te or federal incidental take permits



Captain Steve Smith of the Bay Area "Smith" fishing clan has been fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula for 30 years. 800.567.1043


March 01, 2018    Headlines

Winter Sturgeon and Stripers

Delta Report
By Dave Hurley

On Sunday 2-25 Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno, was in the Delta early in the week and he said, “The stripers are starting to show up in the Sacramento-Delta with trollers starting to pick up some linesides in the sloughs. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing went trolling with good success around Rio Vista. I went bass fishing in the Mokelumne River, and the temperature dropped 9 degrees this week. The fish didn’t mind as they are in a feeding mode, and we put in a 20-pound limit flipping Brush Hogs or casting spinnerbaits.”

Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport confirmed the arrival of the striped bass into Steamboat Slough, the Old Sacramento River from Isleton to Walnut Grove, and in the Freeport area for trollers running shallow-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows while bait anglers are scoring with sardines coasted with garlic spray or pile worms. Sturgeon fishing has been decent in Shag Slough and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel with grass shrimp or eel/pile worm combinations.

Larry, ‘The Legend,’ Nelson of Oakland has been reduced to displaying this bloody photo of a Delta striped bass on Saturday after reports of several recent unsuccessful ventures on the water. He reportedly went out with Captains Mike Verrone and Bob Wright out of Antioch but you will need to convene a grand jury to get any information out of these two.

Sturgeon action slowed a bit in Suisun Bay with the water temperatures dropping, but Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Chain Island and Montezuma Slough are the top areas as the sturgeon remain stacked up around Chain Island. The bite will only get better and better as ‘March Madness’ isn’t only for basketball.”

Most charter boat operators struggled mightily over the weekend with the combination of cold temperatures and high winds. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing said, “We got blown off on Saturday with high winds, but the weather was much better on Sunday. We sat on the Mother Lode with heavy marks on the meter, but the sturgeon were not ready to go. We ended up with shaker sturgeon and shaker bass hanging around Roe and Ryer Islands, and I think the water dropping 10 degrees had everything to do with the slowdown.” Mitchell will be presenting a sturgeon seminar at 12:00 noon on Sunday, March 11 at the Sacramento Boat Show at Cal Expo.

Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez had a similar story, saying, “It is a tough bite out there right now. We have been working around the Mothball Fleet with a few ventures downriver to Ozol Pier, but the water temperature dropped to the 50/51-degree range after being around 54/55-degrees. We are sitting on fish, but they are not willing to go right now.”

Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing was out during Saturday’s cold wind, and he said, “We tried at the Horseshoe and even in the Little Cut which I haven’t been for quite a while. We found sturgeon on the bottom in the Little Cut with fish after fish on the meter, but they weren’t willing to bite.”

John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing has also been finding success with his 130th legal sturgeon of the season landed in the Big Cut over the weekend on cured salmon roe. He said, “We have been sticking around Roe/Ryer Island along with the Big Cut, and the key is to try and stay on the fish.” The wind has been the top story in the San Joaquin-Delta over the past week along with freezing cold temperatures at night, and the combination of the two weather conditions have required anglers to go slow in order to find success. Crappie and bluegill are starting to get active along with a small grade of striped bass moving into the river.

Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported plug casters are finding a number of small stripers on the San Joaquin from Eddo’s Marina to the San Andreas Shoals with Fish Traps or River2Sea Swavers.

Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported one angler came in with 9 nice crappie on minjigs along with a limits of 25 bluegill to 1.5 pounds taken on waxworms in the south Delta sloughs. Pipkins said, “He didn’t say where he caught the fish, but he must be working along the weeds in 6 to 7 feet of water.

Alaska Vacation
For readers looking for an Alaska adventure we still have dates open in  August at our Kenai peninsula vacation cabin in 2018
Our fully equipped, coastal home sits on three wilderness acres on the "middle Kenai peninsula". 
Being centrally located we are within 30 minutes of five rivers including the Kenai, Kasilof and Anchor and just 20 minutes north of the saltwater tractor launches in Ninilchik and Deep Creek.
Most of our guests do a combination of  a day, two or three of guided river, fly-out or saltwater trips between self guided trips. With our centrally base location your options are unlimited.
For all our guest's we include a three hour tutorial (at our Sebastopol home) covering tackle, tactics, best locations. We can also hook you up with some of the best guide, charter and fly-out contacts in the area.

