Category Archives: Sport Fishing

Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon

The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on Saturday, April 25, one hour before sunrise.

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 determining how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 25.

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 2015/16 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet at  www.wildlife.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://www.wildlife.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 Mudsnail from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised to 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.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales 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, CDFW Environmental Scientist, (760) 873-6071

CDFW to Hold Public Meeting on Proposed Emergency Fishing Closure of Part of Sacramento River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is holding a public meeting to solicit comments on a proposed closure of 5.5 miles of the Sacramento River above the Highway 44 Bridge in Redding to Keswick Dam. CDFW has determined this closure is necessary to protect endangered winter-run chinook salmon. The anticipated dates of closure are April 27-July 31.

“At the department, it pains us to propose this action for the state,” said Stafford Lehr, CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief. “But we are in unchartered territory here, and we believe this is the right thing to do if we want to help winter run and be able to fish for big rainbows in the long-run.”

The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 7, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Redding Public Library,1100 Parkview Ave. in Redding (96001).

CDFW is proposing a complete fishing closure in this critical holding and spawning area to ensure added protection for the federal and state endangered winter-run chinook, which face high risk of extinction. Given the gravity of the current situation, it is imperative that each and every adult fish be given maximum protection. Current regulations do not allow fishing for chinook salmon, but incidental catch by anglers targeting trout could occur.

An estimated 98 percent of the in-river spawning is occurring in the 5.5 mile stretch under consideration for closure. This reach is the principle spawning area in these extraordinary drought year conditions. This section represents only 10 percent of the waters currently open to fishing upstream of the Red Bluff Diversion Dam.

In 2014, approximately 95 percent of eggs and young winter-run chinook were lost due to elevated river temperatures. Given current drought conditions, it is likely the 2015-year eggs and young salmon will again be subject to extremely trying conditions.

CDFW is tasked by the Governor to work with the California Fish and Game Commission to determine whether fishing restrictions in certain areas are necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist. The proposed closure is also in accordance with the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 25 percent. Visit  saveourwater.com to find out how everyone can do their part, and visit drought.ca.gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.

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Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478 or (208) 220-1169

Fisheries Agencies Report Positive Outlook for 2015 Ocean Salmon Fishing Season

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2878

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

At the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented encouraging news for sport and commercial salmon anglers. Forecasts suggest there are 652,000 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in the ocean this year, along with 423,800 adults from the Klamath River fall run. Fish from these runs comprise the vast majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.

James Phillips holding a Chinook salmon
CDFW Environmental Scientist and Ocean Salmon Project team member James Phillips, holding a Chinook salmon. CDFW photo by Kristie Amtoft.

These forecasts, which were higher than last year, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas, and size and bag limits.

“The forecasts are encouraging and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2015 that have increased opportunities over last year,” said Melodie Palmer-Zwahlen, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Chinook salmon that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2015 hatched 2-4 years ago and, as a result, have not been highly impacted by California’s drought. Starting next year, it is anticipated that future ocean salmon fishing opportunities may be impacted by the ongoing drought.

Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp, or call the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Special Low Flow Conditions Annually from October 1 through April 30 for Coastal Streams in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) informs anglers that sport fishing regulation changes have gone into effect for coastal streams in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. The new regulations can be found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations, section 8.00 (b).

On December 3, 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a regulation for annual Special Low Flow Conditions from October 1 through April 30 for coastal streams within the three counties. This regulation now bases flow closure conditions for Mendocino County streams on the Navarro River gauge near Navarro by establishing a minimum flow of 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the USGS gauging station on the main stem Navarro River near Navarro, Calif.

With the exception of the Russian River, coastal streams in Marin and Sonoma counties will be based on the South Fork Gualala River gauge near Sea Ranch with the establishment of a minimum flow of 150 cfs at the gauging station on the South Fork Gualala River near Sea Ranch (Sonoma County).

