Tag Archives: Sacramento Valley

Drought Prompts Fish Evacuation at American River and Nimbus Hatcheries

American River Hatchery tanks
American River Hatchery tanks

With a fourth year of extreme drought conditions reducing the cold water supply available, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is moving fish out of the American River and Nimbus hatcheries for the second year in a row.

Bureau of Reclamation models suggest water temperatures at the hatcheries could be at lethal levels for cold water fish by August. CDFW has already begun to stock American River Hatchery rainbow and brown trout into state waters earlier than normal. These fish range from small fingerlings to the larger catchable size. The accelerated planting schedule will continue through mid-July when all the fish in the raceways are expected to be evacuated. This includes all the fingerling size rainbow trout that would normally be held in the hatchery to grow to catchable size for next year.

A new, state-of-the-art building at American River Hatchery, completed in early June using emergency drought funds, will enable CDFW to raise Lahontan cutthroat trout through the summer for planting into eastern sierra lakes and streams. The new building will also enable CDFW to hold a small group of rainbow trout fingerlings that are scheduled to be stocked in west side sierra put-and-grow fisheries by airplane in July. The new hatchery building utilizes water filters, ultraviolet sterilization techniques and large water chillers to keep water quality and temperatures at ideal levels for trout rearing. However, the new technology is limited to the hatchery building and not the raceways, which will limit capacity to include only the Lahontan cutthroat trout once the fish start to grow to larger sizes.

Nimbus Hatchery has already begun relocating some 330,000 steelhead to the Feather River Hatchery Annex to be held through the summer. When the water temperature at the Nimbus Hatchery returns to suitable levels in the fall, the steelhead will be brought back to Nimbus to finish growing and imprinting then will be released into the lower American River. The Feather River Hatchery Annex is supplied by a series of groundwater wells that maintain cool water temperatures throughout the year.

The fall run Chinook salmon from Nimbus Hatchery have all been released into state waterways. If necessary, the chilled American River Hatchery building will be used this fall to incubate and hatch Chinook salmon from Nimbus Hatchery.

“Unfortunately, the situation is similar to last year,” said Jay Rowan, Acting Senior Hatchery Supervisor for CDFW’s North Central Region. “We have begun to implement contingency plans to avoid major fish losses in the two hatcheries. We want to do the best job we can to provide California anglers with good fishing experiences and communicate when there will be deviations from normal practices. With that in mind, we want to let anglers in the area know that a lot more fish than normal will be going out into area waters served by American River Hatchery.”

Rowan said that the number of fish planted at various waterbodies will increase as the planting timeframe decreases, so the fishing should be very good through the summer at foothill and mountain elevation put-and-take waters. Early fish plants now mean there won’t be as many fish available to plant in the lower elevation fall and winter fisheries, so the fishing may drop off later in the season if the fish don’t hold over well.

American River Hatchery operations focus on rearing rainbow and Lahontan cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon for recreational angling, predominantly in waters within the North Central Region. Nimbus Hatchery takes salmon and steelhead eggs from the American River and rears them to fish for six months to a year, until they are ready to be put back in the system.

To the south, San Joaquin Hatchery near Fresno expects to experience high water temperatures this summer. Transferring and stocking fish in advance of high water temperatures is planned. CDFW hopes to maintain some trout at low densities at the hatchery for the winter stocking season.

Annually, CDFW works with the Bureau of Reclamation to ensure its operations provide suitable conditions for fish at hatcheries and in the river. This year, conditions are forecasted to be dire with little flexibility in operations. Similar to last year, low reservoir storage and minimal snow pack will result high water temperatures over summer and very low river flows by fall.

Fall and winter rains, if received in sufficient amounts, will cool water temperatures enough to allow both hatcheries to come back online and resume operations.

