Tag Archives: fishing

Boaters Can Help Combat Spread of Invasive Mussels Over Memorial Day Weekend

California agencies combatting the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels remind boaters to remain cautious over Memorial Day weekend.

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels native to Eurasia. They multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web, and ultimately impact native and sport fish communities. These mussels spread from one body of water to another by attaching to watercraft, equipment and nearly anything that has been in an infested waterbody.

Microscopic juveniles, invisible to the naked eye, are spread from infested waterbodies in water entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets. Quagga mussels have infested 29 reservoirs in Southern California and zebra mussels have infested San Justo Reservoir in San Benito County.

To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any body of water are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that comes into contact with the water before and after recreating.

“Recreational water users play a crucial role in preventing new mussel infestations,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Their awareness, diligence and good stewardship helps to maintain both the ecological and recreational values of our waters.”

To ensure watercraft are clean, drained and dry, many local agencies conduct boat inspections. The CDFW website provides a list of these inspection programs (www.wildlife.ca.gov/mussels), along with additional information about the invasive mussels and what people can do to help prevent their spread in California. Prior to traveling, boaters should contact destination waterbodies directly to check for restrictions and requirements.

Take the following steps both before traveling to and before leaving a waterbody to prevent spreading invasive mussels, improve your inspection experience and safeguard California waterways:

  • CLEAN — inspect exposed surfaces and remove all plants and organisms,
  • DRAIN — all water, including water contained in lower outboard units, live-wells and bait buckets, and
  • DRY — allow the watercraft to thoroughly dry between launches. Watercraft should be kept dry for at least five days in warm weather and up to 30 days in cool weather.

CDFW has developed a brief video demonstrating the ease of implementing the clean, drain and dry prevention method, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaeAIPLoK-k. In addition, a detailed guide to cleaning vessels of invasive mussels is available on the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) at http://dbw.parks.ca.gov/PDF/CleanGreen/Boating-QuaggaGuide.pdf.

Travelers are also advised to be prepared for inspections at California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Border Protection Stations. Over the past nine years, more than one million watercraft entering California have been inspected at the Border Protection Stations. Inspections, which can also be conducted by CDFW and California State Parks, include a check of boats and personal watercraft, as well as trailers and all onboard items. Contaminated vessels and equipment are subject to decontamination, rejection, quarantine or impoundment.

Quagga and zebra mussels can attach to and damage virtually any submerged surface. They can:

  • Ruin a boat engine by blocking the cooling system and causing it to overheat
  • Jam a boat’s steering equipment, putting occupants and others at risk
  • Require frequent scraping and repainting of boat hulls
  • Colonize all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces, causing them to require constant cleaning
  • Impose large expenses to owners

A multi-agency effort that includes CDFW, DBW, CDFA and the California Department of Water Resources has been leading an outreach campaign to alert the public to the quagga and zebra mussel threats. A toll-free hotline, 1 (866) 440-9530, is available for those seeking information on quagga or zebra mussels.

Media Contacts:
Dennis Weber, California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, (916) 651-8724
Dana Michaels, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, (916) 322-2420
Doug Carlson, California Department of Water Resources, (916) 653-5114
Steve Lyle, California Department of Food and Agriculture, (916) 654-0462

Map-based Sport Fishing Regulations Offers Ease of Use for Anglers

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has launched a beta release of an online location-based Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations tool to help anglers identify those regulations that relate to the area they plan to fish. The new tool provides an easy way for anglers to find the sections of the regulations that are relevant to them.

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The new fishing regulations tool can be found at https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/. It is designed to work on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.

When accessed from a smart phone or a tablet with GPS, the map-based tool will automatically present the angler with the sport fishing regulations that apply to their current location based on the GPS in the device. When accessed from a tablet without GPS or from a desktop computer, the user can click anywhere on the map to discover the regulations for that area.

The new tool includes the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, found on our Regulations webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

The regulations are also now available in the existing Fishing Guide, available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/guide.

“This is a big step forward in making the complex fishing regulations more accessible to the angling community,” said CDFW Acting Fisheries Branch Chief Roger Bloom. “As we continue to simplify our fishing regulations, they will be kept up-to-date within this new tool.”

This is a beta release that CDFW staff will be actively working to improve. CDFW welcomes comments or suggestions for improvement. Please send feedback to fishingguide@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1

California’s recreational Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) fishery season will open May 1. This year the fishery will be held to a federally established quota of 29,640 pounds. The open season dates will be May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The open and closed periods are intended to spread fishing opportunities from spring through fall. Anglers are limited to one rod and two hooks while fishing for Pacific halibut.

Again this year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. CDFW will examine observed catch information and compare it with expected catch rates. As the season progresses, CDFW will confer with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and International Pacific Halibut Commission on expected quota attainment. If the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, NMFS will close the fishery.

The 2016 quota is an increase of 4,420 pounds over the 2015 quota.

The public can follow the progress of catch through the season by viewing the Pacific halibut thermometer on the CDFW Pacific halibut website, which will be updated weekly with the latest catch projection information.

Anglers in northern California are also advised to check the open season dates for ocean salmon when planning fishing activity in the Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City port areas. Due to the low forecasted ocean abundance of Klamath River Fall Chinook, periodic recreational salmon closures have been implemented in these areas for 2016.  During May, June and July, anglers will have the opportunity to target either Pacific halibut or ocean salmon, but not both species concurrently.

Pacific halibut are more common off the northern California coast and should not be confused with California halibut (Paralichthys californicus). Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date regulations:

  • National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801
  • CDFW Pacific halibut website

 

Media Contacts:
Caroline McKnight, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7192
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Sacramento River Closure to Go Into Effect April 1

A temporary emergency regulation closing all fishing within 5.5 miles of spawning habitat on the Upper Sacramento River begins on April 1, 2016 and will remain in effect through July 31, 2016. Enhanced protective measures are also proposed in the ocean sport and commercial salmon fisheries regulations for the 2016 season.

The temporary emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The temporary closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run Chinook salmon by anglers.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and potential ocean fishing restrictions will help avoid a third year of substantial winter-run Chinook salmon loss.

Historically, winter-run Chinook spawned in the upper reaches of Sacramento River tributaries, including the McCloud, Pit, and Little Sacramento rivers. Shasta and Keswick dams now block access to the historic spawning areas. Winter-run Chinook, however, were able to take advantage of cool summer water releases downstream of Keswick Dam. In the 1940s and 1950s, the population recovered, but beginning in 1970, the population experienced a dramatic decline, to a low of approximately 200 spawners by the early 1990s. The run was classified as endangered under the state Endangered Species Act in 1989, and as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994.

The Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposal for the 2016 temporary closure at its regularly scheduled February meeting.

Media Contact:
Jason Roberts, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2131
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Recreational Ocean Salmon Season to Open South of Horse Mountain on April 2

California’s recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 2, 2016, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border.

The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and 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.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The recreational salmon season north of Horse Mountain remains closed and the season will be determined in April.

For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod shall be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling.

Additional ocean salmon fishing regulations for the 2016 fishing season will be decided by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during its April 9-14 meeting in Vancouver, Washington, and by the Fish and Game Commission at its April 18 teleconference. Final sport regulations will be published in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 2016-2017 Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which will be posted online in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

“Salmon abundance estimates are lower this year and there is concern that the forecasts may be overly optimistic.  Ocean and river salmon anglers can expect less fishing opportunity compared to last year, especially later in the season to protect vulnerable stocks,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Jennifer Simon.

Three alternatives are currently being considered for California’s 2016 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates, size limits, bag limits and quotas. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives that can be found on the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

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Media Contacts:
Jennifer Simon, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2878
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944