The new regulation also establishes low flow conditions for the Russian River in Mendocino and Sonoma counties based on the Russian River gauge near Guerneville. These streams will be closed to fishing when stream conditions fall below the minimum flow of 300 cfs at the gauging station located on the main stem Russian River near Guerneville (Sonoma County).

Low stream flow conditions prevent the movement of salmon and steelhead to their spawning grounds, increasing their vulnerability to predation, physiological stress and angling pressure. These coastal streams provide critical life-stage habitat for coastal Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout. All three of these species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Coho salmon is also listed under the California ESA.

In addition, CDFW will make low flow stream closure information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any stream will be open or closed to fishing. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number designated in the sport fishing regulations booklet to obtain information on the status of any stream.

The number for low flow stream closure information is (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino County and (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.

Media Contacts:
Ryan Watanabe, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 576-2815
Allan Renger, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 725-7194
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Pacific Halibut Management

Media Contacts:
Caroline McKnight, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7192

Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend a meeting to discuss the 2015 recreational Pacific halibut fishing season dates under consideration for California.

halibut2
A CDFW sampler taking data from a sport-caught Pacific halibut in 2012. CDFW photo by E.W. Roberts III.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 at the City of Eureka Wharfinger Building in the Bay Room, located at 1 Marina Way, Eureka (95501) from 6-8:30 p.m.

The meeting will provide information on Pacific halibut management and include a discussion on 2015 season options for the recreational fishery. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives that will aid in the development of future Pacific halibut management for 2015 and beyond.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Fish and Game Commission and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

For more information regarding Pacific halibut management, please refer to the CDFW website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

American River Trout Hatchery Reopens After Summer Evacuation

The American River Trout Hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reopened this week after warm water temperatures forced the closure of the facility in early summer.

Colder winter temperatures and recent rain are allowing hatchery staff to begin filling the raceways with cooler river water and start to produce rainbow trout for planting in northern California lakes this summer.

“The drought forced us to think quickly and make the best decisions for the health of the fish,” said Dr. Bill Cox, CDFW Fishery Program Manager. “Because of the rain and colder weather, we can start producing trout right away.”

In June, CDFW moved all rainbow trout out of the American River Hatchery to avoid losses of young fish due to rising water temperatures. Both Nimbus and American River hatcheries’ water supply comes from Lake Natoma, upstream of the hatcheries. Drought conditions resulted in reduced water supplies stored in Folsom Lake and warm summer temperatures increased the water temperature of the available water, exceeding tolerable temperatures for growing fish.

The trout being grown now will be available for planting in state waters beginning in January 2015.

For the fish stocking schedule, please visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/.

For complete fishing regulations, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

Media Contacts:
Dr. Bill Cox, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 358-2827
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Resumes Trout Planting in Kern and Tulare County Waterways

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has started planting catchable rainbow trout in Kern and Tulare County rivers and lakes last month after water temperatures cooled enough to ensure success.

The first fish from the Kern River Hatchery were put into the Kern River above Kernville and more fish will be planted from the hatchery as water temperatures continue to drop. Ming, River Walk, Truxton and other lakes around Bakersfield have also been stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout, with others to follow.

“The lower water levels and higher temperatures in the Kern River forced us to stop planting fish over the summer,” said hatchery supervisor Greg Kollenborn. “In the last month we have planted about 20,000 fish into local rivers and lakes.”

The Kern River is not only a viable trout stream, but it also supplies the water for the hatchery.  As winter approaches, the water temperature in the river is now cold enough to support the trout held in the hatchery. Kern River Hatchery typically releases about 175,000  trout every year.

Hatchery officials anticipate that water temperatures will remain cool enough to maintain a normal stocking schedule throughout the remainder of the year.

The complete statewide planting schedule can be found here.

