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Warning for non hunters you'll probably just be bored or won't understand what's discussed. Don't watch expecting dead critters. It's just a dinner talk.

Below is a talk given by Steve Rinella of Meateater at the North American Deer Summit mostly on hunter recruitment and land access. He starts out with some PETA death threats, which are kind of humorous and goes on to describe what it's like living amongst a large number of non hunters.

Steve married his publicist if I'm remembering right. Moved to Brooklyn for eight years, wife worked in Manhattan. One point he gets across is that for many where he lived that came over for dinner parties etc. they weren't anti rural or anti hunting so much as simply unaware. They'd no idea that you can't just go out in the woods and start blasting away. He compares it to rural people not understanding the significance of a subway system or snow removal.

I was reminded of many of the comments I've gotten here.

An enjoyable half hour listening to an articulate speaker talk about issues important to hunters. One amazing factoid,,,, 99.3% of Californians don't hunt, those are some percentages I can only dream for here in CO. Steve's brother would like us all to die of old age for good reason.


Fri May 29, 2015 at 05:19 AM PDT

Morning Open Thread - Gone Fishing

by P Carey

Reposted from MOT - Morning Open Thread by ban nock
Good Morning Kossacks and Welcome to Morning Open Thread (MOT)

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Reposted from weinenkel by ban nock
The largest koi pond in this here parts
As beautiful as it may seem to watch thousands of goldfish swim about in late afternoon light of a Boulder, Colorado day, for the Parks and Wildlife, it's a huge headache.
The exotic species, which were first noted by Boulder Open Space Rangers March 13, are now present in the thousands and will likely need to be removed to maintain the integrity of the lake.

"Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem," said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder. "We strongly encourage the public not to dump their unwanted pet fish in our waters. It is bad for our environment as well as illegal."

This is a big problem, as any non-native species in an area can knock out the balance of a sensitive ecosystem. Goldfish are not the only issue:
Also of concern is the "bucket brigade"-- anglers who choose to dump sport fish of their choosing into Colorado waters. While some nonnative fish are stocked at times, aquatic biologists only do so after a rigorous biological assessment to determine what can be stocked and where for a balanced ecosystem.
Teller Lake from satellite
Teller Lake
The fish were most likely released into Teller Lake a few years ago. Goldfish can grow to a pretty large size unchecked. Removing them can be a huge headache as well:
Wildlife officials say they have two options: They can drain the lake and start rebuilding the natural fish stock from scratch, or they can bring in a specialized boat that would allow them to pick out the goldfish only.
A date has not been set for goldfish removal.
Reposted from LCSulla by ban nock

Approximately ten rounds were fired at three fisherman on lake Tobesofkee in Macon, Georgia and to date no one has been charged or arrested. The shots, according to reports, were fired from 124 Lotus Pointe Drive, the home of Dr. Jalal Ghali, a cardiologist and Mercer University School of Medicine faculty physician.

The fisherman who happen to be black do not think their race has anything to do with why no arrests have been made, but they do feel politics and the wealth of the doctor is a prime reason the wheels of justice are spinning so slowly.

Georgia Watchdog interviewed one of the fisherman and has the entire audio posted at their site.

Two men and a teenage boy were looking for a good place to do some fishing one Saturday night. The three men were fishing legally at a public lake at night. They had every right to be there and were very quiet so not to disturb the neighbors in houses or to alert the fish. They saw a red laser sight pointed at them from a nearby house then heard approximately 10 shots fired. The she shots hit the water near the boat narrowly missing them.

The men immediately called a Lake Tobesofkee ranger who met them at the boat dock. They showed the ranger the house where the shots were coming from, 124 Lotus Pointe Drive, according to a Bibb County Sheriff's Office incident report. Deputies assured them someone would be going to jail that night. Deputies arrived and knocked on the door of the house the fishermen identified.

Bibb County sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and went to Dr. Ghali's home. While at the home, an "older male" spoke to the deputies through a glass door. The older male that came to the door was believed to be Dr. Ghali.

When they asked him to step outside so they could speak to him, the male declined and told the deputies to come back in the morning after he talks with his lawyer, the incident report states.

"He also stated that this could wait until the morning because he was on call" "At this time the older male turned off all the lights to the residence and walked away from the door," according to the incident report.

The Sheriff of Bibb County issued a statement to local CBS affiliate WMAZ a week after nothing had been done.

 “The fishermen were not able to give us a complete description to whether they could say ‘yes, that was the person that I saw shooting at me.’ Because all they were able to see is the gunshots and see a silhouette figure up on the second floor of the house. So it’s a little bit difficult for us even if we were able to identify a suspect at this point for them to be able to pick them out concretely,” said Davis.

