Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
On October 2, the California Outdoor Sporting Caucus hosted a legislative staff fishing trip on the Feather River, 60 miles north of the state Capitol. Staff spent the day fishing for fall run Chinook salmon, California’s last commercial and recreational salmon run which has experienced historic lows in recent years but has seen a strong return this season.
Legislative staff are critical to advancing sportsmen’s policy by supporting the Caucus members to fulfill legislative priorities. 17 staff members from bipartisan Caucus member offices, including key natural resources policy and budget staff, landed 15 salmon on the half-day fishing trip. Guides provided staff the opportunity to experience several types of salmon fishing, including back-trolling and roe fishing.
Boats and guided services were provided by the Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, who graciously took the time out of their busy salmon season schedules to provide an unparalleled educational opportunity to experience how sportsmen’s legislation can impact our local fisheries while enjoying the great outdoors and catching fish. The big catch of the day weighed in at 20 pounds.
Staff spent the day fishing in the beauty of California’s prolific natural resources, and also engaged with Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation partners to discuss the short and long-term policy issues affecting California’s recreational fisheries. Topics discussed included water quality, water flows, spawning habitat, as well as threatened and endangered species.
Nor Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association (NCGASA) President James Stone, who hosted six staff members on his boat, said “California’s recreational fisheries are dependent on the outcomes of sound legislative policy and prudent budget investments in order to be sustainable for generations to come. Hosting legislative staffers and stressing the economic importance and public trust values of recreational angling, is an important and necessary part of educating California’s policy leaders on the challenges and opportunities to partner with the sportsmen’s community on these and many other issues.”
The success of the event has sparked interest in additional fishing opportunities to address the impacts of legislation on other species within the Delta fishery, such as striped bass.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?