BODEGA BAY
 

December 08, 2016    Headlines

 Rockfish & Crab LIMITS

The sport crab action remains great while the weather conditions remain challenging much of the past week. On Wednesday 12-7 the ocean conditions were the best of the past two weeks. Winds were out of the NW at 10 to 15 knots over a 4 to 5 foot swell. Rick on the New Sea Angler ran north and put his 34 anglers into limits of mixed rockfish adding 2 lings to 9 pounds off Ft Ross. The crabbing is still good for easy limits with a dozen or so pots pulled for 340 crabs. There is heavy commercial pressure along the Sonoma coast but party boats with their 60 allowed pot strings should see solid numbers in the coming weeks. Rick on the New Sea Angler and Jeff on the Miss Anita have room all this week weather permitting.

 On Monday 12-5 Rick on the New Sea Angler said that the weather conditions were once again challenging. After trying to make a couple of drifts on the local reefs they opted for the sure bet of pulling the crab gear. Rick sent all 18 anglers home with limits of crabs from just 8 pots and gave everyone a buddy pass good for a future trip when they bring a friend. Tough to beat that offer and still come home with a sack of crabs.

 After a tough weather day on Saturday the sea conditions improved but were far from flat on Sunday 12-4. Rick ran north to work the reefs off the Russian river where his 16 anglers landed half limits of rockfish adding 6 lings to 12 pounds. They pulled just ten or so pots to send everyone home with limits of big crabs.

On Saturday 12-3 Rick on the New Sea Angler said they had 12 foot seas and 15 to 18 knots of wind. Fishing up north off the Russian River his 44 anglers scratched out limits of rockfish adding 3 lings. They finished the day pulling less than half his sting for 44 full limits of crabs.
 
The commercial fleet got the green light to set gear on Friday 12-2 after a delay of two plus weeks. Tens of 1000s of pots are being dropped today as the race for crabs begins off the Sonoma coast from Pt Reyes to Salt Point. Literally tons of crabs will be flooding into the local markets by the weekend and into early next week. 
On the sport front Jeff on the Miss Anita reported limits of big blues, yellows and blacks, 10 lings and limits of crabs for a group of 6 anglers. Jeff said the weather was MUCH better than yesterday and the lings are starting to bite. His pots are pushing out 20 plus crabs apiece for an overnight soak. Jeff has space all next week.
Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 33 limits of rockfish adding 9 lings to 16 pounds and limits of all quality crabs. Rick says he has limited room on Saturday and lots of room Sunday and all of the next week. Limits of crabs should remain the rule for party and six packs through Christmas but counts will drop off quickly over the next few weeks as the commercial fleet mops up what they have missed out in the past year.

Jeff on the Miss Anita 707 245-1157 and Rick on the New Sea Angler 707 875-3344 are taking reservations for the crab combos and crab only trips. Spots during the prime first weeks of the season are filling fast. Readers should make reservations soon if they want to get in on the peak crab season.


A grand compromise for the Delta outlined
Sac Bee

Conflict over water allocations from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the most intractable water management problem in California.

The sources of contention are many, but three interrelated issues dominate the debate: whether to build two tunnels that divert water from the Sacramento River, how much water to allocate to endangered fish species, and what to do about the 1,100 miles of Delta levees that are essential to the local economy.

All of these issues need to be addressed to reduce unproductive conflict and litigation and resolve our water problems.

Here we outline a potential “grand compromise” for the Delta that meets the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health prescribed by the 2009 Delta Reform Act. To this end, California should:

▪  Build one tunnel, not two

The most commonly stated fear about the twin tunnels is that they will increase exports and significantly harm the Delta. Project proponents have failed to convince opponents that proposed regulatory assurances on the tunnels’ use will actually protect water quality and species that are at risk.

Building one tunnel with roughly half the proposed capacity caps the amount of water that can be taken from the Sacramento River and greatly reduces the project’s cost. Even at half of its proposed capacity, the project would significantly improve the reliability and quality of water supply. And by having two locations to draw water from the Delta – a new tunnel plus the existing south Delta pumps – the project creates the necessary flexibility to better manage the environmen

▪  Manage water for ecosystems, not just endangered species

To improve the effectiveness of environmental investments, California will need to move away from viewing water and land management activities in the Delta primarily through the lens of the Endangered Species Act. Instead, environmental managers should allocate water and restoration funds based on greatest overall ecological returns on investments.

