November 19, 2015    Headlines
 Salmon Bite Slows 
Waterfowl Heats Up

Upper Sac Waterfowl:
Raith Heryford with RH Guide service reports that fresh BIG birds are moving into the Sutter area. He sent in this photo (left) of some of the birds his clients took on Wednesday 11-18. Raith will be chasing both ducks and geese through January.
We always get a few emails from readers asking "why are you posting waterfowl reports on your fishing report site"? The answer is simple, we are a family of waterfowlers and this time of year time I spend more time in the blind than on the water. Duck and goose hunting are both incredible outdoor sports and  very challenging and make for some great game that we enjoy on our family table. We post reports from top guides so that readers who are interested in trying this sport out or who already love the tradition of chasing waterfowl but don't have access to prime property can do so at an affordable price.
Back to fishing....

Sacramento River/Metropolitan Area:
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing had a great trip out of Garcia Bend reported on Tuesday 11-17 with his one man charter picking up limits by 7:10 a.m. He said, ”Great day today on the river, one great client bought the whole boat for himself again, 6:40 started fishing he was done at 7:10  The first fish was about 16 pounds The second fish took him around the boat twice and made several good long runs, under the boat a couple times and finally put this 26 pounder in the net. Then it was my turn to land one, and we missed another.

Sacramento River Salmon
Dennis Phanner of Sacramento Pro Tackle called in on Tuesday 11-17 to say , “The salmon bite never really got going around here, and it is pretty much over with. A few guys are still out there, but the majority of fish landed are dark.” Striper fishing is best in the Delta near Liberty Island. There is a Washington Outboard Club Derby this weekend out of the Port of Sacramento, but most anglers prefishing for the event are heading south from the Port towards Liberty.

Feather River:
Captain Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service sent in the following report:
“Last Saturday 11-14 I had Robert Feng from Taiwan chasing down some king salmon in the Feather River. Lucky for him some new fish moved upriver. Robert hooked three and landed one.
The other two came unbuttoned next to the boat after the tug a war match!  We also missed three other opportunities out there.”

Sac River
The Upper Sac is giving up a few big and bright late fall run kings. The fall run fish have been spawning and most of the fall run fish are dark. Dave Jacobs will be targeting the late fall fish around Redding and through early December.
On the lower river anglers are still hooking some bright fish off the mouth of the American and down to Freeport. I've seen the photos and there are still quite a few (not all) bright fish around. Quite unusual for this time of year.

Feather River
Manual with MSJ Guide Service checked in on Thursday 11-5 to report there are still some tough fighting bronzy fish on the upper Feather. Manny is hooking 2 to 4 fish per day mainly bouncing flatfish around Shangri and just up river.

Sac Valley Waterfowl:
The Central Valley waterfowl season has been a mixed bag. If you have water you have birds but many are not so fortunate. Thankfully I'm in group have had water in their ponds for the opener and hunting has been great. Other clubs in the North Valley started getting some allotments on November 1st and many others are shut down until the El Nino rains (hopefully) arrive.
The refuges have been packed as well and many are letting in far fewer reservations due to lack of water.
The good news is there are other options. Two of our Sacramento page guides are long time waterfowl guides as on top of their regular fishing businesses. Raith Heryford with R H Guide Service sent in this picture left of a hunt this past Monday 11-2. It was a blue bird day but they took a bunch of big ducks and quite a few geese. A fantastic early season hunting considering the warm windless day.
Scott Feist also runs waterfowl hunts. I have had some memorable days hunting with Scott both in the blind and field goose hunts late in the season. There is not many things more exciting than laying out under 1200+ wind socks as a flock of 100 or more geese work into the spread. You're holding your breath anxiously waiting for Scott to bark "kill em" and 10 or more geese drop from the sky. I won't even try explaining it to you who have never chased waterfowl.
Both Raith and Scott run quality professional hunts and can be booked by clicking through on the banner links above.
We will be features some of their days and scores here over the next few months.


Two major water agencies consider buying Delta island
Environmentalists say ‘water grab’ could result from land deals
Districts – one in L.A., one in Fresno – have discussed four Delta islands

Owning land also could expedite tunnels project


Two of California’s largest and most aggressive water agencies have discussed buying four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, prompting accusations by environmentalists and Delta farmers that the land purchases could be used to engineer a south state water grab.

