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June 27, 2016    Headlines

 Salmon Hit & Miss
Rockfish Limits


Salmon fishing was centered from Rocky Point north to Duxbury on Saturday 6-26 with three Sausalito boats picking up 46 salmon to 22 pounds for a combined 57 anglers. We are seeing a very unusual June salmon pattern with fish biting along the beach when normally boats would still be working from the shipping channel buoys (S, W, N) to the Islands. The wind was from the northwest at 10-20 knots on Sunday, but when the conditions improve so should the salmon catches.
The rockfish and ling action has been decent along the Marin Coast with more consistent action at the Islands.

The salmon are back on the bite with some HUGE fish coming over the rails. On Wednesday 6-22 the Salty Lady had their weekly six man charter group on board. These old school anglers don't follow fishing reports they just go fishing to enjoy a day of fun and friendship and hope that the fish gods will bless them. Today they smiled! Captain Jared reported 6 limits for their customers and one fish for the crew table. They were trolling inside Duxbury and in the bite at Stinson beach.
They saw a solid 15 pound average with the catch of the day being "blind Mike" McCarthy of Livermore (pictured right)with two going 20 and 22 pounds. Yes Mike is blind but a very able angler who gets out on a weekly basis. Mike reminds me of "San Bruno Frank" who was a regular on the Butchie B when I deck handed back in the late 80s & early 90s. Frank was also fully blind but found a way past his disability to craft furniture and was so dialed in on the boat that many customers on board never realized he was blind. Frank also had a marine VHF radio base station with an signal that back then reached all the way out to the Islands. On commercial trips one could check in with Frank in the morning and he would be checking on you to be sure you were headed back safely into port in the afternoon or even late into the night.
Quite a guy and we are running short of "characters" like Blind Mike, San Bruno Frank. Tack, Jackie, Taylor, Mushy, Roger, Albie, Cliff and I could go on and on.  Some are still with us others long gone but not forgotten.
Bottom line... quit waiting for the "hot bite" info here and just go fishing. You never know what characters you will meet, sunrises to start your day or land that big fish surfing the net.

There is a second good bite off Pacifica with boats from HMB reporting some limits of big fish as well.

The salmon bite slowed down again on Father's Day with the boats having some difficulty locating the fish after the past week of rough weather. Working north of the Gate, three Sausalito boats took out 49 anglers for 13 salmon to 24 pounds before returning to the bay for 9 stripers to 10 pounds. The ocean was reported to be calm, and it is a matter of time before the boats find the fish. The New Seeker out of Emeryville also found slow salmon action with 3 salmon and a striped bass for 7 anglers.

The New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing focused on rockfish with a combined 57 limits and 130 ling cod to 23 pounds. 

Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went south of the Golden Gate to Pedro Point for limits of rockfish at 11:00 a.m. after putting in 9 striped bass and a couple of halibut in the bay. He said, “We limited out with some quality black rockfish and assorted varieties, but there was only one ling cod. My group had difficulty staying out of the rocks in the bay while drifting for striped bass, so we made a bold move late in the morning.” He is running open load potluck trips throughout the week.


Editorial to Following Story
The California Department Fish and Wildlife hatchery on the Feather river is planning on releasing their final stock of 1 million into the Feather river instead of trucking them around the river and Delta pumps to the Suisun Bay.

The Federal hatchery on Battle creek released 4 plus million salmon fry this past week and will dumping an additional 1.9 million fall run fish into Battle Creek this coming Friday.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association is opposed to these releases due to the current lower flows and clear water. With high numbers of spawning stripers and low / clear flows most of these fish will never make it as far as Sacramento. Past studies have shown that 94% of hatchery salmon released on the upper Sac never make it to San Pablo bay in these conditions.
GGSA is asking both the Feds and the State to either truck the salmon from the Feather river and release a "pulse" flow for 3 to 5 days to speed the Battle Creek salmon down river and to color the flows. This would allow out migrating baby salmon to quickly travel down river and predation losses would be much lower in the turbid flows.
Under similar circumstances in 1985 USFW and Coleman worked with water contractors to add pulse flows to Sac river while curtailing water diversions for a few days as the salmon swan past. The result was that in 1988 we saw one of the best sport and commercial seasons on record and huge returns of spawning salmon to the Central Valley rivers. Its amazing what can happen when both fishery managers and water contractors work together.
Somehow this lesson has not been passed on to current fishery and water (mis) managers.
The following is GGSA's press release from today opposing in-river releases until more natural spring like conditions are met and to have the Feather river fish trucked around the predators and Delta water diversions.
Mike Aughney

