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13 Day Fly Fishing trip through Montana

by 'Conservation Slim'

I really enjoyed this video and it was a wonderful escape to the days of  late 20’s early 30’s where dragging an inflatable raft down trails and rock to the river. The boys purchase a short size school bus and turn it into the camp out king on a small budget.  They drive north to Montana and fish the Madison and Missouri and another feeder stream. The guys are full of adventure, humor and the cooking will convince you that hungry fishermen will eat anything and say ‘yum’.  I hope you will sit back and enjoy the 13 day fishing trip.

Locally, good news for salmon fishermen on the bay, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project have contracted Fish and Wildlife hatchery trucks to deliver a full load of 60K chinook salmon smolt’s. Again the truck will just drop the fish from the roadway level into the bay. (May 25).

Lakes all over the state are down to levels that have launching boats impossible. The only 2 lakes (Eastern Sierra) that have launch ramps in operation is at Lake Davis and Frenchman’s. Some have the docks alongside the ramp and others do not so check ahead if you are pulling a boat. Float tubers never have to worry about that.

I guess we all know the drought has hit us again this winter. I measure 12.60″ only from this rainy season.  I cannot find a year except in 06/07 where we had 11.40″ locally in Santa Cruz/Soquel. We can expect this fire season will be constant till the rain returns in Nov/Dec. We can all do our part by saving water and shower with a friend.

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A Dam Close to Home

by Conservation Contributor Bob Garbarino

OK, this may not be big news like the dams being removed on the Klamath river, but it is in our own backyard. The Sempervirens Fund has received a $550,000 grant to remove an abandoned 110 year old dam on Mill Creek. The creek feeds the San Vicente watershed between Bonny Doon and Davenport. By removing the dam, both Coho salmon and the water customers of Davenport are expected to benefit. The fish are expected to have improved spawning habitat and access to more of the creek. The water quality for the 950 customers downstream will be improved by allowing more erosion of granite.

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MBSTP (Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project) update

by Sam Bishop

Since the big fire last year, things are moving along with the hatchery rebuild. Fundraising efforts to rebuild are underway from many sources. They include the need to replace the upper bridge for full access to the hatchery.

A few orders for the first phases of the rebuild have been placed to re-plumb the intakes and drains for tanks which survived last year’s fire more or less undamaged. Once we get the tanks re-plumbed and recirculation running, we will be able to receive this year’s production of our fish (Coho) back at the hatchery. It is not likely we will be able to actually spawn fish this year, as there are contamination and potential blockage issues from fire debris. The post-fire effects on the environment around the hatchery are not attractive for now.

Our Chinook releases (smolt hatched elsewhere) from the Santa Cruz and Monterey wharfs will have happened by the time this is published. We make a direct release into the Bay, well after dark. This has been quite successful from the Santa Cruz Wharf, as the birds, seals and sea lions are pretty much asleep and don’t seem to realize the giant feast being dumped in a few feet away! Sorry, but we could not publicize this in advance for the public to watch due to concerns about crowds and Covid restrictions.

For those not acquainted with our history of the Chinook releases; for years they were put into a big pen in the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor (also sometimes Moss Landing and Monterey), then released from there. Problem was that they acclimated to the Harbor and came back later when they grew up. That created problems with too many people coming in to fish, trespassing on boats, fishing where prohibited, and of course even more sea lions came in to feast.

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Artificial light and the decline of salmon smolts

by Conservation Slim

“Slim report”

Spring is here and fishing has been favorable for those who drove eastward to Pyramid Lake and especially the timing of our annual club fish-out which could not have been any better planned. My tenth year at the lake with the club and we all agreed that this is the grandest year for the fish and fishing as the bays filled with thousands of large trout all in spawning mode moving past our feet by the dozens and all day long.

The old pro’s in our group said the (4) of them conservatively landed over 500 fish that 6 days sitting on the platform chair.  I enjoyed all the friends and activity but had to slip away to a south lake beach to be more remote and fish deeper water from shore. Never before have I had multiple double digit fish days and landing more than one fish in the teens in a single day. The unusual thing was the high numbers of fish foul hooked this year. It was more likely your fish was foul hooked than legally hooked and even when you were trying not to set the hook too hard or too soon. Even small midges like the albino wino was hooking the fish in the fins more often than not.

News flash: Pyramid Lake, Pilot Peak fish up to 16 lbs are now being counted as they pass the fish ladder on the Truckee River. The hatchery folks (Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Gardnerville NV) monitoring the fish as they pass are marking and numbering these spawners. It will be an exciting river to fish once the cutthroat trout establish themselves again.