This does not mean abandoning threatened or endangered species, but rather refocusing recovery efforts on ecological health, based on realistic assessments of the benefits of environmental water allocations.

For example, it may be time to consider captive breeding for Delta smelt – which are approaching extinction in the wild – with the goal of reintroducing them into restored habitats in the north Delta. Targeted investments in riparian and floodplain habitat in the north Delta and Sacramento River watershed – along with well-timed flows to support native species’ life cycles – are likely to provide the highest return on investment for salmon.

To accomplish this, the state Water Resources Control Board should revise its Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan to allocate a share of water that can be flexibly managed to meet biological and ecological objectives. This strategy has been successful in Victoria, Australia, and the water board has proposed a similar approach for managing water in the lower San Joaquin River basin.

We believe existing law can accommodate this change in environmental management. This approach also guarantees a substantial share of water for environmental uses and a more certain water supply for the 25 million people and 3 million acres of farmland that depend on the Delta for at least some of their supply.

▪  Make investments that benefit Delta residents

Most Delta counties have other water problems that can be resolved within a grand compromise. Strengthening the levees that protect Delta islands would reduce flood risk to farms, homes, roads, pipelines and power lines. It would also improve the reliability of export water supplies.

Negotiators should also explore opportunities for Delta residents to benefit from water quality improvements – for instance, by providing access to tunnel water in places where local supplies are salty. These improvements would recognize the Delta’s residents as essential partners in the administration of California’s largest and most important water system.

Grand compromises require sacrifice to achieve a better future. For those who rely on water exports from the Delta, a single tunnel would be a cost-effective means of improving supply reliability. For environmental interests, a flexibly managed, guaranteed block of environmental water would facilitate a more functional and sustainable estuary. And for Delta residents, the levee improvements would enhance the security of their lives and livelihoods.

Negotiation of this grand compromise will require stakeholders to embrace its broad contours before turning to its many details. If we fail again to find common ground, the political paralysis that has plagued the Delta for decades will continue. And the many economic and environmental benefits that the Delta provides to California will continue to decline.

----------------------------

Golden Gate Salmon Association Reacts to One Tunnel Proposal

San Francisco -- GGSA executive director John McManus reacted to the PPIC opinion piece in today’s Sacramento Bee calling for the replacement of the Delta twin tunnels proposal with construction of a single tunnel with the following statements.
“The biggest problem with the old twin tunnels proposal is that instead of developing a reasonable project that would provide salmon protections while allowing export of a scientifically justified amount of water, they designed a project far too big to pass the laugh test.
The existing system of moving water north to south across the Delta is a salmon killer which is why alternatives have been considered. A carefully planned alternative could provide a way to move some water while killing fewer salmon but this would require a project design that makes salmon protections a priority, not an afterthought.
GGSA welcomes a new approach, and we hope that this leads to a complete rethink of the current twin tunnels project. For too long, twin tunnel advocates have resisted new ideas.
Salmon fishermen and most reasonable Californians believe the only real way to safeguard against over diversion of our rivers is to limit the size of any water intakes and downstream plumbing that moves diverted water. A single tunnel proposal could be a step in that direction.”

Background:

There's no doubt that the existing method of diverting Central Valley river water to pumps in the south Delta pulls baby salmon off their natural migration route to their death. The status quo is a known salmon killer. Can we do better? Theoretically, yes. Was the gargantuan twin tunnels proposal a reasonable answer? Absolutely not.

As long as Sacramento River water is going to be diverted for export to the existing south Delta pumps, then some sort of new conveyance with intakes that can operate while still allowing baby salmon in the Sacramento River to safely pass could be an improvement with conditions. Conditions would include capping total Delta water exports at a volume pegged to the outcome of the State Water Resources Control Board Delta flows process. In addition part of the solution would include new facilities that would safely shield San Joaquin River salmon from being pulled to their death in the existing pumps. The current forebays that feed water to both the state and federal pumps are predator magnets and baby salmon killers and would need fixing. So too the Delta Cross Channel, a manmade canal feeding Sacramento River water, and baby salmon, to the pumps needs to be closed during key times of the year.

