Thursday, March 15, 2018

    Just a quick post about the clams. We sent in a sample of four clams to the California Department of Public Health yesterday and got the results back today. The sample was seven times higher than the warning level for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxin.  I think I'll pass on the clams for now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Here are the alternatives for salmon season in the San Francisco (Pt. Arena to Pigeon Pt.) area:

1.   June 9-October 31. Open seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two salmon per day  Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length.

2.   July 1-October 31. Open seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two salmon per day  Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length.

3.   July 21-October 31. Open seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two salmon per day  Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length.

   These can still be tweaked a bit, but I think you can get the idea. The salmon gear can remain stored away a while longer, but there will be a salmon season. There were a couple of halibut caught in the bay this week, so there's something to fish for, at least.
   In other news, Petaluma Newbie sent in a report from Monday: "I decided to try and beat the rain today and get the crab traps out this afternoon. I fished them inside Tomales Bay to hopefully avoid the brunt of the swell and wind waves. I dropped my seven traps by marker 5 about 1:00 pm and my buddy and I started pulling them (in the rain) about 6:00 pm The first few were solid with the last 4 being more sparse (two traps were all small rock crab and a couple of well undersized Dungeness). Final tally was 11 keeper Dungeness, most right around 6”, and 7 good sized rock crab. I didn’t see another boat the whole time I was out there and there were only a handful of other buoys I saw in the bay. I’m definitely a newbie but it was the best day I’ve had crabbing. Plus at least it’s some kind of a fishing report!" It's the best kind of report, a successful one.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

   Successful surf fishing takes persistence. This is a photo of persistence. This was on Wednesday evening which was drizzly and cold and the water was calm. The lack of water movement probably led to the lack of fish bites. This was a 3 foot swell.

    Different day, different photo. A 4 to 5 foot swell stirred the bottom up a bit and had some perch near the shore in some of the holes on the North end of the beach. Gage claims over a dozen perch landed but these were the ones hooked too deep to return. The larger ones were a bit over 11 inches long. 
   The crabbing in the bay remains difficult but with some effort people are bringing in some decent Dungeness, not limits but some. It's still better in the outer bay when conditions allow for it. The PFMC are meeting right now to decide the possible April salmon season and the options to consider for the rest of the year's season. Those options should be known by the rest of us on Wednesday or Thursday. In a nutshell, they're predicting more salmon in the ocean than last year (same guess for Sac fish, many more for Klamath) but since the adult returns were pitifully small the fish are considered "overfished". Since the only tool the PFMC has to regulate salmon numbers is adjusting the fishing seasons and limits, expect a reduction in fishing opportunities in this area. There's some pretty serious economic and political pressure to allow a decent season, so we'll see. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

     Not too much to report, as usual. The crabbing in the bay picked up a bit in the last week and I even heard of a couple of people getting Dungeness limits from the pier. Only a little pick-up, though, as there were still plenty of crabbers going home without. The surfperch bite was on the slow side over the weekend but a little more wave action this week ought to pick it up again. The California Department of Public Health issued an advisory against eating sport-caught bivalves in Marin County this week, but it didn't stop clammers from coming out. The three today forgot that after the tide goes out it comes back in. Their boat (pool toy) drifted away long before they realized it. They called 911, but a goodhearted crabber picked them up before the Fire Department got here. Last week the Sheriff's helicopter had to pluck some other stranded bath toy clammers off of the island. Seems to me that the clammer's choice of boats may be more dangerous than the clams. Also it seems that maybe the new rules for boat licensing may be a good idea. At least after licensing people will have the knowledge that they're making bad decisions.

Friday, March 2, 2018

   Well, I didn't go to the meeting yesterday, but luckily the CDFW sent out a nice summary:
California's Drought, Poor Ocean Conditions Impact Salmon Forecast for 2018

Young Chinook salmon 
CDFW photo
Commercial and sport anglers received mixed news today regarding the status of Sacramento River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook - California's two largest Chinook salmon populations. While adult returns of both stocks were well below minimum escapement goals in 2017, and projected abundance for both stocks is modest compared to historic averages, state and federal fishery scientists reported an increase in the number of jacks (two-year-old Chinook) that returned to spawn in 2017. Higher jack returns, as seen in 2017, can indicate the potential for increased abundance of adult (three years old or older) Chinook for 2018 fisheries.
Forecasts presented today at the annual Salmon Information Meeting hosted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) suggest there are 229,400 Sacramento River fall Chinook adults in the ocean this year, along with 359,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults. While the Sacramento River fall Chinook forecast is comparable to last year, there are greater numbers of Klamath River fall Chinook projected to be in the ocean in 2018. Fall Chinook from these runs typically comprise the majority of salmon taken in California's ocean and inland fisheries.
The effects of the recent drought are still having an impact on California's salmon populations. Outbound juvenile Chinook suffered unusually high mortality because of low flows and high water temperatures in both the Sacramento and Klamath watersheds in 2014 and 2015. Unsuitable river conditions, coupled with persistently poor ocean conditions during the same period, resulted in very low numbers of adult Chinook returning to spawn in both the Klamath and Sacramento River basins in 2017.
Over the next two months, the Pacific Fishery Management Council will use the 2018 fall Chinook ocean abundance forecasts, in addition to information on the status of endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook, to set ocean sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas and size and bag limits.
At the same time, CDFW fishery managers will be working to develop a suite of recommendations for the California Fish and Game Commission to consider while developing the 2018 fishing seasons, size limits and bag limits for Chinook salmon river fishing in the Klamath/Trinity and Sacramento River basins. For more information, please visit the California Fish and Game Commission's Sport Fishing Regulations website.
For more information on the process for setting the California ocean salmon season or for general information about ocean salmon fishing, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website. For the latest ocean salmon season regulations, please call the CDFW ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429or the National Marine Fisheries Service salmon fishing hotline at (800) 662-9825.
For the latest inland salmon season regulations in the Klamath/Trinity basin, call (800) 564-6479, and in the Central Valley, please visit the CDFW Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations website.
So, it looks like we'll get a salmon season this year. We'll get to see our options for April and the rest of the year in a couple of weeks. Let's send the PFMC happy thoughts....