MONTEREY

Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951


Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866

 
 

August 25, 2014    Headlines

Rockfish LIMITS!
Spotty Salmon /Albacore Offshore


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish action south at Point Sur on Thursday 8-21 with the Checkmate returning with 23 limits of rockfish and 23 ling cod, including two at 16-pounds on a recent trip. The ling cod action slowed on Sunday 8-24 with Captain Nick Lemon on the Star of Monterey returning with 24 ling cod to go with 35 limits of rockfish, leading Arcoleo to comment, “The lings were spotty today.” The Caroline went to Carmel Bay for 25 limits of rockfish and 25 ling cod with both boats jigging up fresh squid before rockfishing . Arcoleo said,“We have been jigging up market-grade squid for bait before each trip, and the fresh dead squid really decreases the time involved in putting together limits.”
Out of Randy’s Sport Fishing, limits of rockfish are the rule with school fish such as widows, blues, yellows, and olives along with the occasional vermilion on the local reefs from Point Joe to Carmel Bay. They are focusing upon the school rockfish, but six to eight ling cod are hitting the decks on a daily basis.
The huge market-grade squid schools that have inhabited Monterey Bay throughout the season remain, and commercial seiners continued to offload up to 60 tons per evening of the tasty cephalopods.
Mackerel have entered the bay over the past week, and shore fishermen are targeting the desired blue mackerel with anchovies or sardines.
Halibut fishing remained best along the Moss Landing beaches, but there have been 10 to 15 boats working the beach at the Monterey Beach Hotel on a daily basis, drifting fresh dead squid.

Capitola:
White sea bass and halibut are the story in the local waters, but the sea bass are coming in groups of ones and twos, rather than the big numbers found off of the San Mateo coastline. Mackerel have moved into the bay, and halibut have been taken on the live bait. Rockfishing remains solid at Mile Reef for widows, blues, blacks, and the occasional ling cod.


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish action south at Point Sur on Thursday with the Checkmate returning with 23 limits of rockfish and 23 ling cod, including two at 16-pounds. He said, “We have been jigging up market-grade squid for bait before each trip, and the fresh dead squid really decreases the time involved in putting together limits.” They have some room on Sunday with plenty of openings throughout the next week. Arcoleo also touted the white sea bass action up the coast near Half Moon Bay with commercial fishermen heading north to solid scores of the ‘ghosts.’ The squid are still thick in the bay with one commercial boat offloading 60 tons on Wednesday night.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
It was Sunday afternoon in Santa Cruz. As the tourists packed up from the beach and Boardwalk to head back over the hill, a select group of pint-sized pescadores gathered outside the gate of “F” Dock at the Santa Cruz Harbor. Clutching various fishing rods and tackle boxes, each dreamed of landing the biggest fish on this special twilight trip aboard Stagnaro’s flagship Velocity.
Captain Mike Baxter has retired from full time fishing, but occasionally fills in as relief skipper for Stagnaro’s Sportfishing on the weekend outings. Having teenage kids of his own, Baxter came up with the plan to hold the first annual Grom Fishing Derby aboard the Velocity. The idea was met with great enthusiasm, and the Velocity sailed into choppy evening seas with 20 kids plus a few parents aboard.
Fishing was tough and conditions less than optimal. It was windy with a bit of a swell. Baxter found his spot though, and held the big Velocity on the tip of South Rock Reef where rockfish filled the sonar screen. Once the crowd got comfortable with the fishing techniques, fish soon littered the deck. The bite was hot and heavy for small to medium sized widow rockfish. The occasional brown and vermilion were also hoisted over the rail. A few lingcod took the bait, including a 17-pound beast with a head like a basketball, caught by Ashley Held from Capitola. Before long, everyone had caught their limits.
Held won the “Biggest Fish” trophy for her enormous ling. Second place was captured by Kobe Hickey of Santa Cruz who worked extra hard for a lingcod, this one in the five-pound range. Third place went to Capitola’s Shane Baxter. Often mentioned in this report, Shane came through with a good-sized rockfish to secure his spot on the leaderboard. All three received an awesome Abu-Garcia rod and reel combo in addition to the coveted golden trophies.
The fourth trophy for the day went to Luke Reason from Ben Lomond. Reason earned the “Best Sport” award for catching and then releasing a huge yelloweye rockfish. Yelloweye are a protected species and must be released immediately. Deckhands on the Velocity retuned the big rockfish to the sea so quickly there was not even time for a photo. Reason’s yelloweye was estimated to weigh about 18 pounds, but he let it go with a smile.
Many thanks to Stagnaro’s Sportfishing, Bayside Marine, Captain Mike Baxter and the hard-working parents who worked the deck on this special trip.
Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM. Send your photos, comments or questions toscruzfishing@yahoo.com


