Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Some salmon season news:
And an abalone reminder:

Abalone Season Opens May 1,

One Month Later Than Years Past

CDFW is reminding abalone divers that the 2017 season will be shortened by two months, with the traditional opening date of April 1 now delayed until May 1. The fishery will also close a month earlier than usual, on Oct. 31. The July closure remains in effect.

The annual (calendar year) limit is changing from 18 abalone to 12. As in the past, no more than nine abalone may be taken south of the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Make sure you are familiar with the 2017-18 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations before you hit the water.

The red abalone limit was reduced and season shortened because CDFW surveys found lower densities of red abalone in deeper waters due to recent unfavorable environmental conditions. There have been three years of poor growth of kelp, a major food for abalone. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone. Lack of food can cause abalone to die from starvation or to be weakened and reduce their ability to survive strong waves. Lack of food in deeper water has probably caused abalone to move into shallower water where they can be caught in the fishery.

The concentration of abalone in shallow water will make them seem more abundant but the overall population is lower and more vulnerable to overfishing. For more details, visit https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/perfect-storm-decimates-kelp/.

Abalone report cards are now available for purchase. Get your fishing license and abalone report card so you don’t miss a single day of the season.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

     There's still some big Dungeness out there. At least, there was. This one was caught on the pier yesterday, along with some others. The crabbers were running traps and snares but I didn't get the score on which worked better. If you're bringing fishing rods down the snares are probably the better bet because the perch catching slowed way down this week. At least there's still jacksmelt if you feel the need to catch a fish. The reports of other fish being caught in the bay haven't panned out.

Monday, March 13, 2017

I knew that I was jumping the gun a bit, posting the salmon season options before they were settled. Well, they changed. Here they are:

Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

1. April 1-30;  May 15-October 31 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through April 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3).

2. April 1-30;  June 15-October 31 (C.6).

Same as Alternative 1.

In 2018, same as Alternative 1.

3.  April 1-30 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, same as Alternative 1.

   So, good news for people that only get Monday and Tuesday off! That option didn't pan out. Possibly really bad news if you are a halibut, as the last salmon closure put such a hurt on the flatties that they are only starting to bounce back. We will find out what our season will be on April 13. Bottom line for salmon, expect a shorter season and hope to have a season at all.

    To balance things out, here's a video of albacore action from Washington. I'm really, really hoping for these this year.

   Dungeness action was decent over the weekend and crab were caught off of the pier, in Tomales Bay and in the outer bay. Not lots of crab, but some. The surfperch decided to take a break this weekend and the only ones I saw were caught by the ospreys. I'm guessing the perch are a bit further out than we can cast. The clams took a beating over the weekend but Fish and Wildlife were here in force to try to slow the looting. One group was caught throwing dozens of clams and clam necks over the side of their boat when the saw the wardens. A bystander (who won't be named at his request) stripped down to his skivvies and dove in the bay to collect some of the evidence to help make the case. The story I heard was that the wardens left with the poacher's boat. I hope it's true.
   Speaking of clammer's boats, after dark on Saturday night a group of clammers had their inflatable boat get punctured while on the island. Adam Farrow was here with his boat in the water and went out in the dark to save them. They had somehow made their way to the mainland by the time he got there, but it was nice of him to try.
    Here's a report from the weekend, sent in by Pealuma Newbie: "I fished 4 crab traps today around marker 5. Good ol foster farms leg quarters as bait. Not much action except for one trap just south of the marker in about 40 ft. On one hour soak I pulled up three keeper Dungeness and three in the 5"-5/12" range. I dropped two traps in the same area and on another hour of soak time I pulled up a blank in one and in the other one more keeper Dungeness and a big red. (I kept the red because my wife loves the claws). All 4 Dungeness and the red were in the 6" range. Nothing huge and nothing to brag about but they're boiling in the pot now. It was a gorgeous day on the water. Shorts, T-shirt, sunscreen and barefoot the whole time."


Saturday, March 11, 2017

UPDATE: They did change. Look for a newer post.  

 The PFMC meeting is still ongoing, so things may change, but as it stands today the three options for for salmon in the Bodega/Tomales area ( Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco) ) are:

1. April 1 - October 31, Seven days per week. (C.6).

 All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through April 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3).

2. April 1 - July 30, five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday (C.6).  August 1- October 31, seven days a week (C.6).

All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through June 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3).

3. April 1 - July 30, five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday (C.6).  August 1- October 31, seven days a week (C.6).

All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through April 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3).

    So, as things stand, as long as you don't only get Monday and Tuesday off it doesn't look too bad. It looks like you'll be able to try to catch salmon, at least.

Friday, March 10, 2017

CDPH Lifts Toxic Shellfish Warnings for Tomales Bay and Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties 

Date: 3/7/2017 
Number: 17-028 
Contact: Ali Bay or Corey Egel | 916.440.7259  
SACRAMENTO 
Advisories Remain in Effect for Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted toxic shellfish health advisories for Tomales Bay and Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. The advisories, issued between December of last year and February of this year, had warned consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish due to dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Recent tests indicate shellfish in these areas are now safe to consume.

The lifted advisories include:
December 16, 2016: Monterey CountyDecember 22, 2016: San Luis Obispo County
February 8, 2017: Tomales Bay
All three advisories warned people not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops), or the internal organs of crab (viscera) from those areas. While there have been no reported illnesses associated with these events, dangerous levels of PSP, a naturally occurring toxin, can cause illness or death.

Advisories remain in effect for the consumption of sport-harvested bivalve shellfish or crab viscera from Del NorteHumboldt, and Mendocino counties.

PSP toxins affect the central nervous system, producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.

For current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

      Officially, the clams are still under a "don't eat" advisory from the Department of Health, but the samples of gaper clams we sent were tested and found to have no detectable PSP in their flesh, so the advisory on clams will likely be rescinded this week. In other news, the Ocean Salmon Information Meeting was in Santa Rosa on March 1. There were not a lot of good things to be said about the salmon situation, especially on the Klamath. Over the next week the Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Vancouver and, among other things, will come up with the three regulatory alternatives for ocean salmon fishing. My crappy guess is that there will be a season with some closures and restrictions on the early part of the season to protect the winter run chinook. At best, it doesn't look like it will be a great season but at least it looks like we'll have one. Probably.
      Crabbing has been fairly slow in the bay except for some good days on the pier. A few guys have done really well with snares around the pier in the last few weeks, limiting out in a couple of hours. There are more that tried and failed, but the Dungeness are there if you are lucky and skilled.