Two weeks after these fishermen were nearly killed the Sheriff is still hemming and hawing with nothing to show for all the elapsed time. Plenty of excuses but no real investigation or arrest.  He claims Dr. Ghali and his attorney have been cooperating but still has no full accounting of who was even  inside the home that evening.

It is clear the shots were fired from the home and in the audio interview the fisherman stated that the neighbors also corroborated that shots had been fired from Dr. Ghali's home.

I wonder how many other instances where deputies needed the cooperation of a homeowner to investigate shots being fired in an aggravated assault.  I am going to take a wild guess that had this happened in a poorer part of town the man that opened the door would not have been as successful at sending deputies on their way.

I am also willing to bet they would have found a reason to justify kicking the door down and searching the house had the occupant refused. But it seems residents of a lakeside mansion seems to get treated very differently than people in less affluent neighborhoods in Macon,GA.

Sheriff Davis excuse that he cannot identify the shooter simply doesn’t hold water. It is hard to identify a shooter when you completely flubbed the investigation and won’t even confirm who was at the house that evening. The shooter was in or near the house that night and the deputies allowed all the evidence to be removed.

Two weeks after these fisherman were nearly killed they are still fishing for justice. They might be waiting a long time because it seems the fish aren't biting.

Reposted from Steven Park by ban nock
Lisa, Ashley, Steve, Granny and Charlie
Fishing at Granny's
"I got a fish!"

"Oh, he got away!," Ashley exclaimed angrily for the umpteenth time.  

She was just excited to be with her daddy fishing! Or, so I though, but little did I know.

We were having one of those rare Father's and Daughter's moments together. I just wish I knew how precious memories would like those would later become.  

Ashley did not have a big vocabulary; I figured she was catching the plastic worm on stumps, logs and branches that could feel like a fish pulling back. With the boat slowly trolling along on an electric motor, it could feel like there was a fish pulling on her pole. I myself had set the hook on an underwater log, thinking it was 'The Big One.' But, I was feeling no pull of a fish today on my lure, slowly moving along the logs and stick-ups.

The date was September of 1988 and Ashley was born in June of 1986; Ashley was a toddler, a tad over 2 years old.


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So says a new  study by researchers at Cornell published in this month's issue of Wildlife Management. Like any study they came up with a name and an acronym for what they were studying, they were looking at PEBs or "pro environmental behaviours".

Warning: Photos, images, or text, may be disturbing to some and could possibly contain subject matter that is unsettling to others. It is entirely possible that in viewing this diary you might be see real images or video of animals killing or being killed. You've been warned.

Above bonasa umbellus known in W Central Massachusetts as a "paatrij" or partridge in English. Partridge are a favored game species for their taste and also their flight habit. The breast meat is white because of the musculature involved with short distance flight, and the species will wait until one is almost upon them before taking flight in any direction often flying through low bushes and trees making for a difficult shot. Image from bio web uw lax

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Reposted from Dan Bacher by ban nock

State and federal fishery scientists speaking at the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa on Thursday, February 26, shared encouraging news for sport and commercial anglers for the upcoming 2015 ocean salmon season, in spite of the continuing drought in California.

Abundance forecasts, developed in modeling based on the 2014 returns of salmon to the rivers in 2014, particularly the two-year-old "jacks" and "jills," indicate there are 652,000 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon and 423,800 adults from the Klamath River fall run in the ocean this year. That's a total of 1,075,800 salmon.

Fish from these runs comprise the vast majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.

These forecasts, surprising many anglers at the meeting since they were higher than last year, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas, and size and bag limits.

“The forecasts are encouraging and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2015 that have increased opportunities over last year,” said Melodie Palmer-Zwahlen, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Palmer-Zwahlen noted that Chinook salmon harvested in ocean fisheries in 2015 hatched 2-4 years ago and, as a result, have not been highly impacted by California’s drought.

Next year is a different story, though. "Starting next year, it is anticipated that future ocean salmon fishing opportunities may be impacted by the ongoing drought," she stated.

Dr. Michael O'Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that "abundance forecast is relatively large" for Sacramento River fall Chinooks in 2015. There are two constraining factors on the fishery - the targeted fall Chinook "escapement" rate - the number of fish returning to the Central Valley rivers to spawn - and the allowable impact on winter Chinook.

First, the fishery must target an escapement rate of at least 195,596 fish. If the 2014 regulations were in place this year, the preliminary escapement prediction would be 337,602 salmon, well above the spawning escapement target, according to O'Farrell.

