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

August 29, 2016    Headlines

 First Kings Show
Stripers Also Start to Push Up

Delta Report
By Dave Hurley
The winds have been blowing consistently in the Sacramento River-Delta, and as a result, the water has muddied up in both the northern and western portions of the river.
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported on Sunday 8-28 that salmon are starting to come off of the Dillon Point State Park with an average of five to six fish per day out of the 100 anglers tossing Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners from the shoreline. He said, “The salmon that are caught are good quality, ranging from 15 to 20 pounds, but there are not too many of them for the number of fishermen out there.  1st Street has been whitecapping, leaving the shoreline muddy, and you can’t catch the salmon in the muddy water.”
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport had a similar report with a few salmon brought into the shop from below the Freeport Bridge for those jigging P-Line Laser Minnows or Slammer Minnows. Casting spinners has been slower, and Tran said, “The bite has been spotty.” 
For striped bass, Liberty Island has been the top area in the north Delta, but the wind has churned up the shallow water, limiting the swimbait bite. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “It had been good out there with swimbaits and glidebaits, but the muddy water has slowed the reaction bite to a crawl.” Tran advised drifting live mudsuckers on the anchor in Liberty or soaking cut baits such as sardines or frozen shad until the water clears up.
Catfishing is picking up in the Deep Water Channel and in Lisbon Slough with live crawdads as the rice field above are dumping water into the river. The crawdads come off of the rice fields into the river, and the whiskerfish from 5 to 10 pounds are loading up on the crustaceans. 
Smallmouth bass are still holding around the rocks in Steamboat and Miner Slough with deep-diving crankbaits or plastics on the drop-shot, but most of the smallies are undersized.
In the Rio Vista area, Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, reported high winds made for challenging trolling conditions on the main Sacramento during the week, but they were able to put in two limits to 4 pounds, releasing 5 shakers using both deep and shallow lures near Decker Island. He said, “It was pretty slow for us, and the combination of wind and grass in the water made for tough conditions. Our best action came outside of Decker Island at the bottom of the tide with Yozuri Crystal Minnows or P-Line Predator Minnows in green or red head/white. I ran up to Miner Slough in search of fish, but we had our best action from the Old Dairy to Decker Island.”
The winds have also affected sturgeon fishing, and Lopez at Benicia Bait said, “There hasn’t been anyone going out in Suisun Bay with these winds.”
In the San Joaquin River, the weather is quickly moving into a fall pattern over the past week, transitioning from triple-digits to the 80 degree range. The changing weather has put the largemouth bass in flux, but the arrival of stable weather will bring back the bite.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors added, “During our tournament out of Big Break Marina on Saturday, Todd Fedderson landed the big fish at 9.68 pounds on a swimbait, but most of the action came by punching the weeds with creature baits. There hasn’t been a consistent pattern yet, but most tournament fishermen are switching from crawdad to shad patterns as the fall is starting to arrive.” Mark Mello and Fedderson took first place with 22.88 pounds,  Jim Wilson/Norman Crittle came in 2nd at 15.42 with Tim Venkus/Nate Haley at 14.06 pounds.
In Discovery Bay, Mathisen said, “The cooler evenings have the bite changing, and the main river channel is producing with crankbaits such as the Strike King XD 6 or 2.5 Squarebills while punching is working along the main river points. Current is the key to getting bit, and the striped bass are also holding around current with the Optima Bad Bubba Shad swimbait the best option.”
Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported a few stripers continue to come from the Antioch Fishing Pier with live mudsuckers producing the larger linesides.
Brandon  Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “The bluegill bite is excellent in all of the normal places, and a few decent keeper stripers have been taken on the larger bluegill in Whiskey Slough. Sardines and anchovies are working for the smaller keepers to 19 inches, and largemouth bass are hitting nightcrawlers under a bobber, Senkos, blue/chrome Rat-L-Traps, or shad-patterned jerkbaits near the Stockton Sailing Club or along the main channel off of Brookside Road in Stockton. The fresh shad is getting larger and larger, and our supply is solid with regular deliveries of the fresh bait. “

