September 16, 2014    Headlines
 Upper Sac Salmon Bite Improves

Upper Sac
The upper Sac is "the place" to be right now when it comes to salmon. The action is not lights out but it's a solid fish and a half per rod to limits for guides in the right spot with the right technique. I say that as some guides are struggling to find a fish per rod but Scott Feist and Dave Jacobs have both been posting solid scores this past week.
On Tuesday 9-16 Scott said they have been grinding out 6 to 10 and up to 12 fish per day. Today was one of the earliest he has been off the water fishing until noon but most days they are working hard to get 6 to 10 fish to the net. He says "the opportunities are there but you have to make them count. Lose four or five fish out of the 10 or 12 hooked and our scores drop off".  Scott is working a wide area from Redding to Hamilton City and his game plan changes daily.
Dave Jacobs reports very similar action. He reports that the past few days they are seeing 8 to 10 fish and as few as five and up to 6 limits. Dave reports the river is very low at 6500cfs and the fish are not holding is many of the usual spots. He is bouncing mostly roe but is also taking a few on plugs depending on the talent on board the conditions he is working. Dave went on to say that with the river this low t is no place for the newbie private boater. There are lots of snags and sandbars and several boats have run aground this past week. Flows will only get lower in the next couple of weeks as releases from Shasta continue to drop.
Fishing should only get better as it looks like the main run is now pushing through the Delta and far lower river. Traditionally mid September is the peak of the run but with the low flows the fish are a tad behind schedule and fishing will only improve as water temps drop in October.

Upper Sac
Dave Jacobs checked in on Tuesday 9-9 to reported a mixed bad of fishing the past few days. Today Dave had himself and three other boats out that all reported 3 to 5 fish scores. Water releases off of Shasta have dropped from 9500 cfs to 6500 and the fish were relocating into different spots and were not in a bite mode. Yesterday Dave had a group of five that hooked 15 fish and landed 9 to 30+ pounds. He is still getting most on roe, some on plugs but techniques depend on some days how much experience he has on the other end of the stick.
Dave is still fishing from the Barge Hole to Hamilton City and wants to caution private boaters that the river is not just low but there are sand bars, snags and obstructions everywhere. Many private boaters are hitting obstacles that have never been a problem in the past and everyone needs to exercise caution when running between holes. Releases off of Shasta will continue to drop but so far water temps in the upper river are still holding up in the mid 60 range. Temps around Metro Sac are in the mid to high 70s and the reason the salmon are pushing quickly into the upper river. This is where anglers will find their best action until water temps drop in October.

2014/ 201515 California Duck and Geese Regs 
Please refer to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website or other materials for official information.
REGULATION Dates and some major changes:
**The duck season is 100 days, and the bag limit is 7 birds/day in all zones.
**The canvasback limit is 1 bird/day.
**There are both light and dark late goose seasons in the Northeastern CA Zone.
**The white goose limit is 15 birds/day. Dark Geese are 10 per day.
**The Scaup limit is 3 birds/day with a season length of 86 days.
**The Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone will run from Oct. 18 - Jan. 25.
**The early Canada goose season in the Balance of the State Zone will run Oct. 4 - Oct.8.
**"Electronic" Spinning wing decoys will be allowed from December 1 until the season ends (statewide).

Ducks and Geese: October 18, 2014 through January 25, 2015
Scaup: November 1, 2014 through January 25, 2015
Brant Special Management Areas: Northern Brant, November 7, 2014 through December 6, 2014. Balance of State Brant, November 8, 2014 through December 7, 2014; 2 per day.
Special Youth Hunt Days: January 31 and February 1, 2015.
Early Resident Canada Goose Season: October 4, 2014 through October 8, 2014 (Except in the North Coast Special Management Area)
Late White-fronts and White Goose Season: February 14, 2015 through February 18, 2015.
Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7. Which may contain 7 mallards of which only 2 can be female; 2 pintail; 1 canvasback; 2 redheads; 3 scaup.
Geese: Daily bag limit: 25. Which may include up to 15 white geese and up to 10 dark geese.
Early Resident Canada Goose Season: 10 Large Canada geese
Sacramento Valley Special Management Area: No more than 3 white-fronts may be taken only from October 18, 2014 until December 21, 2014. For more information on the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area limits and boundaries, please refer to California State Waterfowl Regulations.
Possession Limit Ducks and Geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

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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