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August 26, 2015    Headlines

Marin Coast Salmon
Rockfish Munching at the Islands

The salmon action has ranged from slow to good this past week. On Tuesday 8-25 some did well while others struggled with the Sundance out of Emeryville Sport Fishing putting in 8 salmon for 6 anglers to 18 pounds trolling along the Marin coastline. Two Sausalito boats went southwest of the Golden Gate to the Channel Buoys for 29 salmon to 25 pounds for 24 anglers. The New Seeker out of Emeryville took a salmon/rockfish combination trip on Tuesday resulting in 16 limits of rockfish, 8 ling cod to 12 pounds, and a pair of salmon to 15 pounds.
The ling cod action remains phenomenal with the California Dawn, captained by Chris Smith, loading up with 21 limits of rockfish along with 21 limits of lings to 28 pounds with the big fish taken by Steve Frazier of Oakland.

 The salmon bite slowed over the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday 8-23 with the Sausalito boats returning with 13 salmon to 22 pounds on Sunday for 44 anglers after finding slightly better action on Saturday with 32 salmon to 22 pounds for 54 anglers. There is a big school of fish that were off Pt Reyes late last week and these fish will show off Duxbury and the Middle Grounds in the next few days.
The Sundance out of Emeryville Sport Fishing continued to be a highliner with 5 salmon to 14 pounds for six anglers on Sunday with more than a few missed opportunities. The New Super Fish out of Emeryville returned with only 4 salmon for 19 fishermen on Sunday.  The bite was a bit better on Saturday with 29 salmon to 22 pounds for 50 anglers on the C Gull II, Sundance, and New Super Fish.  The New Seeker, which had a solid mooching trip earlier in the week, struggled for 6 salmon to 22 pounds before switching over to rockfishing for 18 limits, 8 lings to 20 pounds, and a thresher shark on Saturday.
Rockfishing remains a solid bet in the flat calm conditions with the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley returning with 3/4th limits of rockfish and 18 lings to 13 pounds for 28 anglers on Sunday after putting in 32 limits of rockfish and 28 lings to 14 pounds on Saturday. Once again, catch your rockfish before working over the lings.
Captain James Smith on the California Dawn continued his summer long assault on fish species with 58 ling cod along with 233 rockfish for 28 fishermen on Sunday. He actually has room on Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday of the coming week. Getting a spot on the Dawn is a challenge, so this is your opportunity.

Out of Emeryville, five Emeryville boats went to the Farallons on Sunday, and the C Gull II, Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen, and New Seeker combined for 102 limits of rockfish including a cabezon along with 183 ling cod to 18 pounds. The boats are catching sand dabs and mackerel on the way out to bolster the ling cod counts.

Salmon fishing remains up and down with Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady putting in 9 salmon to 20 pounds along with a 30-pound halibut, three ling cod, and various rockfish on a private 6-man charter on Tuesday 8-18 trolling near the Duxbury Buoy. He is running an open load today along with Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week. He said, “Another school of salmon is starting to move in as Rick Powers found some salmon up at Point Reyes on Wednesday.” On their nature trips on the weekend, Thomas thrilled his passengers with the rare sighting of a leatherback turtle feeding on jellyfish near the Farallon Islands.
The Sundance out of Emeryville continues to be one of the high boats in the fleet with 6 salmon to 22 pounds on Tuesday on a day when most of the fleet struggled. Three Sausalito boats put in a total of 20 salmon, a 12-pound halibut, a striped bass, and three ling cod for 53 anglers on Wednesday, confirming the ‘up-and-down’ action.
It is the time of year when the party boats are starting to make the long run to the Farallons, and the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville took a small group of 15 anglers to the Islands on Wednesday for 15 limits of both rockfish and ling cod. They stopped on the way to load up on live bait, and there were 300 sand dabs and 350 mackerel in the bait tank at the end of the day.



Special to The Bee

After yet another revision, the governor’s plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta still makes no economic sense. A closer look at the three types of economic benefits claimed for the project to export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities shows why it can’t possibly justify its estimated $15 billion cost. In each case, I give a value derived directly from the optimistic estimates of the state’s consultants and a more intuitive comparison.

Water supply: The latest numbers estimate the tunnels will increase water exports south of the Delta by an annual average of 257,000 acre-feet, with no increase in drought years when it is needed most. The cumulative value of that water supply over 50 years is $2 billion to $3 billion.
For comparison, San Diego’s new desalination plant will provide 56,000 acre-feet of drought-proof water for a capital cost of $1 billion. Desalination is the most costly water supply alternative, but it still provides more than three times the water supply per dollar invested than the Delta tunnels.

Water quality: Because the tunnels would divert higher-quality water from the Sacramento River, the salt and other contaminants in export water supply could decrease by 20 percent. It’s estimated that this could have a cumulative value to water exporters of as much as $2 billion over 50 years.
However, it is important to remember that the tunnels aren’t a water treatment or desalination plant that purifies water. Thus, the water exporter’s gain in water quality will be offset by degraded water quality elsewhere, a concern that is at the center of opposition in the five Delta counties and environmental concerns raised by the EPA and others.

