Meandering Angler: Catch your own crabs

Since the commercial season continues to be delayed to protect migrating whales, why not catch your own crabs.|

The Dungeness crabs you see in local markets are shipped in from Washington State and selling for around $15 a pound. They are coming from out of state because commercial crab fishing off our own California coast is closed to protect the migrating whales and sea turtles.

Many Sonoma County residents have been going to the coast and catching their own since November 5, because recreational (catch-them-yourself) crab season is open and according to Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing, the catching is fantastic.

“Our clients have been catching full limit of crab (10 crabs) and full limits of rock fish (also 10) on virtually every trips since November 5. Fishing is off the charts,” Rick said this week.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations allow recreational anglers (non-commercial) to use closely tended hoop nets (not large commercial crab traps) to legally catch their limits. Rick has been taking out full loads of anglers on his party boat “New Sea Angler,” every day and everyone on board is catching their limit.

“Everybody is having fun. The crabs are big, close to two pounds each. The ocean has been calm like a lake, and we’re even able to watch whales,” Rick Said. Rick will be running his boat every day (except Thanksgiving). A full day’s fishing is $250. Call him at 707-875-3344.

Meanwhile, inside San Francisco Bay, striped bass fishing has been excellent along the Marin Shoreline near China Camp and off the McNears Park pier says Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael. He said that sturgeon fishing is also starting to heat up and that this weekend’s tides are excellent. He has live bait, including grass and ghost shrimp. Keith is also the guy to see for tips on the best places to fish. Call him at 415-456-0321.

California Trout’s 2022 Film Festival kicks off on Dec. 6 and 13 at the Lark Theater, in Larkspur with a series of documentary films the run from bone-fishing to salmon and a special film about the Indigenous People’s battle to save fishing on the Klamath River. You can order tickets on the Caltrout.org website.

And speaking of the Klamath, it was announced recently that the river’s restoration project is moving ahead with the removal of the lower four Klamath River dams set to begin in early 2023 and be completed by the end of 2024.

The Klamath River flows 253 miles from Southern Oregon through the northernmost part of California, where it flows through five hydropower dams before ultimately reaching the California coast.

The Klamath watershed is also home to six federally-recognized Tribes who lived off and tended to the fertile lands for thousands of years before European colonization. Today, Tribal Nations control approximately 10% of the watershed while 60% is managed by public agencies (such as the National Park Service) and 30% is privately owned.

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