State Decision to Dump Salmon Opposed by Salmon Fishermen
Reversal of highly successful trucking program means fewer salmon will survive

San Francisco -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is abandoning a highly successful program that greatly increases salmon survival and is instead dumping valuable Feather River hatchery baby fall run salmon into a predator laden waterway starting Monday, April 25.  Most will die. The Golden Gate Salmon Association opposes the move and calls on CDFW to instead restore transport of these baby salmon via tanker trucks to safe release sites downstream of the danger zone.  Releasing baby salmon at safe sites in the western Delta and Bay greatly increases their survival and has kept the ocean fishery for both sport and commercial fishermen alive.  This practice has proven especially critical during the drought.  Without it, there almost certainly would not have been enough salmon to continue fishing.
In 2015, Feather River hatchery fish made up 76 percent of the hatchery fish taken by commercial salmon fishermen and 63 percent of those taken by sport fishermen.  

“Just last month at a salmon information meeting CDFW presented evidence that trucked Feather River fish were the major contributor to salmon caught by sport and commercial fishermen in the 2015 ocean fishing season,” said GGSA chairman Roger Thomas.  Thomas is also president of the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association which represents charter boat owners and he holds a seat on the Salmon Stamp Committee.  “We can’t understand why they now want to take these fish away from us when we need them badly to stay in business.” 
“The Feather River provides the greatest single contribution of hatchery fish to ocean fisheries even though it is not the largest hatchery operation. The reason is that these fish are trucked past man-made hazards that decimate fish released upstream. Abandoning trucking, even in part, will hurt fishermen, related businesses, and consumers,” said GGSA board member Marc Gorelnik.  Gorelnik is also chairman of the Coastside Fishing Club.  
“If the state insists on dumping these fish into very dangerous waters where they’ll be lost,  then the state should also release water from Lake Oroville to speed these baby salmon down the Feather River past the danger zone so at least some survive,” said GGSA board member Mike Aughney.  Aughney is also the owner of website. “Before the dams were built, high snow melt runoff would keep the rivers turbid and rapid in the spring. These are conditions baby salmon need to safely move from the Central Valley to the Bay and ocean.  Now with the dams, the rivers have less natural flow and sediment mixing and predation of baby salmon is much higher. There is plenty of water and snow now to allow for three or four days of water releases needed to help these baby salmon survive.”
In recent weeks fishing guides have documented high concentrations of predatory fish in the Feather and Sacramento rivers.  CDFW is reversing its proactive trucking practice because of theoretical concerns related to hatchery born salmon degrading the genetic purity of Central Valley fall run salmon and concern that trucked fish will lack the knowledge to keep them from straying into neighboring streams when they return from the ocean in two years.
Salmon fishermen puzzle over the stated attempt to establish a genetic distinction between Central Valley fall run salmon bred in hatcheries and other Central Valley fall run salmon that largely share identical genetics.  Hatcheries have functioned in the Central Valley for over 100 years and in that time hatchery born salmon have returned as adults and recolonized virtually every Central Valley stream and river that will still support salmon. 
“Study after study demonstrates there’s no such thing as a master race of Central Valley fall run salmon.  All Central Valley fall run salmon show interbreeding with hatchery stocks going back over 100 years,” said GGSA board member Dick Pool.
Once one of California’s greatest salmon producing rivers, the Feather was largely destroyed by construction of the Oroville dam.   State engineers refused to put a fish ladder on the dam when it was built, thus denying the salmon access to hundreds of miles of their historic spawning habitat now lost above the dam.  Adding insult to injury, they diverted most of the Feather River downstream of the dam into a man-made, shallow pond called the Thermalito Afterbay.  Here the water warms to temperatures lethal to salmon spawning and then flows back into the river.  This largely destroys another 15 to 20 miles of otherwise good salmon habitat downstream and forces returning adult salmon to veer into the colder Yuba River to spawn. 
The state should first fix the thermal pollution destroying the Feather River caused by the Thermalito Afterbay.  Then maybe we can talk about how to address the straying of Feather River fish into colder nearby rivers,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.
“We call on CDFW to truck the rest of this year’s Feather River fall run and resume a dialogue with key stakeholders on the future of trucking and hatchery management actions,” said GGSA founder Victor Gonella.  “Our future is being decided by theorists who are out of touch with the families that rely on these salmon to make a living.”
Earlier this year fishermen watched as state officials dumped federally protected hatchery spring run salmon into the Feather River upstream of a known predator hot spot rather than truck them a few miles further downstream to a point below the predator concentration. Most were probably lost.
“There’s disagreement over whose fish these are,” said GGSA board member Tim Sloane.  Sloane is also executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, a group representing commercial fishermen.  “The state is simply a custodian for these salmon, which belong to all Californians, but whose numbers are dwindling because dams and other development are blocking their historic habitat.  If the state chooses to act in a way that reduces the salmon we need to make a living, we think it only fair to be invited to partake in this decision that is so fundamental to our economic survival.”
The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( ) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

