Steve Solis caught this native steelhead on the Chetco River in Oregon while fishing with Dillon Baradzinski of Ironhead Guide Service.
Barbara Fetherston of Rutherford made a very generous donation to the St. Helena High School Fishing Club consisting of rods, reels, tackle, nets and even a float tube valued at approximately $2,500.
Thanks to Barbara, the club is equipped to catch almost anything that swims, from large tuna to very light panfish. Many club members are particularly interested in learning more about fly fishing and fly tying and can now look forward to learning on donated fly rods and reels.
The club, led by St. Helena High School teacher Evan Blassingame, is scheduled to make its annual bass and shark trip to San Pablo Bay next week. Hopefully they have plenty of photos to share in a future column.
Oceans and bays
The Bay Area is home to a variety of crab species, including Dungeness crab and rock crab. The Dungeness Crab recreational crabbing season is open from November 4, 2023 through July 30, 2024. The daily bag limit is 10 crabs, and the minimum size is 5 inches. Recreational crab fishing is not permitted from vessels licensed to fish for Dungeness crab commercially and Dungeness crab may not be taken from San Francisco or San Pablo Bay, only from the ocean or Tomales Bay.
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Lakes and rivers
Heavy limits in excess of 27 pounds were the main topic at Clear Lake last weekend during the two-day American Bass Association tournament. The lake remains high at 2.17 nominal with varying clarity depending on your location. The clearest water is at the upper end of the lake near Nice. Bass numbers and size remain good with little pressure from other anglers. Catfishing remains strong, with a number of major tournaments scheduled for 2024. Crappie have yet to show up, with the best action starting in late November.
Drones tackle the Tahoe algae threat
As the Environmental Systems Research Institute reports, Brandon Perry has an enviable job. In the morning, he flies a drone to survey the shores of Lake Tahoe. In the afternoon, he dives into the lake to sample the water quality. This practical find has its own fitness benefits and it would be hard to imagine a more beautiful office.
However, it’s a full-time job, and Perry said that in the winter, when the water is very cold and snowing, his colleagues are less envious.
With crab fishing only available to recreational anglers, Mark Dorman, Clay Engelbrecht and Lucien Dorman took advantage of a beautiful day in Bodega Bay.
As an environmental researcher at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), his work has advanced scientific understanding of algae growth and the invasive Asian clam, both of which contribute to nearshore degradation in the popular mountain-ringed lake.
Perry started the drone program at TERC five years ago. He used a combination of drones, water sampling, and geographic information system (GIS) technology to record conditions and address the metaphyton problem in Lake Tahoe; Disturbing floating algae that forms mats over the lake bottom. Depending on currents and wave patterns, the algae can wash ashore where it rots.
According to Perry, this metaphyton is closely related to the Asian clam, which is about the size of a quarter when mature and becomes microscopic as a juvenile. These filter feeders absorb water and secrete nutrients that cause massive algae blooms.
Lake Tahoe is so large that it dips distinctly toward the center due to the Earth’s curvature. Using drones, Perry takes photographs to record the lake’s clarity and the presence of algae around its 72-mile shoreline.
After flying through plots of land surrounding the lake, he dives to pick up sand samples to count the number of oysters. Data is processed and analyzed using GIS to communicate conditions and collaborate with other scientists to gain a comprehensive understanding of the lake. This data records changing conditions and informs testing of management techniques to address the problem.
“Tahoe is a popular lake, and the majority of people interact with it along the shoreline,” Berry said. “When there is rotting algae on beaches, it causes concern. Right now, aesthetics is one of the main concerns.
Klamath River Dam Removal
The process of removing the Klamath River dams was expected to begin this month and all four dams are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the $450 million project in November 2022. It would be the largest dam removal project in American history. Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), which took over ownership of the dams from Pacific Power, is leading the historic project. Preparatory work is underway and removal is scheduled to begin this summer, starting with Copco 2. Copco 1, the Iron Gate Dam and JC Boyle Dam are scheduled to be removed by the end of 2024.
Removing four dams from any river will result in immediate environmental impacts. KRRC says it is working with experts to monitor those inevitable impacts the river will experience in the coming years.
“We want to wait a while to let the river find its course again,” Bransome said. “Then we will come in and add a light touch where it is appropriate to do so through some restoration that we think will be beneficial, primarily for habitat and passage conditions for migratory fish.”
The Red Sea Research Center remains hopeful that by removing the dams, salmon will return to the river and thrive again.
“We are really trying to create conditions that are more favorable than those that exist today to support a healthier environment for all the communities that depend on the river,” explained KRRC CEO Mark Bransom.
Removing the dams is a big win for local tribes and environmental groups, who also hope salmon will return. But some residents who live near the dams say they worry their property values will decline.
However, Bransome said, there are more positives than negatives when it comes to dam removal.
“Although we have some opposition now, I am hopeful and optimistic that in the long run this will bring great benefits not only to the downstream and upstream communities but to everyone as well,” he said.
Brent Randol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 481-3319.