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Media Contacts:
Jay Rowan, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2883

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Showcase Programs, Sell Licenses and Offer Education for Kids at Upcoming ISE Show in Sacramento

If you’re heading to the International Sportsmen’s Expo at the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds this coming weekend (Jan. 8-11), be sure to stop by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) booth, space 3700 in the Pavilion Building. Wardens, biologists, license agents and many other CDFW staff will be on hand throughout the event to address questions and provide information. Many items will also be available for purchase, including fishing and hunting licenses, warden stamps, permits and tags.

License sales at Sacramento ISE

For the second year, CDFW’s top leadership will participate in a panel discussion about topics of interest to California hunters and anglers. The discussion will be held Saturday, Jan. 10 from 1-2 p.m. in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building. This will be an open forum where members of the audience may ask questions of the panel.

“As public servants, it is part of our job to remain open and available for input on issues, including contentious ones,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW’s Director. “It is particularly important that we listen to input from our traditional hunting and fishing constituents. This show gives us an opportunity to do just that.”

CDFW will also have other displays throughout the fairgrounds, including the Heritage Wild Trout booth, space 2218 in the Fly Fishing Building, and an invasive species booth, space 3244 in the Pavilion Building. Game warden recruitment is always a large component of CDFW’s participation in the show. Again this year, a game warden trailer with a free laser shot game will be on display outside of the Pavilion Building, and wildlife officers will be available to answer questions about employment with CDFW.

Other CDFW-sponsored highlights at the ISE include:

  • Youth fishing – Bring your child to the Youth Fair Expo Center to fish for beautiful rainbow trout. Each person who does so will go home with an official California Fishing Passport book, an official stamp and a fish identification book containing pictures and information about 150 different species of California fish!
  • Learn How to be “Bear Aware” – CDFW staff will demonstrate how to keep a campsite safe from unwanted ursine visitors.
  • 2015 Warden Stamps – At the main booth, CDFW will be offering and promoting this year’s stamp, which features a black bear. Stamps sell for $5. Proceeds support game wardens and K-9 units and help fund the purchase of necessary law enforcement equipment.
  • Outdoor California – Free copies of CDFW’s award-winning magazine will be available (as supplies last) at the main booth. Yearly subscriptions may be purchased for $15.
  • New This Year … CDFW’s First Trout Planting Truck – This beautiful 1925 Dodge truck was the first used for planting trout. The fish were transported in big milk cans. It has been completely refurbished and will be on display for the first time at this Sacramento show, near the Youth Fair Expo Center. It still runs and it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $15 for adults (door sales are cash only, although tickets may be purchased in advance online). Youth under age 16 are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the grounds.

For additional information, schedules and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISE webpage at www.sportsexpos.com/attend/2015/sacramento.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 28 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $30 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 29 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

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    A $970,000 grant to the City of Red Bluff for a cooperative project with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, to construct a boat launch facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act that includes a 2-lane boat ramp, improved parking, a new restroom, picnic areas and pedestrian paths.

  • An $805,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 226 acres of land for the protection of giant garter snake, Swainson’s hawk, black rails and wetlands near Marysville in Yuba County.
  • A $4.8 million grant to the American River Conservancy to acquire in fee approximately 1,080 acres of land for the protection and preservation of riparian and woodland habitat that includes native fisheries and oak woodlands, and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities on land fronting the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County.
  • A $10 million grant to Save the Redwoods League for a cooperative project with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Sempervirens Fund and the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 8,532 acres of working forest lands, forest reserve areas and habitat linkages near the town of Davenport in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $750,000 grant to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and others to acquire in fee approximately 879 acres of land to protect native grasslands, oak woodlands, coastal scrub and wildlife corridors, and to provide the potential for future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the City of Santa Clarita to acquire approximately 302 acres of land to provide recovery benefits for federally threatened and endangered species and to provide corridors linking separate habitat areas to prevent habitat fragmentation, protect significant natural landscapes and ecosystems and provide the potential for future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Yolo County Jury Convicts Sturgeon Poachers

A Yolo County jury convicted a repeat sturgeon poacher and his accomplice of multiple felonies and poaching charges stemming from a 2010 poaching investigation. They were convicted June 19, with sentencing scheduled for Aug. 1.