Second, the maximum allowable age-3 impact rate on winter Chinook salmon is 19 percent. If the 2014 regulations were in place this year, the maximum allowable age-3 impact rate would be 15.2 percent. "This is likely to constrain the fisheries south of Point Arena," O'Farrell noted.

While the Sacramento River fall run Chinook returns were promising, the winter and spring Chinook runs, both listed under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts, declined from the previous year, due to the systematic mismanagement of Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs by the Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources during 2013 and 2014, record drought years.

The winter run return was only 3,015 fish, including 2,688 adults and 327 jacks. By contrast,  the winter Chinook return was 117,000 in 1969.

A total of only 9,498 spring Chinook, once the most numerous salmon run in the Central Valley system, returned to the Sacramento and its tributaries. This number included 2,825 fish, including 2,163 adults and 222 jacks, from the Feather River Fish Hatchery.

Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. Thursday's meeting was a key first step in establishing coastal salmon fishing seasons and regulations for this year that are expected to be finalized and announced by the PFMC and the California Fish and Game Commission in April. Pending these decisions, the 2015 recreational salmon season is on track to open in most of California on Saturday, April 4.

Charter boat captains and recreational anglers attending the meeting were encouraged by the information presented by state and federal biologists. Rick Powers, Captain of the New Sea Angler in Bodega Bay, and Roger Thomas, Captain of the Salty Lady in Sausalito, both supported an ocean salmon season similar to the 2014 season while urging the fishery managers to consider reducing the size limit from 24 inches to 20 inches in the San Francisco Management Zone for as much time as possible to reduce fish mortality.

Coastside Fishing Club President and Science Director Dan Wolford, a voting member of the PFMC, said, "When it came to salmon projections for the state and anticipated ocean fishing opportunities during 2015, the mood at the meeting could be best described as cautiously optimistic. About 212,000 adult salmon returned to spawn in California’s Sacramento River and tributaries in 2014 — well above the 180,000 escapement objective previously set by fishery managers."  

Wolford said another positive note was the solid number of returning two-year old fish, commonly referred to as "jacks" and "jills." Included in the overall returns for 2014 were 25,359 jacks — about 25 percent more than returned in 2013. Since the majority of these sub-adult salmon tend to stay out in the ocean for another year before returning, this is another positive sign for ocean salmon numbers and solid fishing opportunities in 2015.  

Last year, scientists estimated an abundance of 554,932 adult Sacramento River salmon. Initial estimates for 2015 put the forecasted number of adults higher than last year, at 652,000.

"The 2014 returns are a pleasant surprise and point to the success of the extraordinary efforts of the Department to truck juvenile hatchery fish around the deadly conditions encountered in the rivers and bay-delta system," Wolford observed.

Wolford said returning adult salmon numbers on the Klamath River were also stronger in 2014 than in the previous year — with the 95,330 natural adult spawners more than doubling the established minimum of 40,700 fish. An additional 31,000 adult salmon also returned to the Klamath Basin hatcheries.    

“We face many challenges in California, not the least of which is our continuing drought," said Wolford. "Still, the positive salmon return numbers from 2014 and the forecast for the coming season gives us reason to be hopeful. The PFMC will weigh these projections and take into account a wide range of considerations as it develops regulations that will ultimately decide when, where and how anglers can fish for salmon in the state."  

Wolford was featured on a panel with Coastside Director Marc Gorelnik, who serves on the PFMC Salmon Advisory Subpanel, the body charged with developing season options for adoption, and other members of the PFMC and its advisory panels. Fishermen who want to stay on top of developing news and regulations can visit the Coastside Fishing Club website at  

Dick Pool, Secretary of the Golden Gate Salmon Association and Administrator of, also said he is encouraged by the promising salmon numbers released by state and federal fishery scientists, but emphasized to need to take action to restore wild spawners to the Sacramento River system.

"I am pleasantly surprised that the outlook for this salmon season is better than I thought it would be," said Pool. "The 2014 returns were decent and I'm hopeful that recreational and commercial fishermen can have a reasonably good salmon season in 2015. At the same time, I think we are all aware of the heavy impact the drought will have on the 2016 to 2017 seasons. I fear the worst. We could even see another industry shut down."

"I've been studying the impact that high temperatures and stranding had on the salmon in the rivers during the drought. There is big trouble ahead. Lethal river temperatures and the stranding of salmon eggs when flows were cut after the fish spawned took a heavy toll in 2013 and 2014. Many millions of eggs failed to survive. We can expect the runs will therefore plummet in 2016 and 2017 when the adults do not return. Worst of all, it looks like the drought is continuing into 2015," he noted.

