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SF Bay-Delta Smelt warrants ESA protection

03/30/12 -- The U.S. Fish and Service (USFWS) has found that the San Francisco Bay-Delta Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of longfin smelt warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, the Service is precluded at this time from proposing to add the species to the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species by the need to address other higher priority listing actions.

The finding, which was made after a comprehensive review of the best available scientific information concerning the species and the threats it faces, means the longfin smelt DPS will be added to the list of candidates for ESA protection, where its status will be reviewed annually.

Candidate species do not receive statutory protection under the ESA, meaning finding does not impose any new requirements or restrictions. The longfin smelt species remains listed as a threatened species by the state of California, which means that under State law the species cannot be taken without a permit from the State.

“Large distances between populations, the small size of this fish and potential obstacles to movement posed by ocean circulation patterns in coastal waters make the Bay-Delta population of longfin smelt markedly separate and discrete from other longfin smelt,” said Mike Chotkowski, field supervisor of the Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento. “Our finding indicates that ESA protection is warranted for the Bay-Delta DPS only, not for other longfin smelt populations.”

The annual review and identification of candidate species provides the Service and other federal agencies, states, tribes, and other partners with notice of species in need of conservation, allowing them to address threats and take actions that may preclude the need for protection under the ESA. Any future proposal to add longfin smelt to the federal list of threatened and endangered species would be subject to public review and comment.

The Bay-Delta DPS is one of at least 20 populations of longfin smelt which are found in estuaries, rivers and lakes from Alaska to California. The Bay-Delta DPS is found in the San Francisco Bay-Delta which includes Suisun Marsh and San Pablo Bay. The longfin smelt is a pelagic (lives in open water) estuarine fish that typically reaches four inches in length, although third-year females may grow to almost 6 inches. The longfin smelt can be distinguished from other smelts mainly by its long pectoral fin.

Today’s finding is the result of a 2011 settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity and The Bay Institute, which had challenged the Service’s 2009 finding that the San Francisco Bay-Delta population of the longfin smelt did not meet the criteria to be listed as a DPS under the ESA. Under the terms of the settlement, the Service agreed to conduct a range-wide 12-month finding to be submitted for publication in the Federal Register by March 23, 2012, and to reconsider the San Francisco Bay-Delta population for protection as a DPS.

The latest review of the Bay-Delta DPS found information indicating that the ability of the longfin smelt to move from the Bay-Delta population to another, or vice-versa, is much more limited than previously thought possible – if indeed the movement occurs at all. The review also identified several threats facing longfin smelt in the Bay-Delta, including reduced freshwater outflow, and a food web altered by the invasive overbite clam and ammonium contamination.

Longfin smelt were historically one of the most abundant pelagic fishes in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. However, their numbers have declined significantly in recent years. Abundance indices derived from survey data all show marked declines in Bay-Delta longfin smelt populations. Surveys indicate that longfin smelt abundance over the last decade (2000-2010) is the lowest ever recorded in the surveys’ 40-year history.

Monitoring survey data show there is a direct correlation between the abundance of longfin smelt and the timing and amount of seasonal freshwater flows in the upper estuary. When freshwater flow is decreased, longfin smelt reproduction in the upper estuary is impaired. The non-native overbite clam thrives in the brackish waters of the estuary. The overbite clam consumes large amounts of plankton, a major food source for many fish species – including the longfin smelt – and other aquatic organisms, by sucking in and filtering plankton from the water. The introduction of the overbite clam in 1986 coincides with the decline of the longfin smelt population. The Service found that entrainment, the incidental trapping of fish in water used for irrigation or similar purposes, is not a significant threat at this time to longfin smelt.

A copy of the finding and other information about longfin smelt is available on the internet here, and here.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: fws.gov/endangered/.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen.


