Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866

New Captain Pete Sportfishing

(650) 726-6224

August 22, 2016    Headlines

  Salmon Pick
 Easy Rockfish and Good Ling Counts

 Half Moon Bay
On Sunday 8-21 Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went south to a honey hole north of Ano Nuevo, and they limited out with big rockfish including some large vermilion rockfish along with huge ling cod at 27 and 32 pounds. He said, “The water temperatures have warmed up a bit, and the school fish are finally biting. Locally, salmon have been very slow, both inside the harbor and in the bay. The net pen fish have yet to arrive in the harbor in numbers although a few salmon have been spotted inside of the marina. Halibut are starting to show up along the coast near the end of Kelly Avenue and the Half Moon Bay State Park with fresh dead squid on a live bait rig, and commercial fishermen have landed as many as 9 fish in a day. The bite isn’t red hot, but it is worth the time to make a few drifts after loading up on rockfish and lings. My next open salmon trip is Saturday, September 4th as I will be focusing upon rockfish in the coming weeks along with bird and whale watching trips.”
The commercial squid boats are still hanging around the stretch of Martin’s Beach to San Gregorio, and there is a steady trickle of huge white sea bass in the 40- to 60- pound range taken by anglers who are trying to keep the bite to themselves.
The Pacifica Pier has been another location for white sea bass in the shallows, and the stretch from the pier to Mussel Rock has been good for a few huge ghosts.

There are a few salmon optimists out of Half Moon Bay, but by far the most sure bet is rockfish off of the reefs south of the harbor. A few salmon have been coming from the section of coast from the Pacifica Pier south to Pedro Point and also in front of the harbor along the buoys, but most salmon fishermen are heading for the more fertile grounds out of the Golden Gate or Bodega Bay.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat reported in Thursday 8-18, “The school fish still aren’t biting like we would prefer, but the hard heads are filling limits along with ling cod. Halibut are starting to show up on the beaches, and there is a huge mass of squid off of Davenport with lesser amounts locally. White sea bass have yet to show as the commercial squidders are not finding a single WSB in their nets. A few salmon have been showing up between the buoys, and a 16 pounder was landed near San Gregorio on a private boat.” At least one boat made a run for albacore out of Pillar Point with Captain Tom Joseph of Fish-On Sport Fishing on the Sara Bella running out to the Guide to find blue water and nearly 60 degree surface temperatures, but no signs of life. He put in 182 miles on the trip trolling up to the Gumdrop before heading back to the harbor for no results.

The salmon bite has been steady for the past few days off Pacifica with limits to near limits of mixed grade fish. Tom on the four pack Fish On reported 4 limits on Sunday 8-14. He was trolling off the Pacifica pier in 50 to 65 feet. Tom says there are schools of anchovies all along the beach and the fish are holding tight to the bait balls.
On Saturday 8-13 they scratched up 6 fish losing a few others and on Friday Tom reported limits to 18 pounds. Tom says the fish are a mixed bag of 6 to 10 pounds with a few spawn bound fish to 20 in the mix. Private boaters have been scoring mostly a fish per rod to quick limits as well. The weather the past few days has been foggy and cail. Tom has lots of space available this coming week. He is also keeping a close eye on the SSTs and hopes to target albacore when conditions are right.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete will be salmon fishing on Monday, and he said, “I am going to start off of Egg Rock and Pedro Point in the morning as the bite has been pretty good up there the past few days. It was a late bite on Sunday with the salmon starting to bite after 2:30 p.m. in 75 to 80 feet in depth off of the Pacific Pier. The salmon started snapping late, but they haven’t thickened up yet as they are starting to cruise along the shoreline. The bite outside of Pillar Point has been slow, and the reef north of the harbor is loaded with squid boats on the anchor. The kayaks were out in force on Saturday in response to the good weather, but the salmon weren’t cooperating close to the harbor. Rockfishing has finally started to take off as the blues and blacks are biting. The lings are hitchhiking on the school fish, and there have been some big lings and vermilions landed down near Bolsa. With all of the squid around, white sea bass shouldn’t be far behind, and Smitty on the Riptide was able to land a huge white sea bass off of Pacific Pier while trolling for salmon.” Baxter will be fishing during the week after taking nature/bird trips over the weekend.

A few salmon continue be taken out in front of the harbor by private boaters, and Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete was able to finish his day on Wednesday 8-3 with a pair of quality salmon near Buoy 1 South after putting in five salmon north at Mussel Rock earlier in the day. There was a solid bite off of Pacifica earlier in the week with the Salty Lady out of Sausalito coming south for 10 limits to 25 pounds with captain Jerad Davis stating, “We put in limits ranging from 12 to 25 pounds on Monday, but the bite slowed a bit on Tuesday for 14 fish to 26 pounds for 26 anglers with Tyler Carlson of San Francisco landing the big fish.” The southerly wind slowed down the action, but there are still a few salmon showing up in the area.
Rockfish are a more solid option with good scores of bottom fish south of the harbor along with a healthy ling cod count. Herring, anchovies, or squid on a live-bait rig have been the top offerings for the lings while shrimp flies tipped with squid are the top set up for rockfish.
Captain Dennis Baxter will be focusing upon rockfishing trips along with salmon ventures once the again returns. The Huli Cat is being repowered at the present time, but it will return to service by the final week of August. In the interim period of time, Captain Tom Mattusch is referring his customers to the New Captain Pete. Baxter said, “We are ready to run 7 days a week with Captain Michael Cabanas filling in during the weekdays.” Mattusch added, “We will be ready for some of the best months of rockfish season along with the anticipated crab opener in November.”
Along the beaches from Ocean Beach in San Francisco south to Linda Mar in Pacifica, striped bass continue to move up and down the coastline.

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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