Westlands Water District and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California have considered buying a collection of islands known as the Delta Wetlands Properties, according to recent meeting agendas for the two agencies. However, a Westlands spokesman said Monday the big Fresno-area agricultural district doesn’t expect to make a purchase offer

Control of the islands could yield significant advantages as water agencies both south and north of the Delta continue to wrestle over limited water supplies in the fourth year of drought. Buying the islands would not automatically give the new owners control of the associated water rights. But they could apply to the state for the right to take more water in wet years.

In normal years, enough water is pumped out of the Delta to serve 3 million acres of farmland and 25 million urban Southern Californians.

The four Delta islands, now used for farming, are controlled by Zurich American Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of a Swiss insurer. Zurich has been trying for 20 years to convert the islands into giant for-profit reservoirs that could be used to store and ship water to big customers south of the Delta.

Purchase of the islands also could play into ongoing negotiations over the Delta tunnels project, a controversial $16 billion plan to channel water from the north part of the Delta to existing pumping stations in the south. By purchasing the islands, Metropolitan and Westlands would eliminate the need for contentious eminent domain proceedings in that part of the project, said Craig Wilson, a former staff attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board.

The project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, has been touted as a way to improve the reliability of water deliveries to Metropolitan, Westlands and other agencies south of the Delta. The four islands are adjacent to the path of the proposed tunnels.

Michael George, the state’s Delta watermaster, said one of the islands could be used to stockpile fill dirt unearthed by the twin 30-mile-long tunnels, at least temporarily. George said he wasn’t aware of possible interest in the islands by Metropolitan and Westlands.

Wilson said Metropolitan and Westlands also could be interested in the islands simply for their access to generous amounts of water. The four islands come with riparian water rights that can be used only on the adjacent lands. But the two agencies could seek state approval to store that water during wet years, for later shipment south.

“It’s a potential two-for-one for them,” said Wilson, who previously served as the Delta watermaster, overseeing the enforcement of water rights in the 600,000-acre region. The four islands total 20,000 acres of land.

Metropolitan spokesman Bob Muir declined comment Monday. The agency’s real property committee discussed the issue in closed session Tuesday, according to agenda materials. Muir said later in the day that no action was taken.

Westlands hasn’t made any offer to acquire the properties “and I do not anticipate that the district will make such an offer,” said Johnny Amaral, the district’s deputy general manager of external affairs, in an email to The Sacramento Bee. Agenda materials show that Westlands’ water policy committee discussed the matter in closed session last week.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, a coalition of environmentalists and Delta farmers, said it’s not surprising that Metropolitan, with its deeper pockets, would be more interested than Westlands in trying to acquire the islands.

“This is a way for the Metropolitan Water District to get a foothold in the Delta for greater water supply,” she said. Owning the islands, with its access to water, could be a great strategic advantage for Metropolitan whether the tunnels get built or not, she said.

Rick Stephens, asset manager for Martinez-based Delta Wetlands Properties, said he couldn’t comment on the agenda items. He said the company is forging ahead with its plans for a storage project, but the land could be for sale once the permitting for that is done.

“We’re working on our project,” Stephens said. Asked about Metropolitan’s interest, he said, “I don’t know what’s going on with them. You saw what I saw. You saw Met’s agenda. I don’t have any input on their agenda.”

As currently conceived, the Delta Wetlands project revolves around two islands: Webb Tract and Bacon Island, located just seven miles from the pumping plants near Tracy that ship water to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The two bowl-shaped islands, which sit below sea level, would be flooded during wet years and could store up to 215,000 acre-feet of water. That’s 70 billion gallons.

“In dry years, it can be delivered where it is needed,” reads a description of the project on Delta Wetlands’ website. An influential Kern County water agency, the Semitropic Water Storage District, has worked with Delta Wetlands as a partner in the project.

Two other nearby islands, Bouldin Island and Holland Tract, would continue to be farmed but would also be used for habitat management to offset the impact of flooding Webb and Bacon, according to environmental documents on Delta Wetlands’ website.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler
Read more here:

Saturday, October 10 

$1000 First Place Prize for Biggest Fish 

Petaluma, CA. -- Support California’s top salmon conservation organization while having fun and a shot at $1,000 in the annual Golden Gate Salmon Association Red Bluff Salmon Derby Saturday, October 10. The derby is open to anglers of all ages.  Salmon can be caught anywhere as long as they are weighed, gilled and gutted between 1:30 and 3:30 pm at Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff. (California Fish and Wildlife regulations apply). There will be no late weigh-ins.  The $59 entry fee includes one fish weighed, lunch and refreshments, one raffle ticket, and a one-year membership in the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA). Prizes include $1000 for biggest fish, 2nd place is $500 and third place is $250. The raffle will include rod, tackle and other related fishing gear and experiences including guided rainbow trout fishing trips.
Contest organizers Victor Gonella of GGSA and river guide Robert Weese are hoping this year’s winner will top last year’s 29 pound salmon. The year prior the top fish came in at a monster 48 pounds.
“Fishing in the derby is a fun way to support having more salmon in years to come and maybe catching the big fish,” said Gonella, who is also the founder of GGSA.  “It’s great to have an event that reminds us all how much fun and sport is derived from catching and eating California king salmon.”
Proceeds will support GGSA’s work rebuilding the Central Valley salmon runs that provide a major economic shot both on the coast and along the Sacramento River.  In 2014 and 2015 GGSA succeeded in getting virtually all Central Valley hatchery produced baby salmon transported around the drought to safe release sites, a move that should pay off when more adult salmon starting next year.
Fishermen can enter at or call (855) 251-GGSA or Red Bluff Sporting Goods, Riverbend Store plus tickets and reservations can also be made at Durango RV Resort and for overnight stays by calling (530) 527-5300. For additional event details and fishing information call 530-755-7196.
Sponsors include: Corning Ford, Red Bluff Dodge, Finance Concepts, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Victory Auto World, Stricktly Fishing, Warden’s Lure Co., Yakima Bait and Tackle, Les Schwab, Western Outdoor News, Fish Sniffer, Northern California Guide Service, Bud’s Jolly Cone, Red Bluff Sporting Goods, Luigi’s Pizza,,, the Riverbend Store,,, Red Bluff Yamaha, and Buds Jolly Cone.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, 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 river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Chico Enterprise Record Editorial

Editorial: Twin tunnels plan sounds worse each day

Every morsel of information released, discovered or leaked lately about Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan makes the project sound worse. Every new tidbit makes us wonder how and why this boondoggle is even a possibility.

The main reason it’s moving forward is because the public has been shut out of its right to give consent. Still, this is no time to keep quiet. Only loud, ongoing and widespread criticism will make Brown back off.

As we’ve seen from the bullet train idea, logic often takes a backseat when a governor thinks he is building a wonderful legacy with a massive project. But at least voters approved high-speed rail. The twin tunnels are being forced down our throats.

The “peripheral tunnel” — the updated version of the peripheral canal that Brown couldn’t get past the voters the last time he was governor — is not the kind of legacy Brown should want. If it is eventually built, it will go down in history as an enormous mistake. Which is why we feel an obligation to complain now rather than later.

The latest bad news for the project was dug up by farmers in the delta. They did a deep dive on documents about the proposed 30-mile tunnels and were stunned to see as many as 300 farms were slated to be hijacked by the government, likely through eminent domain, to make room for the project. They are in the footprint and are likely to get stomped.

One farmer said the plan “makes it sound like they’re going to bully us ... and take what they want.”

The bully analogy is apt. The huge Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wants a way to get more Sacramento River water to the south without attracting the ire of the courts, which is happening now because the water conveyance is killing off the delta slowly but surely. Brown’s plan, like the peripheral canal before it, is very unpopular in the north. We’d like to know where this water would come from, and how sending more water south would affect the delta.

It won’t affect the delta in a good way and the state realizes that. That’s why, in the beginning, the state talked about how restoration of the delta was essential. There was a $7 billion commitment to conservation and something about “co-equal goals.” Now it has abandoned that idea. It’s all about shipping water south.

The good news is even farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are starting to question whether this plan pencils out. They’d have to pick up a large part of the tab, and building two huge tunnels doesn’t mean there will be any water to put in them. The tunnels don’t increase water storage in the state by one drop.

Then there’s this: Farmers tend to stick together. When the state is talking about taking 300 farms for its scheme, other farmers throughout the state should be wary. They need to realize that they could be next — for whatever reason suits the government’s needs.

We are certainly wary. After seeing the thirsty south state drain two amazing river systems — the Owens and the San Joaquin — we can’t let them do that to the mighty Sacramento. Too much is at stake here.

There are many things the state to can to help the water problem, as we are learning during this drought. Shipping more water south to enable Southern California is not one of the better ideas. In fact, it’s probably the worst one.

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