Lakes and rivers
Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service trolled with two clients at Lake Berryessa this week. He ended his run with five Kings to 3.8 pounds and three trout up to 2 pounds, all full of shad. Troy was utilizing RMT 5.5 dodgers with Apex spoons and Pautzke herring fire gel while fishing 25 to 40 feet deep on the main lake. There was a total of eight fish and four more lost at the boat. Warming weather should help perk up the bite.
Oceans and bays
The deep-water rockfish opener did not disappoint. Despite having to run 35 miles west of the Golden Gate to get into water deeper than 300 feet, the fishing was epic. Pacific Angler Sportfishing reported in with six limits of rockfish and caught 10 more for the crew. The vermilions were the most abundant fish, weighing in close to 5 pounds.
One fish not usually seen off our coast is the sablefish, also known as a black cod. They reside in water deeper than 300 feet and are usually found off the Alaskan coast. Many of the boats who ventured out found many sablefish in the bag.
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California halibut regulation change
The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously at their May 17 meeting to reduce the bag limit for California halibut. The new regulation takes effect June 2 and reduces the daily bag limit from three 22-inch fish to two 22-inch fish, effective immediately. The regulation change will affect anglers fishing north of Point Sur to the California-Oregon border.
My thought was that the fishing has been phenomenal this season, so why the change? Fish biologists find the survival rate of baby halibut is better when water is warmer. We just experienced a few years of drought that significantly warmed the San Francisco Bay waters. This season is different with its much cooler waters, which should reduce the survival rate of baby halibut. Another contributing factor is the closure of salmon season, which will add angling pressure to the fishery. They estimate this reduction will decrease the annual halibut take from 60,000 fish to about 53,000 fish.
Great white shark tagged off California approaching Hawaii
As reported by Peter Thomas in USA Today: In late October, a male great white shark nicknamed “Tough Guy” revealed his position off Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara.
It was noteworthy because at least three white shark attacks on surfers, two of them fatal, occurred in base waters between 2010 and 2014.
Tough Guy was nearing the main Hawaiian Islands, showing the extent to which these apex predators seasonally migrate.
“White Sharks are peeling away from the mainland coast,” said Michael Domeier of the Marine Conservation Science Institute. “Looks like Tough Guy is coming back to Hawaii.”
Adult white sharks from California and Mexico typically spend winter in a vast swath of the Pacific Ocean halfway between the West Coast and Hawaii, with some reaching Hawaii.
Tough Guy was tagged off Southern California on Nov. 21, 2021. He measured 12 feet at the time.
The Marine Conservation Science Institute has satellite-tagged dozens of white sharks and the public can track their movements via the nonprofit’s Expedition White Shark App at marinecsi.org.
Inspiration for the movie ‘The Birds’
As reported by Amanda Bartlett in the San Francisco Chronicle: On a quiet and foggy morning in August of 1961, Frank Urbancic sat in the back seat of his friend’s car trying to make sense of the unusual scene unfolding in front of him: Hundreds and hundreds of birds were covering the road, and he did not know why. Some of the birds were still alive but appeared to be in a daze, flopping around with a helpless, drunken sway instead of flying off. Most, however, were motionless, and he soon realized they were already dead.
The birds, later identified as Sooty Shearwaters, were not just trying to barge into restaurants and peck people, they were startling residents awake in the middle of the night as their flailing bodies thudded like hail against rooftops and parked cars all the way from Pleasure Point to Rio Del Mar. Bleary-eyed families staggered out to their front yards with flashlights in hand, only to rush back inside as the birds ambushed them.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife launched a probe, believing at the time that whatever was killing the birds was not transmissible to humans. But an explanation for the mysterious die-off event eluded scientists for decades.
Sooty Shearwaters, seafaring birds with dusty brown plumage and hook-tipped bills, are closely related to albatrosses. They have one of the largest mass-migration patterns of any bird species, traveling 40,000 miles from their nesting sites in the southern hemisphere to their feeding grounds in the north Pacific Ocean every year. On just about any given summer, around July and August, enormous colonies of hundreds of thousands of birds descend upon California’s coastline to take advantage of the overabundance of squid, anchovies, and other small schooling fish, according to Andrew Farnsworth, a senior research associate for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who studies bird migration.
Biologists finally started to solve the mystery of that strange day in Capitola 26 years later when, in the winter of 1987, three people died and at least 100 others contracted food poisoning from eating blue mussels on Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada. Scientists realized the toxin was connected to a diatom in the water known as pseudo-nitzschia (red tide), and identified the syndrome for the first time, describing it as amnesic shellfish poisoning, said Clarissa Anderson, the executive director of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System and an expert on harmful algal blooms.
California Waterfowl Association Day in the Marsh
CWA will be holding its 40th annual day in the marsh at their Grizzly Ranch property from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3. Activities will include youth duck calling contest, shooting, art projects, bounce house, vendors, live auction, and a raffle. Visit calwaterfowl.org/day-in-marsh-register23 for more information.
Brent Randol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 481-3319.