Facebook YouTube Tacklewarehouse.com
Printer-friendly copy Email this topic to a friend
Top Calfishing.com Trophy Fishing Forum topic #12123
View in linear mode

Subject: "Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered" Previous topic | Next topic
swimbaitMon Dec-10-12 03:35 PM
Charter member
9879 posts
Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
#12123, "Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered"


  

          

The Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning CA DFG to list the Clear Lake Hitch as threatened or endangered.

Read it:
http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2012/Clear%20Lake%20hitch%20state%20petition%209-25-12.pdf

The proposed listing is based on two general factors

1. The hitch in Clear Lake being identified as a separate species from other hitch in CA

2. The hitch in Clear Lake declining in numbers substantially from the past.

There's been several posts on WB and Calbassin about this topic and I sense some confusion from the angling community about what this means.

Here is my take...

1. I think the Commission will list the Clear Lake Hitch as threatened, possibly even endangered. A reasonable person will look at how many hitch there are now compared to the past and know that something is going wrong.

2. The question for fishermen is - what does a threatened or endangered listing mean? After studying this in some detail, most of the outcomes are good. A few are debatable and one or two are potentially bad (and at the same time pointless)

Since most fishermen want to see lots and lots of hitch in Clear Lake, the outcomes that most fishermen would agree are good are things like:

- Eliminating barriers to upstream hitch migration where feasible (hitch apparently are not very good at jumping over things like salmon)

- Improve riparian habitat quality (eg lots of nice trees and bushes and such along the sides of the creeks)

- Enforce streambed permitting to prevent people from building structures that will modify stream flow

- No gravel mining in streambeds

Things that most fishermen (but probably not most farmers) would agree on are:

- Don't conduct April / May groundwater pumping for pear orchard frost protection (this causes hitch spawning streams to dry out faster than normal)

- Remove 'temporary road crossings' (gravel pushed in to creeks to allow cars to drive across)

- Enforcement action against illegal direct pumping from creeks

Things that people might disagree on would be:

- Don't spray for knats (food source of hitch, annoyance when driving bass boats at high speed)

- Don't spray weeds or use alternative sprays / methods (clear lake turns in to a giant weed mat on the north end without spraying)

Thing that fishermen will probably disagree with are

- Mitigating actions that include netting or electrofishing largemouth bass and killing them. While these methods aren't explicitly called out in the proposal, it's suggested that "more study" be conducted

It's hard to read between the lines on the 'killing the bass' question but let's have a go... Here's the exact words they use:

"The impact of largemouth bass on hitch populations should be carefully investigated and if bass are determined to be a major source of mortality, an action plan to reduce bass predation should be implemented. Possible measures could be protection zones around the mouths of hitch spawning streams through improved habitat and seasonal trapping and removal of bass."

CBD uses a legal strategy of "layering on" lots of evidence and recommended actions with the foreknowledge that they won't win on all fronts. For example, they might list out 15 things that MUST be done for hitch, knowing that 5 of them won't get done. They also err toward using a lot of ad hominem arguments but that's another topic...

Anyway, it could be that CBD is adding this as one layer in the evidence, knowing that nothing is likely to be done which will make them look like they conceded something.

It could also be that this item is in fact one of their most important mitigating actions and thus they listed it at the very end of the recommendations in an effort to hide it from view.

We won't know which it is and likely won't find out.

The issue is important though because what the CBD plans to push in terms of mitigations affects how bass fishermen should view this proposed listing. Most of what will happen if hitch are listed is great for both sides. But this one issue has a divisive aspect to it that could cause a lot of fighting.

If the CBD is smart, they will realize a few things.

Bass fishing, particularly tournament bass fishing, removes bass from areas where hitch school up year-round at clear lake. If you fished in the 2011 FLW Event last year like I did, and you saw how many boats were sitting on the hitch school mid-lake the first day and you realized how many bass got caught out of that hitch school over a several week period, you know for sure that tournament bass fishermen are helping hitch.

Here is a cool picture I took with my sidescanning sonar of that school


Similarly, bass fishermen know that bass congregate around the mouth of the creeks where hitch spawn in the spring and catch thousands of bass using hitch imitating lures. A good portion of those bass, including the largest ones, are moved to other parts of the lake to be weighed in.

All of this fishing activity occurs because bass fishing is GOOD at Clear Lake.

If the CBD convinced FWS, DFG or some agency to net, shock or otherwise kill off bass at Clear Lake, the bass fishing activity would diminish. If DFG implemented regs like at Biwa in Japan to enforce mandatory catch and keep, tournament fishing would likely cease at Clear Lake altogether.

And so the CBD is faced with a choice. A choice between the benefits of putting thousands of bass boats on the lake every year for bass tournaments vs. discouraging that activity and hoping that another method like regulation, or killing off the bass will have a better effect.

If the CBD is smart, they'll drop the bass killing mitigations, convince bass fishermen that the rest of the mitigations are good for everyone and get bass fishermen on their side to have the hitch listed as threatened.

If they don't see the whole picture of how tournament fishing helps hitch, they might make the bass killing issue the focal point of the discussion and fight a pointless fight to no one's benefit.

Interesting, no? The issue will be discussed in front of the Commission Feb 6-7 in Sacramento. The agenda hasn't been posted yet.

http://www.fgc.ca.gov/public/information/participate.aspx

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote

Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered [View all] , swimbait, Mon Dec-10-12 03:35 PM
  RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 12th 2012, #1
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, swimbait, Dec 12th 2012, #2
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, jigndoublewide, Dec 12th 2012, #3
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 12th 2012, #4
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, SLM, Dec 15th 2012, #10
      RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 15th 2012, #11
           RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, SLM, Dec 15th 2012, #13
           RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 16th 2012, #14
           RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, Urban, Dec 17th 2012, #15
                RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 17th 2012, #16
                RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, SLM, Dec 17th 2012, #17
                     RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 17th 2012, #18
                          RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, SLM, Dec 17th 2012, #19
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, swimbait, Dec 13th 2012, #5
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 14th 2012, #6
      RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, swimbait, Dec 14th 2012, #7
           RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 14th 2012, #8
                RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, jigndoublewide, Dec 15th 2012, #9
                     RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Dec 15th 2012, #12
                          RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, jigndoublewide, Dec 20th 2012, #20
                               RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, dockboy, Jan 11th 2013, #21
                                    RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, MountainBass, Jan 11th 2013, #22
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, swimbait, Apr 08th 2013, #23
RE: Declaring Clear Lake Hitch Threatened or Endangered, swimbait, Apr 24th 2013, #24

Top Calfishing.com Trophy Fishing Forum topic #12123 Previous topic | Next topic
Powered by DCForum+
© Copyright Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written consent.