415 674-3474

July 16, 2016    Headlines

 Salmon Hit & Miss
Rockfish Limits


Party boats making the run past Point Reyes were rewarded with great action the past two days. On Friday 7-15 second captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady reported they made the run to above Point Reyes with great results. Their 17 anglers landed 27 salmon to 26 pounds and lost and missed many other fish through the confusion of multiple hookups of big fish.  They had a solid 12 to 16 pound average with just a few under 10 pounds in the mix. On Thursday 7-14 Jared reports two Sausalito party boats scoring a combined 33 limits to 29 pounds fishing above Point Reyes.  The Salty Lady has lots of space available this coming week.
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went south of the Gate on Thursday on the Fishsniffer trip, and at least one member of the Fishsniffer staff becoming well acquainted with the rail during the trip. He said, “It was a bit rough today, but we went as far south as Montara for 37 limits of quality rockfish along with 55 ling cod to 15 pounds. The rockfish were all big with huge black rockfish, Bolinas, yellows, and even a massive vermilion that may have been over 10 pounds.” He is running an open load on Friday, a charter on Saturday, following by another open load potluck trip on Sunday. An update on the Legend, it appears that he is ‘not in form’ at the present time, and this is a concern with the upcoming High Rollers Ling Cod Contest on the  California Dawn on July 28th. Nelson is looking for the unprecedented third championship belt.


It's that time of year that this writer takes off for our annual family trip to our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be chasing kings & sockeye on the local rivers and will be jumping on board with good friend Captain Steve Smith for some likely epic halibut and saltwater action. I will be posting highlights on my Face Book page (Mike Aughney) next week. We will be leaving the laptop at home and will return with full reports here on Saturday July 30th.
In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney

The salmon bite has been slow the past few days after a week plus of solid action. On Tuesday 7-12 Jared on the Salty Lady reported three salmon for 9 anglers with a few other missed and lost opportunities.
The rockfish and ling action remains great out at the Islands with decent scores of bottom fish along the Marin Coast.

The salmon bite was up and down over the weekend with scores over a fish per rod on Saturday slowing down to less than a fish per rod on Sunday 7-10. This is all weather related as it was rough, rough, rough on Sunday.
Scores over this past week have been very impressive and we expect more solid action as the weather improves and the salmon numbers build outside the Gate prior to their run to the rivers.
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went outside of the Gate for 15 ling cod to 12 pounds along with 187 rockfish and 3 cabezon on Sunday, and the weather became progressively rougher, they went back inside the bay for 26 limits of striped bass to 15 pounds along with 3 halibut to 13 pounds and a bonus thresher shark. On a 18 person charter on Saturday, limits of striped bass were landed along with 11 lings. With the rough weather expected on Monday, Smith expects to stay in the bay to focus on striped bass and halibut.

The salmon were MUNCHING out of the Golden Gate on Thursday 7-7. Party boats reported scores of early limits to near limits of salmon along the Marin Coast. Some boats had up to 19 limits before noon and others had to put in a full day but all sent their clients home with fish for the BBQ. The biggest change was the grade of fish. Boats saw a  lot of two year old (a great sign for next year) 6 to 10 pounders mixed in with some bruisers in the 12 to 20+ pound class. Boats were mostly trolling from Duxbury to Rocky Point and down to the edge of the North Bar and into Muir beach. There was some wind offshore but overall conditions here along the protected waters of the lower Marin coast were good. Nearly all boats have room available. The Salty Lady has weekday space open all next week. This is some of the BEST salmon action in two plus years and I encourage readers to jump on this opportunity to put some red meat in the box.
Salty Lady Sportfishing 415 674-3474

The solid salmon action continues outside the Golden Gate. Captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady reported Wednesday 7-6 there was good action found from the edge of the North Bat, into Muir beach and through the Middle Grounds and Duxbury. Jared fished from Dux to the North Bar and reported 24 salmon to 28 pounds. He said there are suddenly fish everywhere over a wide are and they have great water temp, lots of feed and the main ingredient "salmon". Private boaters saw two to four limits and most party boats saw scores of a fish per rod to limits.
The Salty Lady has room daily this week. Get in on the bite while the action is HOT!

The salmon were back on the munch off the lower Marin coast on Tuesday 7-5. Captain Jared on the Salty Lady reported 7 EARLY limits of salmon to 24 pounds. Jared reports the hot bite was along the edge of the North bar and into Muir beach in 70 to 90 feet. Top catch and limits was had by Mark Murphree of San Leandro with the jack pot of 24 pounds and another toad of 20 pounds. The Salty Lady has room daily this week for salmon trips.

The weather has laid down and the salmon bit off the Marin Coast on Friday 7-1.
Party boats reported solid scores of a fish per rod to limits of quality fish. One of the top scores was on the Salty Lady. Second Captain Jared Davis said they landed 15 salmon to a huge 25 pounds for 9 anglers. They lost several other fish close to the boat and missed and were short bit on many others. They were trolling inside Duxbury with boats spread out from the Towers to Rocky point. The Salty Lady had room next week. Many party boats have light loads over the long Forth of July weekend as is often the case on long holiday weekends.

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  

Caught Fish? Looking for timely informative updates? Check out a FREE trial to the Northern California Hotsheet, California's fastest growing fishing newsletter. The Hotsheet is emailed three to four evenings per week direct to your desktop. No hunting the web for information or waiting on an outdated magazine to arrive in the mail. These in-depth reports keep you on top of what is happening TODAY so you can catch more fish tomorrow! Just $3.50 per month when you subscribe for one year. You can receive a free week's trial copy by e-mailing a request to


5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46026

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46026



www usafishing Copyright 2005 All rights reserved