SACRAMENTO RIVER
 

June 27, 2015    Headlines
 Sac Stripers
On the guide front most are either targeting upper Sac rainbows, schoolie stripers on the middle river or headed over to the Trinity for Springer action. Dave Jacobs reports he is seeing a few springers on the Trinity to 16 pounds. Most are running 8 to 12 pounds and are coming on plugs and roe. The bite is not wide pen but they are getting a few chances each day. There are a few quality steelhead in the river as well. Dave expects the fishing to improve as water flows continue to drop and concentrate the fish.
Dave has also been targeting stripers on the Middle Sac. Here he reports the best action has been in the early morning and late evening hours. Swimbaits that imitate the small salmon smolts moving down the river.
Scott Feist is currently offering upper Sac rainbow trips. Water temp in the upper river is still under 60 degrees (it's over 70 in Colusa) and the fishing has been good. Scott will be targeting rainbows through mid July and will make the switch to salmon when the river reopens on July 16th.

Lower Sac:
Dennis Phanner of Sacramento Pro Tackle reported salmon are still kegging up at the mouth of the American River, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been citing overzealous  poachers within the past week. A few stripers have been taken on the American River in the morning as the flows have been bumped up to 2800 cfs. Shad fishing has pretty much slowed down with a few fish still in the upper American above Hazel Avenue. The only real action has been at the Port of Sacramento with Rick Tetz of Blade Runner spoons finding great action for stripers with over 30 fish caught and released on recent trips. Fishermen are trolling until the birds start working the surface. After the schools are locating, dropping spoons into the fish is the ticket.

Upper Sacramento/Feather River:
Johnson’s Bait and Tackle in Yuba City reported small stripers are still thick in the Sacramento River with Spade’s Guide Service putting  in 3 limits of stripers after catching and releasing at least 10 undersize fish for each legal lineside. The shakers are all in the 16 to 17-inch range and full of fight. They are tossing swimbaits in the early mornings. There are a few larger fish in the mix as a client had a double-digit striper come unbuttoned. In the Feather River, shad fishing has slowed considerably with no one even talking about shad at the present time.

Yuba River:
J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing is working on a project in the upper Yuba near the dam, and they haven’t hooked a salmon as of yet. Only 17 salmon have arrived at the hatchery in the 400 cfs river. He will be in north Tahoe for the next few weeks while jigging for mackinaw with a few openings left during the first two weeks of July. 


Drought Prompts Fish Evacuation at American River and Nimbus Hatcheries

With a fourth year of extreme drought conditions reducing the cold water supply available, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is moving fish out of the American River and Nimbus hatcheries for the second year in a row.
Bureau of Reclamation models suggest water temperatures at the hatcheries could be at lethal levels for cold water fish by August. CDFW has already begun to stock American River Hatchery rainbow and brown trout into state waters earlier than normal. These fish range from small fingerlings to the larger catchable size. The accelerated planting schedule will continue through mid-July when all the fish in the raceways are expected to be evacuated. This includes all the fingerling size rainbow trout that would normally be held in the hatchery to grow to catchable size for next year.
A new, state-of-the-art building at American River Hatchery, completed in early June using emergency drought funds, will enable CDFW to raise Lahontan cutthroat trout through the summer for planting into eastern sierra lakes and streams. The new building will also enable CDFW to hold a small group of rainbow trout fingerlings that are scheduled to be stocked in west side sierra put-and-grow fisheries by airplane in July. The new hatchery building utilizes water filters, ultraviolet sterilization techniques and large water chillers to keep water quality and temperatures at ideal levels for trout rearing. However, the new technology is limited to the hatchery building and not the raceways, which will limit capacity to include only the Lahontan cutthroat trout once the fish start to grow to larger sizes.
Nimbus Hatchery has already begun relocating some 330,000 steelhead to the Feather River Hatchery Annex to be held through the summer. When the water temperature at the Nimbus Hatchery returns to suitable levels in the fall, the steelhead will be brought back to Nimbus to finish growing and imprinting then will be released into the lower American River. The Feather River Hatchery Annex is supplied by a series of groundwater wells that maintain cool water temperatures throughout the year.
|The fall run Chinook salmon from Nimbus Hatchery have all been released into state waterways. If necessary, the chilled American River Hatchery building will be used this fall to incubate and hatch Chinook salmon from Nimbus Hatchery.
“Unfortunately, the situation is similar to last year,” said Jay Rowan, Acting Senior Hatchery Supervisor for CDFW’s North Central Region. “We have begun to implement contingency plans to avoid major fish losses in the two hatcheries. We want to do the best job we can to provide California anglers with good fishing experiences and communicate when there will be deviations from normal practices. With that in mind, we want to let anglers in the area know that a lot more fish than normal will be going out into area waters served by American River Hatchery.”
Rowan said that the number of fish planted at various waterbodies will increase as the planting timeframe decreases, so the fishing should be very good through the summer at foothill and mountain elevation put-and-take waters. Early fish plants now mean there won’t be as many fish available to plant in the lower elevation fall and winter fisheries, so the fishing may drop off later in the season if the fish don’t hold over well.
American River Hatchery operations focus on rearing rainbow and Lahontan cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon for recreational angling, predominantly in waters within the North Central Region. Nimbus Hatchery takes salmon and steelhead eggs from the American River and rears them to fish for six months to a year, until they are ready to be put back in the system.
To the south, San Joaquin Hatchery near Fresno expects to experience high water temperatures this summer. Transferring and stocking fish in advance of high water temperatures is planned. CDFW hopes to maintain some trout at low densities at the hatchery for the winter stocking season.
Annually, CDFW works with the Bureau of Reclamation to ensure its operations provide suitable conditions for fish at hatcheries and in the river. This year, conditions are forecasted to be dire with little flexibility in operations. Similar to last year, low reservoir storage and minimal snow pack will result high water temperatures over summer and very low river flows by fall.
Fall and winter rains, if received in sufficient amounts, will cool water temperatures enough to allow both hatcheries to come back online and resume operations.