Seismic risk: Listening to the governor, earthquake protection is the main economic argument. But the state’s experts estimated seismic-risk reduction to water exports was only worth a cumulative $400 million over 50 years. Why is this value so low? First, it is a very low probability event even in the most pessimistic models. Second, the outage to water exports isn’t as bad as you hear in TV commercials. Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin correctly described it as “weeks or months” in a recent media call, not years. In a worst-case earthquake scenario, the tunnels might prevent 2 million to 3 million acre-feet in lost water exports, a costly but manageable shortage. For comparison, the current drought has cut surface water supplies to farms and cities by more than 10 million acre-feet.
The earthquake argument is not only economically wrong, it is morally outrageous. The real damage from what some call California’s Katrina would be death and destruction in the Delta itself. The state’s model of this tragedy shows hundreds could die and that 80 percent of the economic damage was from the loss of property and infrastructure in the Delta.
It’s shocking that the state’s response to this are water tunnels that protect only 20 percent of the economic loss and zero percent of the life loss. Levee upgrades are much cheaper and reduce risks for all Californians.
In sum, the economic benefits of the tunnels to the water exporters total about $5 billion of its $15 billion cost, and the benefit-cost ratio is even worse when the negative impacts to the Delta and risks to the environment and upstream interests are considered.
Support among water exporters has been steadily eroding as the economic and financial shortcomings of the plan become better understood.
A few years ago, the state tried to shore up its economic argument by attaching a huge value to the hope of 50-year regulatory protection from the Endangered Species Act, and incorrectly attributing habitat restoration benefits to the tunnels. After heavy criticism, the latest revision to the tunnels plan eliminates the 50-year regulatory assurance and separates environmental restoration. The plan’s already flimsy economic rationale evaporated with this correction.
It is increasingly clear that there are less divisive alternatives that provide more economic and environmental value than the tunnels. No amount of tweaking can save what is fundamentally a bad idea. It’s time to move on.

Jeffrey Michael, an economist, is director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. Read his blog at
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We are back from our annual family trip in Alaska. The fishing there was much like here with great days and fast limits of sockeye salmon followed by a day or two lull before perking back up. We mainly target Kenai sockeye, Kasilof kings and always get in a few days of halibut fishing with Steve Smith. The king numbers are recovering on some rivers (the Anchor has seen over 10K fish return this summer compared to just 2500 last season) and the Kenai late run king numbers are higher than last season but still well below the 10 year average. The Kenai sockeye run was about a week behind schedule with slow fishing through July 18th but counts jumped to 25K to 55K per day this past week. With big numbers still showing in Cook Inlet this year's sockeye run will last a few more weeks. The halibut fishing was good with solid fish going 30 to 50 pounds fishing with Chuck at Captain Steve's Lodge. I have been gone a day and I'm ready to go back!

The salmon bite has been fairly good off the Golden Gate this past week. Many boats found limits and near limits earlier in the week. Second Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady trolled in the main Ship Channel on Thursday 7-23 for 12 salmon to 19 pounds and a huge striped bass at 28 pounds for 9 passengers. On Friday 7-24 Jared said it was a scratch bite with 9 salmon to 14 pounds for 8 anglers. Today Jared found those fish up off Stinson beach.
The three Sausalito boats returned with 40 salmon to 20 pounds along with a 16-pound striped bass for 53 anglers on Thursday. They were also fishing in the Shipping Channel.
Captain Bob Wright of the Happy Hooker started outside of the Gate for great rockfish action in the morning, putting in 15 limits of quality rockies working the small rocks along the Marin coast. He said, “It was a snappy swell out there in the morning, and it made for challenging conditions.” They went further north to work for lings before returning to the bay for limits of stripers in the afternoon. He said, “The stripers bit great, and we had them on the surface in the afternoon.
Captain James Smith on the California Dawn put his clients onto two great days of action on Wednesday and Thursday with the High Rollers Ling Contest on Wednesday along with the Optimum/Phenix Rods Swimbait Tournament on Thursday. The ling contest was a success, and the three ling cod limit added more strategy to the event. Larry ‘The Legend’ Nelson contributed to his fame by taking second place, a pound out of first – this makes two firsts and a second out of six contests in which 28 anglers participate every time. There is a reason why he is the Legend.  He had a chance to take first, but apparently a fish culled early in the day came back to haunt him.
On Thursday, J.P. Gano organized the Optimum Swimbait Tournament, and they posted 28 limits of rockfish of bottom dwellers consisting of big vermilions and some huge school fish on the swimbaits as Smith hit some ‘special rocks.’ There were also some huge lings in the mix. Returning to the bay, they put in 28 limits of striped bass with the fish busting the surface on the swimbaits in the afternoons. There were quite a few quality ‘sticks’ on the boat during this trip, and they put in the limits of stripers within 20 minutes.

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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