"The most important thing now is to get busy making serious investments to get the wild spawners back. It's clear that in the drought we have lost the majority of the wild fish. It will be very difficult to bring these fish back. Fortunately, there are a number of good habitat projects that can help if we move quickly. Plus, most of the hatchery fish survived. We will now have to lean on the hatcheries to help bring back the wild stocks. One promising technology is to inject selected surplus hatchery eggs into the gravel in the wild," concluded Pool.

For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website, or call the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Reposted from Dan Bacher by Dan Bacher

The annual awards ceremony for the California Outdoor Hall of Fame will be at 4 pm on Saturday, January 10 in the California Sportsmen Theatre at the International Sportsmen's Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Record holding angler tops state Outdoors Hall of Fame

By Tom Stienstra

A Bay Area angler who gained world renown when he caught and released two world-record fish was the leading vote getter last week for induction into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame.

Armand Castagna of San Rafael was named on 80 percent of the ballots. He will be inducted Saturday at the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo, which runs Thursday through next Sunday.

Unlike baseball’s Hall of Fame, which is voted on by writers, the primary voters for the Outdoors Hall of Fame are members, the “Circle of Chiefs.” Candidates must be named on at least 60 percent of ballots to gain admission.

All candidates must be nominated through the Hall of Fame website,, and must fulfill two requirements to make the ballot:

•They have to have inspired thousands of Californians to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation, typically doing so outside their primary job.

•And they have to have taken part in a scope of adventures that extends outside the primary region where they live.

In addition to Castagna, this year’s class includes Dan Bacher of Sacramento and Roy Weatherby of Los Angeles. Bacher is a watchdog conservation writer who has ventured to hundreds of lakes and streams across California. Weatherby, who was selected posthumously, was the inventor of modern ballistics and founder of the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award.

Armand Castagna

A world-renowned angler, bay and ocean skipper, communicator and conservationist, Castagna pioneered a catch-and-release approach to world-record fish after returning a 32-pound, 8-ounce steelhead to the water in 2000.

He filmed the release of that potential record-setter but was denied the standard by the International Game Fish Association because he didn’t kill the fish. Castagna pressed the issue and created a worldwide debate on the ethics of trophy fishing, prompting the association to set standards for registering potential world-record catches that have been released.

Two years after that catch, he released another world-record steelhead (28.5 pounds on 8-pound line), and this time he was awarded a game fish association world record in a watershed moment.

In the 1980s, to the disbelief of many, Castagna had begun releasing steelhead and other elusive trophy fish that he caught. He knows there were some who thought he was crazy. Now, however, many anglers from Northern California to Alaska release their trophy catches.

“Why would you kill what you love the most and then remove the very genetics that inspire you?” Castagna asks. “I release them to fight again another day and to pass on their world-class DNA to their progeny.”

Castagna’s special charter trips aboard his boat on San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean have attracted numerous celebrities, including former manager Dusty Baker and other members of the Giants. Rather that running standard-timed trips, day in and day out, Castagna custom-designs each trip according to that day’s tides, feed conditions and fish patterns.

Castagna is also a teacher. He has produced two films on steelhead fishing (in which all the fish are released), published more than 40 articles, provided free seminars across California and the Northwest, and donated fishing trips and equipment to youth organizations.

He promotes a conservation message in everything he does, from fighting for adequate flows on the Trinity River to the net-pen release of juvenile salmon in San Francisco Bay. He is renowned for his fishing expertise and leadership in catch-and-release fishing, yet his impact on people, one at a time, is also recognized by anybody who has met him.

Dan Bacher

California’s foremost “watchdog” journalist for fisheries and conservation, Bacher writes a far-reaching column that appears on websites and in newspapers and e-mail lists across the western United States. He takes on politicians, government agencies and their appointed directors, corporate agribusiness interests and big oil companies — “anybody who does harm to California’s natural resources and fisheries,” Bacher said.

“The biggest problem we face in the battle to restore our fish populations is that agribusiness, big oil, developers and other powerful corporate interests wield enormous influence over the government agencies that are supposed to guard our natural resources,” Bacher said.

His stories include identifying the first salmon deaths in 2002 on the Klamath River in a fish kill that went on to number 70,000 adult salmon.

Bacher is a founding member of both the California Inland Fisheries Foundation and Restore the Delta, and he promotes American Indian cultures and rights. He has also served on the board of directors for United Anglers of California, the California Water Impact Network and Water for Fish.