Upper Sac
Dave Jacobs has been reporting great action on his recent shad trips. He is putting his cleints into both big numbers of shad and lots of small post spawn stripers that are working their way back down river. Dave has lot of space open for those looking to target both shad and trout on the upper Sac through June. He is also running some limited spring salmon trips on the Trinity as those fish begin to push up in June. His Sac river salmon trips begin on July 16th.
The following is Dave's report from Wednesday 5-27.

Very nice schools of American shad have made their move into the Sacramento River from Colusa upriver through Red Bluff now.  Best bets for shad have been side drifting small brightly colored weighted jigs with small curly tailed grubs trailing behind.  The best color jigs are red, chartreuse, hot pink and flame orange.  The best curly tailed grubs have been in the one or two inch size and colors of champagne, chartreuse or bubble gum pink.  When a good school of shad is found we are getting double digit hook ups on shad one to two pounds with the larger female shad mixed in three to four pounds.
With the current trout fishing closure in the upper 5.5 miles of the Sacramento River in Redding, there is still plenty of good quality trout fishing happening now below the Highway 44 bridge in Redding downriver through Red Bluff.  Best bets are still side drifting small hand tied glo bugs in various egg colored patterns for wild rainbow trout 1 to 2 pounds with the occasional three to four pound bow mixed in.  Hooking and releasing double digit rainbow trout daily is the average now in late May and good trout fishing will continue into June with the early mornings being best.
Good Luck to All
Dave


The following is a great update from long time sponsor and Guide Dave Jacobs clarifying the closures on the upper Sac.

There is inevitably going to be some confusion whenever you have some new closures or any regulation changes to our salmon fishing on the Sacramento River or anywhere in Northern California.  That is just the nature of the news business as news stories get picked up and reposted throughout the country. Fortunately, I have been able to maintain my fishing schedule and stay very involved with all of the current regulation changes that have taken place, some on the Sacramento River system and others on rivers like the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.  Here are a few of the big changes that will hopefully clear up any confusion anglers may have about this years salmon and trout fishing seasons.
The first big change is the small fishing closure on the upper Sacramento River near Redding, Ca. This is confusing to many because it talks of protecting endangered Winter salmon and no fishing to help protect these salmon.  Most just hear a few words in these news reports that circulate like CLOSED...SACRAMENTO RIVER....SALMON....FISHING.
Here is the recent change, as of April 27th, there is a closed 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River in downtown Redding to ALL FISHING.  The closed section of river is from the highway 44 bridge upriver to the base of Keswick Dam through July 31st.  This section of river will re open to trout fishing on August 1st.  THIS CLOSURE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE 2015 SACRAMENTO RIVER FALL RUN KING SALMON SEASON.

The 2015 Sacramento River Fall run king salmon season will open 150 feet below the Sycamore boat launch at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam on July 16th.  The Sacramento River above the Red Bluff Diversion Dam will open on August 1st all the way up to the Deschutes Bridge near Anderson Ca.  This year the Sacramento River will remain open to salmon fishing through December 16th.
Here is the only change to the Sacramento River salmon fishing regulations.  The possession limit has changed to four salmon in possession up from just two salmon in possession.  This is very confusing to most but this clarification may help you better understand this change.  There is a 
daily bag limit and a possession limit, each are not the same as many sometimes think.  The daily bag limit on the Sacramento River is still the same when it comes to king salmon,  each angler is allowed two king salmon per day.   The possession limit has been increased to four salmon in possession up from the previous possession limit of just two salmon.  So, an angler can now possess a total of four king salmon on their person, in their cooler or in their freezer etched. An angler can still only catch and keep in one fishing day two salmon.
Now, on to a big change in the salmon and steelhead fishing on the Klamath River this season. The biggest change is the closure to fishing at and around the mouth of Blue Creek on the Klamath River.  This closure has nothing to do with the Sacramento River salmon fishing and it only relates to a small (but very important) section of the Klamath River.  This year you cannot fish 500 feet above and one half mile below the mouth of Blue Creek where it meets the Klamath River from June 14 to September 14.  It will remain closed from 500 feet above and 500 feet below from September 15 to December 31.  This closure is for non-tribal sport fishing only.  There is also a catch and keep regulation at the spit area of the Klamath River this year.  All anglers must keep all legally caught adult salmon and cease fishing the spit area when the angler legally hooks and lands his or hers two adult king salmon for the day.


