Feb 7, 2013 Reaction To New Sturgeon Fishing Regulations

Written By: Bill Adelman, February 7, 2013

Feb 7, 2013 Reaction To New Sturgeon Fishing Regulations

Last time we took a gander at steelheading as well as the new sturgeon regs.  I have since spoken with a few skippers and mostly the responses are semi-positive. Barbless hooks…fish are still hooked fairly well, a few more lost when they jump, but easier to release in the water. 

 This adjustment isn’t a real problem as it just takes a certain amount of time to smash the barbs completely flat. Time will tell if this is a problem, however.  

Way back in the day when I had an actual job, some local laws required a barbless hook. I smashed them down with a needlenose. The first time we were checked, which I don’t object to, the warden used a Q-Tip to run over the smashed barb.  

If it snags, you’re guilty of fishing with illegal hooks. It didn’t that time, but if this is the test, smashers best be tight with their barb, even though sometimes the hook will break when applying undue pressure. 

Single hook. A tad more resistance, most likely as we’ve been able to use the double hook all of our lives. Using two different baits on the double rig seemed like a good idea. Don’t recall ever having both hooks embedded, but I do recall that it’s not always either the upper or lower hook.  

A common comment is that there was a lot of down time being used to cut all of the in advance prepared double rigs and converting them to single hook set-ups. And retailers who had thousands of these on peg hooks around our area?  Just out of luck? 

The cable or rope snare that almost every sturgeon angler carried is obsolete. The loss of the rope snare is no big deal, however those cable snares were a bit costly and now have zero value. I haven’t been able to locate info in the regs as to whether one can even be in your boat, so’s don’t chance it. Possibly a buy back could be in order?

Most anglers have what might be considered a salmon net in their collection of tackle, but in many cases this particular net isn’t big enough for a mid sized keeper sturgeon. An oversized net worth its salt will be in the$75 - $100 range.  

And finally, the new measuring requirement didn’t rate high or low as to how it affects the outcome. My thought is when it’s questionable as an oversize, and the fish must be measured in the water, a bit of confusion could result. Are you going to remove the hook first, or measure the fish?  Who will hold the tail and risk injury while measuring? Can we use a rope snare over the tail just for this purpose?  

Thank the fish gods I sturgeon fish with a 6-pak skipper. I have  most always been good at supervising. Oh, almost forgot…yah, right.  

The activation of a fee for the sturgeon tag…everyone says no problem…again, yah…right! The only concern seems to be whether or not this “new” money will be used for sturgeon enhancement, just as the Delta enhancement stamp was used for that purpose?  

There doesn’t appear to be an outlet to locate projects being carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers. Over a year ago the feds decided that in order to make any monies available for the protection of the Delta, all levee trees must be removed. Then all went quiet.  

Recently, however, trees are being cut down in Suisun Slough not too far from the duck club. It appears that these trees are being left to lie in death on the levee, except for those that are being dropped into the slough itself. 

Cannot say for certain that ACE is doing this; only assume so as their job is to maintain and work in the Delta. If in error, I apologize and will so indicate in a future column, but I would really appreciate knowing who is in charge of deforestation of the levees. 

So, what’s up with the sturgeon? The vast amount of recent rain moved the fish around a bit, but the bite in the MothballF area picked up pretty well, especially in the deeper holes. The main channel between Pittsburg and the fleet also held its own.  

Again, eel was a good choice as was fresh salmon roe. In a month or so, the shrimp bite should take top honors.  

There’s still a couple of months of steelhead fishing ahead of us, especially in the American River, which usually peaks in February and March.  

Next time we’ll probably stay with some sturgeon stuff, but for now, it’s time to go fishing. Seeya then and Tight Lines!!!

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