Fish Tales – July 2011

Celebrate Salmon Season!

Fish Tales July 2011
Since its inception earlier this year, GGSA has been hard at work doing the ground level organization building needed to go to bat for our salmon fishery. Many of you turned out at the two sold out fundraising dinners held in Santa Rosa and San Rafael and your support has been most appreciated. More on the dinners later.Now comes the next step which is taking the money raised and putting it where it counts rebuilding and guaranteeing strong salmon runs going forward. Towards that end GGSA president Victor Gonella and a group of board members has been bird dogging state and federal officials at meetings all over the state. These are meetings where the future of the fresh water needed by salmon to spawn and migrate is being decided. GGSA has also started the process of hiring key staff to take over the fulltime task of making our voice heard where it counts in decisions affecting the salmon fishery.

At the moment the rubber appears to be meeting the road in a state and federal planning effort to replumb the Central Valley to move more salmon water to non-salmon users. This is the same water needed to keep the salmon runs healthy. This planning process is called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

The size of the canal and the volume of salmon water to be moved is still up for discussion. Build too big a canal and it will be hard to hang on to enough salmon water to preserve strong salmon runs. We suffered through the last five years from this type of problem. So far, suggestions from our side to build the canal small enough to protect salmon has drawn complaints and strong opposition from politically powerful water users south of the delta. But we’re not giving up or giving in.

GGSA is working overtime to hire a representative to work fulltime on behalf of salmon in these discussions. Stay tuned.

There are currently several bills in the US House of Representatives aimed at seizing salmon water and handing it over to big water users south of the delta. If they were to succeed, it would likely spell the end of salmon. The good news is both California senators have expressed opposition to these efforts. Let’s hope they hold fast.

Back to the dinners. You were either there or you really missed something…

The first dinner, held April 27 in Santa Rosa to a sold out crowd was headlined by Congressman Mike Thompson, a real friend to salmon fishermen. Thompson represents the north coast, from Mendocino to the Oregon border.   The congressman was one of four members of Congress to appear the day before at a salmon summit in Antioch aimed at building support for delta water flows to aid salmon rebuilding efforts.

In May the second GGSA dinner was held at the Marin Rod and Gun Club, again to a sold out audience. Old acquaintances were resumed. Celebrity and wanna be celebrity fishermen filled the hall. By all accounts everyone went away happy.

The next dinner is scheduled for August 4 in San Francisco at the Presidio Golden Gate Club. Tickets are $95 a head. The dinners have been a lot of fun and a way to get together with other salmon aficionados for a very good cause. Presumably most will have fresh salmon tales of their own to share so don’t miss this one.

How’s fishing? Let’s get down to the real matter at hand. As most of you know salmon fishing started off spotty. There have been some bright spots with limits and near limits on the sport side but there have also been plenty of skunks. Our commercial members have had some decent days and some spotty ones. Their season opened with fish fetching $8/lb, but with Alaska, Oregon and Washington now all contributing fish, prices have dropped. No one would say May, June and July have been red hot but there have been some nice fish taken and reports from the far north part of the state suggest there are some really nice fish we should be seeing closer to the Golden Gate soon.

Although frustrating, especially to our charter boat members who need to be able to keep smaller fish early in the season, “acres of shakers” have been caught and released which bodes well for next season. These smaller fish have recently reached legal size which bodes well for our party boat members going forward.

Again, get your tickets for the SF dinner coming August 4 by going to the GGSA website at http://www.goldengatesalmonassociation.com/   These dinners are the stuff that good stories are made from so you don’t want to miss it.