How drought management plays out in the Delta
By: Stina Va

People were left dumbfounded at the meeting called by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on its plan for emergency drought barriers along key Delta channels held on February 12th at the Clarksburg Community Church.
If the drought continues to be serious, DWR’s plan would install three temporary emergency rock barriers Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs near their confluences with the Sacramento River. A third barrier would be built across False River, which opens into Franks Tract, a large flooded island in the central Delta. The barriers would be constructed with large rocks, through which a culvert would pass to allow smaller flow of water and, potentially for fish passage. They would stay in place from May through November.
According to DWR, these barriers would be needed in order to have enough good quality fresh water to carry the state through the fall months, which are often dry in California. They will be paid for from funds left over from Proposition 50, originally passed in 2002. These funds were originally allocated for the Franks Tract Project (this was another plan to install gates in the Delta for fish). Marshall stated that $27 million has already been approved just to install the barriers. Further taxpayer money would also be needed to mitigate impacts later on and to remove them in the fall.
“We were scared to death,” exclaimed Paul Marshall, chief of the Bay-Delta office of DWR. His staff expects very high salinity levels in various parts of the Delta if the barriers are not installed to block tidal salt water. In the absence of winter storms, the big reservoirs owned by the state and federal governments upstream might be required to send stored water down the rivers to expel the salts to protect Delta exports, and would force the Delta export pumps to shut down to prevent public health violations of water quality.
Even more important, the state and federal reservoirs have much more water now than they did at this time last year. Shasta has nearly 750,000 acre-feet more now than at this time last year when it had just 1.7 MAF. Oroville has about 280,000 acre-feet more, and Folsom is at 102 percent of normal, with over a half-million acre-feet in storage.
The only thing that DWR seemed sure that it could mitigate was negative impacts to Delta boating and recreation. using a “universal boat trailer” – an idea that set the Delta locals roaring with laughter. The trailer would enable boats of any size to be lifted around the barriers.
“Please email the photos of this universal boat trailer,” a Delta resident asked. “We will do that,” Marshall quickly promised. Another Delta local skeptically commented that boat trailers would not be needed, due to the growth of water hyacinth that would intensify because of the planned barriers.
Delta people in attendance were clearly well informed, asking a variety of challenging technical questions. Most of these questions were left unanswered since last year’s meeting on drought barriers. “We’ll get back to you on that,” Marshall replied repeatedly, almost robotically. Yet at the same, he reminded Delta residents that DWR is not required to submit formal responses to comments (leaving us skeptical that Marshall’s promise to circulate photos of the phenomenal universal boat trailers may never occur).
Delta residents voiced concerns over impacts on water quality and public health, impacts on traffic, public safety and economic impacts to their islands (which are just recovering economically, crop harvests, and concern about endangered Delta fish extinction (specifically Delta smelt). Still others asked whether delta levees would be undercut by these barriers, and also why DWR has not followed any other suggestions regarding placement of the barriers in other parts of the Delta.
Remarkably, to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, DWR hopes the proposed drought barriers can be approved with a mitigated negative declaration, meaning that agencies would not have to prepare or release a more detailed environmental impact report on the project.
Anna Swenson of North Delta CARES suggested that public members request a public meeting through the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are considering the permit for these drought barriers. In a concern that echoed last year’s issues with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s documents, Swenson also insisted that DWR extend the public comment deadline by three weeks, since its environmental documents on the barriers are over 200 pages long. The current deadline for public comments to DWR on the mitigated environmental declaration will be due March 6.
Several members of the public urged DWR to prepare an environmental impact report on the project, but Marshall disregarded these requests. “I don’t want to make false promises to you,” he said.
As the meeting came to a close, Marshall reemphasized, “We hope beyond hope that the drought never gets to a point where we get to these measures [installing drought barriers].”
“We are their dinner plate,” one audience member commented in frustration. The room erupted in applause. The barriers looked to him like, “in essence, a water grab under the guise of [protection from] salinity.”
To watch video of the meeting recorded by Gene Beley of the Central Valley Business Times, click here.


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