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GGSA, 2016 First Salmon Update

01/05/16 -- Golden Gate Salmon Association ends 2015 with an optimistic outlook for the year to come.Here are some highlights of what GGSA has been working on recently. This is the first in new monthly updates, like this one, we'll have for you going forward.

Egg injection
After two years of GGSA pushing, the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife injected 20,000 fertilized salmon eggs into the Feather River bottom on December 4 as part of a pilot project.

The goals:

  • see how many of the eggs hatch into juvenile fish
  • get experience handling the technology

This approach allows fishery managers to take eggs from either wild or hatchery salmon when rivers are overheated from drought, fertilize and hold them, and put them back into the river weeks or months later when the water has cooled. This was a historic first for California. If successful, the state may get another drought fighting tool out of it.

GGSA paid for the custom made net caps designed to catch emerging juvenile salmon. CDFW attached them to the river bottom at the five egg injection sites and has counted juvenile salmon emerging from the gravel since the end of December. The count so far is low but expected to pick up quickly in the next several weeks.

2015 Salmon Returns
As always, we won't know the real 2015 salmon returns until the first week of February but since those returns have a direct bearing on the likelihood of a 2016 season, we're all wondering anyway.

Returns from some tributaries have trickled in with some places that normally don't get lots of salmon getting lots and other places that normally do, seeing fewer. Throughout the Central Valley the message is a bit unclear but insiders are betting that returns, while much less than predicted in early 2015, will exceed the minimal target set by fishery managers. At a recent meeting attended by state officials an extremely rough guess of 150,000 was floated. Fishery officials want to see a minimum of 122,000.

Winter Run update
In September the National Marine Fisheries Service reported that juvenile winter run salmon leaving the upper Sacramento River basin were fewer than in 2014 when 95 percent of the eggs failed to hatch. GGSA worked hard in early 2015 to get water managers to save more water for winter run but our arguments and efforts fell on deaf ears. You can see in government reports that the number of juvenile winter run counted on their way downstream past Red Bluff is considerably lower than last year's dismal number.

GGSA at ISE Sacramento Show January 21-24
GGSA will have a booth at the International Sportsmens' Expo show in Sacramento January 21 through the 24th. GGSA is there to educate show attendees on the work we're doing to keep salmon in everyone's future. If you'd like to volunteer to help work the booth, contact John McManus at

GGSA Endorses Marc Gorelnik for PFMC Seat
GGSA has endorsed GGSA board member Marc Gorelnik for a seat on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC). Marc is also chairman of the Coastside Fishing Club and has served on the PFMC's salmon sub-advisory panel for three years, representing sport salmon fishermen at the Council. Marc is also the general counsel for the American Sportfishing Association, a trade association representing sport fishing manufacturers and retailers. The Council seat Marc seeks is one being vacated by Dan Wolford who after nine years, is termed out. GGSA is very positive on the expertise and knowledge Marc can bring to the Council on salmon issues.

GGSA Works to Steer Federal Salmon $$
GGSA has been your representative in a makeover of a federal group that steers $20 million every year to salmon restoration projects. Instead of handing out money to minor bureaucrats in far flung corners to spend on their pet salmon studies, the makeover has assembled the best salmon minds to create a model that will tell us where we'll get the best bang for the buck in future spending decisions. The new effort won't be ready for the next round of spending decisions in February so federal officials have asked for stakeholders' best estimates of where salmon dollars should go in 2017. We're on it.

GGSA Working to Fix Mokelumne Hatchery Problem
Ever since the Mokelumne salmon hatchery failed to get the minimum number of salmon needed to create the next generation a few years ago, GGSA has worked to fix the problem. A manmade canal that diverts a huge part of the Sacramento River to the south Delta pumps tricks the Mokelumne salmon into going the wrong way. Mokelumne salmon have to swim by this canal and they often turn off course into the rush of high volume Sacramento water instead of returning to the Mokelumne.

GGSA's answer was installation of an electronic barrier at the mouth of the canal to stop Mokelumne salmon from diverting. This has been successfully used at other waterways all over the world. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which has to issue permits, is hesitant due to concerns over federally protected green sturgeon that might be affected. GGSA is working with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) to document how rarely the e-barrier would be needed to prove it's well worth any slight disturbance it might cause.

NY Times Sheds Light On Financial Empire Demanding Water Needed by Salmon
If you ever wonder why salmon don't get the water they need in many years, check out this report in the NY Times. We're up against a relative handful of multi-millionaires south of the Delta who would probably like to see salmon go extinct.

Fishing Reports

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
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
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,
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


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