te or federal incidental take permits



Captain Steve Smith of the Bay Area "Smith" fishing clan has been fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula for 29 years. 800.567.1043

Captain Stan Koenigsberger

November 28, 2016    Headlines

 Salmon Winds Down
Striper Bite Heats Up

Delta Report
By Dave Hurley
The recent rains in late November have muddied up the Sacramento River, and along with dropping water temperatures, sturgeon fishing has been remarkable. Striped bass have slowed with the off-color water, and bait fishermen have the upper hand at the present time. An occasional salmon has been taken in the upper Delta below Freeport by trollers pulling Brad’s Cut Plugs behind a Pro-Troll Flasher, but the muddy water will slow down the remainder of the salmon run for the time being,
Out of Martinez, Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing took his second sturgeon trip on Saturday 11-26, and he said,
“I have to say it is starting out to be a good season. The first trip I had a light load of 3 fishermen. We had quite a few good bites and landed 5 sturgeon. Yesterday we started out with some nice flat water. But the day did turn a little nasty, and I was not able to fish the area I planned to fish. Despite the conditions, we landed 2 sturgeon. One was short and was a thick 45-inch fish. Eel was the top bait, and the tides are good all this week.”
John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing out of Martinez Marina said, “We started at the top of the Horseshoe on the flood tide, and I found a group of fish that I could anchor up on. We caught a few shakers and a 53-inch sturgeon. The Big Cut was next, and after hearing that the bite was on, it looked to be done by the time we got there. I marked a few fish as I weaved in and out of the 20 boats parked. I got out of there and quickly ran over to a smaller crowd of boats at Roe and Ryer, and we caught a few more shaker sturgeon and a 62-inch over sized fish. The tide started pumping on the ebb, and I opted to move to shallow water over by Snag Island We started with more shakers and another keeper of 43 inches. Eel and roe are our baits of choice, and eel has been working surprisingly well. With the late ebb tides this week, an evening trip could be very productive.”|
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the good sturgeon bite in Suisun Bay, saying, “They are tearing them up in the Big Cut, and ghost shrimp has been our top bait.”
Further north in the Freeport area, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle reported good sturgeon action in Prospect and Cache Slough along with the main Sacramento River near Courtland and Freeport. He said, “Lamprey eel/nightcrawler combinations or pile worms are the top baits. Striper fishing is good in the main Sacramento River with sardines while live mudsuckers are working in the Deep Water Channel, Prospect Slough, and around Liberty Island.”
|Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento added, “The sturgeon bite will get better and better with the muddy water as it has been good around Prospect Slough and Merritt’s Landing. Everyone wants lamprey eel right now. Striper fishing is best with live mudsuckers and frozen shad, and it only will be getting better and better.” Their seminar this Thursday at the Fishermen’s Warehouse at 6:00 p.m. is Ed Fisk of Fish Tales on topwater techniques for trout.
Neil Simpson of Lodi caught and released his personal-best striped bass at 30 pounds on a River2Sea SWaver in Liberty Island along with a pair of 5 pounders. He said, “My partner caught quite a few 12 to 20-inch stripers pulling streamers.”
Striped bass of a larger grade are moving into the San Joaquin-Delta, and the small fish that dominated action for several weeks seem to have been replaced by their larger brethren. Largemouth bass fishing has been slow overall as the water conditions are changing.
Neil Simpson of Lodi went into the San Joaquin system in Frank’s Tract and around Eddo’s Boat Harbor for a number of stripers in the 12- to 18-inch range along with a 5 pounder on a Savage Gear swimbait. He said, “It seemed the striper bite got better the closer to Broad Slough and the Sacramento River system we moved.”
Mark Wilson, started off around Eddo’s to Buoy 17 this week, trolling the new prototype P-Line Predator Minnow. He said, “We released a number of smaller stripers to 21 inches, and the prototype lure run deeper than a Yozuri Crystal Minnow. I am looking forward to using a wider variety of colors of this lure since the few
colors I have are catching fish.”
Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “Delta fishing is heating up as we approach winter, and the water temps have dropped into the mid 50’s to 60 degrees depending on time of day.  The stripers are very aggressive and taking larger flies, and the bigger Stripers are starting to show. We are still catching a few salmon as we fish for stripers, but all of the salmon on the San Joaquin system must be released.”
Reader Kris Huff of Stockton was bass fishing on the San Joaquin-Delta over the weekend, and he thought he hooked into a huge bass than would have pushed his limit over 20 pounds, but it was a hook-jawed salmon that was released.
Brandon Gallegos at H and R Bait in Stockton reported striped bass fishing has been best in Whiskey Slough and off of Bacon Island Road with anchovies or fresh shad. There is some action on small bluegill, but the larger bluegill are most prevalence for panfish anglers. They did not receive fresh shad in the shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, but the water temperature should not be cold enough to drive the shad out of the Stockton Turning Basin.