In a normal year, California’s salmon industry produces about $1.4 billion in economic activity and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.

Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went out on a crab/halibut/striped bass combination on Thursday 4-7, and after pulling three empty pots with the lids opened up, they put in 23 limits in the next 7 unmolested pots, keeping only the jumbos. He said, “I was a big concerned after the first three pots, but it was really good after that. I am keeping my pots in the water for this coming weekend as well as the start of rockfish season the following weekend.” The bay fishing was less productive, and they ended up with two striped bass, missing 4 halibut with scratch marks on the live bait. Fishing a live shiner takes some finesse, as you have to let the fish take the bait while the immediate reaction is to set hook. Smith is the only boat running live bait in the bay, and he has open load trips this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  He added, “There are some halibut in the bay as one commercial fisherman in a Boston Whaler ended up with 22 halibut on a single trip.” He has been heading into San Pablo Bay to work the slightly off-color water near Point Pinole.
Out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, several anglers cancelled on Thursday without contacting the captain, so Jay Yokomizo of the New Huck Finn took out the two fishermen that showed up for limits of crab and a bass and a halibut. That’s dedication to make the run to the pots with only two customers.

The salmon season has been uneventful so far, and there is minimal  interest in party boat fishing out of most Bay Area ports. Boats that have the "Plan B" of crabbing are seeing limits of crabs and 0 to 4 salmon. Rockfish opens on April 15th and if the crab counts hold up to at least half limits I would expect some boats to be offering rackfish / ling and crab combos.

2016 Salmon Season Proposals Released
More restrictions in store, sport season to start April 2 

San Francisco – The Pacific Fisheries Management Council released three alternative ocean salmon fishing seasons that portend heavy restrictions to come.  Salmon fishing areas off the California coast will offer less time, with weeks of shutdown in the middle of the season likely for most fishermen. The in-season closures are being proposed to avoid damaging lower than average stocks of Klamath River fall run and Sacramento River winter run salmon.  Both runs have been harmed by the effects of drought, exacerbated by water diversions to competing uses.   Commercial salmon fishermen are facing the biggest losses of time and area open to fish, with most of the normally lucrative early Fort Bragg zone fishing in May, June and July likely to be off limits this year. 
The PFMC will reconvene to finalize one of the three options in early April after hearing public comment.  The sport salmon season will start on April 2 as per a Council decision in 2015. 
“This year will be very hard on commercial salmon fishermen in California,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.  “However, sport fishermen south of Humboldt County ought to get a decent chance to catch salmon this year.” 
The adult salmon off the California coast now are likely the same fish GGSA managed to convince state and federal hatchery managers to truck and release at safe sites in the Delta and Bay in 2014.   GGSA argued for trucking for a year before breaking through with state and federal hatchery managers. GGSA took this action because drought conditions were annihilating hatchery baby salmon released at Central Valley hatchery sites.  Trucking greatly increased survival of the salmon.  Eventually the hatchery managers agreed and even established drought condition criteria that trigger future trucking of hatchery fish.  These criteria were triggered in 2015 and 100 percent of Central Valley hatchery salmon were trucked as a result.
“It’s fair to say we wouldn’t have an ocean salmon fishing season this year but for the work of GGSA which resulted in increased survival of baby hatchery salmon which are the adults we’ll fish for this year,” said GGSA Chairman, Captain Roger Thomas.   
Sport fishing in what’s known as the Klamath Management Zone (KMZ) stretching from Horse Mountain, just north of Shelter Cove in southern Humboldt County, to the California/Oregon border, is also likely to be greatly restricted.  This too is driven by concern over low numbers of Klamath River salmon.  Klamath stocks declined as water from the Klamath’s main tributary, the Trinity River, was diverted from salmon through the coast range to Central Valley water users. Sport fishermen in the KMZ are likely to see two week closures every month through their season.
Concerns over relatively low numbers of Sacramento fall run salmon will be allayed by restrictions to protect other stocks.  This should easily leave enough Sacramento fall run salmon for spawning and hatchery needs in 2016.
Sport fishermen fishing from Pt. Arena in southern Mendocino County to Pigeon Point in southern San Mateo County are facing relatively mild restrictions compared to others.  One of the proposals released by the Council calls for a one week closure.  All three call for a 24 inch minimum size limit through at least the early part of the season which is designed to avoid harm to winter run salmon. 
“Our fingers are crossed that our commercial salmon fishermen will find good stocks in waters where they’ll be allowed to fish this year,” said GGSA board member Tim Sloane. “Salmon that are landed by our fishermen will still be the best on the market and worth the wait.” Sloane is also the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA).
Details of the season proposals are at