He is best known as the 30-year editor of Fish Sniffer, a biweekly newspaper for anglers. He used that position as a springboard to visit hundreds of lakes and streams, and in the process has become one of California’s most traveled anglers. His adventures span from Canada to Central America, where he has caught and released many exotic species of fish.

Roy Weatherby

Stoked by a fascination in ballistics and firearms, Weatherby’s experiments in his Los Angeles garage in the 1940s led to creation of the Mark V action rifle for Weatherby Firearms. It is still considered the world’s strongest bolt-action rifle, and the name Weatherby is world famous among hunters.

His early ballistic experiments proved that lightweight bullets traveling at high speeds perform better than heavier bullets fired at low velocity, which revolutionized the gun industry. Weatherby developed several high-speed cartridges, all of which are still popular and bear his name, such as the .300 Weatherby Magnum. To test his creations, Weatherby hunted from the Arctic Circle to Africa.

He also devoted his life to wildlife conservation. In 1956, he created the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award, which recognizes efforts to educate the non-hunting public about the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting, especially its contributions to wildlife conservation.

His foundation, the Weatherby Foundation, has sponsored more than 1 million people in events in 19 states that emphasize a combination of shooting along with wildlife conservation and education.

Weatherby died in 1988 at the age of 77.

Outdoors Hall of Fame

2002: Galen Rowell, Carole Latimer, Ed Rice, Brian Robinson. Posthumous: John Muir

2003: Tom Stienstra, Leslie Appling, Keith Fraser. Posthumous: Roy Cannon, Ansel Adams

2004: John Reginato, Bob Fletcher, Ola Eikrem, Peter Ottesen. Posthumous: Joe Walker

2005: Bill Karr, Doug Stoup, Bob Franko. Posthumous: William Brewer

2006: Terry Hodges, Richard May, Jack O’Neill, Dee Thomas. Posthumous: Jedediah Smith

2007: Bob Coomber, Laurie Bagley, Yvon Chouinard, Bill Beebe. Posthumous: Josiah Whitney

2008: Rick Copeland, Gary Graham. Posthumous: Francis Farquhar

2009: Steve Rajeff, William Lemos, Nic Fiore. Posthumous: Galen Clark

2010: Steve Carson, Hal Janssen, Ken & Marcia Powers

2011: Skeet Reese, Jerry Karnow, Marty MacDonnell, Billy Gianquinto

2012: James Adams, Sep Hendrickson, Il Ling New, Scott Williamson. Posthumous: Bill Schaadt, Frederick Law Olmsted

2013: Jacqueline Douglas, Ed Migale, Michael Farrior. Posthumous: Norman Clyde

2014: Bob Ford, John Koeberer, Dick Penniman, Randy Houston. Posthumous: Bill Poole

2015: Armand Castagna, Dan Bacher. Posthumous: Roy Weatherby.


Reposted from Dan Bacher by Dan Bacher

The following is a revised transcript of the presentation that I gave when I was inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame by Tom Stienstra, Outdoor Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and award-winning author, at the ISE Show in Sacramento on January 11

Tom Stienstra suggested that I include my 10 favorite destinations for fishing in California as part of my presentation today. These are the American River, Feather River, Sacramento River, Lake Valley Reservoir, Spicer Reservoir, Monterey Bay and Coast, Bodega Bay, San Francisco Bay, Fort Bragg and Trinity River.

Compiling this list was a really good exercise because although I’ve fished Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska and British Columbia and many other places, this revealed that my favorite places to fish are close to home.

I also discovered that the one connecting thread of my 10 favorite destinations is that every one of these locations, from the Trinity River that is diverted to the Sacramento, to Monterey Bay, to Spicer Reservoir on the North Fork of the Stanislaus, is intimately connected to the Bay Delta Ecosystem.

If there is one message that I urge you to take home today, it is that if anglers, hunters and outdoors people don’t stand up now, this precious ecosystem and all of the great trout, salmon, steelhead, striped bass, halibut, and other fisheries that we enjoy will be lost forever.

There are two stories that I broke recently that really bring this home.

American River steelhead collapse  – On December 29, I found out from the Nimbus Fish Hatchery manager the alarming news that only 10 adult steelhead have returned to the American River. Normally there would be hundreds or thousands of these fish. Last year there were over 335 adults by the same time. In banner years, over 2,000 steelhead would have returned by this time.

As one who has spent many hours in meetings, rallies and events to restore the river, this is very disappointing. The previous low for the river was 200 fish in 1994.

