Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866

New Captain Pete Sportfishing

(650) 726-6224

May 25, 2016    Headlines

 Scratch to Decent Salmon
 Easy Rockfish and Good Ling Counts


Salmon Breaks Open
Tom Joseph on the four pack Fish On reported limits of salmon on Monday 5-23. Trolling off Pacifica Tom reports they hooked 18 fish and landed four limits running from 10 to 18 pounds. Tom said the fish were big and very feisty and biting in gangs of 2 to 3 at a time. On Tuesday 5-24 Tom started off Pacifica but could not find the feed. Mid morning off Pedro Pt he located bait and some coopertive salmon. Out of 8 hooked they landed five to 15 pounds with a 10 to 12 pound average. The weather forecast calls for the winds to start blowing on Thursday and through the coming Memorial Day weekend   Once conditions do lay down rockfish and lings will be a good bet as will salmon. If the winds prove too hard for boats to make it out along the coast the stripers have arrived on the rock piles of the Central bay and there are solid numbers of halibut to be found from the Berkeley flats to Paradise to the Alameda Rock Wall.
Tom has space available for salmon trips out of Pillar Point through the summer.

It's that time of year that this writer takes off to open our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be chasing kings & sockeye on the local rivers and will be jumping on board with Captain Steve Smith for halibut and saltwater king  action. I will post some highlights on FaceBook next week. We will be leaving the laptop at home and will return with full reports here on Sunday June 5th.
In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney

Salmon Munching
 The salmon were holding at Pedro Point on Sunday 5-22, and Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “All of the skiffs that were there early ended up with limits. We ran up to Duxbury where the excellent bite had been on Saturday before coming back to Pedro Point, ending up with 11 commercial grade salmon for 14 anglers. The fish were found at depths from 45 to 90 feet, and the downriggers on Spectra were the key to getting down in the water column. There were humpbacks working in tight to the shoreline at Devil’s Slide, feeding on bait fish. Two miles outside of Pedro Point, the stick boats were working, and one boat had 15 fish in the early morning.” Baxter is running his only rockfish/crab combination trip this coming Saturday, May 28th with a open trip on Sunday for salmon if they are still in the area.
Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat went rockfishing on Sunday in good ocean conditions with Mike McNulty of San Francisco picking up the big fish of the day with an 11-pound ling cod on a hitchhiker. On Saturday’s rockfish trip, they  also put in limits of Dungeness crab for 8 passengers in addition to solid rockfish action along with lings to 8 pounds.

After a week plus of hard wind captain Tom Joseph with Fish On sportfishing was back out on Sunday 5-1. Being a "tuna head" Tom studied the temp and chloroform charts last night. He saw a pocket of warmer water and higher plankton off Pedro Point and decided he would start there. They only had their lines in the water for 5 minutes before the first fish was hooked and conked. By noon they had 4 limits for the clients and two for the captain with fish running from a small of 10 pounds and two cookie cutter 18 pounders rounding out the catch. Tom said he found the fish in 120 feet and there was scattered feed in the area. He called in several of the Golden Gate party boats who were also hooking fish in the same area. He added that there is a ton of crab gear that one has to dodge but lots of promising sign like sealions feeding and scattered bird life. After a week of being tied up to the docks, private boaters were able to troll for salmon on Sunday, and Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady said, “There were reports of up to limits taken north of Pillar Point near Pedro Point. This is encouraging news for the first trip out after a week of wind. We will remain in Pillar Point through May and will be running open load salmon trips during the week. ”He has an open load on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the coming week.
Further up the coast, Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said, “Stripers, surf perch, and crab are the story around here, and we are still selling plenty of snares for Dungeness crab while topwater lures, shallow divers and hair raisers are working for striped bass. Fishermen on the pier find better action with anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or pile worms for the bass, but the beach fishermen seem to prefer lures. Perch fishermen are using pile worms and blood worms, although the blood worms have been small. The crab reopener has been a blessing for us since there were several months from September to March when business was exceedingly slow.”
The forecast calls for good weather through Thursday. Tom and Roger on the Salty Lady has room open all week and this is just a 30 minute run from Pillar Point.

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 USAfishing.com 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 (www.goldengatesalmon.org ) 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.


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