Striped Bass – One of California’s Iconic Game fish
Can We Save Them?
Striped Bass has been one of the mainstays of central California sport fishing for at least the past 100 years. In the San Francisco bay area there are many dedicated charter boats that focus most of their year on taking the public out to fish for them in the bays and under the Golden Gate. In the Delta and tributary rivers there are many guides that spend a significant part of their season fishing for stripers. Thousands of recreational fishers target them many months of the year from the Monterey Bay to the beaches of Marin County, the shoreline of San Francisco bay, as well as throughout the Delta and its estuary. Stripers are likely the second most prized game fish in California behind only trout. They are a focus for many fly fishers, and they are an important part of the fishing fabric of California.
Stripers are currently the target of many in this state for purposeful extinction. The battle for water continues to heat up, and the past three years of drought made us all realize how far water users will go to obtain water. Stripers have been identified as predators of ESA listed fish species – salmon, steelhead, delta Smelt. This is no surprise to any of us. That said, we all know they have lived in balance with all these species for more than 100 years, but the dire condition of these listed species is driving our public fish agencies to take extreme actions, and reducing predation is one of them. We have our work cut out for us with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Game Commission to counter requests to take them off the game fish list, and eliminate any management regulations.
The single most pressing challenge to Striped Bass is the current lawsuit, “Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, et all vs. John McCammans (DFG Director), et all. It is the lawsuit that the NCCFFF has joined as defendant interveners, along with CSBA, CSPA and Striperfest (though not listed as interveners). This is literally, “ The fight for the life of striped bass in California.” It is not important to understand all the claims here, but to know that the goal is to focus attention on other causes of fishery declines rather than diversions of water from the Delta. Coalition for a Sustainable Delta is an organization formed by big water users in the southern San Joaquin valley, and who have an interest in diverted water for agricultural use as well as other needs.
NCCFFF is committed to supporting this suit any way we can, and for a victorious outcome that protects the striped bass fishery well into the future. We have prevailed in the summary judgment request from the Plaintiffs, but it has come at a cost. The next step in the legal process will be taking this suit to trial, with associated costs for providing a defense a challenge to the groups and individuals involved.
It is time for the fishing community to rally around striped bass, and pull together for their benefit.
Striperfest, CSBA and NCCFFF will continue working together to develop funding strategies for the case with appeals to their chapters, clubs and special angler events. It is going to take all of us working together and contributing time, money and effort if we are to save the striped bass fishery as we know it. That is why the NCCFFF Council is asking for your continued support in the form of individual contributions, as well as support from your associated clubs.http://www.nccfff.org
Up coming angler events where you can show your support:
NCCFFF Placerville Fly Fishing Festival, October 2nd, Sportsman’s Outdoor Expo, http://www.nccfff.org
Striperfest on November 6th, Facilities at Sugar Barge Marina, http://www.sugarbarge.com.
Striperfest details to be listed at: http://www.danblanton.com/bulletin.php
More information from the author NCCFFF V.P. Dr. Mark Rockwell D.C. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Rockwell, VP Conservation, NCCFFF
September 4, 2010 -- All anglers, not just fly fishers, take a moment and read Mike McKenzie's e-mail below to members of the Striperfest board. We need your help now to encourage Director McCammons to support striped bass, and direct his agency and the Attorney general's office to not settle the striped bass lawsuit. We are working with Striperfest and CSBA as defendant interveners on behalf of DFG in this case, but we need the department to be steadfast in their position that striped bass are a game fish, and deserve game fish status in California. Ask the Director to continue their defense of Striped Bass, and fight the lawsuit initiated by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta. The Director's contact info is below. We need you to call this coming week. Settlement hearing is on the 16th of September, and the Director needs to hear from us before that!!! Please send me an e-mail if you call, just so I can track the response. Thank you! Mark Rockwell, VP Conservation, NCCFFF
Posted by Mike McKenzie on 2010-09-03 13:49:41on Dan's BB
As most people in this board community know, there has been a lawsuit filed by "The Citizens for a Sustainable Delta" to force the Department of Fish and Game to remove all regulation and control of Striped Bass populations in the San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and all its tributary rivers. Striperfest has been in the front lines of this battle since the filing of the lawsuit and this Board community has given a lot! Aside from supporting the Striperfest activities we need a little more from you.
The lawyers for Department of Fish and Game are the lead team for the Defendant (DFG). They have been doing Yeoman's work thus far in the lawsuit, however we need the angling community to take the time to write (or e-mail) John McCamman the Director of DFG and "encourage" him to maintain the Department's full support and dedication to winning this thinly veiled attack, by special interests, on our iconic Striped Bass, one of the premier fisheries in California.
Please, each and every one of you that appreciate this Striped Bass fishery, take the time to write the Director and let him know you want to keep our Striped Bass protected.
Here's the contact info:
John McCamman, Director
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-7387 fax
Write, e-mail, Fax...get the message to him and each of you get 10 others to do the same.
Following is an example letter provided by Captain Dan Blanton.
September 3, 2010
John McCamman, Director
California Department of Fish and Game
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Director McCamman,
I write to urge the California Department of Fish and game to continue in earnest, without capitulating to the plaintiffs, defending striped bass in the lawsuit to declassify them as a regulated and protected game fish. The economic and recreational value of our striped bass is profound as I am sure you are keenly aware. Many anglers, such as me, make all or a portion of our income guiding anglers on the Bay/Delta system, targeting striped bass.
The science clearly shows, as well as any “scientific data” can, that striped bass are not responsible for the dramatic decline of salmon, steelhead and various smelt species, native to the Sacramento/San Joaquin river and Delta system.
Again, I urge you, no matter what the cost, to continue the effort to keep our striped bass protected as a game fish. Please do not give up the fight!
Captain Dan Blanton – Chair – Striperfest
Editor-at-Large - Fly Fishing in Salt Waters Magazine
Editor-at-Large - California Fly Fisher