Nobody’s really sure the reasons why the numbers are so low, but the mismanagement of Folsom Reservoir by the Brown and Obama administrations during the drought certainly played a key role. Folsom was drained to only 17 percent of capacity by the same time last year to provide export water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies. The cold water pool and carryover capacity were both imperiled by the draining and fishing was closed last winter to protect the steelhead.

Delta smelt and pelagic organism collapse  – Last night I received dismal results of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fall Midwater Trawl Survey on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. These revealed that the Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014.

Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of over 100 sites sampled each month from September through December.

The "index," a measure of abundance relative to the volume of water sampled, is 9, the lowest in survey history. Delta smelt abundance was highest in 1970 and has been consistently low since 2003, except in 2011, according to Steven Slater, CDFW environmental scientist.  

The smelt was once the most abundant fish in the Bay-Delta Estuary. It is considered an indicator species because the 2.0 to 2.8 inch long fish is found only in  the estuary and spends all of its life in the Delta.

The survey also revealed the continuing collapse of striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad in the Delta.

• The striped bass index is 59, making it the third lowest index in the survey's history. Age-0 (young of the year) striper abundance was highest at the survey’s inception in 1967.

• The longfin smelt index is 16, making it the second lowest index in history. Longfin smelt abundance was also highest in 1967.

• The threadfin shad index is 282, the sixth lowest in history and the seventh in a series of very low abundance indices. Threadfin abundance was highest in 1997.  

• The American shad index is 278, the second lowest in history. American shad abundance was highest in 2003.  

The dramatic decline of fish species this year is part of a long term decline, due to massive water exports out of the Delta, increases in toxic chemicals and the impact of invasive species.

The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta. The surveys show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad have declined 95.6%, 99.6%, 99.8%, 97.8%, 90.9%, respectively, between 1967 and 2013, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and Board Member of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN).

Both the 2013 and 2014 indices for Sacramento splittail, another native fish found only in the estuary, were not released, but results from 2012 reveal that splittail indices have dropped 98.5% from 1967 levels. In 2011, the Brown administration presided over a record "salvage" of 9 million splittail in 2011, a record year for exports by the federal and state projects.

You can read the full report with graphs at:

What are some solutions to stopping this collapse, one that has been made much worse by the pro-corporate agribusiness policies of the Brown and Scharzenegger administrations?

First, we must strongly oppose federal "drought relief" legislation proposed by Congressman David Valadao that will make things even worse by overriding the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.

Second, we must relentlessly oppose Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the $67 billion twin tunnels under the Delta. The plan is based on the premise that taking more water from the Sacramento River above the Delta will "restore" the collapsing estuary. We should support the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan that sets a cap of 3 million acre feet year year and proposes creative conservation and recycling strategies for solving California's water crisis.

Third, join a fishery conservation or environmental justice organization of your choice. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Restore the Delta, California Striped Bass Association, California Water Impact Network, Klamath Justice Coalition, Water for Fish and Save the American River Association are among the groups standing up for the fish. These are the groups that I work most closely with.

Fourth, representatives of fish groups, environmental groups and Indian Tribes need to get together and very stridently demand that Governor Jerry Brown, Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and DFW Director Chuck Bonham take emergency action above and beyond anything they are doing now, to address the mismanagement of our water resources to save Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt and other species! We must DEMAND, not politely ask, that they take immediate action to address this crisis!

If things continue in the direction they are going, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento River winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley sturgeon and other species WILL become extinct in the coming years. We need to come up with new, creative, innovative and more confrontational organizing strategies to stop the state and federal governments from killing off what's left of the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

For more information about the 2015 Outdoors Hall of Fame Inductees, including Armand Castagne and Roy Weatherby, go to:

Reposted from Dan Bacher by Dan Bacher

Restore the Delta has issued an urgent action alert calling everybody who cares about the Bay-Delta Estuary and the public trust to show up at the State Water Resources Control Board meeting at the Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, on Wednesday, February 18, as close to 8 am as possible to oppose the efforts by corporate agribusiness to override protections for California fisheries and to pump more Delta water for export.

"We understand that the Westlands Water District is organizing busloads of farmers and farmworkers to attend the State Water Resources Control Board Meeting on Wednesday, February 18, 2015," according to the action alert. "They intend to demand that the State Water Resources Control Board abandons the few protections left in place to stop over pumping of the Delta during the drought."

"What’s at stake? We are on the verge of losing Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon, steelhead, and other Delta and coastal species. In addition, if any more pumping takes place beyond current minimal protection levels in the drought, water quality will deteriorate even more, which is bad news for Delta municipalities and farming communities.

It is important that the State Water Resources Control Board understand that the commercial salmon, Delta farming, and Bay-Delta recreational economies worth many billions of dollars annually are at stake if the estuary collapses.