An interesting article appeared in fishreport@fishbio.com on the subject of artificial lights along the Sacramento River and how that affects the salmon smolts as they travel at night downstream to the sea. Predators like the striped and black bass use the added light to spot and feed on the smolts which in the distant past would use the dark nights to slip past these predators.  Full article can be found at:  https://fishbio.com/field-notes/the-fish-report/smolt-spotlight-effects-artificial-lighting-salmon-survival

Locally, as was in the local news and ‘Slim’ was not aware of the coho salmon planting into Scott Creek from our local Kingfisher Flat hatchery in Swanton. NOAA has control of this and has their own crew of workers. The low rivers was the reason to release the fish early. These fish survived the wildfire that heavily damaged the hatchery infrastructure and killed about half of last years hatched fish. The hatchery access was burned and destroyed (2 bridges over the creek). There is still no timeline as to the replacement of bridges and plumbing and tanks.  (Photo taken years ago of salmon smolts entering salt water for the first time, the jumping part ended when they started adding salt to the water in the tanker trucks prior to being driven to the harbor from the Feather River Hatchery).

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Good Bye Jon Baiocchi

by Stosh

‘Cal Slim’ remembers the time when he arrived at Lake Davis and Jon was standing in front of the fishing camp he set up for his clients at Grasshopper campgrounds. He was smiling and waived to us like he expected our arrival and we may need some info. He said the lake was fishing very poorly and that he was driving to Frenchman’s daily to be catching small but scrappy rainbows. He had that smile and penetrating eyes that made you feel comfortable and at ease being around him instantly. I know many of our members know what I mean and have fished with Jon and or followed his posts on Facebook.

I will always remember that campground as Baiocchi Flats from now on,  Life is so precious, It is very sad to realize he is gone but not forgotten.

 

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‘Conservation Slim’ Report

by Steve Rudzinski

April is just around the corner and many of us are counting the days till the annual FishOut at Pyramid Lake NV. Those of us who experienced last years closure of the lake at the time the club was renting the trailers from Pyramid Lodge as Crosby’s Lodge sold to the Paiute tribe last year.  My latest adventure (2/28-3/3) was very slow in the north half of the lake while the southern beaches were producing only one or two fish days with the rare individual who found the right spot and used the right color and fished hard all day would nail a half dozen fish with one over ten pounds.

By the time we meet in April the water will warm and more insects hatching, the numbers of fish inside casting range will increase as fish turn to eat more bugs than tui chubs. Joe Contaldi posts client catches daily on Facebook, most fish are in the 5-8 lb. range. Joe sets them up with indicators and flies like the albino wino about 6′-9′ under the surface using 2 fly set ups.

In the news from the Pebble Mine/Save Bristol Bay program, the new head of the EPA is Michael Regan. The promoters are very happy with this appointment and along with Congressmen DeFazio and Huffman (sub committee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife) who sent a letter immediately to him (Regan) to support  his ending any possibility for mining in that region using the authority under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.   Thank you to all members for allowing us to donate yearly to this great cause in the memory of fellow fisherman and guide who perished on the American Creek in AK only a month before his scheduled speaking engagement at the Aptos Grange in 2018.  John Squires was the one who donated his speaking fee to the Alaska Fund for Trout Unlimited. We continue to donate in John’s name.

Locally, the latest report from MBSTP and the hatchery at Kingfisher Flat in Swanton says, A setback due to water problems, a large portion of this years hatch of coho salmon were lost. Still about 35,000 fish will be transferred to our hatchery from the Warm Springs hatchery in the Russian River district. The hatchery is going to com through this all, even though it did not capture any steelhead this season as the rains did not allow any operation to exist.  I will let the club members know when there is a call for volunteers to help carry buckets of fish to release in the Scott Creek watershed.