Our three bedroom/ 2 bath cabin comfortably sleeps 6 and weekly rates are just $1600 per week (Sunday to Sunday). Additional info and pictures can be found
If you have any questions please give us a call at 707 479-0992

Department of Water Resources asks State Water Board to deny motions by Delta Tunnels opponents

By Dan Bacher

On January 19, the California Department of Water Resources responded to the motions by Delta Tunnels opponents that charge DWR and State Water Resources Control Board staff with "unlawful exparte communications” and call for a 90-day stay in the California WaterFix hearing.
DWR requests the State Board Hearing Officers to deny the pending motions to stay or continue the Part 2 hearings that were scheduled to begin on January 18.
The Department of Water Resources submitted its “Consolidated Opposition to Save the California Delta Alliance et al. and County of Sacramento et al” to State Water Board Hearing Officers Doduc and Marcus 
DWR claims that these communications were not illegal and the hearing should go forward as planned. The water board Thursday delayed the hearing until February 2
“None of the alleged communications by Petitioners cited by protestants constitute a substantive issue or controversial matter of practice and procedure within the scope of the proceeding, in violation of Government Code Sections 11430.10 et seq,” wrote James “Tripp” Mizell, the Office of Chief Counsel for DWR, argued today.
“Instead, the alleged communications by Petitioners fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) communications between DWR staff and State Water Resources Control Board (“WaterBoard”) staff prior to the issuance of the October 30, 2015 Notice of Public Hearing andPrehearing Conference; (2) communications with Water Board staff on non-substantive or non-controversial procedural issues within the scope of the proceeding; and (3) communications with Water Board staff on issues related to the California WaterFixEnvironmental Impact Report through its role as a CEQA Responsible Agency,” wrote Mizell.
After reading DWR’s response to the motions, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “their response is a non denial, denial. They said the motions should be dismissed because they didn’t do anything wrong, but yet they don’t present any evidence to support their claim.” 
The Delta Tunnels project, also called the California Water Fix, is Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two massive tunnels under the Delta to divert Sacramento River water to agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California Water agencies.
If built, the project would likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species. The WaterFix would also imperil the salmon steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, where the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes have fished for thousands of years.
Read DWR’s response here on Maven’s Notebook website: 
DWR Consolidated Opposition to Motions re Ex Parte
For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/

As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south



The Trump administration, teeing up a fight with California regulators, is trying to pump more water through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state despite fresh evidence of the estuary’s shrinking fish population.
A proposal by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to “maximize water deliveries” represents the administration’s first concrete effort to make good on a promise Donald Trump made while campaigning for the presidency in Fresno, where he vowed to deliver more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers and derided protections for endangered fish species.
Trump’s water plan is likely to meet stiff resistance from California officials, who relish fighting the president and spent much of 2017 battling his administration over air pollution, climate change, immigration and a slew of other issues. Experts said the state’s Endangered Species Act and other laws should provide California with ample ammunition to complicate Trump’s efforts to move more water through the Delta.
Reclamation’s proposal, outlined in a regulatory notice last Friday, would bring long-lasting changes to the Central Valley Project, the water network built during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. The notice said various state and federal regulations have “significantly reduced the water available for delivery south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.” As a result, the bureau said it will “evaluate alternatives that maximize water deliveries.”
Agricultural districts in the San Joaquin Valley, which comprise the bulk of the Central Valley Project’s customers, welcomed the proposal as a long overdue counterweight to years of stifling restrictions on water pumping.
“In the end, what’s being discussed is ensuring that people and farmers and farmworkers have water,” said deputy general manager Johnny Amaral of the influential Westlands Water District in Fresno and Kings counties. “Pretty simple concept. After all, that’s why the CVP was built, to do that very thing.”
Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau, who has rented billboards in his city urging Trump to scale back fish protections, said he’s optimistic the president is going to bring more water to the Valley.
“I think the president is hearing from people from the Central Valley,” said Brandau, who grew up in a farm town near Fresno. His billboards featured a picture of Trump and the message, “Mr. President, we need: 1. Water 2. Dams 3. Fish.” The word “fish” is crossed out in red.
Change won’t occur overnight. Reclamation spokeswoman Erin Curtis said the bureau will spend the next year conducting environmental reviews and will “start a dialogue with all of the stakeholders,” including state and federal environmental agencies.
Environmentalists quickly objected to the bureau’s plan, saying it violates a federal law that requires the agency to give equal weight to fish and wildlife when it operates the Central Valley Project. “The science says we need to reduce diversions (from the Delta) and increase protections,” said attorney Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. “The Trump administration is saying damn the fish and damn the rivers and let’s get more water to Westlands.”
The Trump administration’s plan comes at a crucial moment for the Delta, the nexus of California’s complicated north-to-south water delivery system.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build twin tunnels beneath the Delta is in jeopardy because of funding problems. Brown says the tunnels, by rerouting how water flows through the estuary, would help solve never-ending conflicts between fish and water supplies. As it stands now, the pumps are often restricted in order to protect Delta smelt and other endangered fish species, allowing more water to flow out to the ocean.
Fish populations are dwindling in spite of those restrictions, and there are fresh signs that the problems are getting worse. Last week the California Department of Fish and Wildlife disclosed that its regular fall survey of the Delta’s waters turned up a total of two smelt, the lowest in the survey’s 50-year history. The survey is further evidence that the smelt, which once numbered in the millions, are nearing extinction.
Many valley farmers have long argued that the government’s operations in the Delta favor fish over agriculture, and some have little sympathy for the plight of the smelt. Trump, while campaigning in Fresno in 2016, belittled efforts to “protect a certain kind of 3-inch fish,”and some farmers are celebrating the proposal to increase pumping.