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (  ) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.
In a normal year, California’s salmon industry produces about $1.4 billion in economic activity and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.

As California Water Infrastructure Crumbles,
Water Districts Consider Wasting $1.2 Billion on the Delta Tunnels
Advocates Say “Fix LA and Santa Clara First!”

Stockton, CA - Opponents of the Delta Tunnels today questioned the wisdom of state water districts investing another $1.2 billion in the plan while local water infrastructure in Santa Clara Valley and Los Angeles continues to leak and burst.
As reported by the 
San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday, “Silicon Valley's largest water provider will have to spend at least $20 million to drain, test and repair a critical water pipeline that failed last summer and may have more hidden problems.” The ruptured 8-foot-high, 31-mile-long concrete pipe brings up to 40 percent of the drinking water to Santa Clara County’s 1.8 million residents from the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County.
Los Angeles, leaking water mains and pipes lose eight billion gallons of water each year. The repairs to the Los Angeles water system will cost rate payers at least $1.3 billion and take at least a decade to fix.
State Needs Another $1.2 Billion to Keep the Tunnels Alive
Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the state Natural Resources Agency, has told both urban and agricultural water districts she will soon request from them another
$1.2 billion 
to fund engineering and design studies for the proposed Delta Tunnels project.

Fix LA and Santa Clara Valley First!
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said: "It's absurd that the Santa Clara Valley Water District would even consider moving forward with raising millions of dollars from ratepayers to advance the Delta Tunnels project when they cannot maintain their own existing water infrastructure. The tunnels project, misnamed California Water Fix, and their propaganda arm, Californians for Water Security, sell the Delta Tunnels as needed to save California's water supply when, in truth, the Delta is not the weak link in the water delivery system. Californians lose 10 to 15 percent of our water supply each year due to water main breaks and leaky pipes in urban areas.  
“It is also ironic that pipes laid just 30 years ago by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are already corroded and breaking apart. If we cannot build and maintain an 8-foot pipe in the Santa Clara Valley Water District, what can we expect with two Delta tunnels, 40 feet wide, built in peat soil?

“Let’s instead spend precious ratepayer dollars to fix the decaying LA and Santa Clara Valley Water infrastructure before considering a massive new proposal with an Environmental Impact Report the EPA has already issued a failing grade of ‘inadequate’.”

Regulations for the MLPAs are now in effect from Pt Arena to Pigeon Point. Anglers need to know which areas are affected and the regulations and the boundaries of the different zones. Please use this link and be sure to print a map for these areas to carry with you.

Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. Does your organization have an upcoming event? Contact us at and we will gladly post your group's information on our reports pages.

Golden Gate Salmon Association

Golden Gate Fishermen's Association

Party Boat Contacts:
The Emeryville Sportfishing Center is currently booking salmon and potluck trips begin in late April. They have a great promotion that when you take six trips your "lucky" seventh trip is free. This is good on any of their boats. Reservations can be made at 510 654-6040.

The California Dawn / Berkeley 510 773-5511  

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46026

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46026



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