In Feb. 2010, Nikolay Krasnodemskiy, 41, of North Highlands, and his partner Petr Dyachishin, 54, of Citrus Heights, were observed catching and retaining oversized sturgeon and processing their eggs into caviar. An extensive investigation conducted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers from the Delta Bay Enhanced Enforcement Project and the Special Operations Unit proved the two were selling the sturgeon and their eggs on the black market for personal profit. Sale of sturgeon, their parts, or any fish caught with a recreational fishing license is illegal.

Krasnodemskiy and Dyachishin were each convicted of two felonies related to conspiracy, in addition to multiple counts of commercial sales of sturgeon, possession of oversized sturgeon, failure to tag sturgeon and possession of sturgeon over the annual limit.

California’s sturgeon population is on the edge of sustaining a recreational fishery. As a result, sturgeon anglers must adhere to strict size, limit and tagging requirements to help wildlife officers distinguish between honest anglers and poachers, and to help CDFW biologists maintain adequate scientific data on the fishery and protect the larger breeding adults.

“Taking these poachers out of business will help ensure a healthy sturgeon population into the future,” said CDFW Captain David Bess, who participated in the investigation.

Nikolay Krasnodemskiy was the subject of multiple sturgeon poaching investigations including Operation Delta Beluga II in 2005, which culminated in a conviction and revocation of his fishing license. Soon after his fishing license was reinstated in 2009, he became the subject of another sturgeon poaching investigation. By Feb. 2010, wildlife officers had observed him continue his sturgeon poaching activities, including commercial sales.

Wildlife officers will seek a permanent revocation of Krasnodemskiy’s fishing license and forfeiture of all fishing gear seized during the investigation.

CDFW appreciates legitimate sturgeon anglers for their patience with sturgeon tagging and recordkeeping requirements, which were integral to making the case as well as the long-term management of the sturgeon fishery. CDFW also thanks the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for their dedication and successful prosecution of the case.

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

Sacramento Family Faces Felony Charges for Selling Sport Caught Fish

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers arrested a Sacramento family of three early Saturday morning for illegally selling sport-caught fish from the Delta.

Luan Van Dao, 51, his wife Mung Thi Bui, 49, and their son Tuan Anh Dao, 29 were arrested by CDFW officers after more than a month of watching the family fish daily in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and hide their fish in a hidden compartment aboard their boat. The suspects also appeared to have an established network of buyers to whom they would sell fish on a regular basis. In California, commercial fishermen are permitted to sell their catch directly to restaurants, but private or sport-fishing catch is illegal to resell.

Luan Van Dao and Mung Thi Bui were convicted of poaching fish in 2006. During the current investigation Tuan Anh Dao was cited for possession of an oversized sturgeon on Nov. 16.

“Convicted poachers who continue to sell California’s fish and wildlife for personal profit are a wildlife officer’s highest priority,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Division Captain Rudy Arruda. “These poachers are taking away from the legal and legitimate anglers.”

All three suspects face charges of felony conspiracy and illegal sale of sport-caught fish. If convicted the suspects could face jail time, significant fines, loss of their fishing licenses and other penalties. ­

Charges will be filed with the Yolo County District Attorney when the investigation is complete.

Media Advisory: Photos and video can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.dfg.ca.gov/OCEO/ 

Media Contact:        
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

Packaged fish for sale

Special Dove Hunting Opportunity Offered on Cosumnes River Preserve

Dove season is approaching and people seeking hunting opportunities can visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Upland Game Bird Program’s web page. It lists numerous statewide hunts, including the North Central Region’s Cosumnes River Preserve hunt.

Dove season is scheduled Sept. 1 – 15 and Nov. 9 – Dec. 23. Additional information on species and bag limits can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/upland-summary-12-13.html. In CDFW’s North Central Region, which serves Plumas, Sierra, Butte, Glenn, Lake, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Nevada, Placer, Yolo, Sacramento, El Dorado, Amador, Alpine, Calaveras and San Joaquin counties, there will be one special hunt opportunity Sept. 1 on the Cosumnes River Preserve located in Sacramento County. Applications and information are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird.