Central Valley salmon evolved to transit the Delta riding on east to west flows as Central Valley rivers emptied into the Delta and Bay. These flows pushed baby salmon from the Delta out to the bay and ocean. Since the massive state and federal water projects were built, these Delta flows have shifted more north to south as the Sacramento River is sucked off its natural course, largely through the Delta Cross Channel, to the pumps.

The biggest problem with the existing twin tunnels plans and design is that it calls for intakes, pipes and pumps big enough to drain the entire Sacramento River dry at most times of the year. This simply isn't credible to reasonable Californians or those charged with protecting fish and wildlife, which is why the twin tunnels are hopelessly bogged down.

The State Water Resources Control Board is currently in the process of determining how much water needs to be left in the rivers and allowed to flow through the Delta and Bay to keep the Delta, Bay, and our native fish and wildlife from dying. Only after these calculations are complete will we really know how much water in various types of precipitation years will be surplus and available for export. Most reasonable people would agree it makes more sense to design massive, expensive public works plumbing projects only after you know for sure how much water you’re likely to move. As is, the current huge version of the tunnels don’t pencil out for the water users who would have to pay for them unless water diversions are drastically increased, something most Californians don’t support.

Tunnel proponents argue that while massive, the volume of water they'd trap and export would be limited by controls on the intakes that can be opened or closed as needed. They ask the public to trust them to operate these responsibly. Salmon fishermen, for one, don't trust them because Central Valley water operations have been operated to the detriment of salmon over and over again.

Finally, the state and south of Delta water users must recognize that communities like Los Angeles, San Diego and Silicon Valley want to be less dependent on the Delta, not more. They’re proving this by investing in recycling facilities, water conservation programs, cleaning up groundwater, capturing storm water, and other projects.

We hope this proposal from PPIC sparks some serious discussion within state government and those who would pay for a new water conveyance. There’s no doubt the current system of moving water is harmful to salmon.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmonassociation.org) 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.


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Nearly all the salmon caught along the coast this year are there thanks to the Golden Gate Salmon Association. If not for their efforts to push both state and federal hatchery managers to truck fish over the past three years of drought we would have likely NOT had a season this year or next. I encourage readers to support this great organization and their efforts to return our salmon fishery to it's past glory. You can visit their website and see all that they are doing to make that a reality.


GGSA has been busy working to bring you more salmon.
Here's a thumbnail sketch of what we've been working on lately.

GGSA Efforts Lead to Creation of State Salmon Stakeholders Group
A group of salmon stakeholders led by GGSA held a high level meeting with California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) brass on June 3 to push for input over future releases of hatchery fish. The Salmon Hatchery Release Stakeholders Group will work to develop common sense, in-river release strategies that minimize losses to predation. It will also provide input on decisions affecting bay and coastal net pen releases of hatchery fish. This group will convene again in early November.

 GGSA meets former Interior Secretary to talk twin tunnels
In mid-July, GGSA Executive Director John McManus met with former Clinton White House Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to discuss Governor Brown's twin tunnel project. Babbitt has been brought in by Governor Brown to get his twin peripheral canal/tunnels project back on track. 
McManus shared GGSA's view with Babbitt that current state efforts to determine how much water must flow through the Delta to keep it and salmon alive first need to be concluded. Only then can an informed decision be made as to how much excess water, if any, might be available for export. McManus also told Babbitt that salmon fishermen are skeptical of the state's claims that they can be trusted to restrict flows into the proposed massive tunnels.

Federal Salmon Restoration Fund Selects GGSA Salmon Recovery Projects
Managers of a federal salmon restoration fund have selected several GGSA salmon rebuilding projects for implementation. One is GGSA's call to dim night lights on the rivers during smolt migration. The lit areas are known predator hot spots where baby salmon halt their migration under the lit areas, making them easy targets for predators. A second GGSA project adopted by the managers calls for testing of in-river structures which would allow baby salmon to catch a break from high-velocity flows. These structures would resemble tree root wads, and would provide shelter to baby salmon from larger predators. Yet another project, calling for the removal of deep predator-filled scour holes under levee breaches, is slated for work.

