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Positive news for salmon fishers

STEVE KYLE WITH the steelhead he caught on his final cast of his trip. Submitted photo

STEVE KYLE WITH the steelhead he caught on his final cast of his trip. Submitted photo

By Bill Lynch

Many Sonoma anglers and outdoor enthusiasts gathered at a special dinner of the Golden Gate Salmon Association hosted by Sam Sebastiani and Darius and Sarah Anderson at Ramekins last Friday. The fund-raising event was well-attended and featured Sam’s excellent La Chertosa wines, good food and an excellent presentation on the value of salmon to California, not only in terms of the sport and commercial fishing benefits, but also how wild salmon runs actually improve the land for farmers.

Scientist Joe Merz, Ph.D., described how GGSA is working with many Central Valley farmers to improve salmon spawning habitat, while also actually improving the productivity of their farms. Congressman Mike Thompson, a longtime advocate on behalf of both farmers and fish and wildlife commended the GGSA for its work and pledged his support.

The takeaway I got from the information was that it doesn’t have to be fish versus farmers. Both can benefit from wise management of the water resources. The GGSA keeps plugging away at making that point. Progress is slow, but progress nevertheless.

In a related subject, the GGSA announced that a study that they paid for has convinced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to truck all their baby fall run salmon from Coleman hatchery to San Pablo Bay. In addition, this science looks to have 100 percent of all the state hatchery fish from the Feather, American and Mokelumne hatcheries also truck past the problems (pumps) in the Delta and expected low and warm river flows this spring.

Recent studies from 2007 to 2112 have shown that more than 94 percent of fall-run salmon smolts released from Coleman never even make it to San Pablo Bay. For more information go to goldengatesalmonassociation.com.

The 2014 sport salmon season opens on our coasts April 5, with predictions of a good start. Capt. Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing, is booking salmon trips now for the opening week. Call Rick at 875-3344 for more details and a reservation.

Halibut, some as large as 25 pounds, are now being caught in increasing numbers in the Bay, especially in the Berkeley Flats area. Striped bass fishing has also been good in the Bay and sturgeon are still being caught near the Pump House. Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, can book you on a Bay party boat. Call Keith at 415-456-0321.

Fly fishing on the Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson is excellent right now according to guide Kirk Portocarrero. There are lots of bugs hatching and the weather is perfect. Call Kirk at 800-670-4448.

Fishing on the Trinity and Rogue River is fair to good now, as is fishing on the upper Sacramento River near Dunsmuir.

Steve Kyle returned this week from his adventure in Haida Gwaii, an island on the west coast of British Columbia, more popularly known as one of the Queen Charlotte Islands. He sent me some more photos that illustrate his claims about the beautiful (but difficult) terrain and the nice fish he caught.