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Outdoor Notes : Albacore Included in Tuna Catch Off San Diego

September 25, 1987|Pete Thomas

The albacore season off San Diego never became much of a reality this year, but lately boats have enjoyed some success, catching some of them along with various other species of tuna.

On Wednesday, 10 overnight boats with 225 anglers fished an area 57 miles south-southeast of San Diego and caught 600 tuna, 118 of which were albacore.

Still, says fisheries biologist Ron Dotson, this year has been particularly hard on the various landings in the area.

"This has been one of the worst years on record," he said. "They're putting down some good numbers now, but it's going to be difficult to salvage the season."

Dotson added, however, that the fish they are finding now are big, averaging between 35 and 50 pounds. Still, he said, there are no signs to indicate the arrival of the great quantities of fish available in most previous seasons.

"There doesn't seem to be much to it," he said.

By a vote of 287-119, the House of Representatives rejected a proposal by Rep. Silvio Conte (R-Mass.) to levy an annual "user fee" tax on recreational boaters using navigable waterways.

For the last three years, Conte has been trying to convince Congress that boaters were getting a "free ride" from the Coast Guard. The tax amendment, which specified recreational boaters, would have cost them $120 million, $20 a boat, and ignored all other waterway users.

For the first time since 1983, a limited public hunting program for upland game birds will take place at the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in northeastern Kern County.

In 1984, the hunt was canceled because of low brood count and a decline in the total number of birds counted at the center. In 1985 and '86, the weapons center command closed the facility to public access as a security precaution, although there was a limited hunt in 1986 for employees.

A maximum of 150 hunters a day for a total of four days over three weekends will be allowed this season. Shooting days are Oct. 24-25 and Nov. 7 and 14. Nov. 21-22 will be backup days in case any of the four are canceled.

Individual hunters may hunt only one day and will be required to attend a prehunt briefing, which will be held the evening before each hunt day at the Naval Weapons Center.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Sept. 30.

Those wishing to hunt must submit--with a $2 application fee--the name, address and telephone number of each person in the group--up to four hunters per application--on a 3 x 5 card, to Chukar Hunt, Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, Calif., 93555-6001.

Fishing participation set new records for the second consecutive year according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The number of paid fishing license holders certified for 1986 totalled 30,359,462, an increase of 686,272 over 1985.

The 2.31% increase, combined with a similar increase in 1985, more than made up for the declines of 1983 and 1984.

California, however, was one of 15 states that experienced a decline in license holders, and was down 10% from 1985. The decline was attributed to a substantial increase in license fees.

About 250,000 steelhead trout were killed when a fallen tree cut power to the oxygen pumps at Feather River Hatchery at Oroville, Calif.

The hatchery is equipped with back-up power in case of complete failure but since the power loss was not total, back-up systems were not activated.

The Feather River steelhead run is supported almost entirely by the hatchery program. About 400,000 yearlings are planted each spring.

The DFG plans to supplement its 1988 steelhead release from other hatcheries to minimize the impact for anglers who fish the Feather River. Officials expect to plant at least 300,000 yearlings next spring.

Citing the need to protect Orange County's offshore marine environment, the National Coalition for Marine Conservation-Pacific Region has endorsed petitions that would ban the use of gill nets within three miles of the California coast.

The initiative is sponsored by the Alliance for Resource Management, a statewide group of sportsmen. They need 590,000 valid signatures of registered voters by early November to qualify the measure for the June, 1988, state primary election ballot.

The group has agreed to coordinate the drive with its membership and other selected clubs, with the objective of attaining 30,000 signatures by Oct. 15.

Briefly Starting Oct. 1, a two-trout limit will go into effect at all tributaries of Crowley Lake and the fish must be at least 18 inches and caught on single barbless hooks. . . A national symposium on catch-and-release fishing will be held at Humboldt State University in Arcata next Wednesday and Thursday with 26 speakers scheduled. For further information, call the Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit at (707) 826-3268. . . . Showtime: Don Bullock's Gun and Knife Collectors' Show, Anaheim Convention Center, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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