GGSA Safeguards 2016 Spawning Flows
GGSA has been working to make sure Sacramento River salmon (winter and fall run) get the cold water needed to spawn this year (unlike the last two years). We are now cautiously optimistic the threat to winter and fall run spawners this year is under control after GGSA spent most of May and June working with federal water and fish officials to ensure the needs of salmon were taken into account.

Action continues against federal bills that authorizes more Delta diversions
GGSA can't catch a break from this year's battle to stop bad federal bills that would hand over what little salmon water exists to water users south of the Delta. We won't know the outcome until Congress wraps up for the year after the elections. Even then, we're likely to only get a temporary break before we have to face similar threats again in the next Congress. 

GGSA Leads Effort to Get Bond Money Directed to Salmon Restoration
In the state legislature, there's a move afoot to put a bond on the November ballot that would make money available mostly for urban parks, climate change adaptation projects, wildlife habitat and possibly salmon habitat restoration. GGSA is working to get fall run salmon habitat restoration projects qualified for some of the bond money. The bond measure has passed the state Assembly and is now at the Senate. If it is approved there, it will go before the voters throughout the state on the November ballot. Stay tuned.

GGSA Board Member Marc Gorelnik Picked to Serve on Pacific Fisheries Management Council
GGSA board member and founder of the Coastside Fishing Club Half Moon Bay net pen project, Marc Gorelnik, has been named to be a member of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Marc will replace Dan Wolford who served for nine years on this federally sanctioned body that sets seasons and manages our ocean fisheries off California, Oregon and Washington. Congrats to Marc!

GGSA Investigates Salmon Rearing Area Restoration Projects
In addition to enduring the hardships of low river flows and numerous predators bent on eating them, Central Valley baby salmon often don't have the strength and size needed to survive. Many of the natural rearing areas along the river edges where they'd eat and put on weight have been destroyed by dikes, levees, rip rapped banks and the like, although plenty of them could be restored fairly easily.
On the Feather River, GGSA is studying a former floodplain in the Oroville Wildlife Area near the Thermalito Outlet and another at the confluence of the Bear and Feather rivers.  
In the Sacramento, an area near the convergence of Battle Creek and the Sacramento River shows great promise for fish from both the Sacramento River and Battle Creek. 

GGSA works to Strengthen Oroville Dam Biop for Salmon
GGSA is working to get the National Marine Fisheries Service to add tougher requirements that will restore much of the Feather River below Oroville Dam to a strong salmon-friendly river. The NMFS requirements are being finalized as part of the relicensing of Oroville Dam, a once-every-50-years opportunity to improve conditions for salmon.

GGSA Organizes Chefs and Restaurants for Salmon
GGSA has been working with a group of top Bay Area chefs organizing in support of salmon and against Congressional efforts to shift more Delta water south. You'll hear more about this soon. 

Although under gunned, GGSA is fighting back.  You can help us by donating to GGSA - Donate HERE!

John McManus
Executive Director
Golden Gate Salmon Association.


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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 fishsite@aol.com and we will gladly post the information on our reports pages.

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar


 Party Boat Contacts:
The Bodega Bay Sportfishing  Center is currently booking trips on the New Sea Angler. They also book the six pack Sandy Ann, Profishn't and during the summer the Predator. Reservations can be made at 707 875-3344.
 

 
 
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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46013

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46013

Marine Weather
With the Point Arena, San Francisco and Bodega Bay buoys all out of service it's been tough to judge conditions. There are some land based weather stations, wave rider and even webcams that readers can use to assess current conditions.  The Point Reyes wind observations or wave conditions at the San Francisco wave rider buoy are good tools for Golden Gate anglers.  For Bodega Bay anglers you can use both the Point Reyes wind observations and the Bodega Bay Marine lab web cam at Horseshoe Cove and conditions at the Point Arena light house. For Monterey based anglers looking for conditions inside Monterey bay can use the Monterey Bay Aquarium buoy.

 

 

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