildlife Officers Keeping a Close Eye Out for Overlimits

Law enforcement officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have made several recent gross overlimit cases on crappie anglers in the San Joaquin Valley, prompting increased patrols for anglers targeting those fish. Crappie is a sport fish common throughout California and most of North America. The bag limit for crappie is 25 fish per day.

In one case, a wildlife officer contacted three anglers in Madera County in the early morning hours of April 12 as they pulled their boat from a local lake. They were in combined possession of 404 crappie. Subtracting out a legal limit of 25 fish each, they were in possession of a combined overlimit of 329 crappie. The three subjects are charged with a gross overlimit of crappie, possession of more than three times the bag limit and failure to show catch upon the demand of a wildlife officer. If convicted, they each face a possible jail term, fines that will potentially range between $5,000 and $40,000, forfeiture of seized fishing equipment and suspension of their fishing privileges,

In total, wildlife officers issued a total of 10 crappie overlimit citations in the last week for 636 crappie in excess of the bag limit.

“We are pleased to see excellent conditions for crappie fishing right now and many honest anglers are catching a limit,” said CDFW Assistant Chief John Baker, who oversees the Central Enforcement District out of Fresno. “These gross overlimit cases are a prime example of poachers taking advantage of good conditions and depleting our state’s limited resources. This behavior should outrage the honest anglers who abide by the law.”

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Danny Stevenson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (559) 967-4511
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Recreational Salmon Seasons Set for 2018

The recreational salmon seasons have been set for 2018, and it appears to be a mixture of good news and bad for California anglers. Klamath River fall run Chinook are likely to be one of the better fishing opportunities due to higher returns that will support both ocean and inland salmon seasons. But returns for Sacramento River fall run Chinook – the main stock of salmon supporting California’s ocean and Central Valley river fisheries – have been low for the third consecutive year, pushing them into “overfished” status.

In order to meet conservation goals for Sacramento River fall run Chinook, some ocean salmon seasons have been shortened and the daily bag and possession limits for Central Valley river fisheries have been reduced.

“The goal is to get even more fish back to the spawning grounds this fall than would be required in a normal year,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer.

In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council constructed conservative ocean salmon seasons for 2018, in the hopes of producing higher numbers of returning spawners. The California Fish and Game Commission set similar ocean seasons.

The 2018 recreational ocean salmon season for the California coast is as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open June 1 and continue through Sept. 3.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, will open June 17 and continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 7 and will continue through July 2.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Pigeon Point and 24 inches in all areas south of Pigeon Point. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of coho salmon (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

The 2018 recreational inland salmon season for California inland waters is as follows:

  • Seasons for Central Valley fishery start on traditional dates on all sections of all rivers. Only one salmon per day may be retained and the possession limit is two salmon.
  • In the Klamath River the season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Dec. 31. The Trinity River season will be open from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit is two salmon no more than one over 22 inches. The possession limit is six salmon, no more than three over 22 inches.

Regulations approved by the Commission since the 2017 season created a positive effect for the upcoming Central Valley salmon season. The new regulations – including a complete closure of Nimbus Basin on the American River to all fishing due to construction, a reduction in the daily bag and possession limit for the Central Valley, and a shortened leader length regulation intended to reduce snagging – were pivotal in setting seasons on the Sacramento River fall Chinook because they helped reduced potential harvest to meet stock rebuilding goals.

The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Media Contacts:
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2879
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777

Recreational Canary Rockfish Bag Limit Increases Effective April 14

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces a statewide increase to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) daily limit within the Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) bag limit. The sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began last year as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, a one fish daily sub-bag limit was implemented as a matter of precaution. Catches were monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits were not exceeded.

“We saw great fishing in 2017 and higher than expected effort for rockfish,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Joanna Grebel. “Despite this, catches of canary rockfish under a one fish bag limit were less than predicted. We are excited to be able to offer additional opportunity in 2018.”

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits.

CDFW encourages anglers to avoid known yelloweye rockfish hotspots when pursuing canary rockfish. Yelloweye rockfish cannot be retained and stringent annual limits on yelloweye rockfish bycatch mortality remain in effect for California’s recreational groundfish fishery in 2018. Bycatch mortality of yelloweye rockfish is monitored during the fishing season and modifications to regulations could be made if mortality amounts reach annual limits.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status information, fish identification tools and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

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

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