Local supervisors are agreeing on taking action to clean up illegal camps along the San Lorenzo River. Fishermen especially  see the problem close up, it’s disgusting and painful to realize there is such disregard for beauty in nature. As a former information/referral operator at SWITCHBOARD 426-LIFE (1970-75) or until Governor Reagan took office, we existed on a bare bone budget from the State of CA.  I personally know the homeless problem began as soon as the mental hospitals were closed and inmates put on the streets.  Vietnam Vets suffering severe PTSD were 70% we had walk in the office daily, all we could do was show where the bridges were located to sleep. If we can’t offer a real mental health solution, the issue will not change no matter how much money is diverted.  We have to get the schools involved. Children are the best to grow a new generation who care about the environment.    Fish-On Everyone, Best to all,

Not So-Slim

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Klamath River Restoration

by Conservation Contributor Bob Garbarino

As fly fishermen/women and conservationists, what comes to mind when we think of dams?  We all, to some degree have learned about the harmful effects they can have on fish. I found this statement on the americanrivers.org website that captures the negative impact of dams on the environment:
“Few things have such a fundamental impact on a river as a dam. Dams block the movement of fish and other aquatic species, inundate river habitat, impair water quality, and alter the flow regime necessary to sustain river life. As dams age and decay, they can also become public safety hazards, presenting a failure risk and a dangerous nuisance.”
One important example of dam removal is the long debated plan to remove four dams on the lower Klamath river in California and Oregon. This $450 million project—if it comes to fruition—will be the largest of its kind in US history. Oregon, California and the utility PacifiCorp, which operates the hydroelectric dams and is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, will each provide one-third of the additional funds. The current plan calls for the dams to be removed by 2024.
If completed, the decimated Chinook and Coho salmon as well as steelhead populations are expected to increase their numbers significantly.

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MBS&T Project April Update

by Sam Bishop, MBSTP Treasurer

In Coho program news, there was a major facilities problem at the NOAA FED laboratory last month, where this year’s spawning class is being incubated and ponded. Flow was lost to two of the incubator stacks that contained a large number of eggs and post-hatch fry, leading to the loss of a big portion of this year’s cohort. This was a huge let down, especially after all the hard work we put into spawning our fish at Warm Springs this season. Our production numbers are much lower than we anticipated after completing spawning.

We’ll be returning fish to our own facilities at Kingfisher Flat (the name of our hatchery) soon. These are the fish that survived the CZU fire and were moved out after the fire. it’ll be a huge accomplishment (and relief) to see these fish released to their home waters of Scott Creek. We’ll also be bringing up the ponded fry (young of year) from the NOAA lab later this summer, but sadly reduced in number due to the aforementioned loss incident at the NOAA facility.

Everybody involved with the Coho program wants to see our hatchery again capable of spawning and incubation, hopefully  this winter.

Steelhead conservation program still on hold due to threatened species legal issues way beyond our control.

Our Chinook releases from Monterey & Santa Cruz into Monterey Bay should be mid to late May, same as last year.

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Microplastics In Monterey Bay

by Conservation Contributor Bob Garbarino

In considering a relevant conservation topic close to our home waters, I decided to look into what is going on at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, more commonly known as MBARI. I found an article from June 2019 about a study that found microplastics throughout Monterey Bay. Most all of us have heard about the “Great Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. You probably have seen television programs and photos of all sorts of plastic items floating in the ocean. I have heard some mention of microplastics, but was not aware of their widespread presence in Monterey Bay. According to the article, a microplastic is plastic debris less than 5 millimeters across.


The study found microplastics present in Monterey Bay from just below sea level all the way down to 1000 meters. The team carrying out the research used MBARI’s underwater robots to collect seawater samples. They found that the highest concentration of particles was at a depth of 200-600 meters. They also checked for the presence of the particles in two filter feed marine animals—pelagic red crabs and giant larvaceans. All of them tested were found to have microplastics in their system. The red crabs and giant larvaceans are consumed by other animals. For instance, the red crab is eaten by  bluefin tuna, humpback whales, migratory birds like albatross. The most common types of plastics found were PET, polyamide and polycarbonate—all found in consumer products like plastic drink bottles and to-go containers. One of the researchers suggested that some of the plastic moved into the bay by way of ocean currents.
Interesting—but perhaps not surprising—is that of the five top rivers that produce the most plastic trash, four are in Asia and one in Africa.
I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg of a huge complex problem that covers the globe. What can we as individuals do? Find and use alternatives to single-use disposable plastics is the number one recommendation.