Delta Flows: What Exactly is California DWR Selling Bonds For?

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta
October 12, 2016

UPDATE at 12:00 today: DWR will delay their response to our PRA request. 

Mr. Stroshane,

Your California Public Records Act request (attached) sent to Director Mark Cowin has been forwarded to me for review and response. I’m replying to your request pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code sections 6250 et seq.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has determined it maintains records responsive to your request. The records you request are maintained in separate file locations at DWR. We anticipate these records may be voluminous and will require a significant amount of time to locate, assemble and review. DWR is presently collecting and reviewing these records. We estimate that these materials can be made available to you not later than January 13, 2017.

Please note that DWR will make every effort to provide you with responsive records as soon as feasible.


John Dunnigan, Senior Staff Counsel
Office of the Chief Counsel
California Department of Water Resources

As the only watchdog group digging through bond announcements by California water agencies, I wanted to share a mystery that crossed my desk this week.
A new bond by the California Department of Water Resources (for sale 10/13) raises a big question for SF Bay-Delta advocates. We wonder, if funding for a squishy money pot called “construction of certain Water System Projects” an attempt to stock away funds for the unpermitted Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix)?
According to a recent Bay-Delta committee report at Metropolitan Water District, the CA WaterFix (Delta Tunnels) line item is down to about $1.5 million in the kitty. It is hard for non-financial experts to know which projects the money is being allocated for, so we sent a new 
Public Records Act Request to the Department of Water Resources.
Here’s what we know:
The California Department of Water Resources is advancing a $470,000,000 revenue bond sale
 on Thursday, October 13, 2016. The bonds would fund the State Water Project System, in addition to refunding some of DWR’s past water revenue bonds and commercial paper purchases.
We note the lack of transparent descriptions and explanations contained within the Preliminary Official Statement for the AW Bond Series that would allow all Californians a full understanding of what is being financed. That is why we are trying to bring sunlight to the process and funding of the planning behind the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix).
Among our concerns:
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the California Department of Water Resources will not state publicly what has been the bonding relationship between the two agencies for the last two years of CA WaterFix planning and what is the arrangement going forward to pay for design and planning for construction. Yet, Metropolitan will repay approximately 36% of this nearly half a billion dollar bond as the State Water Project’s largest contractor. While it is anticipated that they would pay back a larger share of any bond than any other State Water Project agency because they are the SWP’s largest member, we cannot ascertain if they are funding a larger share for CA WaterFix planning costs to cover for agricultural districts like Kern County Water Agency. (Link to tables, page 54 & 55 of the bond.)
We also don’t know if this huge bond is an attempt by DWR to pay off any commercial paper that the agency may have used to fund the Delta Tunnels planning for the last two years. Planning for the (still unpermitted) Delta Tunnels is all happening behind closed doors. If Southern California water ratepayers find out they will pay for a project that will deliver no new water (but largely subsidize corporate agriculture interests), they might revolt. And while the bond appendix discusses about $90 million of current construction for State Water Project facilities, it is not entirely clear if planning and design expenses for the Delta Tunnels will be or won’t be funded under the ‘construction of certain water projects’ category.
The shift from a project that is paid for solely by water users, to one that may require public financing, has recently been reported by AP
 and KCET. The Preliminary Official Statement for the bond includes a lengthy justification for using Ad Valorem taxes as a funding source, but does not provide direct context for the discussion within the description of the bond. It is not clear if this is an oblique justification for using Ad Valorem taxes for CA WaterFix planning expenses.
Ratings agencies have made clear they will rate bonds higher if the Delta Tunnels are a sure thing. But they admit this is not the case at this time.
On September 27, Moody’s Investors Service issued a ratings statement
on the new DWR Central Valley Project Water System Revenue Bonds sale and lays out scenarios by which their Aa1 rating for the bonds could lead to an upgrade or a downgrade.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

