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Sturgeon spawning in San Joaquin River

07/30/13 -- Sturgeon spawning has been verified for the first time in the San Joaquin River, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study. The study was jumpstarted by the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), which for years has documented angler reports of sturgeon being fished in the San Joaquin River. The study was led by Zachary Jackson, a Service fish biologist in the agency’s Lodi office. The study was recently highlighted in an Interagency Ecological Program newsletter article that can be found at water.ca.gov/iep/docs/IEP_Vol26_1.pdf. A copy of both years of the studies and downloadable pictures can be found on the Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office website.

The study detected that for the first time, sturgeon spawning activity was verified at a total of four sites on the San Joaquin during 2011 and 2012. The study indicated that white sturgeon use the river for spawning not only during wet high-flow years, but also during dry years. White sturgeon are thought to be found in only three major river systems on the West Coast of North America including the Sacramento (in California), Columbia (in British Columbia, Idaho and Washington) and Fraser systems.

Anglers and state wildlife enforcement officials had indicated that sturgeon caught during March and April commonly expel milt or eggs during handling, showing that spawning was occurring nearby. DFW wardens told the Service that every year a group of poachers targeted spawning sturgeon at a location on the San Joaquin called Laird Park, near Grayson, spurring speculation that sturgeon were spawning there. Spawning sturgeon contain a high number of coveted eggs, which can be processed into caviar, capturing up to $150 a pound on the black market, according to the DFW.

“Understanding the effects of water management in a regulated system like the San Joaquin River may result in increased spawning activity, spawning success, and recruitment of white sturgeon,” Jackson said. “Additionally, a better understanding of white sturgeon distribution and use, and the potential to encounter a green sturgeon within this system may enhance the understanding and ability to manage for both species.”

Despite researchers’ hypotheses that spawning of white sturgeon occurred in the San Joaquin River, it had not been documented before 2011. In April of 2011, Service biologists deployed egg mats in locations where anglers and state DFW enforcement personnel had reported regularly seeing or capturing adult sturgeon. The egg mats consisted of furnace filter material secured within a 2x3-foot welded steel frame. These mats were anchored in place, and checked for eggs twice a week for approximately a month. Throughout the 2011 sampling period, 23 fertilized white sturgeon eggs were collected, likely representing a single spawning event, Jackson said. During 2012, egg mats were installed in February and observed through May. A total of 65 fertilized white sturgeon eggs were collected in 2012 – at the 2011 site again and at three new locations, likely representing six distinct spawning events. Documentation of at least six distinct spawning events during 2012, a dry year with flows half or less than the 20-year average, showed that spawning occurs in dry years and may occur annually, which can be an important source of production for the Central Valley white sturgeon population, Jackson said.

“Continued study of the response of white sturgeon to changes in river discharge and temperature would be important for informing fishery and water management decisions,” Jackson said.

“The Department’s collaboration with the Service on behavior of white sturgeon in the San Joaquin system is part of California’s nearly decade-old increased emphasis on reducing impediments to sturgeon migration, assessments of the population and the fishery, improved fishing regulations, and the arrest of poachers,” said Marty Gingras, Program Manager in DFW’s Bay-Delta Region. “Most work with sturgeon has taken place in the San Francisco Estuary and in the Sacramento system, because sturgeon have for decades been very rare in the San Joaquin system. This evidence of spawning in the San Joaquin will help the two agencies protect and manage sturgeon habitat there.”

California’s green and white sturgeon can be easily over exploited because they mature late, spawn infrequently and are dependent on unusual environmental conditions. More-protective sturgeon regulations including a Sturgeon Fishing Report Card, three-fish annual white sturgeon bag limit and a zero-fish green sturgeon bag limit were implemented 2007. Also, AB 1187 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) was signed into law giving courts authority to issue a fine between $5,000 to $10,000 and/or up to a year in county jail for sturgeon poaching offenses. Much of the , was closed to sturgeon fishing in 2009, and in 2012 several restrictions on fishing gear were implemented in an effort to improve the condition of sturgeon that are released by anglers. Green sturgeon is a federally threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and can’t be taken for sportfishing.


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
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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
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
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
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'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
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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
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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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