BODEGA BAY
 

December 02, 2016    Headlines

 Rockfish & Crab LIMITS

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.


The BIG crab and rockfish action continues. On Thursday 12-1 Rick on the New Sea Angler had another great day. His 15 anglers took 138 rockfish and four lings to ten pounds adding limits of all BIG crabs. The weather was sloppy with 20 knot winds at the buoy with 10 to 12 foot seas.
On the commercial front there is finally some good news. The CDPH has announced that all crabs off Bodega have tested safe for the second week in a row and the season can open. The commercial season will open from Pt Reyes to Salt Point on Saturday December 3rd Commerical boats will be presetting gear on Friday 12-2. The waters from Salt Point to the Humboldt jetty remain close to commercial fishing but ALL waters are open for sport crabbing. For non anglers local crabs should be flooding into local markets by Monday of next week.
 
On Wednesday 11-30 Rick on the New Sea Angler was back out after taking a couple of days off. He took 28 anglers down to Point Reyes for limits of quality reds, browns and schoolfish adding 5 lings to 19 pounds. In the crab gear they pulled just a dozen or so pots for full limits of all commercial grade crabs. Jeff on the Miss Anita also reported big sacks of rockfish adding near limits of lings and limts of crabs.
The weather started off great with less than 5 knots of winds that slowly built to around 20 knots by the time they were coming back into the harbor.
The latest DA tests results have not been updated at the time of this report. The latest tests off Bodega Bay showed that all crabs were safe and well below federal action levels on November 18th. We were expecting tests results to be posted today.
The latest CDPH test results can be found here
On the private boater front Karl K reported two limits from a single pot pulled off the Russian river. He has a string of six and said they pulled a second "just to see" and it too was stuffed. Karl who has seen his share of crab robbing this season says he has moved well away of other gear and that seems to help to get away from the poachers.

Over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend the Sea Angler made it out daily Friday through Sunday 11-27 despite the wind and double digit swell. On Sunday Rick said the rockfish were chomping and the pots were stuffed. He was tied up at the dock at 11:15 with 34 limits of both crabs and rockfish adding 4 lings to 10 pounds. Rick said they had a big lazy swell but overall decent conditions for this time of year. Tough to beat a trip that good with limits of rockfish and crabs and back in Bodega in time for lunch. (Lucas Wharf or the Boat house are always a top bet). They got the rockfish down at Pt Reyes and they had all quality reds, coppers and browns. Rick has very light loads scheduled this week. If you are looking to get out on a trip with tons of space the coming week looks to be that time. Jeff on the Miss Anita also has lots of space available.

On Saturday 11-26 Rick ran north. He reported 43 limits of rockfish and 20 lings to 15 pounds. Rick said the big wind never materialized and they were already headed to port with limits by the time the west winds of 20 knots filled in.  Overall we were seeing west winds of 10 to 20 knots over a 14 foot swell. Most private boats worked the protected waters of the outer bay for crabs but most were wise enough to not venture too far from port due to the overall swell and breezy conditions.

On Wednesday 11-23 Jeff on the Miss Anita ran north. After picking up limits of lings to 16 pounds and half limits of rockfish they headed to the crab gear. It took only a few pots to put in 8 limits of Thanksgiving crab. Rick on the New Sea Angler ventured south where he has been finding easy limits of rockfish. His 49 anglers took limits of mixed rockfish adding 11 lings to 16 pounds. They pulled just 17 pots for those 490 crabs.
 
Domoic Acid Levels to Keep Pt Reyes to Humboldt Jetty Commercial Fishery Closed
The local commercial season remains closed. While the waters south of Point Reyes are open the waters from Point Reyes to the Mendo line are closed due to demoic acid concerns. While the crabs off Bodega have tested below federal action levels of 30 PPM their are still some crabs off Usal beach (north of Ft Bragg) and Point Arena that are testing above action levels. Sport crabs are safe as long as anglers follow the advise of CDPH to not ear the viscera or butter. This is where most of the DA is concentrated.
In addition the CDFW has also announced that the commercial season from the Humboldt jetty to the Cal / Oregon border will open as scheduled on December 1st. All waters from the Humboldt jetty south to Point Reyes will remain closed until tests for DA are clean for two weeks. Crabs are tested weekly and it takes two consecutive clean tests before the CDPH will recommend that the season open. The latest CDPH test results can be found here
In addition (and worrisome) is that several areas of Oregon and Washington are now seeing an increase in the levels of DA. This is worrisome as crabs in both states were testing clean just a few weeks ago and DA levels are now increasing. Biologists are studying the trends but in the past DA levels generally decreased in the fall and winter months as the plankton that produce DA dies off in colder waters. Some biologists are now saying that warming waters could make for a 'new normal" of DA along the entire west coast. On the East Coast they are currently seeing the first ever cases of DA that are have forced the closure of a few shellfish fisheries off New England.

The West Side launch ramp is open Friday through Sunday until ramp construction is completed in December. The Doran ramp is open daily.
 

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.
 


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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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