We must tell them while the current standards (which are called D1641) have never been fully adequate for the health of the estuary, but setting them aside so that three of California’s 58 counties can have any and all water during this prolonged drought is wrong.

The Delta is always doing without, and now Westlands is demanding what little water is left, even though their water rights are junior. King, Fresno and Kern Counties are not the only counties suffering in the drought. The estuary is in peril!"

Here is where we need you to be:
Joe Serna Jr. – Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
As close to 8 a.m. as possible. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.

Be ready to remind the board of the Delta’s right to water that meets water quality standards that are set by law!

On the day before, February 17, Delta fishing, community leaders, and state water experts will hold a news conference outside the scheduled State Water Resources Control Board meeting to protest a push by Westlands Water District, other Federal and State Water Contractors, and their political allies to further overpump the Delta for export water.

"Thus far, the SWRCB has enforced an inadequate standard that fails to protect Salmon, Delta smelt and other fisheries, yet Federal and State water contractors are seeking additional waivers from meeting this less than ideal standard which would result in the permanent destruction of Winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, and other fisheries," according to a media advisory from Restore the Delta. "The SWRCB needs to at least hold the line on this less than ideal standard because fishery agencies are failing to stop the permanent loss of these species."

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said, “The latest push by Sen. Feinstein on behalf of Westlands Water District would exterminate Winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and steelhead, mainly to benefit a small number of huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. If there are no fish, then there are no protections for fish needed, and the greedy mega-growers can grab all the water for three of California’s drought stricken counties.”

Who:          Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Ex. Dir., Restore the Delta
Mike Jackson, Water Law Attorney, California Water Impact Network
Bill Jennings, Ex. Dir., California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Fishers, Farmers, and additional policy experts available for questions

When:        1:00 pm, Tuesday, February 17, 2015      

Where:      Outside Cal EPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento

Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; 916/956-4592-cell;  Twitter: @shopcraft
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Reposted from Dan Bacher by Dan Bacher

The worst-ever run of steelhead continues to trickle into the American River, Sacramento's imperiled urban jewel.

The Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova has trapped a total of only 111 fish to date. In a good year, the hatchery would have already trapped thousands of steelhead.

The previous record low was 200 steelhead in the early 1990s, but this run looks like it will be well below that disastrous return. The peak of the run is over and increasingly fewer fish are expected to return to the hatchery while the ladder remains open.

During 2013 and early 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation drained Folsom to a record low level of 17 percent of capacity in order to export water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies and big oil companies. The Bureau did this in spite of it being a record drought year. Nimbus Dam releases were reduced to 500 cfs during most of the steelhead season last year.

“The steelhead died for a noble cause - almonds," quipped Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA).

"California's almond orchards use almost 9 percent of the state's agricultural water supply, or about 3.5 million acre feet," according to Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN. "That's enough water to supply the domestic needs of the Los Angeles Basin and metropolitan San Diego combined - about 75 percent of the state's population." (

Steelhead are just one of many dozens of species that are massacred in the Delta  pumping facilities that export water to corporate agribusiness interests that grow almonds, pistachios and other export crops.

Jennings emphasized that when the storm pulse came down the Sacramento River this year, the state and federal governments turned the Delta pumps on and the fish, including steelhead migrating their way to the ocean, got sucked into the South Delta.

As of February 19, the estimated "incidental take" in the Delta pumps was a total of 542 adipose-clipped steelhead and 69 non-clipped (wild) steelhead.  

“The reason why American River steelhead are in collapse is the same reason why Delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass and other fish are down to less that 1 percent of their historic levels – overpumping of Delta water,” said Jennings.

In addition, winter run Chinook, an endangered species under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, have been hammered for the second time in a row. “The water agencies 'saved' water in Shasta to deliver 1.2 million acre feet of water to the Sacramento Valley settlement contractors last June, July and August,” said Jennings.

Now the Bureau is reducing flows on the American River once again. The flows were reduced from 900 cfs to 850 cfs on February 18 and will be reduced from 850 cfs to 800 cfs on February 19.

The reason? “Storage Conservation,” claimed Randi Field of the Bureau.

Drought is not the reason for the collapse of American River steelhead, winter run Chinook salmon and the near extinction of Delta smelt, as agency officials and some reporters for the mainstream media claim. It is the terrible management of our reservoirs and rivers by the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources during a record drought that is to blame for record low populations of fish species that once numbered in the millions.

The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's fall midwater trawl survey released in January. Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December. (

The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta. The surveys show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail have declined 97.80%, 99.70%, 99.98%, 97.80%, 91.90%, and 98.50%, respectively, between 1967 and 2014, according to Jennings.