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said the Checkmate posted 12 limits of rockfish and 14 ling cod fishing the local reefs on Monday 8-18. They have room every day this week with the exception of Friday and Saturday. Private boaters and commercial fishermen are finding great action for halibut from the beaches off of Moss Landing drifting fresh dead squid. A number of cabezon have been landed from Chris’s boats, and there were two cabs in the 15-pound range sacked this week.
 


Tuna!
The tuna are beginning to show waaaaaaayyyyyyy offshore and Tom Joseph on the FishOn should be given extra credit for finding the first "confirmed" fish of the season. There have been many rumors
over the past week or so of fish caught and "my buddy said" but we haven't been able to confirm a single one until today, Monday 8-12. Tom ran with two other boats out of Half Moon Bay. The others stopped on a break outside the Guide but Tom kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny. Tom said that the water temps at the Gum Drop were good but the water color was green and dirty and temps at 63 were too warm. He went through a "river" of cold water where temps dropped briefly to 54 degrees and then they hit another break where it jumped to 58 degrees and then a mile later to 60 degrees. It was there (37.35 and 124.25 or 105 miles from Half Moon Bay) they found the fish. They landed  six with a 35 pound average including two that went 42 and 44 pounds. Huge, make that incredibly big albacore for this early in the season. Tom said the two other boats worked outside the Gumdrop with one boat hooked 16 and landed 6 and the other landed 12. Tom burned 104 gallons of fuel and returned with just 12 gallons to spare. There has been some great reports of bluefin off southern Cal and albacore off Central Oregon and hopefully both meet in the middle off out coastal waters in the coming weeks. Tom will be running daily weather permitting through October. He is currently based out of Half Moon Bay but could return to Santa Cruz depending on where the best action is found. 408 348-4866


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported great rockfish action both south at Point Sur and along the local reefs. On Thursday 8-7 the Caroline took a 14-man charter south to Sur for limits of both rockfish and ling cod while the Check Mate scored 16 limits of both rockfish and lings fishing locally. They are sold out for the weekend, but there is plenty of room next weekend due to the annual Pebble Beach Concours de’Elegance in Monterey taking up the majority of local hotels.

 

Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
A tropical low-pressure system passed through the area on Wednesday, bringing grey skies, some scattered rain and putting inshore fish off the bite. Hopefully the good fishing will rebound by the weekend. And, fishing has been very good in most areas around the Monterey Bay. Things are changing as the season progresses, but there are still a variety of species to pursue throughout the Bay and the wild coasts to the north and south.
Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing is taking advantage of the big halibut lying in the flat sandy areas near Moss Landing and Pajaro beaches. Jones sent the Kahuna out specifically for halibut this week and posted decent scores on the flatfish. Friday 11 anglers landed 15 halibut to 27 pounds as well as eight starry flounder. On Monday 10 anglers landed only three flatties, with four lost at the boat. That trip netted 11 flounder. A few halibut were reported caught from the Mile Buoy area of Santa Cruz, and Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait has seen flatties caught every day. Most of the Capitola fish are coming from the Cement Ship area. With the warm water temperatures, look for halibut in slightly deeper water than is usual for this time of year. 60-70 feet of water looks like the best depth lately.
If you can’t find a flatty, change out to circle hooks and look for bait balls on the bottom just outside in 100-120 feet of water. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine reports a decent salmon bite due south of Santa Cruz Harbor and also has weighed in a few fish caught from the West Jetty. Jetty anglers are using the tried and true pink worm with a floating fish pill with a small sliding sinker or splitshot weight. Remember hooks must be barbless for salmon, review the regulations if needed. The bulk of harbor salmon have not yet arrived, but a few are coming through.
Rockfishing remains the same. It’s limit style fishing for the entire Monterey Bay and beyond. Lingcod in particular are prevalent this year. Chris’ Fishing Trips ion Monterey posted limits of rockfish (210) and lingcod (42) on the Checkmate Monday and 200 rockfish with 35 lings Tuesday for the 20 anglers aboard the Caroline.
* While the Santa Cruz Port Commission is deliberating fishing ordinances, a strict interpretation of current rules is enforced. No fishing whatsoever is being allowed inside the harbor. Hopefully, that will adjust when the commission meets again on the matter Aug. 12. Your voice can still count toward preserving salmon fishing within the Santa Cruz Harbor. Please go to mbstp.org and email your public comment in favor of harbor fishing.
Allen Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM.

Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported continued incredible rockfishing with the Check Mate scoring limits of rockfish and limits of lings for 29 anglers fishing south at Point Sur while the Caroline stayed local for 3/4thlimits of rockfish and near limits of lings at 27 for 15 anglers on Sunday 8-2. The market-grade squid are still in the bay, and a handful of commercial squid boats are working the bay. Halibut fishing has been very good at the beaches along Moss Landing. They have plenty of room on their rockfish trips this week.

Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey
reported continued outstanding ling cod and rockfish action with a combined 42 limits of rockfish and ling cod on the Caroline and Check Mate on Thursday 7-31. He said, “A few halibut are showing up off of Moss Landing.” They are filled through the weekend on all fishing trips with the first room this coming Monday. The water temperature is holding at 62 degrees in Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Today’s report is dedicated mainly to Captain Jim Rubin, owner and skipper for Captain Jimmy Sportfishing. Rubin has retired from the charter fishing business and sold his beloved Becky Ann to an excellent outfit operating from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Captain Jimmy spent the 1980’s and 1990’s commercial fishing for salmon and Dungeness crab in the Monterey Bay, eventually converting the original Becky Ann to a six-pack charter boat. In 2005, he upgraded to a beautiful 31-foot Island Hopper that now bears the name Becky Ann.
Rubin has long been known as a “high-liner” amongst the sport charters on Monterey Bay. His clients experienced a pristine clean boat that was fast, roomy and most often came back to port with limits. Renowned for his salmon and crab combo trips, Rubin also hosted thousands of anglers in pursuit of rockfish, lingcod, halibut and offshore albacore. In Rubin’s world, customer service was just as important as finding and catching fish, which earned him a vast and loyal following.
You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Captain Jimmy is on the north side of 70. Still hale and hearty, Rubin will be back on the Bay soon, on a new private boat, fishing just for food and for fun. No one is more deserving of such a retirement. Thank you, Captain Jimmy for your many years of friendship and your dedication to the fishing community of Santa Cruz.
The Becky Ann and Captain Jimmy Sportfishing will be sorely missed in the Santa Cruz Harbor.
The San Francisco buyer is keeping the boat’s name (as is fitting) and in a rare bit of serendipity, his first name is also Jim. Even on Fisherman’s Wharf, the business title will remain as Captain Jimmy Sportfishing.
To summarize local fishing for the week, it has been very good. Rockfish and plenty of legal lingcod are biting well from all the local reefs, and sea conditions have allowed boats to travel as far north as Franklin Point for the larger variety of bottom fish. Halibut fishing is resurging. Most of the halibut this week were caught in 60-70 feet of water, and success was reported from Natural Bridges to the Cement Ship. A good number of large flatties were reported this week, including a 34-pound halibut caught by John Hunter out of Capitola and a 40-pound beast pictured on the Bayside Marine website. At least one white sea bass was hooked on squid near the Mile Buoy, but the offshore albacore hunters have not yet located any tuna schools despite very warm water temperatures offshore.

• While the Santa Cruz Port Commission is deliberating fishing ordinances, a strict interpretation of current rules is enforced. No fishing whatsoever is being allowed inside the harbor. Hopefully, that will adjust when the commission has its final vote on the matter Aug. 12. Your voice can still count toward preserving salmon fishing within the Santa Cruz harbor. Please go to mbstp.org and email your public comment in favor of harbor fishing.

Allen Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM.

Monterey:
 
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish and ling cod action on Sunday 7-27 south at Point Sur with the Caroline returning with 26 limits of ling cod and 26 limits of rockfish while the Check Mate scored 36 limits of rockfish and 26 ling cod. Arcoleo said, “The rockfish were all quality Point Sur fish.” They are filled on all fishing trips this week with the exception of Thursday. The water temperature has cooled from 64 degrees to 61 degrees within the past few days. Salmon fishing remained slow with a few fish ‘here and there.’

