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The Reel Life

The Reel Life: Napa River striper bite picks up

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Lakes and rivers

The Napa River striper bite has picked up, but most of the fish are on the small side. Trolling has been effective along with cut anchovies.

The Bureau of Reclamation has temporarily closed the Capell Cove Launch Ramp at Lake Berryessa due to drought conditions and receding water levels. The lake currently sits at 404 feet elevation, 36 feet below the Glory Hole spillway. The Capell Cove launch ramp will reopen when lake levels rise, however, all of the other boat ramps at the lake remain open at this time.

The native rainbow trout bite has been hot when drifting flies on the upper Sacramento River in Redding. The shad have been reported in the American and Feather rivers. While the bite is not red-hot, half limits are possible and your best bet is a shad dart under a bobber. The shad should reach the upper reaches of the Sacramento River in the next few weeks and should also be found in the Russian River as soon as the mouth is breached.

The Central Valley river salmon season is slated to open July 16. With historic low water levels, a banner year is not anticipated, but you never know. The fish rarely follow the plan.

Oceans and bays

Since salmon season has taken a break, the fleet is targeting rockfish and halibut. The halibut continues to limit or near limit using live bait. I recently saw a report that the Outerlimits was making the long run to south of Pigeon Point in Monterey County, where the salmon season remains open.

Blue-green algae

Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are natural organisms present around the world in ocean and fresh water. Certain conditions – low water levels, limited water circulation, increased temperature and light, among other factors – can cause cyanobacteria to bloom and, in some cases, release toxins. Scientists do not know what causes the cyanobacteria to become toxic. We do know that these blooms are increasing around the world.

The most common cyanobacteria toxins are Anatoxin-a, which impacts the nervous system, and Microcystin, which affects the liver. Exposure to toxic algae, either through ingestion or skin contact, can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems or, at high doses, serious illness or death, according to the California Department of Public Health. In the past few years, several dog deaths in California have been attributed to toxic algae poisoning. In the Napa Valley, farm ponds hold the highest risk to animals although it has also been detected in brackish water areas.

United Anglers of Casa Grande

United Anglers of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma announced that they are now operating as a Rescue Rearing Facility. One of the main objectives is to increase the population of steelhead trout in the Petaluma Watershed. They will achieve this by increasing the survival rates of the juveniles in the watershed. The fish that hatch this year will be collected from different creeks before they dry up. Fifty percent of those fish will be held at the UACG Hatchery for a year and released back to the areas from which they were collected as soon as the water flow is still high enough for them to get out to the ocean.

The other objective will be relocating fish to areas where summer habitat will hold water throughout the hot months. Every single fish will have tissue collected and analyzed to understand the genetics of the overall population for future decisions. Steelhead trout are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, so the students and program will be working closely with state and federal agencies. This is an important undertaking and I wish them much success in their endeavors.

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