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Fishy news from around the region

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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Quite a bit of interesting fishing-related news came down the ol’ pike (I’m not even sure what that means) this week. So without delay, here are some tidbits for you to chew on… New boat inspection fee on Tahoe Beginning June 1, you’re going to have to pay a boat inspection fee to launch at Lake Tahoe. For most fishing-style boats, there will be a $30 inspection fee (it’s based on the size of the vessel — though it is more if you have a livewell). The inspectors will be looking for invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels and New Zealand mud snails, which can live in the bilge and lower units of boats and then get transferred to other waterways. If these aquatic hitchhikers get established in Tahoe, they can cause all sorts of problems and it’s very likely that the lake’s epic mack and kokanee fisheries would take a severe downturn. Once you’ve been inspected, a seal will be installed between your boat and trailer As long as it remains intact, you will avoid paying inspection fees again. I’m not sure how it works, however, if you’re like me and launch and recover the boat every day up there. Furthermore, I’m guessing they won’t have inspectors at the ramps at dawn when we fisher folk like to launch, so that may be a problem, too. While I’m not stoked about the fees and potential early morning launch issues, it is extremely important to keep these critters out of Lake Tahoe. For more info: 1-888-TAHO-ANS or www.trpa.org. Token ocean salmon season in 2009? With Chinook salmon returns still looking to be down this summer and fall, the Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended a second straight year of sweeping ocean salmon fishing closures along the California coast at its meeting last week. Though there is one small exception… The Council opted to allow for a limited 10-day offshore season north of Cape Mendocino this summer. Basically, you’re looking at ports like Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City. The final details have yet to be set because the National Marine Fisheries Service has to OK the recommendation at its May 1 meeting. After that. we’ll know for sure. And speaking of salmon… A major report released last month by a collaboration of state and federal fishery experts has confirmed what I’ve been saying all along — that the collapse of the Central Valley’s fall Chinook salmon run these past few years was largely due to poor ocean conditions. Some highlights of the report: “The evidence pointed to ocean conditions as the proximate cause because conditions in freshwater were not unusual, and a measure of (juvenile salmon) abundance at the entrance to the estuary showed that, up until that point, these broods were at or near normal levels of abundance” says the report. “At some time and place between this point and recruitment to the fishery at age two, unusually large fractions of these broods perished. A broad body of evidence suggests that anomalous conditions in the coastal ocean in 2005 and 2006 resulted in unusually poor survival of the 2004 and 2005 broods of Sacramento River fall Chinook.” While the ocean was the major culprit, there were other factors at work here. According to the report: “The long-standing and ongoing degradation of freshwater and estuarine habitats and the subsequent heavy reliance on hatchery production were also likely contributors to the collapse of the stock,” it says. If you want to try to wrap your head around all 57 pages of the report, click on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southwest Regional Office Web site: http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/ Kid’s Fishing Derby Don’t forget about the Placer Sportsmen’s Kid’s Fishing Derby coming up on April 25 at Regional Park. It’s an Auburn institution and a must-do for the little ones aged 15 and younger. I’ll tell ya more about it next week. Striper Fishing Oh and one other little item…I’ve been guiding striper trips on the Valley rivers the past couple weeks and the fishing has been off-the-charts, with 80-100 fish days (seriously!) starting last Wednesday and lasting through Sunday. Monday was tougher — we landed 20 fish and then the howling northwest wind kicked our behinds on Tuesday when we only hooked 11. Wednesday the fishing mysteriously came back strong and we landed something like 70 bass and yesterday was more of the same. So, it’s definitely time to get out there if you want to catch one of the state’s great gamefish. If you’re into the guided route, give me a buzz at (916) 388-1956 — otherwise see ya on the water! J.D. Richey is a 1986 Placer High graduate, and his outdoors pieces have been published nationally. He can be found on the Web at www.fishwithjd.com.