Monterey:
Keith at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported the Caroline went rockfishing on Thursday 7-24 for 20 ling cod and 20 limits of rockfish. The other boats have been whale watching due to high demand with the large pod of whales holding near Moss Landing. On Wednesday, the Caroline made drifts for halibut without success before hitting the reefs for 8 ling cod and limits of rockfish for 8 anglers. They are sold out on all fishing trips throughout the weekend.

Santa Cruz Report by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
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Warm water and an abundance of bait have contributed to some epic fishing days on the Monterey Bay the past couple weeks. Lunging humpbacks, cruising pods of dolphins, diving pelicans and black flocks of shearwaters stretch for miles taking advantage of the feast. Below the sea surface a similar repast iMonterey:
 
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish and ling cod action on Sunday 7-27 south at Point Sur with the Caroline returning with 26 limits of ling cod and 26 limits of rockfish while the Check Mate scored 36 limits of rockfish and 26 ling cod. Arcoleo said, “The rockfish were all quality Point Sur fish.” They are filled on all fishing trips this week with the exception of Thursday. The water temperature has cooled from 64 degrees to 61 degrees within the past few days. Salmon fishing remained slow with a few fish ‘here and there.’
s occurring. Halibut, rockfish, lingcod, striped bass and salmon are numerous and very active right now. Fishing is good.
Rockfish limits have been common since the season opened in May. Limits are still the rule, though many boats are taking advantage of gentle sea conditions to travel north or south outside of Monterey Bay, where the fish are bigger and hit more quickly. Lingcod in particular are coming on the bite now. In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips’ latest reports indicate full limits of lingcod for their anglers on Sunday and Monday this week. Scores were 50 lings on the Caroline, and 54 lingcod fishing from the Checkmate.
Ken Stagnaro from Stagnaro’s Sportfishing in Santa Cruz submitted a similar report this week. “Cod fishing has been on the upswing this last week with our short trips getting near limits and several ling cod per trip. The longer seven-hour trip did well on both the six-pack boat and the public trip on Velocity. Last trip Velocity had limits of big yellows and browns with 31 lingcod up to 15 pounds. The average ling was 10 pounds! Sea Stag got limits of fish and four lings on the their three-man charter.” Rockfishing is still very good near the Port of Monterey and off Pacific Grove, and in Santa Cruz from Capitola to Natural Bridges. White shrimp fly jigs tipped with squid will do the trick, but swimbaits are producing well and live bait will always get bit.
In the“more good news” category, Boccie Boy Bait has live anchovies available at the Santa Cruz Harbor at the end of “S” Dock. Owner Carl Azevedo has been netting big piles of quality five to six-inch anchovies, now curing in his receiver. Live bait is highly recommended for halibut fishing, and now is a good time to pursue the big flatfish. We have received reports of halibut success from Natural Bridges down to La Selva Beach in the past week, with a good number of halibut in the 25-30-pound class caught in 40-60 feet of water.
Salmon fishing has been more hit than miss this past week. Good scores, including boat limits, have been reported from Moss Landing and the Seaside area as well as the Soquel Hole. Trollers are getting fish more quickly, but moochers have a good shot when they key in on the massed anchovy bait balls. A few big salmon were reported caught from the west jetty of the Santa Cruz Harbor, by anglers using pink steelhead worms and a small egg sinker or splitshot, but the mass of fish has not yet entered the Harbor.
While the Santa Cruz Port Commission is deliberating fishing ordnances, a strict interpretation of current rules is in force. No fishing whatsoever is being allowed inside the harbor. Hopefully that will adjust when the Commission has their final vote on the matter on August 12. Your voice can still count towards preserving salmon fishing within the Santa Cruz Harbor. Please go to www.mbstp.org
for email contact with your public comment in favor of Harbor fishing.
Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM. Send your photos, comments or questions toscruzfishing@yahoo.com


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ s Landing in Monterey reported limits of both rockfish and ling cod for 28 anglers on the Checkmate on Thursday 7-17, repeating Wednesday’s performance of 30 limits of rockfish and ling cod. They are running bottom fishing trips throughout the weekend with a coastal halibut trip next Tuesday.

