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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

Sacramento River salmon fishing stalls out
Greg proudly holds his 20+ inch steelhead, photo by Jeff Goodwin
By Jeff Goodwin
09/29/16 -- Last week's Sacramento River King salmon fishing enthusiasm has stalled and and has turned into a state of panic for Shasta county salmon anglers. What seemed to be an increase in bites and salmon caught near...Full Story
​ Upper Klamath size restrictions to begin
Jim Hartman landed this 41-inch, 34-pound ling cod near Cape Mendocino, photo by Joe Bollmann
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
09/29/16 -- The adult salmon quota on the Upper Klamath River is close to being met, which will set forth new restrictions beginning next week. According to Sara Borok, Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project...Full Story
​Hat Creek still a solid option By Gary Heffley
9/28/16 -- Living in the Redding Area provides me with a chance to head up Highway 44 without much trouble, and within about an hour, wet a line stream-side along Hat Creek, and I took that opportunity Tuesday afternoon to do a little...Full Story
​Kokanee in Shasta?
Kokanee salmon, by goodwin guide service
By Gary Heffley
9/28/16 -- Kokanee fishing is becoming more and more popular for anglers throughout the state. Reports abound of great fishing in many lakes, and tournaments provided by organizations such as Kokanee Power continue to grow...Full Story
Fishing Derby October 2 at Cooper Creek 09/28/16 -- The second annual Trout 4 Treven Fishing Derby is set for Sunday, October 2 at Cooper Creek Reservoir in Sutherlin. The derby raises funds for the Treven Anspach Memorial Scholarship in honor of Treven who was...Full Story
ODFW to limit commercial anchovy fishing 09/28/16 -- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fishery managers will restrict commercial anchovy fishing in the Columbia River Oct. 3 due to uncertainty around the impacts the anchovy catch has on salmon and...Full Story
Salmon is Spotty above Happy Camp
By Scott Caldwell
09/25/16 -- Salmon fishing on the Klamath river above Happy Camp is spotty. We are seeing Salmon move up the river from Klamath Glen but getting them to bite has been tough. The Klamath is very clear and on the low side some...Full Story
Chetco Ocean Bubble Season Opens
lingcod, by Larry Ellis
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
09/24/16 -- The second to the last ocean salmon season, what ODFW calls the “2016 Chetco River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Area Season” will open exactly one week from today on Saturday, October 1. This year’s season will...Full Story
CDFW Reintroduces Rare Trout to McCloud
McCloud River Red-band trout, courtesy of CDFE
09/22/16 --The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Northern Region Inland Fisheries Program and Heritage and Wild Trout Program staff will soon reintroduce a small population of rare rescued trout to their native...Full Story
Pacific Halibut Closes Friday
Man with 65 lb halibut, courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
09/22/16 -- North Coast offshore adventures will be limited to just rockfish come Saturday morning as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Wednesday the closing of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Saturday...Full Story
​Hike For Fall Trout
fish with hook in mouth, by John Higley
Article and photos by John Higley
09/21/16 -- Last Sunday morning I hiked into the Thousand Lakes Wilderness, which is located off Highway 89 in the Lassen National Forest roughly between Old Station and Burney. Along for the adventure was my buddy...Full Story
GGSA Red Bluff Salmon Derby Winner
Dan Hofbauer with his 16.88lb winning salmon, by GGSA
09/20/16 -- Fisherman Dan Hofbauer won the $1000 first prize for the biggest salmon in last Saturday’s annual Golden Gate Salmon Association Red Bluff Salmon Derby held at the Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff. Hofbauer’s king weighed...Full Story
All-depth groundfish fishery reopens Oct. 1
Rockfish, CDFW
09/15/16 -- The increased use of descending devices by halibut anglers was a key factor in contributing to the decision by fish managers to reopen the all-depth groundfish fishery on Oct. 1. The recreational groundfish season on the Oregon...Full Story
​Getting out of the North Valley heat By Gary Heffley 
9/13/16 -- The Redding area has been hot both in temperature and the fishing. Nothing can beat the outstanding trout fishing on the Sacramento River in Redding, the Kokanee fishing of Whiskeytown or the trout trolling successes enjoyed by...Full Story
Poachers fined for illegal abalone
CDFW patrol boat Thresher, courtesy of CDFW
09/13/16 -- Two Southern California men have been convicted and fined for abalone poaching and other resource crimes, stemming from a September 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) enforcement case...Full Story
Run4Salmon traces salmon's journey
Photo of Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (Dan Bacher
09/07/16 -- The Run4Salmon event is a 300-mile trek that will follow the historical journey of the salmon from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Winnemem (McCloud River) to raise awareness about the policies threatening...Full Story
CDFW Makes Buying a License Easier
Location map, by CDFW
09/03/16 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making life easier for anglers when it comes to purchasing a license and checking your local fishing regulations. CDFW has made the online license...Full Story
Military Vets Fish Salmon Out the Gate
Pictured above are 12 military vets that fished with Captain Roger Thomas and crew of the Salty Lady and GGSA officials on Monday, August 29. From left to right: Terry Kid, Richard Porter, David Porter, Alfred Carrasco, Ben Santos, Dave Emory, Christian Valenti, Levi Andrews, Dustin Bergen, Shawn James, Dennis James, and Buck Anderson
09/01/16 -- Twelve military veterans experienced a day of salmon fishing aboard the charter boat Salty Lady Monday, September 26 on a trip out of Sausalito. Nine salmon decided to go for the ultimate boat ride and made...Full Story
Buoy 10 Chinook season goes to Sept. 14 09/01/16 -- Recreational anglers will get an additional nine days to harvest Chinook salmon at the mouth of the Columbia River under a season extension approved today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington...Full Story
Sea Otter Shootings in Santa Cruz County
caltip logo
08/29/16 -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are looking for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of...Full Story
A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
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
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
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
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
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
 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
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
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
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

 

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