SACRAMENTO RIVER
 
August 30, 2014    Headlines
 Upper Sac Salmon Bite Improves

Upper Sac
The action on the upper Sacramento has been solid all week. Guide Dave Jacobs and Scott Feist are seeing 5 to 8 fish on most days with a few trips producing p to 6 limits. On the slow days it's been about a fish per rod. Dave checked in on Thursday 8-28 to report his worse day of the week was three fish and his best days 11. Dave has been working the Redding section while Scott is seeing similiar numbers from Chico and north up through the Canyon. the fish are just blasting through to the upper river where water releases off Shasta are keeping the water temps much cooler than the lower river.
Overall the fishing is MUCH better than most of te pros were forecasting. Despite the warm flows in the lower river the fish continue to push up and the action is only going to get better through September.
Out the Golden Gate an huge push of fish have made a move out of the ocean and are now coming through San Pablo and Suisun bays. The fish are HUGE averaging 15 to 25 pounds with quite a few over 30. By mid September this "main vein" should be in the middle to upper Sac. As water temps drop in late September it looks to be lights out".

Sacramento River/Metropolitan Area:
Uncle Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle reported continued slow action on the Sacramento River, but he said, “There are fish moving through, but they aren’t sticking around.” likely due to the warm temps in the lower river. There have been some bright fish landed above Watt Avenue on the American River as well a few more at Verona and the Outlet on the Feather River.”


Sacramento River/Metropolitan Area:
On Tuesday 8-19
Dennis Phanner of Sacramento Pro Tackle reported minimal salmon action in the area with a few salmon holding at Nimbus Dam on the American River, but these fish have been in the system for over a month. He said, “These fish aren’t bad looking considering they have been in the river for a while.” Freeport is the top spot in the region, but there are at least 30 boats out there for the few salmon that have been landed. Striped bass fishing in the Port is a good option with anglers chasing the shad boils to toss lures for barely-keeper sized linesides.

Sacramento River/Red Bluff - Chico:

Salmon fishing remained solid between Red Bluff and Chico with Scott Feist posting up some great pictures on his Facebook page. He has been working a wide swath of the river north of Chico and putting in long days. Scott says the fish are moving every day and pushing up quickly. This is just the "scouts" of the fall run and with great action being reported out the Golden Gate and climbing numbers in Benicia and the Delta the catching is only going to get better. Right now it's a fish per rod to a fish and a half and if things get building steam like we have seen this past week the bite should be on come September. Scott still has space open. Pictured left is from Scott late last week.


Upper Sac
 
The salmon bite has picked up over the past week and top guides in the know are seeing a fish per rod to limits of chrome kings. On Wednesday 8-13 Scott Feist reported ten fish hooked and 6 landed including 5 bright fish that were full of fight. Scott was fishing north of Chico in the Canyon and he had that usual enthusium that he possesses when the bite is "on". Scott says that the fish are pushing through very quickly and he feels confident to say that "the fall bite is on". For you readers who have fished with Scott you know how pumped up he can be when the bite is on and that was the voice I heard tonight.
Dave Jacobs has also been finding some good action the past several days. He sent in the following report below. The bottom line is the fishing is improving and the bite is getting better by the day. Both Scott and Dave have room available in August but the peak dates of September and October are quickly booking up.
 
 Sacramento River salmon fishing, no laughing matter!
 By Dave Jacobs Dave Jacobs Professional Guide Service
 The salmon fishing in early August has been consistent when you are on the fish. The salmon are spread out throughout the river and the best fishing locations change daily. One day below Red Bluff Ca. the next day all the way up to Anderson Balls Ferry. Here is Chris Charrette (above) from Martinez, Ca. holding his 27 pound Sacramento River king salmon while out with  us on August 10, 2014. Best baits have been cured roe and sardine wrapped kf-15 and kf-16 Brad's killifish plugs. Backbouncing these baits and keeping your terminal tackle clean of moss and debris will increase your fishing success. The peak of the Sacramento River Fall run salmon is not here yet but more and more salmon show everyday as the run builds through 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).

BALANCE OF STATE ZONE
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.
Limits:
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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