Hunters will be selected by a computerized drawing. Applicants must submit an application with their choice of hunts listed in order of reference. Applications may include up to two hunters applying as a party. Hunters may apply only once for each hunt, either as an applicant or as a guest. Submitting multiple applications will result in disqualification.

The purchase of an Upland Game Bird Stamp supports these special hunts and other programs that provide additional upland game bird hunting opportunities. The stamp is required for all upland game bird hunters except apprentice hunters.

Media Contacts:
Sara Holm, CDFW Environmental Scientist, (530) 346-6305
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Join California Department of Fish and Wildlife Natural Resource Volunteer Program in Sacramento

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is recruiting applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in the Sacramento area. The NRVP provides conservation and enforcement education through public service while providing biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to CDFW.

The next training academy will be held in Sacramento during September 2013.

Graduates will become unpaid, but very fulfilled volunteers for CDFW.

NRVP applicants go through a selection process which includes an initial screening and background check. Selected participants will attend a three-day training academy.  An additional eight-hour training day each month, through the course of a seven-month probationary period, will prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 16 hours. Volunteers will work with a trained mentor implementing their newly acquired skills.

Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public both in the field and in a class room setting. Applicants must show a desire to work well with others in a team environment to do tasks that free up time for paid CDFW staff.

CDFW Natural Resource Volunteers have no law enforcement authority and are trained to be educational ambassadors for CDFW, donating their time in a variety of areas including responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing CDFW at community outreach events, disseminating useful information to the public, and patrolling CDFW lands, ecological reserves, and inland and coastal fishing areas.

Application deadline is August 19, 2013. Applicants should be submitted as soon as possible. Please contact Lt. Steven Stiehr or Warden Brian Moore at (916) 358-1948 prior to submitting an application.

Media Contact:
Warden Brian Moore, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 358-1948
Lt. Steven Stiehr, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 358-1948

New Sport Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes for 2013

New 2013-2014 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulation booklets are now available at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offices and wherever sport fishing licenses are sold. Anglers and divers need to be aware of a number of new fishing regulations that are in effect this year.

Regulation changes include the following: new size and bag limits for kelp bass, sand bass and spotted bass, and new at-sea fillet size requirements for these basses and ocean whitefish. Changes also include new regulations for groundfish (including rockfish), northern California marine protected areas, and sturgeon. Regulation changes are highlighted throughout the booklet for quick reference.

Effective March 1, 2013, new size, bag, and fillet size limits are in effect for kelp bass, sand bass, and spotted sand bass. Bass must now be at least 14 inches total length or 10 inches alternate length (measured from base of foremost spine of dorsal fin to longest tip of tail), and fillets must be at least 7 ½ inches long and retain a 1 inch square patch of skin when filleted at sea. The new bag limit for these basses is five fish in combination.

New marine protected areas (MPAs) are now in effect in northern California, from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek, near Point Arena. For more information, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa, or the MPA mobile website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/m/MPA, or a northern California CDFW office.

New sturgeon fishing regulations established a new method of measuring sturgeon and a new size limit of 40 to 60 inches fork length (not total length, as before). Barbless hooks are required when fishing for sturgeon and snares are prohibited. Fish longer than 68 inches fork length may not be removed from the water. For more information: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=58288&inline=1

New seasons, bag and size limits, and species allowed for take have been established for groundfish. For more information: https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/new-recreational-groundfish-regulations-effective-march-1/

Also effective March 1, 2013, fillets from ocean whitefish filleted at sea must now measure at least 6 ½ inches long, and the entire skin must remain intact.

For the complete set of new and updated ocean sport fishing regulations, CDFW recommends picking up a copy of the new 2013-2014 regulations booklet. Booklets are also available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2013.asp.

