Dave Jacobs 530 646-9110


April 21, 2018    Headlines
Spring Stripers

Sacramento River:

The Sacramento River above Verona is finally starting to get some play as Scotty Marran of Yuba City was out on Thursday with his sister-in-law from Washington, and he said, “The Feather dropped again so we to Tisdale on the Sac side and found our fish above Grimes. We had limits for two just as we ran out of minnows, and the stripers were from 19-inches to 7 pounds. It was pretty slow overall, but they are here, and we just have to search for a school.”


Feather River:

J. D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing was on the Feather and the Sacramento over the past few days, and he said Thursday 4-19, “The Feather is just about over as the fish are bailing out with the dropping water levels. The water is still cool on the Sacramento at 52 degrees, but we found some marks in the shape of Christmas trees which are an indicator of spawning stripers. The spawn is ready to go off, and with the warm weather coming, things will happen fast. It is really good fishing up here right now, but it should end sooner than later. We released a 20 pounder on Wednesday on the troll, and we went through 30 to 40 stripers to 5 pounds with swimbaits or jigs. Both rivers are dropping fast.”

Feather River:

J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing was on the Feather on Sunday 4-14, and he said, “There are so many boats up here as the Delta has been muddy and the Sacramento River is just starting to produce, and we had plenty of action by both drifting minnows or spooning. The fish are moving around, and there are plenty of small, legal stripers good for fish tacos. The water has cooled off a bit since the last storm, and it may cool off more with the coming storm. Trollers have also caught fish as the river is clear above Yuba City, but it is dirty below the Yuba.  I went up the Yuba on Saturday, and there is zero visibility. We watched a huge cliff cave in like a glacier calving, and there must have been a ½ ton of dirt coming off of the side of the cliff.” Richey will be moving back between the Feather, the Sacramento River, and the Delta depending on the location of the striped bass.


GGSA echoes State fish experts’ warning on proposed Sac Valley Reservoir

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The proposed Sites Reservoir Project in the Sacramento Valley would take water from the Sacramento River.

In comments filed with the California Water Commission, GGSA is echoing warnings from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that far more water is needed in the Sacramento than levels the backers of the proposed Sites Reservoir are planning to divert at.  The reservoir, proposed for the western Sacramento Valley, plans to divert river water even at low flows when it’s needed by salmon.

The idea that water can be diverted from the Sacramento River during low flows doesn’t square with levels needed to keep salmon healthy according to state fish and wildlife officials.

Backers of the new giant reservoir say it will help heal the environment.   The southern California’s Metropolitan Water District say their investment in the reservoir would only makes sense if the Delta tunnels project to move it around the Delta is built, which many now consider doubtful.

After GGSA call state water agency finally agrees to pay for tagging hatchery fish


After hard advocacy by GGSA, the California Dept of Water Resources (DWR) agreed to pay to mark and tag Feather River Hatchery fall run baby salmon.  These fish have been adipose fin-clipped and tagged for over 15 years, providing an unbroken series of data on survival and straying.  Until now, DWR has never paid for this even though they are obligated to as part of required mitigation for operation of the Oroville dam.  The cost had been borne by the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife using emergency drought funds which are now dried up.  CDFW was unable to resolve the dispute with DWR until GGSA got involved and successfully made the case with higher ups in state and federal government that paying for tagging and clipping is part of DWR’s mitigation responsibility.

Outlook for 2018 season

The forecast of adult Sacramento River salmon in the ocean at about 230,000 is very close to what was predicted last year at this time.  Anglers will get an idea of what kind of season we’ll get in 2018 after the Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting wraps up March 14. Fishing is expected to be restricted due to the relatively low number of Sacramento fall run and protected winter run forecast to be in the ocean now.  Klamath River salmon will be less of a concern in 2018 as their numbers are forecast to be considerably higher than last year.

Because fishery managers over predicted last year’s fall run returns, they have purposely “under predicted” this year’s.  Based on 24,400 two year “jacks” returning to spawn in 2017, about 230,000 adult three year old salmon are predicted to be in the ocean now.  If last year’s predictions had been right, this year’s prediction would likely be closer to 400,000 adult salmon in the ocean now. Federal fishery managers have signaled they would like to see more than the minimum target of 122,000 adult salmon return to spawn in 2018.  They are shooting for over 150,000 to make it back and spawn.

In past years where two year old returns numbered around 24,000, much higher forecasts of three year old adult salmon in the ocean the following spring were made and generally decent fishing seasons were the rule.  For instance, 20,000 two year old spawners in 2013 converted into a forecast of just under 635,000 adult salmon in the ocean in the spring of 2014.  Some fishermen are questioning why last year’s two year olds aren’t leading to a similar robust forecast for the 2018 fishing season.

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