For information about the latest science regarding salmon and steelhead populations on the American River, go to:  

Reposted from Dan Bacher by ban nock

As anglers get ready for the upcoming ocean and river salmon seasons, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) revealed that 212,000 adult fall-run Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the Sacramento River and its tributaries in 2014.

About 10,000 adult salmon returned to the San Joaquin River system, including the Cosumnes, Mokelumne, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

The 2014 adult salmon return, or escapement, exceeds the minimum conservation goal set by fishery managers of 122,000 to 180,000 fish.

Representatives of fishing groups, including the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), are "cautiously optimistic" about the outlook for upcoming ocean and river salmon seasons.

Another 25,359 two year olds, called "jacks" or "jills" by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, returned to the Sacramento Basin.  These sub-adults are capable of spawning, just like the adults are. The state and federal scientists use the "jack" and "jill" return numbers to develop models of salmon abundance for upcoming fishing seasons.

"Only a relatively small percentage of jacks come in from the ocean, with the rest staying out at sea one more year," said John McManus, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. "The number of returning jacks is multiplied to calculate the expected number of three year old adult fish out in the ocean."

"The 2014 jack count is about 25 percent higher than the 2013 jack count," he explained. "Although the multiplier that’s applied changes slightly from year to year, a layman’s analysis suggests there could be about 25 percent more three-year-olds in the ocean now than the 600,000 estimated at this time last year. This suggests there could be close to 800,000 adult salmon forecast for 2015."

The official 2015 forecast will be announced by state officials at a California Department of Fish and Wildlife informational meeting February 26 in Santa Rosa. This number will be used by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to propose times and areas where ocean salmon fishing will be allowed off the California coast, according to McManus.

The Council will finalize setting the 2015 season by April.  As of now, the sport salmon season is set to open on Saturday April 4 off the California coast south of Horse Mountain, near Shelter Cove in southern Humboldt County.

"Things look relatively good on the Klamath River," noted McManus. "There, fishery managers were shooting for a minimum escapement of 40,700 natural adult spawners.  Instead they ended up with more than twice that at 95,330. Another 31,000 adult salmon returned to the hatchery."  

The Klamath River barely avoided a massive fish kill like the one that took place September 2002, due to direct action and protests by the Klamath Justice Coalition and members of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Karuk and Winnemem Wintu Tribes, along with lobbying and litigation by the Tribes and fishing groups, to release cold water from
Trinity River to cool down water temperatures on the Klamath last summer and fall.

The release of the PFMC data took place as water rights attorney and California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) Board Member Mike Jackson warned of the tremendous environmental and economic damage that would result from approval of the Temporary Urgency Change Petitions to increase Delta water exports now before the State Water Resources Control Board.

He said that 95 percent of endangered winter run Chinook salmon perished last year, due to poor management by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation - and another massive fish kill could take place this  year if the state and federal water agencies mismanage Central Valley rivers and dams and the Delta pumps like they did last year.

"Evidently after the Bureau of Reclamation’s killing of 95% of the endangered winter-run salmon last year, the Federal government has decided to propose a much worse water plan for 2015," said Jackson. "It’s a much more complicated plan, but if it is approved by the California Water Board it may send both the endangered salmon and Delta smelt to extinction. We will find out soon if the Governor’s office intervenes with the Water Board to help finish off the fish.”

“Once again, Senator Feinstein (D-Westlands) favors big agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley over the economic and environmental needs of the people who live in the Bay-Delta Estuary," said Jackson. "Commercial salmon fishing is a $1.5 billion economy, Delta farming a $5.2 billion economy, and of course there are the millions of people who live in communities surrounding the estuary. With this drought, we are poised to lose Delta smelt, Winter-run salmon, and steelhead as these fisheries are collapsing."

How will the massive die of winter-run Chinook salmon impact this year's salmon seasons? "Although we now know that federally protected winter run largely failed to reproduce in the wild in 2014 due to elevated river temperatures, fishing restrictions to further protect them likely won’t kick in until next year when they’re big enough to bite a bait," said McManus.

Complete information about the upcoming salmon seasons will be available at the CDFW salmon information meeting in Santa Rosa. The meeting is scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

"The public is encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April," according to the Department news release.(

Meanwhile, Jerry Brown, the worst Governor for fish, water and the environment in recent California history, is rushing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. The tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

For information about last year's battle to pressure the Bureau of Reclamation to release cold water from Trinity River to avert a fish kill on the lower Klamath River, go to:

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