Trash and marine debris on a beach near Tulum, Mexico.
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MBSTP (Monteret Bay Salmon & Trout Project) update

by Sam Bishop"

Hi everyone,
I have been asked to start a newsletter section on a great organization that SCFF has supported financially and physically for decades, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project (MBSTP). Over the years many of us have volunteered to help in fin clipping, clean ups, repairs, releasing fish into the San Lorenzo River, Scott Creek, trapping Steelhead at the Felton Diversion Dam and so on. I am the volunteer Treasurer for this charitable organization.
There is no way I could do a short paragraph or two and bring everyone up to date on the MBSTP history and what it does today. For that I must ask you all to go to our website, www.mbstp.org.
The challenges we have faced have been daunting, yet there it is, our hatchery right here in Santa Cruz County, dedicated to (1) the preservation of the southern strain of endangered Coho Salmon and (2) ditto Steelhead, (3) coordination and facilitation of the release of millions of King Salmon smolt into Monterey Bay (they are raised in a different hatchery) and (4) STEP – an education program for youngsters that was started and flourished primarily due to the efforts and dedication of our long time SCFF member Barry Burt.
This complicated hatchery (burn damage severe this summer), with a half million dollar budget is run by only 3 paid employees, a Hatchery Manager (whose home burned to the ground this summer), a Fish Culturist (moving away, so we are recruiting) and an Executive Director.
Here is where we stand right now:
HATCHERY: Post fire cleanup is finished at Kingfisher Flat (the name of the hatchery), we’re starting to wrap our heads around the rebuild process/timeline. We are working on a procedural guide to get the facility back in operation, contacting agency funders and private donors re: the rebuild expense. There’s a ton of work to be done, and it’s not going to be cheap.
CHINOOK releases: We expect to be hearing back about CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) processing for Santa Cruz wharf very soon, then it goes through the 30-day public comment before being officially given the go-ahead. Monterey is all set to go for the release. We’re expecting that release in late May/early June.
STEELHEAD: Lack of rain has prevented our ability to trap and count Steelhead. The Felton diversion dam has to be inflated and the stream flushed before that can happen.
STEP (Salmon & Trout Education Program): An application to the NOAA BWET grants program for the funding of STEP has been filed which would come online next year. This grant would pay for the creation of videos and digital content to supplement STEP in a distance-learning format.

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Iceberg A-68

by Steve Rudzinski

I’m running late again in submitting a worthy article this month although what has my interest the last 2 months is this massive iceberg that has broken off Antarctica that is a little over 100 miles long and about 35 miles wide.  Large icebergs are named by the US National Ice Center who gave it the identification  A-68.

I found it when watching a nightly weather and news program, (Above Ground World News). Mike Morales does a weather report that the networks would never allow, using NASA technology and satellite imagery EOSDIS, RAMMB, Mike was commenting on this iceberg one night and I have been following it since. The iceberg was drifting NE and directly at the S. Georgia and S. Sandwich Islands in the southern ocean about SE from Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of S. America. A-68 was on a collision course with the main island, on the satellite the iceberg was almost exactly the same size as the main island.

Cloud cover hid the activity for days but I took digital photos of the screen and posted on FB for some friends who were interested like me. A-68 got within 35 miles of the land mass and the currents or actions by man turned it south and a 35 mile chunk sheared off in almost a perfectly straight line A-68A was born. The smaller part stayed in the area of the Sandwich Islands while the 70 mile long ‘mother berg’ drifted south and within days, a long narrower part broke free A-68B which is now well over 100 miles north of the S. Georgia/S. Sandwich Islands and heading for warmer water north.

Note the ‘frequency clouds’ north of the Sandwich Islands that may have something to do with the breaking up of this massive berg. I was surprised something like this event was never mentioned in the usual media sources. My thought right away was how many million gallons of fresh water was in this massive chunk of ice melting into the sea.

Wikipedia search ‘Iceberg A-68’ for info on it’s source calving away from the Larsen Ice shelf.

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Hatchery report and more 2021

by Conservation Slim

Hatchery Report for the Swanton Road facility: As of 12/18 I just got the letter from Ben Harris as to the status since the fire damaged most of the outdoor tanks and infrastructure. Currently they are working with county OES/environmental health department to arrange clean up of the site under Phase 2 (public option) to save money on labor, public contractors will take care of hauling away the tanks and debris. Two bridges need to be built over the creek and permits needed to be approved still. Work is expected to begin before Jan 1.

Volunteers are always treasured and deeply appreciated and January is a busy month where the Warm Springs facility expect the spawning will be in full swing the second and third week of January. Permits are in place to capture fish at the Felton dam fish trap. They are going to have Gordon explain how the trap works as you work 8 hour shifts during the prime time when fish are moving upstream, day and all night. This is hard work and not for everyone, die hard fishermen usually love this stuff.  You will need to sign a waiver and get training and have a fishing license to register.

