Category Archives: Sport Fishing

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.

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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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CDFW Asks Trout Anglers to be Mindful During Drought

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking trout anglers to be mindful about fishing in the state’s waters and the effects their catch can have on the populations. As the summer progresses, the effects of the current drought on California’s wildlife continue to mount. Aquatic wildlife are especially vulnerable as streamflows decrease and instream water temperatures increase, exposing cold water species such as trout to exceptionally hostile habitat conditions.

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Because of the lower water levels and accompanying higher water temperatures in many California streams, many trout populations are experiencing added stress, which can affect their growth and survival. Many of California’s wild trout anglers have adopted catch-and-release fishing as their preferred fishing practice. Careful handling of a trout after being caught with artificial lures or flies allows for the possibility of trout being caught additional times.

However, catch-and-release fishing during afternoon and early evening in streams and lakes that have elevated water temperatures may increase stress, hinder survival and increase hooking mortality for released trout.

“Please be mindful of the conditions when you are fishing,” said California’s Wild Trout Program Leader, Roger Bloom. “Afternoon and evening water temperatures may be too warm to ensure the trout being released will survive the added stress of hooking, fighting and sustained exposure to the warmer water that builds up during hot days in summer and fall.”

Some of the state’s finest trout streams have special angling regulations that encourage or require catch-and-release fishing. In waters that may experience elevated daytime water temperatures (greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) the best opportunity for anglers to fish would be during the early morning hours after the warm water has cooled overnight and before the heat of the day increases water temperatures.

These low water conditions and warmer water temperatures are happening across the state—from Central Valley rivers flowing below the large foothill reservoirs to mountain streams in Southern California and in both east and west slope Sierra Nevada streams.

“Enjoy California’s outstanding trout fishing and help us to keep wild trout thriving by using good judgment,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief, Stafford Lehr. “Fish earlier and stop earlier in the day during these hot summer days ahead.”

Protective measures for catch-and-release fishing during the drought include:

  • Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
  • Playing hooked trout quickly and avoiding extensive handling of fish
  • Keeping fish fully submerged in water during the release
  • Utilizing a thermometer and checking water temperatures every 15 minutes when temperatures exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Stopping angling when captured fish show signs of labored recovery or mortality
  • Utilizing barbless hooks to help facilitate a quick release

Although other states have used temperature triggers to close recreational fisheries, California does not currently have a legal mechanism in place to accomplish that. Historically, CDFW has requested voluntary actions by anglers to avoid catch-and-release fishing in waters like Eagle Lake and the East Walker River during periods of elevated water temperatures. At present there are local angling groups in Truckee encouraging anglers to participate in a volunteer effort to avoid fishing in the afternoon and evening.

As we move through these extreme conditions, CDFW is asking anglers to help protect our state’s native and wild trout resources. Anglers interested in researching local conditions prior to a trip should contact local tackle shops, check online fishing reports or contact a local CDFW regional office. Anglers should also consider using a hand-held or boat-mounted thermometer to assess water temperatures while fishing.

Media Contact:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Heritage and Wild Trout Program, (916) 464-6355
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Lake Berryessa Site Ranks First in Top 100 List of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in U.S.

Media Contacts:

Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Stephanie Vatalaro, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, (703) 778-5156

Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Berryessa in Napa recently reeled in top honors in Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 List of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in America.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Interior Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Berryessa  recently placed first in Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 List of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in America.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Interior
Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Berryessa placed first in Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 List of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in America.

California also notched seven other places on the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) inaugural Take Me Fishing Top 100 list of best places to fish in U.S. state parks and recreation areas, including Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley (7), Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area in Livermore (11), Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas (13), Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville (17), Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey (28), Echo Park in Los Angeles (33) and Millerton Lake State Recreation Area in Friant (75). The entire list can be viewed at http://takemefishing.org/community/americas-top-family-fishing-and-boating-spots/.

“The inclusion of eight California sites in the Take Me Fishing Top 100 list is a welcome recognition of the array of alluring recreational opportunities that exist in our state for anglers and boaters,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.

RBFF is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF’s Take Me Fishing campaign initiated the nationwide vote to provide families and outdoor enthusiasts with a recommended list of the best family-friendly places to experience boating and fishing. Criteria included having a public body of water within an hour of a major city and good fishing opportunities.

“We enlisted the help of state fish and wildlife agencies to identify popular locations, and asked fishing and boating enthusiasts who belong to our communities to vote on their favorite spots that are easily accessible and where the fish are known to bite most often,” said RBFF President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Peterson.

With 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 220,000 square miles of ocean waters, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers and 1,800 miles of bay and delta waters, California has more fishing opportunities than any other state in the country. For more information on fishing in the Golden State, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing.aspx.