July 19, 2014    Headlines
 Sac & American Shad Pushing Up
Upper Sac Rainbows

Sacramento River/Freeport:
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported no salmon were landed on Thursday after a few were taken by anglers jigging near the Freeport Bridge with Slammer Minnows. Striper fishing remained decent with sardines coated with garlic oil. There are a ‘lot of shakers’ but legal fish can be found on blood worms, pile worms, or sardines. Catfish action is good in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel with chicken livers or night crawlers. Smallmouth bass are hitting Speed Traps or crawdad-patterned crankbaits along the rockpiles in the Sacramento River or Steamboat Slough.
Hogan Brown of Hogan Brown Fly Fishing out of Chico reported on Lost Coast Outfitters that ‘Midsummer is striper time on the lower Sacramento from Butte City up through Los Molinas, and so far, fishing has been good with most days and angler will get a shot at a 10 to 20-pound fish with plenty of shakers and keeper size fish in the system.”

Feather River:
Raith Heryford of RH Guide Service reported slower conditions near the Outlet Hole on Thursday 7-17 after Wednesday’s 8 limits of big fish. They landed one in the early morning on the anchor with Brad’s Killer Fish coated with Pro Cure’s Sardine Gel on the sardine-wrap before boondoggling with roe on a 6-ounceweight for 2 more salmon, losing 3 more in the process. He added, “One guy on the bank landed a big salmon using a Blue Fox spinner with a single hook, and there are a few more boats that picked up salmon near the Outlet.” He will be on a reconnaissance mission on Friday with a few other guides, searching up and down the river for salmon on the anchor and by boondoggling roe.
Fil Torres of Bass Tackle Depot in Oroville said, “The Afterbay is starting to release water, and this will change conditions on the Feather with increased flows and the warmer water from the Afterbay.” The water is held in the afterbay to warm up prior to releases intended for the local rice farmers.

Sacramento River Salmon Opens July 16th
The 2014 Salmon season kicks off in one week on July 16th and recent increases in water releases off Shasta Dam make for a very promising opener. Currently on July 8th flows off Shasta dam have been increased to 10,000cfs. This pulse flow has created ideal conditions with water temps still holding at 58 degrees. These higher flows are likely due to an increase in salinity in the Delta as water managers try their best to manage storage for the future, water temps for fish and the risk of saltwater intrusion in the Delta.
The Sac below Red Bluff opens to fishing on July 16th with the upper river north of Red Bluff opening on August 1st. We are seeing good numbers of springers on both the Feather and Battle Creek and with the current highish flows (10K of Shasta, 7K at Hamilton City) the opener looks real promising.
Scott Feist will be scouting this week in the Chico area and has room in late July. Pictured left is Scott's new Willie that is one of the finest platforms in the Central Valley.
Guide Dave Jacobs is currently "playing" in Alaska and will also be running trips in July and has lots of room in August.
These higher flows should translate into great scores opening weekend and our sponsors can't wait to get out and see smiling clients and bent rods.

Sacramento River/Metro Area:
On Monday 6-30
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported a few shad continue to be found in the upper stretches of the American River for fly fishermen.
Jack at Johnson’s Bait in Yuba City reported a tremendous turnout during Saturday’s salmon seminars featuring Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Service and Big Jon Enos of Big Jon’s Guide Service. There is great enthusiasm for the upcoming river salmon season beginning on July 16th, and the flows are up on both the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. A group of stripers came up a few weeks back, and fishing has been decent from Tisdale to Ward’s while bank fishermen on the Feather River at Shanghai Bend are also getting in on the action. Kayak fishermen are reporting stripers chasing bait on the Feather. There have been no reports of shad this week.

Upper Sac Rainbows and Shad
Upper Sac Valley guide Dave Jacobs reports excellent rainbow trout action in the Redding to Anderson section of the river. He is putting his clients into 15 to 25+ fish per day. Most are biting side drifted globugs and doubles are common. Most run around 2 to 3 pounds with the occasional for to 5 pounder pushing 24" in the mix. This is a great catch and release fishery for kids and old timers alike. Pictured above a "double in the net" sent in by Dave Jacobs on Friday 6-20
In late morning and afternoon hours he is switching over to shad side casting small jig-heads with a small curly tail grubs. He reports that the shad are grouped up and when you find a big school it's nonstop action through the afternoon hours.
Dave is also finding some success over on the Trinity where he is seeing 1 to 3 springers per day. He says the fish are now as high as Lewiston with even bigger groups holding in the deeper holes around Gray's Falls. He will be running trips on both the Sc and Trinity this month. We will be updating the Klamath / Trinity page later today.

The Central Valley salmon season beings July 16th. Fish and Wildlife officials at the Feather hatchery estimate that 5000 springers have made their way into the low flow section below the hatchery. Higher pulse flows expected in late June will only bring more fish in the system. Colder pulses of water will likely bring fish into the upper Sac. Water temp will play a big role in how guides strategize their salmon plans this year.
Guides Dave Jacobs and Scott Feist with Feisty Fish guide service have space available for the early season dates.
Pictured right: a couple of clients of Scott Feist show off a pair of Sac chromers caught in 2013.