Fish and Wildlife say they plan to release Chinook salmon smolts again in Santa Cruz and Monterey in 2021-22 releasing 120,000 at each site. Last spring was the first time fish had been dropped off the wharf and bypassing the small craft harbor for the first time. I would try fishing off the wharf for salmon in a couple more years as they return to the source of their entry to the sea. The sea lions will be on the scene but we caught some big salmon mooching off the wharf, sea lions get their share. Ben Harris director says he is asking for more releases but the fires and funding has affected operations at the Mokelumne Hatchery. Low flows and numbers of native fish has greatly reduced production of smolts this year.  Fish are released from Fort Baker to other locations south to Monterey.  This project has been my passion over 10 years when we received fish at the Harbor launch ramp and tended a sea pen to feed and fatten fish to be released after 5 days in the pen. It was a ton of work assembling and storing the sea pen and now they just drop them 40 feet off the wharf and they do fine. (we hope)

Since our club does not have our own conservation projects it is interesting and fun to help out other local groups like MBSTP or Coastal Watershed Council as a representative of SCFF.  The Hatchery staff have asked us for help many times and we always send a few who make the difference in a successful effort like fin clipping parties at the Felton Hatchery to taking water samples at the annual ‘First Flush’ storm sewer analysis where it meets rivers or shoreline.

Contact: www.mbstp.org for information or call or write me.

PS. Thanks to all who attended the casting clinic at Jade St Park in Dec. I think at least 25 came throughout the afternoon, this will happen again in 2021 or  when the current stay at home for 100 days is over.  I am asking for help in posting conservation articles for 2021, Thanks to Bob Garbarino for his help this month.

‘Be the Bug’.  Stosh aka (Con-Slim)

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Coho Salmon Die-Offs May Be Linked to Tire Particles

by Conservation Contributor Bob Garbarino

A team of university, state and federal researchers from Washington and California together with Canadian scientists have identified a compound that is formed when a component in tires reacts with ozone is washed into creeks and streams during storm runoffs. They concluded that the toxic compound is deadly to the endangered Coho. The research was conducted in streams in the Puget Sound vicinity.

The culprit turned out to be related to a chemical called 6PPD, which is essentially a preservative to keep car tires from breaking down too quickly in the presence of ozone. When 6PPD hits the road and reacts with ozone gas, the chemical transforms into multiple new chemicals, including a compound known as 6PPD-quinone.

Hopefully the outcome of this research will result in changes in the chemistry of tire design that will eliminate this Coho killer. Undoubtedly, this could be a long uphill battle against the tire industry. My thanks goes out to those committed to science and conservation of our wildlife!

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Pebble Mine Update.

by Conservation Slim

In August we thought it was ‘Smooth Sailing’ for saving Bristol Bay as the Army Corps of Engineers, in all their wisdom, could not permit the plan as stated by Pebble Mine Inc. The Army set the bar so high that the corporation would never be able to show it was safe from future flooding and releasing the toxic chemicals into the watershed. Pebble ‘brushed off’ the Army’s letter promising a response which now the Army is not sharing with the public so there is a mystery as to the details.

Much of the problem is due to the silence coming from both Senators Murkowski and Sullivan who Trout Unlimited
Alaska Fund representatives report have not fully put their support behind saving the fishery once and for all. Both claiming that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) needs to be using their authority under the Clean Water Act to veto the permits sought by Pebble Mine proponents Northern Dynasty Mining Inc.

TU says to write the Senators now and tell them to say ‘NO to the Pebble Mine’.

Lisa Murkowski 302 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510 www.murkowski.senatte.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

Dan Sullivan 202 224 3004 (same address as Murkowski) email: www.sullivan.senate.gov/contact/email

I want to send out a special thanks to our members who joined up with the Salinas Fly Fishers and TU to do a couple days of clean up along the Salinas River where the RR tracks and Hwy 1 cross the estuary and where club members put in small boats and float tubes to fish for Striped Bass. Photos show a huge dumpster on site filled with mattresses, tires, furniture and trash galore.   Special thanks to volunteers, Sam Bishop, Jeff Sloboden, Jeff Gose, Scott Kitayama and any others I missed.

I am preparing for the Covid Casting Clinic this Wed and meeting our new ‘Weather Guy at large’ Lee Solomon from KSBW newsroom. We will let Lee decide what to call his new position on the board. eg Weatherman at large or Meteorologist at large, however he decides we want to welcome him this week at the clinic and hope he can find a minute to log into our Wed general meeting Dec 2.