Great News! Water Contractors Pull Their Petition to Destroy Bass and Striper Fishery
If you were prepared to head up to Folsom on Thursday to be present at the Fish and Game Commission meeting regarding the petition for the so-called ‘Coalition for the Sustainable Delta’s’ desire to lower the size limit and raise the bag limit for striped and largemouth bass has been withdrawn by the organization. Thanks to the efforts of Dick Pool and Water4Fish, John Buettler of the Allied Fishing Groups, Sep Hendrickson of the California Sportsman’s Radio Show, Roger Mammon of the California Striped Bass Association, Kent Brown of Ultimate Bass, and so many others in the bass fishing world– the ‘Coalition’ decided it would be better to retreat than to be publicly humiliated by a defeat of their petition. Thanks to everyone who sent letters and signed the petitions as our collective efforts have been heard. Let’s see what their next move is, and it is as important as ever to stay involved since the fight for water will only get harder as our resources continue to become limited.  Thanks everyone!

Allied Fishing Groups: There is no need to go to the The California Fish and Game Commission meeting set for this Thursday (the 25th)!  The Commission has announced the that the Coalition for Sustainable Delta, California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation, Kern County Water Agency, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Northern California Water Association, San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Southern California Water Committee, State Water Contractors, and Western Growers have withdrawn their petition number 2016-011 (striped and black bass regulations).

As you may recall from our previous emails on this subject, David Ostrach and I sent in 4 AFG exhibits to the Commission regarding
1) CFGC Code Responsibilities and Public Trust Law requirements to protect and sustainably manage striped bass and black bass in the Bay-Delta estuary.
2) The Petition’s failure to comply with Code requirements to use peer-reviewed science in decision making.
3) SWP and CVP fish loss estimates.
4) the history of efforts to destroy the striped bass fishery. These exhibits are on our web site thanks to Dave Studeman’s efforts to keep everyone informed. 

We’ve been advised that the Commission staff recommended not supporting the CSD’s (et.al) proposed regulation changes. The Commission also received several thousand letter and petitions in opposition. 

John Buettler

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

Twin tunnels hearing: Diverse voices in latest fight over Delta ‘fix’

By Alex Breitler 
Record Staff Writer

The first day of a months-long hearing that could determine the fate of the controversial twin tunnels provided no answers on Tuesday — nor was it expected to.
But dozens of comments made by citizens, activist groups and water agencies showed just how divided the state is on the proposed $15 billion Delta “fix.”
Tuesday’s testimony before the State Water Resources Control Board also revealed how diverse the Stockton-area opposition to the project has become. The tunnels are no longer a battleground solely for farmers and environmentalists of the old peripheral canal days.
An activist for Stockton’s Cambodian fishing community shared his concern Tuesday that deteriorating water quality could make it unsafe to consume fish. A representative with the downtown business incubator Café Coop warned that the tunnels could harm the city’s efforts to attract or retain entrepreneurs or young talent.
And Yolanda Park, a staffer with the Catholic Charities’ Environmental Justice Project, suggested that the very health of Stockton residents is at stake.
“There are those who would see the further contamination of our drinking water as necessary collateral damage,” she said. “How can the deterioration of our health be an acceptable side effect?
The tunnels fundamentally change the plumbing of the Delta, by diverting some fresh Sacramento River water before it reaches the heart of the estuary. Currently, that water flows through the Delta to giant pumps near Tracy, a setup that has proven deadly for threatened and endangered fish.
“The situation in the Delta remains harmful for fish and it puts millions of people and millions of acres of farmland at risk of their supply being disrupted,” John Laird, the state’s secretary for natural resources, told the water board.
State officials say they’ll be able to meet water quality standards in the Delta even after the tunnels are built. Letty Belin, senior counsel for the U.S. Department of Interior, indicated the Obama administration’s support. “Now is the time to act,” she said. “The cost of doing nothing is too great. We believe the (tunnel project) has great promise to address some of the great challenges before us.”
For the tunnels to be built, the water board must agree to allow the operators of the state and federal water projects to divert their water from a new location. That is the purpose of the hearing. To make that finding, the board must conclude that the plan won’t harm any other legal users of water, nor cause unreasonable harm to fish and wildlife.
After informal public comments Tuesday through Thursday of this week, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday is expected to begin presenting its case for the tunnels in a formal setting not unlike a courtroom. Two members of the water board will preside like judges.
It will be many months before anything is decided. The proceedings have been split into two parts, and the second part is expected to begin no sooner than February 2017.

— Contact reporter Alex Breitler at (209) 546-8295 or abreitler@recordnet.com. Follow him atrecordnet.com/breitlerblog and on Twitter @alexbreitler.

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