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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

Slam'n Salmon Derby a GO!
Daniel Cropper from Talent, Oregon caught this 30-pound Chinook while trolling a spinnerbait/anchovy rig in the Rogue Bay, photo by Larry Ellis
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
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Fishing McCloud Lower Falls
Fowler Falls, Photo by aAex Colvin
Article and photos by Alex Colvin
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Good news for Klamath salmon
Phil Pritting of McKinleyville landed this nice Klamath River Chinook on Tuesday while fishing with guide Alan Borges. Photo courtesy of Alan's Guide Service
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
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Kokanee great at Whiskeytown
The author (l) and Monty Currier of the CA DFW with a limit of 14 inch Kokanee. Photo courtesy of Mike Elster and Monty Currier
By Gary Heffley
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Oroville has plenty of access and water
Bridge over lake Oroville, photo by Craig Bentley
Oroville Waters by Craig Bentley
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Nickel strip mine threatens Smith River
Baldface Creek at the North Fork of the Smith River, photo courtesy of Smith River Alliance
By Frank Galusha
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McCloud Reservoir offers lots of action
Graham Ischo and this trout were ready for their close-up on McCloud Reservoir. photo by Scott Caldwell
Article and photos by Scott Caldwell
08/23/15 -- First time McCloud reservoir fisherman Bryan Ischo and his 7 year old son Graham had a fantastic Friday (August 21). We all arrived at the McCloud just shy of 6 a.m. and were promptly greeted by two bald Eagles fishing and... Full Story
Bottomfishing still off the charts
Father and son Jack and Joe Connelly from Sacramento and the Bay area hoist a 24-pound Chinook, photo by Larry Ellis
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
08/22/15 -- Anglers who got up early in the morning to beat the howling afternoon northwest winds were able to again bring limits of lingcod and rockfish to the fillet table at the Port of Brookings Harbor. And with winds slated to die down... Full Story
150,000 steelhead die at Oregon Hatchery 08/22/15 -- High water temperatures and repeated bouts of bacteria and parasite infections beginning in May have killed over 150,000 summer steelhead fingerlings at the Rock Creek Hatchery near Roseburg, Oregon. The hatchery began losing... Full Story
ODFW seeks comment on bridge at Selma 08/21/15 -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a request to exempt from fish passage requirements a proposed bridge replacement on McMullin Creek, a tributary to Deer Creek in the Illinois... Full Story
Sacramento River trout love Dick-Nite spoons
Sacramento River rainbow trout, photo by Jeff Goodwin
By Jeff Goodwin
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Crystal Lake fish planting going well
Elizondo explaining to Linda Colvin about fry at the Crystal lake fish hatchery, by Lace Photography
Article by Alex Colvin photos by LACE Photography
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Upper Sac River: Elbow room & lots of fish
boy holding up trout with a stick, photo courtesy of the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce
08/15/15 -- No traffic on 1-5 and no fishing traffic on the water! Now that the kids are back in school and the crowds are elsewhere, the river is full of fish and not fishermen. It’s wade-able, crystal clear and cold as the days shorten... Full Story
Day Hike To Deadfall Lake
All smiles, John Higley, Higley's brother Don, and daughter Meredith pose along the trail to Middle Deadfall Lake.
By John Higley
08/13/15 -- Early last week, when I learned that my brother Don was driving up from El Segundo for a visit in-between jobs as an aeronautical engineer, my daughter Meredith voiced the opinion that the three of us needed to... Full Story
The Importance of Fish Physiology
Phtoto courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
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Diamonds in a rough drought
 golden-cutthroat hybrid, held by cohort John Matkoski, photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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Big-Picture Stream Science
 Stanislaus River, photo courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
08/03/15 -- Studying stream ecology is often an involved process. Freshwater ecologists have to travel to their study sites, take a series of complicated measurements (such as gathering water samples, measuring water flow... Full Story
Changes to Bluefin tuna regs in effect
Blue fin tuna, Photo courtesy of Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel
07/30/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission recently adopted changes to recreational tuna regulations. The new regulations are effective as of today, July 30, 2015. The changes include a statewide two-fish recreational...Full Story
Horsemen help release high lakes trout
The Horsemen transporting young fish to stock high lakes, photo courtesy of ODFW
07/29/15 -- Every two years the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife goes to the air to release more than 350,000 fingerling trout into more than 500 lakes throughout the Oregon Cascades mountain range.This summer, ODFW added... Full Story
Fishing good on Hat Creek
Hat Creek at Bridge park, photo by Alex Colvin
Article and photos by Alex Colvin
07/26/15 -- At 9 a.m. on Saturday July 25th, my wife Linda and I set up our vendor booth at Rim Rock Ranch for the annual Old Station Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue. It was still early and the barbecue didn't start until noon, so I...Full Story
Trek for Trout
John Higley holds up trout from lake Eiler, in background, photo by Sharon Higley
Article and photos by John Higley
07/26/15 -- This year, thanks to the regular planting of trout at Kilarc Reservoir near Whitmore, Sharon and I have eaten fish dinners at least once a week for a month. I think the freshly stocked rainbows are good table... Full Story
Catching an opah video is amazing
Two men onboard a boat in the ocean with a 115 lb. opah, Photo courtesy of Bob Pagliuco, aka “Birdsnest”
By Frank Galusha
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Dunsmuir: Headquarters for the Upper Sac
Woman smiling ear to ear holding her trout she caught on the Upper Sacramento River. Photo courtesy of the City of Dunsmuir
By Gary Heffley
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Electrofishing with the ARIS Camera
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
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Angler Tom Hargis was obvioulsy pleased to catch and release this beautful bass , photo by Bill Adelman
Article and photos by Bill Adelman
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Finding Fish from Discarded DNA
Bluegill, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury
06/22/15 -- To round out our series on environmental DNA (eDNA), in which we've described the basic concepts of this technique* in aquatic research, as well as its challenges and limitations**, here we highlight... Full Story
Domoic acid levels too high for razors 06/17/15 -- With concentrations of domoic acid reaching levels not seen since 1998, ODFW shellfish biologists see no possibility that razor clamming on Oregon’s most popular beaches will re-open before the annual conservation... Full Story
Dunsmuir continues trophy trout program
Upper Sacramento River trophy trout photos courtesy of the City of Dunsmuir.
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Favorite 10 Trout Lures
Rapala Shad lure
By Gary Heffley
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How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
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Pacific halibut 2015 regulations in effect
Angler with Pacific halibut, photo courtesy of CDFW
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Agencies halt commercial sardine fishing
Commercial fishing boats dragging their fishing nets, CADFW
04/30/15 -- All large-volume commercial sardine fishing in state and federal waters off California has been prohibited as of Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The closing will remain in effect until at least July 2016. “This may be an end of... Full Story
F&GC adopts in-river sport fishing regs 04/23/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the Central Valley and Klamath River basin salmon sport fishing regulations for the 2015 season on Friday, April 17. The changes include fall-run...Full Story
OR DFW seeks help with stocking program 04/16/15 -- This year the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock 11,000 rainbow trout (including 3,000 of trophy size) in popular Lake of the Woods, and the agency would like anglers help in figuring out what...Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
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The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Jim Broshears
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Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
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German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
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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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Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
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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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