Media Contact:
Greg Kollenborn, CDFW Central Region Hatcheries, (559) 903-6917
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Upper Trinity River Chinook Quota Met for 2014; Upper Klamath Above Interstate 5 Reopens

Media Contacts:
Sara Borok, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (707) 822-0330

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8844

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projects that the Upper Trinity River anglers will have met their upper Klamath River catch quota of 681 adult fall-run Chinook salmon above Cedar Flat by sundown on Friday, Oct. 24.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 25, anglers may still fish but can no longer keep adult Chinook  salmon over 22 inches. They may still keep a daily bag of three Chinook salmon under 22 inches in the Trinity River above Cedar Flat.

The fall-run Chinook salmon quota on the Lower Trinity River is 681 adult Chinook salmon from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar flat. This sub-area quota has not been met yet, and anglers may retain one adult Chinook salmon as part of their three fish daily bag limit.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the Klamath River from the Interstate 5 bridge up to Iron Gate Hatchery reopens to the take of Chinook salmon over 22 inches. The Iron Gate Hatchery has met the 8,000 adult fish number needed for spawning purposes.  This means anglers can keep one Chinook over 22 inches as part of the three-fish daily bag limit in this section of the Klamath River.

CDFW reminds anglers that a salmon report card is required when fishing for Chinook salmon in anadromous portions of the Klamath basin.

Steelhead fishing remains open in all areas, with a daily bag of two hatchery steelhead or trout and possession limit of four hatchery steelhead or trout. Hatchery steelhead or trout are defined as fish showing a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). Anglers are also required to possess a steelhead report card when fishing for steelhead.

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

Mendocino Abalone Poacher to be Sentenced to State Prison

Media Contacts:
Patrick Foy, CDFW Enforcement, (916) 508-7095
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

A previously convicted abalone poacher is facing a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to new poaching charges.

Dung Van Nguyen, 41, of Sacramento was charged with poaching abalone along the Mendocino coast and selling them for personal profit. On Sept. 11, Nguyen appeared in the Mendocino County Superior Court and pled guilty to one felony count of forging an abalone report card and one misdemeanor count of taking abalone for commercial purposes.

Nguyen is a repeat offender with multiple convictions for similar poaching crimes. As a condition of his plea, he will be required to return to the court for sentencing on Nov. 11, where he will be remanded into custody. The conditions of his sentence will include 32 months in state prison, a fine of $15,000 and a lifetime revocation of his fishing license.

Wildlife officers observed Nguyen take at least 35 abalone in 2013, which is 17 in excess of the annual limit. The case was investigated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Special Operations Unit, a unique team of officers tasked with investigating persons involved in the black market sales of California’s fish and wildlife resources.

“Our team exists to stop people from stealing the state’s fish and wildlife for profit, and to stop people like Nguyen from engaging in this type of behavior,” said Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, head of the Special Operations Unit.

Tim Stoen, the Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted the case, said, “I commend the hard work of the department’s Special Operations Unit on this case.”

CDFW appreciates the effort of the vast majority of abalone divers who comply with the regulations, particularly the use of the abalone report card (which was an integral part of successful prosecution in this case). Their cooperation helps to keep the fishery healthy and sustainable for future generations.

 

 

 

Klamath River Size Restrictions Effective on Friday

Salmon fishing on parts of the Klamath River will have size restrictions beginning this Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 because the yearly quota of adult fall-run Chinook salmon has been met.

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The 2014 lower river quota of 2,064 adult fall-run Chinook salmon below the Highway 96 Bridge will be met on Thur., Sept. 4, triggering the annual size restriction. Beginning Friday anglers can continue to fish but Chinook salmon over 22 inches must be released, anglers can keep up to three fish under 22 inches caught in the Klamath River below the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchepec.

The quota for the Klamath River above the confluence with the Trinity River will remain open until 702 adult Chinook salmon are caught.

The quota on the Trinity River is 681 adult Chinook salmon from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar Flat and 681 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge.

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1-800-564-6479.

Media Contacts:
Sara Borok, CDFW Environmental Scientist, (707) 822-0330
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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