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Catching bass with Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker, current manager of the Houston Astros and former Giants skipper, used his league-forced, one-day suspension from managing last Friday to return to his favorite fishing spot in the North Bay, starting with Keith Fraser at the Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael where he purchased live bait. Then, Dusty motored out to Red Rock where he caught seven striped bass.

Keith said that the veteran baseball manager wasn’t alone in his fishing success. Anglers caught striped bass in the usual bay hot spots during the weekend, including Red Rock, the Brothers and the old Whaling Station (which is near the Brothers).

Keith was also excited about the fact that one of his regular customers landed a 78-pound white sea bass just off Seal Rock outside the Gate this week. The monster fish was just a few pounds shy of the state record.

Anglers are also catching lots of shaker halibut inside the bay, but bigger halibut, running up to 30 pounds, are being caught just beyond the Gate, where salmon fishing is also pretty good right now.

Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing is reporting “Quality, not quantity,” salmon action this week. “We’re not catching as many salmon as we did a few weeks ago, but the ones we’re getting are huge. The largest was close to 40 pounds and many are in the high 20s and 30s,” Rick said.

He’s also finding limits of rock fish plus some lingcod on the combo trips. You can make a reservation for a spot on Rick’s boat by calling 875-3344.

The nonprofit California Trout just sent me their 2021 Watershed Review Update, a brilliantly written, photographed and published 24-page booklet summarizing their work over the past year or so. This San Francisco-based conservation group has had remarkable success in bringing back California creeks and rivers that are so polluted (or lacking in water) that California’s native fish, particularly salmon, trout and steelhead, can no longer survive in them.

If you love fishing, or even if you just want to help keep what’s left of our creeks and rivers alive, go to Caltrout.org, join and they’ll send you a copy of the report. A regular membership is $35.

Here a few samples of the accomplishments cited and illustrated in that Cal Trout report:

Restoring an Eel River tributary for salmon and steelhead. Logging and other resource extraction led to erosion, sediment buildup, and reduction of habitat for salmon and steelhead spawning. The project will restore all that on Bull Creek one of the Eel’s important tributaries.

The Klamath Basin Water Project: For years various groups, including farmers have been virtually at war in this northern part of our state. Finding ways to bring willing landowners work with them to allow enough water for trout and salmon to spawn has finally paid off.

You might not know it, but there are trout in the Napa River. They are the smolt of the greatly-diminished, but still existing adult steelhead that managed to make their way upstream beyond the tidewater. One of the Cal Trout projects is the remediation of a fish passage barrier to allow steelhead and salmon to get back to their traditional spawning areas further up the Napa Valley.

In the southern part of San Francisco Bay, Cal Trout is working with the Fisheries and Habitat Collaborative Effort to ensure stream flows in Coyote Creek, Stevens Creek and the Guadalupe River so that steelhead can survive year-round there.

Battle Creek, once one of the most prolific steelhead and spawning tributaries of the Sacramento River, had been severely compromised the proliferation of dams used for power generation. Cal Trout has been active in moving the removal of those dams. The next one slated for removal is Eagle Canyon and work begins this year.

The booklet summaries more than 25 projects. Cal Trout gives me hope that we can find solutions to restore and protect our natural resources. One supporter said, “I became a CalTrout member because I want California rivers to be safe from climate change…running wild and free and full of fish.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

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