Fishing Reports

Collins Lake trout plants coming soon
 Michael McGahan holding 5 trout he caught at Collins Lake, Photo by Kathy Hess
By Kathy Hess, Lake Reporter
01/26/15 -- It is still in the planning stages, but very near indeed, as we know for sure the CA DFW will be stocking us again this year. Along with our private plants and the trophy sized trout, fishing at Collins continues to be excellent...Full Story
Wild winter steel, steal show in S. OR
By Jeff Warner
01/25/15 -- I got out on the Rogue River yesterday (Friday 1-23-15) with my buddy Don, guided by friend and fishing guide Steven Theel of S.O. Chrome Guide Service and what a day it was. Steven did a great job finding the fish and keeping...Full Story
Oregon: Ocean, rivers offer plethora of fish
 Ron Savage from Grants Pass and a friend caught a variety of groundfish including rockfish, kelp greenling and lingcod while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor on Thursday.
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
01/24/15 -- Warning! Objects in this fishing column may appear larger than they actually are.I love the ocean and I always have since I started fishing in Oceanside, California at the tender age of 8. Part of the mystique about fishing the ocean...Full Story
Green rivers await coastal steelhead anglers Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
01/22/15 -- The rain fell hard last weekend, temporarily turning the coastal steelhead rivers from green to brown. The blowout was short-lived however, as the rivers have receded quickly. The Smith was the first to clear, and drew... Full Story
Halibut meeting set for Eureka, Feb. 4 01/22/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend a meeting to discuss the 2015 recreational Pacific halibut fishing season dates under consideration for California. The meeting is scheduled... Full Story
Upper Klamath steelhead fishing is fun
Kami Pfeffer is fishing from a boat on the Klamath river. Photo by Scott Caldwell
By Frank Galusha
01/22/15 -- Fishing for steelhead on the Upper Klamath remains steady and lots of fun, according to Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service in Montague. Since I’ve done it I can believe it and Caldwell has been totally dedicated to his craft... Full Story
California drought update
California drought graph, Fishbio
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
01/20/15 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Rainfall throughout California last month marked a good start to the wet season, but the relief came unevenly across the state. The December deluge prompted us to take stock...Full Story
NorCal/S. Oregon river fishing update
Mike Rasmussen gently holding his large fish, river and treed hills in the background, photo by Dave Jacobs
In-River Fishing by Dave Jacobs
01/20/15 -- While much needed rain finally returned to Northern California and Southern Oregon, some rivers received more than others. Most rivers were certainly ready for some rain and now almost all of our steelhead fishing systems... Full Story
Big fish caught at Topaz Lake Trout Derby
dusty Topaz lodge trout derby
By Mike Mogler
01/20/15 -- Large trout and good numbers of 2-plus pound trout worth $100 each have been weighed in by Dave Rossman Topaz General Store and RV Park Manager in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the Topaz Lake Trout Derby... Full Story
Bucket list fishing trip
Jeff Goodwin holding steellhead from Clearwater River, Idaho, Photo by Michael Goodwin
By Jeff Goodwin
01/19/15 -- I think most all avid anglers have a "bucket list" of places or bodies of water where we dream of fishing. Maybe its just a place thats famous for its great fishing, or its a place known for a particular species of fish that sits...Full Story
Mad River steelhead get help from anglers
01/18/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has trained 21 anglers at Mad River Fish Hatchery this week to aid in the collection of wild-origin steelhead from the Mad River. These anglers, called Mad River Steelhead Stewards... Full Story
Rain to usher in steelhead
 Sergio Hernandez from Brookings fished with a friend on Tuesday and hauled in limits of lingcod and rockfish on the formidable leadfish while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor.
On the Water in Oregon by Larry Ellis
01/17/15 -- Rain is a double-edged sword. You pray for it one day and pray against it another. That’s how great the multiplicity of fisheries is on Oregon south coast and California north coast rivers, bays and oceans... Full Story
5-pound ‘bows’ top Collins Lake catches
 5 lb. Rainbow was caught by Raina Desha, photo by kathy Hess, Lake Collins
Article and photos by Kathy Hess, Lake Reporter
01/17/15 -- The big trout are still on the bite here at Collins Lake. Eric Phillips from Grass Valley came back after catching a big trout the week before and he outdid his personal best by topping his stringer of three trout with a huge...Full Story
South Spit redtail perch
nice-redtail perch, Mike Mogler, South Spit beach, Humboldt County
Article and photos by Mike Mogler
01/15/15 -- Earlier this week I had the opportunity to check out the redtail surf perch fishing on the South Spit -- an area known for its redtail action. The South Spit is south of the Humboldt Bay South Jetty. After driving on a somewhat.... Full Story
Rundown on CA/NV Lakes and Rivers
A Trinity River Steelhead Trout, photo courtesy of Kirk Portocarrero, outdooradventures@sacriverguide.com
By Don Quilici
01/15/15 -- [Editor’s Note: Don Quilici has been writing about the outdoors from his post in Carson City, NV for many years. His fishing report for this week covers a variety of open waters that are popular with NV, CA and OR anglers and is...Full Story
Anglers: Please submit Report Card data 01/15/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers and divers that they are required by regulation to report or return their 2014 report cards. Information collected from sport fishing report cards... Full Story
Oregon Rivers fishing report
Justin Payne with a late summer steelhead
By Jeff Warner
01/13/15 -- Water flow on the Rogue is good but as of now visibility is poor. The river is still fish-able but you'll want to stick with bigger and brighter baits like a 6" XFactor Tackle Steelhead Slayer worm instead of a 4". Other options... Full Story
California hatchery concerns
Hatchery salmon photo courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Laury, FISHBIO
