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 ReportsSea Otter Shootings in Santa Cruz County
Going Weedless For Bass
08/29/16 -- Boy, summer is flying by. I’ve managed a couple of trips into the Thousand Lakes Wilderness on the Lassen National Forest, but otherwise it’s been mostly work and just a little play. People keep asking me if...Full Story
Final Leg of Ocean Salmon Season
08/27/16 -- Start counting backwards! Anglers only have one more week to wait until they get to fish the final leg of the general ocean salmon season which takes place in the Oregon Klamath Management Zone (KMZ) from September...Full Story
Collins Lake cats are catch of the day!
08/26/16 -- Catfish were #1 this past week and it didn't matter what the bait was, they seem to like it all, tarting with Amelia Burton who fished off the dock with her Daddy, they caught two nice Cats (biggest was 4 lbs.) and they...Full Story
Lower Klamath quota reached quickly
08/25/16 -- Just after the additional water released from Iron Gate Dam hit the mouth of the Klamath River, controversial news broke from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. On Tuesday, the CDFW determined the...Full Story
Fish the incoming tide for superperch
08/20/16 -- Surf fishing for surfperch isn't just a May thing - it's a summer thing! Actually it's a thing-thing! Surfperch are available all year long for those who know how to fish the tides, and fishing the proper part of the tide means...Full Story
Buoy 10 Book Release
Buoy 10 salmon fishery opens August 1
August 1 brings changes to Sac River By Gary Heffley
07/26/16 -- A couple of major fishing regulation changes for the Sacramento River in Shasta and Tehama Counties will take effect on August 1, opening a couple of popular stretches of water to both trout and salmon anglers...Full Story
Gravel Bar Anglers-Bridge Closure Alert By Gary Heffley
07/26/16 -- Jelly's Ferry Rd. Bridge across the Sacramento River which provides access to the Gravel Bar from the Red Bluff area and points south from the Jelly's Ferry exit off Hwy 5 is closed due to a recent fatal vehicle accident...Full Story
A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
July 2 is Free Fishing Day in California
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
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
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
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
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
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
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
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
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