On Dec 5th the following Saturday at 2 PM I will have another casting clinic for those who cannot attend the Wednesday mid week events due to working for a living.  This will be the last casting event till Spring so please RSVP me if you plan to attend and or bring a guest caster friend or relative.

Happy holidays to everyone, please be healthy wealthy and wise and be kind to everyone. 2021 is going to be more topsy turvy than 2020 is my guess.  Let’s all get through this and keep our sanity.  Peace,   ‘Cal Slim’

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O’Neill ForeBay fishery concerns.

by Steve

Aside from my article in ‘Fishy Tales’, I wanted to share some observations on the fishery and interesting findings from Andy Gorbus from Fish and Wildlife.

Our own master fisherman and guide and fly tier friend, Lee Haskins, commented Saturday on how the ForeBay has improved due to the non poisoning of weed beds the last few years. I agreed and remember sending letters to both California Water Board and the Dept of Fish and Wildlife asking questions about the herbicide ‘Endothall’ (End-it-all)! in 2017.  Andy Gorbus has kept in touch over the last 3 years, mostly to send toxicology reports on HAB (harmful bacteria blooms). We all noticed the odor of the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) hugging the shoreline on the eastern shore which is the side that the wind blows towards the most. We all saw the dead fish wash up in some areas and the soupy green algae was everywhere.

One member who did not wear waders and fished a half day a week prior to the fishout developed the same swimmers itch symptoms as we developed doing the same thing at the north shore of Lake Almanor in June.  Little red pimples that look more like bug bites than a rash. It could be partially because of all the bird activity (poop). (coots at the ForeBay and geese at Almanor).

Because of the non poisoning of the weed beds for several years, the shad are back in numbers and fish are boiling again and fishers are getting fish in the 20″ range or better.

It is so often you may think one person complaining and writing letters and making a few phone calls cannot do anything but that is not true at all. I think our society wants to do the right thing and to help make things right, it is so political also and you have to appeal to the greater good like not poisoning the water that is heading for public consumption (LA). Although they say the herbicide Endothall is not harmful to fish and animals, would you drink the water knowing that?

Click image to see letter

On another front, the 2 Alaskan senators are now supporting saving Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine project, the president has even said he also supports protecting the bay. The Alaskan fund of Trout Unlimited sends me letters of thanks to the SCFF members for their support in saving the most precious of resources left on planet Earth. Good for us and for all.  We all ‘Rock’.  Thank you.

‘Slim’

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lactococcus garvieae

The first-time introduction of a bacteria into California caused a culling of many fish at hatcheries.   Member, Tom Deetz, let us know about this and below is an article from CalTrout about it.   If others find new information about this, please share on Google Groups or submit to the newsletter.  –  Scott Kitayama


CDFW Euthanizes 3.2 Million Trout to Halt Bacteria Outbreak 
July 22, 2020 (article from CalTrout)

On July 20, 2020, three California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatcheries in Southern California and the eastern Sierra euthanized 3.2 million hatchery trout to stop the outbreak of a bacterial infection. Fish at the hatcheries have been infected with Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, wildlife officials said.

The disease was previously unknown in California, and CDFW staff have been trying multiple treatments and strategies to try to resolve the outbreak over the last three months. Efforts have been unsuccessful. Consequently and as a last resort, CDFW pathologists have recommended that the fish be euthanized and the facilities disinfected before repopulating the hatcheries with L. garvieae-free fish.

The trout, which are used to stock waterways for recreational fishing, are at Mojave River Hatchery, Black Rock Hatchery and Fish Springs Hatchery.

Where have scheduled fish plants been canceled, due to this outbreak?

The counties affected include:

– Los Angeles
– San Bernardino
– Riverside
– San Diego
– Orange
– Ventura
– Santa Barbara Inyo
– Mono

Can CDFW make up for the canceled plants with fish from non-infected hatcheries?

Currently, three of CDFW’s largest trout production hatcheries in the state are shut down, and two others are coming back online after significant infrastructure problems and not yet at full production. In addition, a catchable size fish takes around two years to get to size. There is no way for the remaining trout hatcheries to make up that level of fish production. CDFW is evaluating the possibility of re-allocating fish destined to be stocked in northern California waters to a small group of high use, easily accessible Eastern Sierra and Southern California waters, but there are still significant logistical details to be worked out including safety of staff and travel under current COVID-19 restrictions.

Can humans get sick from this bacteria? Should people take extra precaution if eating fish they catch?