“GOOD RIDDANCE! ‘PEOPLE OVER FISH’” prominent Valley farmer Mark Borba said in a Facebook post Monday.

The smelt survey results were noteworthy because they followed the wettest winter in Northern California history, which should have yielded higher smelt numbers. The last time Northern California had a wet winter, in 2011, the fall survey found 343 smelt, up from 29 the year before. Now California is facing the prospect of a dry winter, which could create more environmental stress on the Delta.
Environmentalists say revving up the Delta pumps could do more harm to the estuary, and its fish.
“I don’t know that they’re going to find a lot of extra water without doing violence,” said Jay Lund, director of UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences.
Lund and UC Davis water law expert Richard Frank said the State Water Resources Control Board, which oversees water rights in the Delta, has the authority to make sure all pumping operations – including those conducted by the U.S. government – comply with the state’s environmental protection laws.
The water board, controlled by Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointees, is already holding hearings on proposals that would significantly reduce pumping in order to improve the Delta’s water quality – a move that would fly in the face of Trump’s efforts.
“The state has … a great deal of ability to protect what it sees as the environmental interests,” Lund said. Officials with the state water board didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Obegi said the state has other powers as well. The federal Central Valley Project Improvement Act, signed into law by the first President George Bush, directs Reclamation to obey California’s environmental laws, he said.
The Trump administration’s pumping proposal is a response to an effort begun in August 2016 by the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversee protections for Delta fish, to re-examine decade-old rules that govern pumping operations. When that effort was begun, the Obama administration was still in office and it was widely assumed that the two agencies would strengthen protections for the fish, possibly at the expense of water deliveries.
The Trump proposal also is a response to a controversial law signed by President Barack Obama in late 2016, called the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The law directs pump operators to “maximize water supplies for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.”
The law is short on details. It also creates additional protections for the Delta’s ecosystem, according to Obegi.
Those protections are contained in the intricacies of how the state and federal governments work in tandem to run water through the Delta. If the state believes the federal government is violating California Endangered Species Act protections by increasing pumping, it’s obliged to reduce its own State Water Project pumping activities, according to Obegi. At the same time, the law signed by Obama in 2016 says the federal government can’t do anything that would force the State Water Project to reduce its water deliveries.
The upshot, Obegi said, is the state could use the Obama law to try to prevent the Trump administration from ramping up pumping activities. But he said there’s so much wiggle room in all of the relevant laws that it isn’t clear whether California would succeed in thwarting Trump’s plan.
“It’s got the potential to be a pretty chaotic year,” Obegi said.

Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. If you or your organization needs to get the word out or are looking to promote an event please contact us at fishsite@aol.com so we can inform our readers.

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar


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 hurleyjacks@aol.com









www usafishing

USAfishing.com Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved