The International Year Of The Salmon… is an important event. And, it is special that we’re kicking it off right here in St Helena at the Cameo at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. Have a look at the program below; then go on line and buy some tickets.
- Special Presentation by award winning photographer and author of “Salmon In The Trees”, Amy Gulick. Amy was kind enough to let us use her vivid photo of a male sockeye salmon returning to spawn in his bright spawning colors. He was just a drab grey while he was in the salt.
- Screening of “Chasing Wild” — a journey to the pristine salmon rivers of Alaska and British Columbia.
- Conservation leaders will take us through the threats to Alaska’s salmon fisheries.
- Our own congressman, Mike Thompson, adds his thoughts and comments.
- Then we will adjourn next door to the St Helena Odd Fellows Lodge for a wild Alaska Salmon Tasting featuring local wines and beers.
- With all proceeds going to benefit Alaska salmon conservation work, your $45 ticket plays a big role here.
- The Cameo is tiny, so space is limited. Order your tickets now at wildperspectives.eventbrite.com.
I’m looking For This Event… to kick start us all on a path to better salmon conditions. We have a long way to go to help rebuild salmon stocks around the world — and especially here on the West Coast where they have been so important to commercial fishermen for generations.
Sport fishing for salmon is also an important revenue source — as well as a memorable outdoor activity for whole families. Dams, drought and pollution have closed off many prime spawning grounds, resulting in fewer salmon born.
Embarrassing management errors at fish hatcheries and when drought conditions called for some river pulsing to help keep the temperatures down are all part of the sad tale. In 2002, on the Klamath River, we lost 34,000 salmon between Sept. 19 and 27. The Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program’s February 2004 Final Report concluded, “In this instance, low flows from Iron Gate Dam were a substantial causative factor in the fish kill of 2002.” Add in the rest of modern human activity for a perfect storm of harm to our most important sea critters.
- My own poster persons for blame are those city folks who convinced governments to reduce the managed control of sea lions back in the 70’s. “What Could Go Wrong?” Sea lion numbers have gone from 30,000 in the late 1960’s to about 300,000 in 2017 — a 100 percent increase.
- California sea lions are now out of control and range hundreds of miles up the coast to prey on salmon and steelhead. Some observers say that a sea lion can eat five to eight salmon a day — without buying a fishing license. Just think how unbalanced that is. Humans have to pay 50 bucks for a license to fish — and are restricted to a take of one or two salmon a day. The huge over-population of sea lions has pushed them to travel way up into fresh water to eat. They are going to devastate the fishery in Oregon’s famous Willamette River which is fresh water for miles and miles. I’m going to ask our leaders to look into this damaging lack of natural balance.
- Even in death, salmon give back: Because salmon die after spawning, their carcasses also provide abundant food and nutrients to plants and animals, including tiny aquatic insects and other invertebrates that in turn provide food for other animals.
- Experts tell us that humans are going to need to take more food from oceans — and soon. Nope, pristine little net pens of fish won’t get the job done. We are going to need natural oceans full of clean nourishing water to grow the volumes we will consume. Here’s just one example of the big numbers I’m talking about: The annual Alaska sockeye salmon return to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers (combined) is 1,050,000 to 1,900,000 a year. This is the perfect reason that you should bring your kids to the Cameo at 2:00 PM on March 23. They are going to need to start thinking about this subject.
And Look Who Wins…when we do it right. We do. The 2019 forecast of adult Sacramento Valley salmon in the ocean is 379,632 fish. That’s a 65 percent increase over last year’s 229,400. Stay tuned — we’ll learn in early April when the 2019 Bay Area season opens. By then, our rockfish and ling cod seasons will also be open. Plan to book some trips where the skipper promises “combo” trips of salmon, rocks, lings and until June 30 even Dungeness crabs. How lucky we are to fill our BBQ‘s a freezers with fresh-caught fish.
Finally…some largemouth bass action at Clear Lake. After a long fallow late fall and winter, let’s hope these big bass signal a big bite for 2019. Brothers Clyde and Joel Akamine caught ten largemouth bass fishing with pro guide, Bob Myskey (349-4460) last week. Their top three went 6.5, 5.0 and 4.0 pounds — nice size for cold water fishing.