There is limited evidence L. garvieae bacteria has been passed to humans, but fish-to-human transmission is extremely rare. As always, anglers should follow USDA recommendations on cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.

More information can be found on the CDFW FAQ list. “FAQ for Lactococcus garvieae outbreak in Southern California fish hatcheries“

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Weather Weaponing in California Fires

by 'Conservation Slim' (Steve Rudzinski)

California forest fires in the last five seasons have continually increased in ferocity and acres burned. Even without the fierce Santa Ana type winds, the fires have exploded throughout the west and mysteriously end at the border with Canada.

We have seen the photos of Santa Rosa after the fires a few years ago and whole neighborhoods not near forests or grasslands were burned to the ground, car engines and aluminum wheels a puddle of metal afterwards.  Cal Fire captain I talked with one day agreed that the fires are hotter than what they have seen from normal fires, they have a good idea what it is but cannot be caught talking about anything considered ‘conspiracy’.

Our local fires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties erupted from a dry lightning storm that produced epoch images from local photographers (Roll cloud image). Locals know that these storms are very rare and usually are the result from a dying hurricane in the Pacific and accompanied by rainfall.  This years ignition cause was something different, man made and with purpose says activist and author Deborah Tavares who investigated the fires in Santa Rosa and Paradise to mention the most famous fires. I encourage anyone rolling their eyes at the mention of arson and the use of DEW’s (direct energy weapon) developed at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. High flying super lasers developed for the military to cause great damage to anything it directs its beam. (All this can easily be searched via Google and I always recommend we do our own research when we have questions).

The next challenge we face is keeping our drinking water clean. We know that tons of that orange fire retardant has been dropped in areas that collect and get into the small streams and flow into our reservoirs. Soil engineers and scientists have already analyzed and reported up to 5% of the top soil throughout the state has aluminum and barium dust, the main ingredient used to turn blue skies into that hazy white jet trail sky. We all have noticed that now and it’s no big surprise. Now we know the alumina especially is an accelerant in the fires, the tree roots absorb the nano particle dust making them more explosive than ever. It’s not climate change it’s weather warfare. (geoengineering.com).

“Slim” has researched this subject to exhaustion, he sticks his neck out to non believers because this is so important, it’s our future. Already we are having our favorite camping and fishing grounds closed down with no plan on when they will reopen and with the fear factor as strong as it is now, we may very well see the end to the freedoms we all have loved our whole lives.  It has been 18 years since the ‘Shoe Bomber’ incident and we still cannot get through the ticketing without removing our shoes. The same could easily be true about mandatory masking and vaccinations.

Slim says, question authority. The former ‘Poppy’ Bush in his famous ‘A Thousand Points of Light’ speech promoted the New World Order and the changes that will be made on Earth. Top of the list for the future was to reduce the world population to a half billion or twenty five million in the USA. Those who google, ‘The Georgia Guide Stones” can read all the new commandments carved in red granite for all times.

Slim was going to just announce the big win in our battle against the Pebble Mine developers but that news is already a couple weeks old. I was in contact with John Squires widow Victoria and she was very happy about that news and that we will be sending more club funds to Trout Unlimited Alaska in John name.  Thanks everyone for your constructive criticism and questions you may have. I will try to provide anyone the links to these subjects raised this report.   Lets hope the rains come gradually, no big gully-washers please.

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‘Conservation Slim’ Report

by 'Conservation Slim' (Steve Rudzinski)

Six months into the Covid 19 shutdown of all we love to do, forcing us to stay home and mask up. As if the fear of getting sick wasn’t enough, we now are not sure if our homes are going to burn up as fire surrounds our little county along the coast.

The report from the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout project (MBSTP) is not good, although the main building and this years smolts survived, most of the outside big tanks holding adult fish were either destroyed or compromised, some adult spawners were saved but the damage done is extensive and the hatchery manager who lived at the site lost his cabin. the bridges leading to the hatchery were destroyed so getting in will be a difficult issue till the bridges can be replaced. The finances allow the organization to get through a couple years but they will be needing a lot of funding to replace what was lost. Sam Bishop sent me the letter listing all the things lost to the fire from the director, Matt Rowley, we can share upon request.

Just in today 8/23/20 from Politico.com a report about the Pebble Mine which should be made public tomorrow. The president had seen the special report on FOX news Tucker Carlson show about the Pebble Mine and the effects it will have on the people and the land and apparently he is also listening to the CEO of Bass Pro and his son Don Jr. to veto the plan to build the worlds largest copper, gold and silver mine ever. As we recall in 2015/16 President Obama put to rest the Pebble Mine and we all cheered but it was challenged and allowed to be reviewed again and we are awaiting findings from the Army Corps of Engineers as to the safety of the proposed mine on the environment.

