June 24, 2016    Headlines

 Solid Rockfish Action, Crab Counts Hold Up
Slow Salmon

The solid rockfish and crab action both continue off Bodega Bay. Weather conditions were breezy offshore but fine along the beach on Friday 6-24. Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 21 limits of rockfish, 7 lings to 9 pounds adding 21 easy limits of crabs. Rick fished south for the rockfish and said it was rolly along the beach but the winds did not fill in until the late morning hour. Rick said there were a few salmon caught by private boaters off Bird Rock the past two days. He added it would be helpful if the weather laid out and if there was a bigger number of boats so everyone can dial in on the salmon. Rick has lots of room for rockfish / crab combos through the end of the month. He will begin salmon / rockfish combos on July 1st.

After breezy conditions on Wednesday 6-22 Rick on the New Sea Angler said that they saw lighter winds and just rolly conditions along the beach on Thursday 6-23. Rick ran south to Point Reyes for 203 rockfish mostly browns, coppers and gophers adding 11 lings to 13 pounds for 23 anglers. They pulled through a dozen or so pots and sent all 23 anglers home with limits of crabs.
On Wednesday the winds were up and Rick was only able to run a crab only combo. They pulled just 6 pots for 16 limits of crabs. The crab season closes on June 31st and Rick plans on working the reefs for rockfish and his crab gear through the end of the month. Come July his focus will be rockfish/ lings and salmon combos.

 On Tuesday 6-21 Rick on the New Sea Angler had a 10 man charter. It was quick action for limits of quality rockfish adding two lings to 8 pounds. They then ran through the crab gear for 10 easy limits of crabs and were back in the harbor in time to have lunch.
 Same story different day. Lots of private boaters turned out for the Father's Day weekend. On Sunday 6-19 Rick Powers once again concentrated on bottom fish and crabs. Rick said they ran down to Point Reyes where they filled their 38 angler's sacks with limits of quality coppers, browns and reds adding 28 lings to 14 pounds. Pulling through all their crab gear they landed 362 Dungeness crabs.
On the private boater front Larson's Landing (great place to camp) reported that two boats were trolling out in 200 feet off Tomales Point. Pulling Brad's cut plugs and straight bait at 150 OTW they landed 6 salmon. Pictured above left
Kenny W. chimed in to report they trolled off the Russian river and boated one  8 pound salmon and missed two other take downs for four hours effort. They switched to rockfish and lings taking 10 blacks, a few olives and china and four lings all in the 6 to 8 pound class. Kenny said they worked for every fish.

Most were chasing rockfish, lings and crabs and while a few chased salmon I have not heard much in the way of catches. Rick on the New Sea Angler had a big load of 47 anglers on Saturday 6-18. They came away with about 9 rockfish apiece or 442, FULL LIMITS of crabs or 470 Dungeness crabs adding 25 lings to 16 pounds. The weather was great along the beach with winds in the morning under 10 knots over a 4 foot swell.

The weather was beautiful again on Friday 6-17 with just a light breeze along the beach over a 5 foot swell and a mix of fog and high clouds. Rick on the New Sea Angler had a light load of 16 passengers that he took down to Point Reyes. They scored limits of all quality reds and browns adding 8 lings to 12 pounds. Once again the crab pots were loaded and all 16 went home with 10 crabs or limits of Dungeness crabs. Rick has lots of space open and will be targeting rockfish, lings and crabs through the end of June. We received no word on the sport salmon front today but are hoping that some of you private boaters can fill in the blanks. (Please don't whine about a lack of salmon updates when reports are slim and none and you don't drop a dime. fishsite@aolcom. )
Karl K reported a slow scratch on rockfish off Ft Ross with 16 blacks and chinas adding 4 lings to 10 pounds for two anglers. Karl said that he has never seen to fish so uncooperative and while they metered some small schools getting them to bite was another matter. He dropped four pots on the run up and reported 7 legal males for a short 5 hour soak. One pot had six of 7 crabs.

After a few days of breezy weather the conditions turned flat calm on Thursday 6-16. Rick on the New Sea Angler had a great day with 36 anglers landing limits of quality rockfish, 16 lings to 16 pounds and an incredible 36 limits or 360 Dungeness crabs. Rick called back later this afternoon to report that a commercial boat had 15 salmon on his first tack off the Russian river. The boat found the action in 42 to 45 fathoms of all splitter size fish running 12 to 17 pounds. Rick says he is sticking to his game plan of rockfish and crabs through June and will target salmon when he has the confidence that they can put some good numbers in the box. He has lots of space open in the next week. The weather today was beautiful with high overcast, light winds and just a lazy 5-6 foot swell.

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 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 ( ) 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.

Vacation Rental at Point Arena
 Brand New House in Irish Beach with 2 bedrooms and a huge loft. Sleeps 6. Blue Water Ocean View to the Point Arena Light House and great local fishing. The house is located on a private court with access to the Members only Irish Beach.


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 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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