Monterey:
On Friday 7-11
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ s Landing in Monterey reported the salmon fishing went south for their boat as the Check Mate was only able to find one salmon after heading south to Cypress Point where there were salmon found the previous day. After losing one large fish, they went outside of Moss Landing for their only fish of the day. Arcoleo said, “Some private boats reported limits off of Moss Landing on Friday.” Rockfishing remained outstanding with the Caroline scoring limits of rockfish and 50 lings for 27 fishermen working the local reefs on Friday. They are full on Saturday, but there is room for either salmon or rockfish on Sunday. They are also taking a halibut trip on Tuesday for $75.00/angler.
A few private boats went outside of the Monterey Weather Buoy in search of albacore on Friday, and outside of three longfins reported at the Guide and another at Davidson Sea Mount, there were no fish or bait reported along the 60 degree line. With El Nino pushing up we should see the longfins arrive in force early this season.
Captain Tom Joseph with Fish On Sportfishing will be running trips 3 to 4 days per week starting in late July. Use the link above for dates and reservations.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Ocean conditions were mild this past week, providing plenty of opportunity for anglers to fish our near shore waters. An increasing variety of catch is available as we hit the full stride of summer.
In Monterey, rockfishing has been the main ticket. Chris’Fishing Trips reports limits of rockfish and limits of lingcod up to 19 pounds on Checkmate for 15 anglers on Tuesday, and plan to fish for salmon over the weekend, as the bite looks to be improving near Point Pinos as well as Moss Landing. Randy’s Sportfishing in Monterey has been doing equally well. Randy’s ran morning and afternoon trips on Monday with limits for both groups.
Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing has been tracking the on-and-off again salmon bite in front of Moss Landing Harbor. Every few days the bait groups up at the tip of the Monterey Marine Canyon there. Hungry salmon working the edges of those bait balls provide a good mooch bite for those fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. The Kahuna brought six king salmon over the rail last Friday. When the salmon are hiding, Jones sends the boat down towards Pt. Sur for rockfish and lingcod. “We are seeing vermilion up to six pounds and lingcod from 18-25 pounds are not uncommon,” Jones reports.
Capitola is a good bet right now for halibut. Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait is weighing in halibut everyday from private boats, skiff rentals and local kayak anglers. Top marks go to Peter Kellison for his 30-pound flatty caught on Wednesday on a live mackerel near the Mile Reef in Capitola. Mike and Adam Irino worked the drift from the Mile Reef to the Sponge Bob Buoy for three big lingcod and four halibut to 25 pounds. Jigging up mackerel or smelt for bait seems to be working best, though the old standby whole squid is producing as well. Burrell himself has been on a mission for white sea bass, and was rewarded Monday with a limit of three big croakers caught near the Mile Buoy in front of the Santa Cruz Harbor. Live squid jigged up in the area did the trick for Burrell.
Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine always keeps close track of our local bite. Right now his tip is to get out early.
“The fishing remains good for the anglers who are on the bait first thing in the morning and in the late afternoon. The wind has been blowing when the fog clears up around noon. There were some sea bass and halibut caught from the Mile Buoy to Pleasure Point in 50-75 feet of water. Anglers have been having luck drifting fresh squid on the surface and half way down the water column. Salmon are still being caught in front of Moss Landing in the shallow water.”
Your action is still needed to protect salmon fishing in the Santa Cruz Harbor. Please go to www.mbstp.org
and add your voice to the incoming tide of anglers and supporters who feel salmon fishing need be preserved in the Harbor waters for those few weeks per year the kings are present.
Mike and Adam Irino
worked the drift from the Mile Reef to the Sponge Bob Buoy for three big lingcod and four halibut to 25 pounds
Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM. Send your photos, comments or questions to scruzfishing@yahoo.com



 
It's that time of year that this writer takes off to our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be gone July 13th to the 26th. This is the peak of the sockeye run and we will be putting in lots of river time chasing "reds" and of course chasing halibut, rockfish and monster lings with trips scheduled with Captain Steve Smith.
I will bring along my laptop and update reports when we are seeing major changes or "hot bites" but reports here will be sporadic at best.
Full reports will resume on July 26th. In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney

 

Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported there is optimism for the reappearance of salmon with good action for commercial fishermen off of Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County at the start of the week. The salmon fishing in Monterey Bay remained slow, but he was aware of a few fish taken by private boaters off of the Pajaro River. Their boats went rockfishing on Sunday 7-6 for limits of both rockfish and ling cod for 16 anglers on the Check Mate and 17 limits of rockfish and 17 ling cod on the Caroline. They are bottom fishing throughout the week, jigging up live squid before beginning the rockfish trips.