Media Contacts:
Mary Patyten, Marine Region, (707) 964-5026
Carrie Wilson, Communications, (831) 649-7191

The 2013-14 Freshwater Sports Fishing Regulation Pamphlet Issued

Media Contacts:
Karen Mitchell, Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-0826
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Changes this year include new regulations on sturgeon, salmon and steelhead retention, new areas where hatchery trout or steelhead may be retained, and a black bass slot limit removal on five waters. Regulation changes are highlighted in the front of the pamphlet for quick reference.

New sturgeon fishing regulations establish a new method of measuring sturgeon and a new size limit of 40-60 inches. Barbless hooks are required when fishing for sturgeon and snares are prohibited. Fish longer than 68 inches fork length may not be removed from the water. For more information: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=58288&inline=1

Salmon and steelhead anglers in inland valley waters can not fillet steelhead or salmon until they reach their permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility or the fish is being prepared for immediate consumption. All steelhead and salmon must remain in such a condition that their species and size can be identified.

Anglers will be allowed to harvest hatchery trout and hatchery steelhead in most catch and release areas under new regulations.

There will be no slot limit regulation for black bass in McClure, Millerton, Oroville, Orr and Siskiyou lakes. The statewide standard daily bag limit and 12-inch minimum total length regulations will apply on these waters.
Other changes include:
• Yellow Perch have been removed from the sunfish bag limit. Yellow perch have a year-round season with no bag limit.
• Spearfishermen will be allowed to harvest striped bass by spearfishing in the Valley District and all of Black Butte Lake will be open to spearfishing.
• Eulachon may not be taken or possessed.
• Wolf Creek (Mono Co.), Chowchilla River, and Eastman Lake will be open to fishing.
• The Sisquoc River will be closed to all fishing all year to protect listed steelhead.
• Silver King Creek tributaries (Alpine Co.) below Tamarack Lake Creek will be closed to all fishing all year to protect threatened Paiute cutthroat trout.
• Davis and Pine creeks in Modoc County will be closed to the harvest of trout. Catch and release fishing is allowed.
• Smith River Low Flow Regulations – The minimum flow trigger on the Smith River has been increased from 400 cubic feet per second to 600 cubic feet per second.
• Eight amphibians and three reptiles have been removed from the list of species authorized for take with a sport fishing license.

There are other changes to the freshwater sport fishing regulations, so please review all of the 2013-2014 regulations pertaining to the species you intend to pursue.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Partnering with the International Sportsmen’s Exposition

Media Contacts:
Mark Michilizzi, Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-2084
Carrie Wilson, Office of Communications, (831) 649-7191

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will participate in the annual International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento from Jan. 10-13. The event is the largest outdoor sportsmen’s show of its kind in northern California.

Fisheries and wildlife scientists and game wardens will be available throughout the show to answer questions from the public and provide information regarding fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. A full service license booth will sell licenses, tags and report cards.

CDFW’s wildlife officer recruitment trailer will have information for anyone interested in pursing a career in fish and wildlife enforcement.

In addition, there will a free laser shot game in the trailer.

Wildlife officer K-9 detection teams will also be at the show conducting demonstrations in the Sporting Dog Arena. The demonstrations are scheduled on Jan. 10 from 12:30–1:30 p.m., Jan. 11 from 2:30–3:30 p.m. and Jan. 13 from 10:30–11:30 a.m.

California wildlife officers featured in the popular television series “Wild Justice” on the National Geographic Channel will be on hand for a presentation in the Adventure Theater Jan. 12 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Marina Delucci of Rocklin is the winner of the first CDFW and ISE youth hunter essay contest where contestants submitted an essay, 500 words or less, on what “Passing on the Tradition” means to them. Marina, an 11-year-old fourth generation waterfowl hunter, will be awarded a lifetime hunting license, a signed box set of DVDs of the second and third seasons of “Wild Justice,” and hunting gear and clothing provided courtesy of the CDFW Hunter Education program. Marina will receive her award on Saturday during the “Wild Justice” presentation.