Substantially increased, long-term water delivery reliability

Effective resolution of contract extensions

Increased certainty regarding funding sources and total costs associated with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Full resolution of major outstanding litigation concerning biological opinions and Monterey Amendment

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

Continued drought conditions resulting in a significant decline in the contractors’ financial positions or their collective willingness to collaborate on joint water delivery systems and reach agreement on contract extensions

Significant, permanent cutbacks in water deliveries imposed by regulatory or legal restrictions from the Bay Delta or high mitigation costs

Why include a discussion of CA WaterFix, litigation over drought orders for the Delta, lawsuits concerning the giveaway of the urban preference for water deliveries, and the Delta Water Quality Plan Update in the bonds narrative if funding CA WaterFix planning is not part of the bond? CA WaterFix, from DWR’s perspective, seems to be the needed link to complete all the other projects DWR is constructing for water deliveries in other parts of the state. Yet, the project is not permitted by state or federal authorities, and does not have a financial plan signed off by the parties who are supposed to pay for the tunnels. A project that has yet to prove that it imposes no injury on the legal users of water in the Delta.
And so the research beat goes on. We will keep you posted on DWR’s response.

Schools of salmon continue to move through the Delta, and Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There was a report of 26 salmon landed at 1st Street in Benicia on Monday 10-10. “ This new school should be headed upriver quickly.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon fishing has been consistent, and the coming cold front should push up more salmon. There have been fish in the 20 to 30-pound range brought to the shop on a consistent basis, and jigging with P-Line Laser Minnows or Slammer Minnows, trolling with Silvertron spinners, or tossing Flying C’s from the shorelines are working best.”
Field scout Andy Doudna of Oakley was the 2016 winner of the Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival with a striped bass right on the 29.50-inch target length. Doudna is the organizer of the coming Addathon Sturgeon Derby out of Antioch on November 5th/6th out of Antioch. He said, “ This year we had the best weather with no wind and warm days providing fishermen the flexibility to fish anywhere they wanted. The derby started out on Friday morning at 6:00 a.m., and the water clarity was good for the most part for trolling and we saw very little grass sin the system. The challenge was working the smaller tides throughout the day with the best tide movement at night. The fishermen had their work cut out for them as there were many smaller fish in the 20 to 25-inch range. The smaller tides were perfect for trolling as the stripers were able to feed throughout the entire tide instead of just the beginning or the end of the water movement. The small tides did make for challenging conditions for those entered in the sturgeon category as sturgeon prefer more water movement in order to feed. We saw an unbelievable number of shaker sturgeon everywhere on the smaller tides with the larger sturgeon taken at night on the larger tides from Rio Vista west to the Big Cut with grass shrimp and lamprey eel combinations. The boat pressure affected the striper action throughout the weekend, and many striper fishermen found the best action at night with less boat pressure.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was the tournament director of the Best Bass Tournament’s Tournament of Champions over the weekend out of Russo’s Marina. He said, “We had 192 participants, and the team of Ron Howell and Bob Miller took home the top prize of $20,000 out of the $51,000.00 in prize money distributed. The shad population is thick in the San Joaquin River, and the ima Little Stick in bone or ‘All About Shad’ is on fire. We had 50 keeper stripers out of 132 caught and released on Monday using P-Line Laser Minnow spoons, the Optimum Bubba shad swimbaits, or the Little Stick on topwater. The important thing to do is keep the topwater lure in the strike zone longer. Twitch it and let it sit. Numbers of bass are good, but the weights are down with the water temperature needing to drop in order to the reaction bite to improve. A number of salmon have been landed by bass fishermen throwing crankbaits on the San Joaquin River, but salmon are off-limits on the San Joaquin.
In the Antioch area, Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait in both Antioch and McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point said, “The winds have died down, and many fishermen came out over the weekend. We saw a number of stripers ranging from 10 to 30 pounds using live bait. Our shrimp boat should be back on the water by Tuesday, and we expect to have live grass shrimp in the shop during the week.”
The first major sturgeon derby of the year, the Addathon IronMan Derby, is coming to Antioch on November 5 and 6.

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

Upcoming Events:
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Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar


Party Boat Information and Reservations around the Bay

The Happy Hooker is running halibut and striper trips out of Berkeley 2008 +1.510.223.5388

California Dawn is running sturgeon trips from Berkeley +1.510.773.5511

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