October 24, 2016    Headlines

 Solid Rockfish Action
Salmon Closes October 30th
Crab Season Opens Nov. 5th

The weather laid out on Sunday 10-23 morning with a light breeze of just 5 to 8 knots over a 5 to 6 foot swell. This was the best weather window that we have seen in several days after a week of 15 to 20 knot winds.
We received just one private boater report this weekend. Todd R. ran south to Ten Mile and reported three lings to 10 pounds "some" rockfish and one 8 pound ling.
On the pro front Jeff on the Miss Anita reported four limits of both rockfish and lings today and said the weather does not look good for the next couple of days. When conditions do lay down he expects more great rockfish and ling action in the weeks ahead.

West Side Construction Delay
The largest launch ramp in Bodega Bay at the West Side campground will not reopen as scheduled ahead of the sport crab opener. Due to construction delays and some permitting issues about nearby eelgrass beds the expected opening for West Side is now forecasted to be around November 15th to the 18th. This news comes from a good source who is involved in the project but does not what to be named. This leaves the Doran launch ramp (limited to fewer than 30 boats) or Dillon beach inside of Tomales Bay as the only other options. Other options is that Spud Point has some dock space and side tie options available for those looking to keep their boats in the water.
I want to caution readers unfamiliar with the bar crossing at the mouth of Tomales Bay before ones tries to move through unfamiliar waters. The bar of Tomales bay is shallow (and narrow) and can break on an ebb tide with swells as low as 6 to 8 feet. The bigger the ebb tide and size of the swell the more dangerous this small entrance can be. Larson's is a great place to camp and fish from but not a spot that I would advise anyone base their ocean crab trips from unless they have solid local knowledge of the Tomales bar.

New Sport Crabbing Regulations

In addition to the crab season starting participants in the recreational crab fisheries are advised that there are three new crab trap requirements that toke effect August 1, 2016. The biggest change of concern is the requirement to have a five-inch unobstructed opening since many of the recreational sport crab traps only have a 4.5-inch opening. A retrofit of these traps is necessary. Crab traps will be required to have a destruct device, also referred to as a “rotten cotton”, made of a single strand of untreated cotton twine size No. 120 or less that creates an unobstructed opening in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least five inches in diameter when the device material corrodes. This is to allow organisms to escape from traps that become lost or abandoned.
Also starting August 1, each crab trap is required to have a buoy that is legibly marked with the operator of the trap’s GO ID number as it appears on their fishing license. This is to help prevent the pulling of another person’s traps if the trap puller has not been given written permission to do so.
Lastly, crab traps can no longer be deployed and used in ocean waters for seven days prior to the start of the recreational Dungeness crab season. The recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to start statewide on Saturday, November 5, 2016 (the first Saturday of November) so crab traps cannot be deployed or used in state waters between Saturday, October 29, 2016 and Friday, November 4, 2016. This applies to fishing for rock crab as well as any other species of crab, and aims to prevent early fishing for Dungeness crab before the season begins.

While the salmon action remains slow the rockfish bite is off the hook. After tough weather over the weekend Rick on the New Sea Angler was back out on Thursday 10-20. Rick reported 16 limits of all quality rockfish adding 10 lings. Jeff on the Miss Anita reported limits of rockfish and lings earlier in the week.
On the crabbing front Rick says that the test pots that are being run for domoic acid tests are seeing good numbers of crabs and the tested crabs are all fat and healthy.
Rick says they are nearly full for the opener and that if the weather is good he expects solid crab counts and more great rockfishing when the crab season opens on November 5th. Weekend loads will be full but anglers looking to get out on lighter trips should book during the week. Jeff on the Miss Anita is offering combos and who knows may be tossing in some afternoon crab only trips if they find quick limits on their morning combo trips.

On Wednesday 10-12 Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 24 LIMITS of all quality rockfish adding 19 lings to 17 pounds. Rick said he was working a spot in just 120 feet off Pt Reyes. The catch was a mix of 40 to 50 vermilions, huge coopers and browns and just a few black or schoolfish in the mix. Sacks were running at 50 pounds and even long time regulars said it reminded them of fishing at Cordell Banks. Rick says it look like with the rain and wind in the forecast but is looking for a weather window to get out in the coming days The Dungeness crab season opens in just over two weeks!

Jeff on the Miss Anita 707 245-1157 and Rick on the New Sea Angler 707 875-3344 are taking reservations for the crab opener on November 5th. 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 (first three weeks) crab season.

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Nearly all the fish currently on the coast 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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 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.


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 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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