There is a lot of money invested but some are dropping out like CITI group recently. The lobby in Washington to approve this mine is strong but the president needs the Alaska vote and this might do it he thinks. AK has always voted Republican but this year he is not so sure I am just guessing. It may be premature but I want to thank everyone for their support and donations to help save Bristol Bay and to keep it that way for future generations.

Best wishes and may the force be with us all.  ‘Slim’

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Lake Almanor 2020 and more

by 'Conservation Slim' (Steve Rudzinski)

I attached a letter from the Wild Salmon Center thanking me (Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen members) for our donation to help save the fishery at Bristol Bay AK and to stop the Pebble Mine plan to create the worlds largest open pit copper and gold mine, destroying the last source of the only truly wild river producing  2/3 of the world wild salmon to market.

We had scheduled John Squires to speak again at the club in October 2018 and while guiding clients on the American Creek in Alaska in August, his pontoon boat struck a fallen tree and all were in the water, the clients lived a harrowing day and night on the opposite banks before getting help but John was never found.  We donated his speaking stipend to the TU Alaska fund to saving Bristol Bay as he told me to do prior to booking him for our meeting.

Two nights ago on June 25th, while float tubing and fishing the famous ‘Hex Hatch’ at lake Almanor with an armada of other fly fishermen, there were 2 guys in a boat, the only boat in our area and I was chatting a little with them every time I kicked by. The last time the older of the two asked me if I knew the Santa Cruz fly fishermen and Steve Rudzinski?  I never saw them before and said that I was he and had no idea that it was about.  Apparently their mother was the widow of John Squires and she said they should try to find me and thank me for honoring their father.

Now sometimes things happen in very mysterious ways as they had no idea what week we would be there and I almost fished another spot and changed my mind at the last minute, almost like being directed by an unknown source. Dan and Joe offered me a beer which I accepted and we toasted their father who must have been present in some way as we told a few stories out there bobbing in the waves.

As far as conservation issues, I am finding that most agencies and programs and even the courts are on hold from making any decisions while the Covis-19 shutdown is still in force. I did not see many masks in northern CA and in Chester and the surrounding area, only 2 cases reported up in the county according to the management at North Shore Camping where I camped for five nights with 2 other club members. The fishermen I met all thought this was a poor week to fish for the majority and me included by landing only one very nice brown trout and a few big bass. The Mayfly hatch was much less than in previous years I recall and the surface temp was 73/74 degrees all week and getting warmer. We did not see much surface action although the bats showed up after dark, the ospreys got a few fish and the western grebes were mating and in large flocks following schools of pond smelt. One lone loon calling in the darkness it’s lonely shrill sound.

Till next month, be safe and be kind to each other, it’s tough for us all living in fear and uncertainty or at least confusion as to ‘what’s next’?

Peace,

Conservation Slim.

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While we were distracted, the word “Conservation” itself was broken into a thousand pieces.

by 'Conservation Slim'

When I came across this startling list of Federal agencies either left unfunded or so seriously broken it cannot serve the people who set these laws and regulations in place to protect the land, sea and air. Sacred places like the headwaters of Bristol Bay salmon runs where the Pebble Mine Co. nears the long awaited access to dig the largest open pit gold and copper mine in the world. Agencies like the EPA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act are all quietly going away, no big news shows on TV announcing this outrage and we wonder why that some of the best conservation efforts are at best treading water and not making any headway against such heavy odds this current administration is creating daily.

It may only be a matter of time when local funding for NOAA and marine sanctuaries are a thing of the past. I think we can all agree that due to the overwhelming news on every station directs us where they wish, Every news show reads from the same script, we all have to inform ourselves and look to other sources thanks to the WWW which is still relatively free unless you are distracted by fly line ads and a better float tube fin bootie. Slim suggests writing a letter or an email to one of the congressmen or women working for us, or volunteer to do something you have a passion to learn or to teach others.

I’m getting packed to hit the O’Neill ForeBay tomorrow and then off to the Hex hatch at Lake Almanor on the 20th, my fathers day present to myself.  Also a proud grandfather who saw his grandson graduate online from Stanford University on June 14th in a live feed.

Please drive safely this summer and don’t do anything stupid, see you all at the BBQ at the hall in August.

Peace, Slim