Golden Gate Salmon Association Backed Science Convinced Feds to Truck Salmon During Drought
In a huge win for salmon, sport & commercial anglers and farmers the Golden Gate Salmon association announced Monday 3-10 that a study that they paid for has convinced the US Fish and Wildlife Service to truck their baby fall run salmon from Coleman hatchery to Suisun and San Pablo bays. In addition, this science looks to have 100% of all the state hatchery fish from the Feather, American and Mokelumne hatcheries also truck past the problems (pumps) in the Delta.
Recent studies from 2007 to 2112 have shown that over 94% of Fall run salmon smolts released from Coleman never even make it too San Pablo Bay. In fact over 50% of Coleman released fish never survive the first 50 miles of their down stream migration. The Golden Gate Salmon Association paid for a study to clearly shows that trucking especially during the current drought is the ONLY WAY that we can ensure that there will be enough salmon to a have a salmon season in 2016. Without these measures we could see: No ocean sport or commercial salmon season in 2016 and possibly 2017
With these measures we could see a viable if not huge return of Fall run salmon three years from now. Longer term this could support the goal of a fall run of nearly 1 million fish returning the to the Central Valley rivers.
Please see the Golden Gate Salmon Association news release just below. I encourage all readers to support this incredible origination that has just done the impossible. Their science based approach to trucking salmon could be the biggest benefit to this fishery in decades.
Mike Aughney
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F
eds Agree with GGSA Call to Truck Millions of Hatchery Salmon
Contingency plans respond to extreme drought condition

California’s largest salmon hatchery may end up trucking its production this year to the Delta or San Francisco Bay for release due to the extreme drought conditions. Ordinarily the Coleman National Fish Hatchery releases its fish each year into the upper Sacramento River near Redding. From there the baby salmon migrate hundreds of miles downstream to the Delta and, under favorable conditions, on to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific.
Coleman is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and raises approximately 12 million baby salmon annually to help mitigate the impacts of Shasta Dam and federal water operations in the Upper Sacramento River on native salmon stocks. After being presented with overwhelming evidence by the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA –
www.goldengatesalmon.org) , the USFWS has agreed to transport most, if not all, of its 12 million Coleman Hatchery juvenile salmon the bay or western delta unless expected drought conditions change markedly for the better.
The USFWS made the announcement at a meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council in Sacramento. The Service acknowledged the arguments GGSA has methodically advanced since December that the continued drought presents a uniquely hostile situation that threatens the survivability of Central Valley Chinook salmon, including the hatchery salmon. GGSA maintains that low, clear, hot river conditions will likely wipe out the hatchery fish if they were dumped into the river.
“GGSA worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to move these fish rather than dump them into a drought stricken river where they’d most likely perish,” said John McManus, executive director of GGSA. “We’re grateful they heard us out and gave this issue the consideration it needs. What this means is we’ll likely have a much better salmon fishing season in 2016, when these fish reach adulthood, then we would have otherwise gotten. This could mean the difference between a shutdown of the fishery in 2016 and a decent year.”
California’s state-operated hatcheries truck much of their production annually for release in the Delta or Bay and the state took a leading role to truck even more this year due to drought impacts on Central Valley rivers. State and federally raised hatchery fish could make up most of 2016’s salmon harvest and spawning escapement.
USFWS’s plans are contingent on the amount and quality of the water in the Sacramento River when the fish are ready for release in April, May and June. The Service told the PFMC meeting it would take a significant "precipitation event" to reverse the plans to truck their fish. Drought conditions are expected to dominate in the Sacramento River and its tributaries in April, May and June.
“Transporting the baby salmon in tanker trucks and releasing them into the bay or western Delta will give them a fighting chance at reaching the ocean,” said GGSA treasurer Victor Gonella.
In addition to hostile river conditions, baby salmon this year are facing the added risk of being pulled to their deaths through the Delta Cross channel, a manmade canal built to divert water to huge pumps that send it to agriculture. Normally the Cross Channel Gates would be closed to allow salmon passage at this time of year but are now being opened when possible to dilute salt water accumulation in the interior Delta caused by the drought.
“Although the drought is creating extremely hostile conditions this year, many years are low water years and the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to transport salmon whenever low water conditions exist in the future,” said GGSA secretary Dick Pool.
A member of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council reports the Council will be drafting a letter to the USFWS requesting that it consider a similar approach in the future should drought conditions persist or again deteriorate to levels requiring action.
“As more and more fresh water is extracted from the Sacramento River and Delta for delivery to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, the salmon’s migration corridor downstream and through the Bay-Delta estuary has become a deadly gauntlet,” said GGSA vice chairman Zeke Grader who is also the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “Add drought and the Central Valley rivers and Delta become virtually impassable for salmon.”
GGSA was joined by member fishing groups in working to get the Coleman fish trucked. Members of Congress including Representatives Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson and John Garamendi, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, George Miller and Mike Honda also supported the efforts.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishing men and women, recreational anglers (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, fishing guides, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen, a Native American tribe, businesses, restaurants, fishing guides, 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 rivers that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon.


Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported no trips have gone out for the past two days, but they are heading out on a sand dab/Dungeness trip on Friday 3-7 and Saturday with another trip on Sunday if there is enough interest. He said, “Commercial anchovy fishermen are reporting large schools of anchovies from Capitola up the coast to New Year’s Island, but there are thousands of sea lions working the anchovies.” The marauding fur bags may prove problematic come salmon season.


Salmon Abundance Numbers Expected to Remain Solid In 2014
Fishery managers expect another solid salmon season in 2014. On Wednesday 2-26 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife held a meeting in Santa Rosa on the state of the salmon fishery. The expected "ocean abundance" for Sacramento Valley fall run chinook is 635,000. This compares to a preseason forecast in 2013 of 863000 Central Valley fall run or about 25% fewer fish.
Ocean abundance numbers for the second largest producer, the Klamath river are forecast to be roughly 300,000.
Central Valley Salmon account for as much as 90% of all king salmon that are harvested along the California coast and account for over 50% of king salmon caught along the Oregon coast. All in all this year's forecast if accurate (which is a big if) would be the second highest numbers since 2005.
Restrictions this coming season like the Monday / Tuesday closures we saw in June and July of 2013 likely won't happen this year. Returning numbers of endangered winter run salmon were nearly double last year and those closures were meant to protect winter run from over-harvest.
Ocean feed conditions have been incredibly healthy the past three years and if that trend continues they are other reasons to be optimistic. Fishery managers expect the numbers of fall run chinook on the Columbia river to blow out the record season set last year. In 2013 over 1 million kings returned to the Columbia, the highest return since Bonneville dam was constructed in the late 1930s. The previous record was roughly a half million fish. This year 1.6 million kings are expected to return to the Columbia. Fishery managers there are asking for increased bag limits and that some wild fish be allowed in the sport fishery. If ocean feed conditions remain healthy along the Northern and Central California coast some of these Columbia fish could end up on local angler's tables.
Reality Check:
Aside from the WAG presented by CDFW for next season there are other observations to go on. There were fair numbers of "shaker" salmon seen in the late fall of 2013 off the Golden Gate and Bodega bay but not huge numbers by a historical contrast. Many of these fish were under 12" and will likely not be of catchable size until later in 2014. Eureka based six packs did see lots of 18 to 24"  (two year olds) in their catches late last season and these fish will be of catchable size this spring. 
The Pacific Fishery Management Council will release season options and restrictions in March but most expect that we will see the Central coast salmon season open in early April. We will be updating readers on the options in the coming weeks. In the time being get your boat prepped and those party boat reservations made. Despite the current drought 2014 could shape up to be a fairly solid year.
I will have some incredible news about what the Golden Gate Salmon Association
has been doing behind the scenes soon. They are working hard get more Central Valley fish to ocean during the current drought. If they are successful we could see much less of an impact on the ocean abundance numbers in 2016. More on this later as the exact plan is still in the "works" but I promise you once released this news will be HUGE!.
Please support this great organization that has been so successful in protecting and enhancing our salmon fisheries. Please visit their website for information on their fishery rebuilding plan and all the enhancement projects they are currently working on.  Their next dinner is in Santa Rosa on April 4th. Tickets can be purchased here
. You will want to make reservations soon as the dinner is already 2/3s sold out. Their Sonoma dinner is sold out but there are dinners planned for Marin and a possible return to the Sacramento area later this year.

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/2014-salmon-season-promising-despite-California-5270825.php

http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/chinook-boom-could-hike-wild-take-break-state-record/article_f522cf52-2914-50a5-a1a3-39176addb264.html


Regulations for the MLPAs are now in effect from Pt Arena to Pigeon Point. Anglers need to know which areas are affected and the regulations and the boundaries of the different zones. Please use this link and be sure to print a map for these areas to carry with you. 


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 fishsite@aol.com and we will gladly post the information on our reports pages.

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar


Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions.  

 
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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46042

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46042

 

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