DFG Offers One-day Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in Southern California

Media Contacts:
Lt. Dan Lehman, DFG Advanced Hunter Education, (916) 358-4356
Kyle Orr, DFG Office of Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Advanced Hunter Education Program is offering a waterfowl hunting clinic on Oct. 1 in Southern California. This clinic, which is jointly sponsored by the Southern California Hunter Education Instructor Association, will be held at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This clinic is for hunters of all skill levels.

Experienced California Hunter Education instructor Greg Bousalog will host this exciting clinic. Topics will include gun safety, decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, calling, duck identification, dog considerations, equipment, game care and cooking tips.

The information offered in this comprehensive clinic should be useful for anyone who wants to successfully hunt waterfowl in Southern California. The clinic typically attracts both first-time waterfowlers and experienced hunters.

The cost of the clinic is $45 for adults. Youths 16 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited and participants must register in advance at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced. After registering, participants will receive an e-mail with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area is located approximately 8 miles east of Riverside.

Learn to Fish for Free in Sacramento on Sept. 3

Media Contacts:
Joe Ferreira, Fishing in the City program, (916) 358-1644
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

Aspiring Sacramento anglers can get tips from the experts on Free Fishing Day, Saturday, Sept. 3. The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Fishing in the City program will host a free fishing clinic, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Howe Park in Sacramento.

The park pond will be stocked with channel catfish and DFG will loan rods, bait and tackle to participants. The park is located off Howe Avenue at Cottage Way. DFG fishing clinics are fun for all ages and reservations are not required.

September 3 will be the second of the state’s two annual Free Fishing Days, during which adult anglers may fish throughout California even if they haven’t purchased a fishing license. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. It is a good opportunity for experienced anglers to introduce a friend to the sport of fishing.

For more information, see the Fishing in the City webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/fishinginthecity/sac/ and the Free Fishing Days webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html, or call (916) 358-2872.

Free Fishing Day to Fall on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend

Media Contacts:    
Terry Foreman, DFG Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites Californians to kick off their Labor Day weekend celebration by fishing in our state’s spectacular waters. Saturday, Sept. 3 is the second of California’s two 2011 Free Fishing Days, when people can try their hand at fishing without having to buy a sport fishing license.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for abalone, steelhead, sturgeon or spiny lobster anywhere in the state, or salmon specifically in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River systems.

DFG offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually in conjunction with the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend –  when it’s legal to fish without a sport fishing license. This year, the Free Fishing Days were set for the Saturdays preceding Independence Day and Labor Day (July 2 and Sept. 3) because they fall on holiday weekends, when a fishing excursion is likely to be most convenient for the public.

Free Fishing Days provide a low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some DFG regions offer Fishing in the City programs where you can go fishing in major metropolitan areas. Fishing in the City and Free Fishing Day clinics are designed to educate novice anglers about fishing ethics, fish habits, effective methods for catching fish and fishing tackle. You can even learn how to clean and prepare your catch so you can enjoy it for dinner that night.

Anglers should check the rules and regulations at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/ for the waters they plan to fish. Wardens will be on duty to enforce them. For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html.

DFG to Hold Public Meeting on Coho Salmon

Media Contacts:
Neil Manji, DFG Northern Regional Manager, (530) 225-2363
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

One juvenile coho salmon swims above rocks in Northern California stream.
Juvenile coho salmon

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be in Fort Jones on August 16 to discuss coho salmon in the Shasta and Scott valleys. A community meeting will be held that day from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center on 11960 East Street. DFG will provide an update on the status of coho salmon and request that certain landowners temporarily reduce diversion amounts to maintain water for rearing coho at strategic locations.

Although this past spring and early summer were unusually wet, stream conditions in key locations of the Shasta and Scott river watersheds important to rearing coho salmon are deteriorating.

Coho salmon in the Shasta and Scott River watersheds are currently listed as a “Threatened” species under the Federal and State Endangered Species Acts. Biologists have been monitoring coho salmon populations in the Shasta and Scott rivers since 2001 and results indicate precipitous declines in their numbers.

Coho salmon must stay in fresh water for approximately 18 months before entering the ocean to grow and mature. Young coho salmon need cold well-oxygenated water to survive as well as the ability to move from one location to another as conditions change.

In 2011, more than 800 coho salmon spawned in the Scott River and its tributaries. This represents the largest adult returns in some time, as well as strong juvenile production. Protecting these fish is an essential step in recovering the species.

For the past several weeks, DFG has been performing annual fish rescue activities by removing coho and other fish species from drying sections of streambed and relocating them. So far this season, 2,885 coho salmon have been captured and relocated from Kidder and Patterson creeks. DFG staff believes fish rescue will be required in other tributaries of the Scott and Shasta rivers unless additional water for these fish is made available.

Being ‘Bat Smart’ Benefits Both People and Bats

Media Contacts:
Deana Clifford, DFG Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2378
Scott Osborn, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 324-3564
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

Despite a reported increase in the number of bats testing positive for rabies in parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, biologists say there is no cause for alarm. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) advises that rabies in bats is rare – affecting less than one percent of the state’s entire bat population – and as long as basic precautions are followed, the few afflicted bats are highly unlikely to pass the disease to humans.

“Although bats get a bad rap in folklore, humans are actually a bigger threat to them than they are to us,” said DFG Associate Wildlife Veterinarian Deana Clifford. “Bats provide great benefits to humans, including insect control and plant pollination, but people tend to overlook the important role they play in our ecosystem. By being ‘bat smart’ and not disturbing or touching bats, people can help ensure the survival of the species, which will ultimately be to our benefit as well.“

Statistically speaking, the risk of contracting rabies from a bat is far less than the risk of dying from a bicycle accident, lightning strike or dog attack. To minimize the risk of contracting the disease, never pick up grounded bats as those animals are likely sick. People who have come into contact with a bat or have found a sick or dead bat should contact their local health department or animal control department. Also be sure to keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

Depending on the species and the time of year, bats can be found roosting in groups or individually in caves, mines, crevices, under bridges and in tree hollows. People are most likely to see bats at dusk, when they emerge from their roosts to seek water and their insect prey.

People may also encounter bats in buildings, where warm, quiet attic space is available for them to raise their young. If a building owner can’t accommodate bats, the best solution for humans and bats alike is to humanely exclude them from their building roost after they’ve finished raising their young. That way, the bats can find other roosts in future years and continue to keep the insect population under control. Installation of appropriately designed “bat boxes” can help give bats a place to roost that is away from your home.

All bats are protected species in California. Many species of bats worldwide are experiencing population declines, mainly due to human disturbance and loss of habitat. A new threat to bats in North America is White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which has been reported among hibernating bats in several American states in the east and is spreading toward the west coast. WNS has killed more than one million bats in the affected region, and some bat species may be at risk of extinction due to this emerging deadly disease.

WNS does not pose a risk to human health, but can be carried on clothing and gear taken into affected caves and mines. DFG and other agencies are preparing for the potential spread of WNS into California, which may include precautions to reduce the risk of human-caused introduction or spread to unaffected bat hibernation sites.

If you want to learn more about what you can do to promote bat conservation, visit  Bat Conservation International’s website at www.batcon.org.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News