01/13/15 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Fish planting from hatcheries is a more-than-100-year-old solution to supplement stocks that have declined due to a range of issues and impacts. While many stream fish populations... Full Story
RTD responds to secret water settlement 01/13/15 -- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to the prospect of a secret... Full Story
Anglers score lingcod and rockfish limits
The Thomas family from Grants Pass (Shane, Tom and Johnny) holding up limits of large rockfish and lingcod including two huge vermilion rockfish (on the opposite ends of the fish stick) while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. Photo by the author
On the Water in Oregon by Larry Ellis
01/11/15 -- With picture-perfect ocean and weather conditions last week, anglers fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor scored radically on large lingcod averaging between 10 and 18 pounds. Also, the mouths of several species of...Full Story
OR F&WC sets 2015 groundfish rules 01/10/15 -- The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met yesterday and set the 2015 harvest specifications and season structures for recreational and commercial groundfish that include significant changes to the composition... Full Story
Future Pro Tour kicks off March 21st! By Vince Harris
01/07/15 -- The Coors Light Future Pro Tour will kick-off its 2015 season in grand fashion as the road to the Coors Light –Silver Bullet Angler of Year , Navionics Cup, and 2015 FPT Classic titles, begins anew at lakes known...Full Story
Diversity helps endangered fish
estuary snapshots side by side, FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
01/07/14 -- For species living in unpredictable environments, maintaining a diversity of individuals in a population (of various sizes, ages, etc.) improves the likelihood that at least some will survive challenging conditions. In contrast...Full Story
Bill detrimental to CV salmon coming up
Water4fish logo
By Dick Pool, Editor, Water4Fish Newsletter
01/07/15 -- In early 2014 a water bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives which would have devastated the Central Valley salmon populations. It was sponsored by the San Joaquin agricultural members of the House. In early... Full Story
Fishing for Existence
Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Badge, etsy.com
By Frank Galusha
01/05/15 -- I hope you are having a wonderful New Year. Like many of you, I was glued to my TV when Oregon and Florida State met in the Rose Bowl to determine who would go to the final round of the College Football playoffs and the...  Full Story
CV salmon regs changes expected 01/03/15 -- The CA Fish and Game commission issued a notice today advising stakeholders to expect changes in the bag and possession limits for Chinook salmon taken the American, Feather, and Sacramento rivers. The objective will...Full Story
Local lakes on CTT schedule
Keith Bryan with the fish that sealed the win and new world record at Melones
By Jason Haley
01/03/15 -- California Tournament Trail (CTT), the self-proclaimed Working Man’s Tournament Circuit, opened its doors in January 2014 at Lake Oroville and wrapped-up a successful inaugural season at Clear Lake in June... Full Story
A look back at 2014...
Michael and Jeff Goodwin holding fish. Photo by Alan Borges, Alan Borges Fishing Guide service
By Jeff Goodwin
01/02/15 -- Wow, another year with many more memories on the water. Fishing in Northern California certainly had its ups and downs in 2014, and severe drought plagued much of the region. Fishing conditions were constantly changing... Full Story
Sacramento River Rio Vista sturgeon
chene mogler, sturgeon, Sacramento River
By Mike Mogler
12/30/14 -- On December 26 my son Chene Mogler and a friend were fishing for stripers and sturgeon on the Sacramento River near Rio Vista. They fished overnight with one keeper white sturgeon, a smaller sturgeon...Full Story
Ocean climate revealed in tree rings
Large standing trees in a green pasture, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
12/23/14 -- Scientists have tried many approaches to unravel the complex puzzle of past ocean climates. Now, a recent study in the journal Science uses an unlikely source to put the pieces together: tree rings. The study's authors found... Full Story
'Get paid to fish' derby returns to Topaz
Topaz Lodge 2015 Trout Fishing Derby
By Mike Mogler
12/13/14 -- Dave Rossman, manager of Topaz Lake Store, reports the annual “get paid for fishing derby” starts as usual on January 1, 2015, New Year's Day, and will end on April 12, 2015 with a fantastic drawing... Full Story
All Fired Up
Wild trout, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
11/30/14 -- August 17, 2013 the Rim Fire was sparked by a thoughtful bow-hunter using an illegal campfire, which got out of hand, and eventually grew to 257,314 acres, the largest wildfire in the recorded history of the Sierra Nevada...Full Story
Bottomfish anglers get knuckles rapped
pacific Halibut
Tom Marking GAP Sport Representative
11/20/14 -- We North Coast rockfish anglers are a victim of our own success! 2014 has been an eventful year for many reasons, but there are definitely winners and losers on the horizon. In a nutshell, halibut is a win/lose... Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
First Light
Boats in the harbor alight at night with a soft wake from a departing boat
Article by Matt Goldsworthy
03/04/14 -- Reprinted with permission of HASA (Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers) – Light is one of the most important factors to consider when fishing deep water. Over the years while fishing for Pacific halibut, we have always... Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story
A primer on fishing Lake Shasta By Gary Heffley
01/01/12 -- Shasta Lake draws more visitors to Shasta County than any other single attraction. While it is often a challenge to fish, it is more likely to produce stringers of fat trout or spotted bass. Trout to four and five pounds are caught here routinely...Full Story
Lake Oroville; 'tis the season By Chuck Giles
01/11/12 – Lake Oroville is probably one of the best lakes for sheer numbers of Spotted Bass in Northern California. This is not just on a seasonal basis, but year round. To start, I have a list of baits that produce decent results... Full Story

 

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