CDFW transports chinook salmon to Bay Area amid drought and heat
Juvenile Chinook salmon from hatcheries in the Central Valley are taking another trip to salt water this year in an effort to save fish from perishing in low, warm water during another drought year.
On Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the agency is nearing completion of its effort to transport 19.7 million hatchery-reared chinook salmon (smolts) and 960,000 juvenile chinook salmon (smolts ) to San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay. and seaside netting enclosures this spring and summer.
Started in March, the releases should end on Thursday, June 23. One of the last outings took place at Brickyard Cove in Richmond on Sunday June 19th.
The Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA) and the City of Richmond helped CDFW release 200,000 smolts at this site. The Richmond Police Activities League also got a group of local kids to get down, jump on the Salty Lady and watch it come out of the water.
“Trucking these salmon smolts helps secure both recreational and commercial salmon anglers in the future,” said John McManus, president of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. “CDFW staff have gone above and beyond to move release sites further west, which means we will see much better survival for fish released closer to the ocean.”
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Jason Julienne, CDFW North Central Region Hatchery Supervisor, said: “Three consecutive years of drought have resulted in extremely low reservoir water storage, low river flows and poor river conditions. overall, which we know decreases the survival of juvenile Chinook salmon as they move downstream. to the Pacific Ocean.
Julienne said the CDFW farms the fish at salmon hatcheries in Feather River, Nimbus, Mokelumne and Merced and carefully monitors river conditions to estimate the chances of successful smolt migration. During periods of drought, low flows and high water temperatures can be a deadly mix for young salmon.
He said conditions are expected to be “particularly bad” this year, prompting CDFW to move more than 95% of smolts downstream, bypassing 50 to 100 miles of “dangerous river conditions”.
To increase survival rates, multiple release sites and release methods are used. In some places, the fish are released directly into the water by specialized fish transport tankers, Julienne noted.
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“In others, smolts are released into net pens, which are then towed to deeper water before being released. Releases can occur during daylight hours or at night. CDFW fisheries biologists and salmon hatchery managers adapt these methods based on tidal conditions, temperatures and the presence of potential predators at each site,” Julienne said.
“We understand that with the release of fish at Bay Area release sites, there can be some straying, but this year, with drought conditions persisting across the state, we know trucking fish will increase the survival and hopefully the returns of adult salmon,” Julienne concluded.
Half Moon Bay Salmon
The Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing Fleet found superb salmon fishing below Pigeon Point during the three-week season closure from Point Arena to Pigeon Point June 1-22. The season in the San Francisco area will reopen on June 23.
Michael Cabanas of New Captain Pete Sportfishing reported some ‘epic’ salmon action below Pigeon Point over the weekend.
“We came in early with 24 limits of salmon after fishing below Pigeon Point on June 18,” Cabanas said. “We also ended up with 13 limits at 20 pounds at 9am on Sunday. Fish appear at all depths, from 15 to 60 moves. Salmon weigh an average of 10 pounds each. Information: (510) 677-7054.
Delta striped bass
Fishing pressure is very low, but striper fishing has been very good for experienced anglers on the delta. Mark Wilson, Ron Retzclaff and Tom Rich had a great day of fishing on Monday June 20th when they landed a total of 16 keeper stripers at 14lbs and released 2 undersized fish at 12:30pm.
“We kept six 5 to 8 pound fish and released the rest of the fish, including stripers weighing 9, 10 and 14 pounds,” Wilson said. “We trolled the entire delta including Dutch Slough, Broad Slough, the mouth of Three Mile Slough and the western shore of the Sacramento from Sandy Beach to Light Standard 13. Fish bit at tide changes when the tide has slowed through dead tide. The fish hit deep-diving Yo-Zuris in 12 to 15 feet of water.
Contact Stockton Record correspondent Dan Bacher at [email protected]