Alaska Vacation
For readers looking for an Alaska adventure we just had ONE week become available at our Kenai peninsula vacation cabin.
The week of August 31st to September 7th is prime time for silver salmon on all the Kenai peninsula rivers.

Our fully equipped, coastal home sits on three wilderness acres on the "middle peninsula".  Being centrally located we are within 30 minutes of five rivers including the Kenai, Kasilof and Anchor and just 20 minutes north of the saltwater tractor launches in Ninilchik. We also have beach access to some of the best razor clam areas in the world literally right out our back door.
Most of our guests do a combination of fishing on their own and a day or three of guided river, fly-out or saltwater trips between. With our centrally based location your options are unlimited.
For all our guest's we include a three hour tutorial (at our Petaluma home) covering tackle, tactics, best locations. We can also hook you up with some of the best guide, charter and fly-out contacts in the area.

The three bedroom/ 2 bath cabin comfortably sleeps 6 and weekly rates are just $1400 per week (Sunday to Sunday). Additional info can be found here.
If you have any questions please give us a call at 707 479-0992

Putting some myths about California’s drought to rest
By Jay Lund, Jeffrey Mount and Ellen Hanak

As the effects of the drought worsen, two persistent water myths are complicating the search for solutions. One is that environmental regulation is causing California’s water scarcity. The other is that conservation alone can bring us into balance. Each myth has different advocates. But both hinder the development of effective policies to manage one of the state’s most important natural resources.

Let’s consider the first myth, that water shortages for farms are the result of too much water being left in streams for fish and wildlife. Claims are circulating that California’s farms have lost 4 million acre-feet annually because of environmental policies, and some have even suggested that the severe, long-term declines in groundwater levels in the San Joaquin Valley are a result of environmental cutbacks.

Since the early 1990s, efforts to improve environmental conditions have indeed reduced water supply reliability, particularly for San Joaquin Valley farmers who rely on exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But blaming these efforts for today’s critical supply issues vastly overstates the role of environmental regulations.

By our calculations, restrictions on Delta exports, coupled with new restrictions on flows on the San Joaquin River, have cost San Joaquin Valley farmers no more than 1.5 million acre-feet per year in reduced water deliveries – a sizable amount, but far less than 4 million acre-feet. During the current drought emergency, environmental restrictions have been significantly relaxed to make more water available for farms and cities, with most of the remaining Delta outflows dedicated to keeping water in the Delta fresh enough for local farmers.

And while reduced surface water has likely accelerated groundwater overdraft in the Valley – especially since new Delta pumping restrictions in the late 2000s – the notion that environmental restrictions are the origin of overdraft is unfounded.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, farmers in the Valley have been mining groundwater at an average annual rate of 1.5 million acre-feet per year since long before Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in 1972. Nothing seems to change this overall pattern, including construction of the State Water Project. Water demand in the San Joaquin Valley simply exceeds available supply. What’s more, the Valley’s water demands are likely increasing with the shift to permanent orchards and vineyards – now more than 40 percent of total irrigated farm acreage.

What about the second myth? Can conservation really create abundant “new”water? Of course, new technology and changing water use habits have yielded long-term declines in per capita water consumption in California, and this drought is likely to spur more reductions. New irrigation techniques and better crop varieties, along with rising commodity prices, have helped California’s agricultural industry steadily increase production and profits. Farmers have become more economically efficient in using their water.

Some claim that potential dramatic yields of more than 10 million acre-feet of new water – equivalent to 10 full Folsom Reservoirs – can be had from conservation measures that draw half from agricultural and half from urban users. But this is just not credible.

In fact, conservation does not always yield new water, because the water saved is often not wasted in the first place – it is already reused. This is especially true in agriculture.

Irrigation water that is not consumed by crops flows back into rivers or seeps into groundwater basins. Indeed, the single largest source of groundwater recharge in the Central Valley is irrigation. Studies from around the world consistently show that increased irrigation efficiency often does not decrease net water use. Indeed, these technologies often encourage farmers to plant more crops, worsening long-term declines in groundwater availability. The only way to generate reductions in water use on the scale imagined is to fallow several million acres of farmland.

In the urban environment, steady reductions in per capita water use since the early 1990s have allowed total urban use to remain steady at about 8.5 million acre-feet annually, despite the addition of 7 million new residents. Further savings – especially from more drought-tolerant landscapes – will be needed. But because about a third of urban water already gets reused – it also returns to rivers or groundwater basins – it’s simply not possible to achieve the level of new water that some have imagined.

The reality is that conservation is a valuable and necessary part of a portfolio of approaches to water supply management, but it will not produce vast quantities of new water for California.

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Californians need to make continued progress in managing our scarce water resources to get through this drought – and future droughts – while protecting the state’s economy, society and environment. This requires a common understanding of the causes of water scarcity, and practical, reasoned solutions – not blame games and wishful thinking.

Jay Lund is director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis and an adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. Jeffrey Mount and Ellen Hanak are senior fellows at PPIC.

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