Popular outdoor sports magazine, Western Outdoor News, published the following story bragging of a fisherman’s latest run in with some very fat and happy striped bass on the Sacramento River.
The article quoted a fishing guide saying “the stripers were keying on steelhead smolts released recently from Coleman National Fish Hatchery. The hatchery released nearly 90,000 hatchery steelhead smolts, putting the stripers into a feeding frenzy as the baby steelhead moved downstream.”
These 40 and 50 pound fish are clear evidence that stripers are thriving in the Sacramento River, contrary to Department of Fish and Wildlife reports. These voracious non-native predators are getting fat off endangered steelhead. Steelhead that the state has gone to great expense to raise in hatcheries.
This is just the latest instance in a long saga of how California’s fishery managers have created a highly successful bass fishery at the expense of salmon, steelhead and other native endangered species. The problem is that stripers are non-native and are contributing to reduced populations of endangered species. They are invasive, voracious predators with an insatiable appetite for steelhead and salmon smolts.
Something is terribly wrong here. California is spending millions of dollars to recover endangered species only to have the efforts wiped out by some fat and happy stripers feasting at a state sponsored smorgasbord of recently released smolts.
What will it take for the Fish and Game Commission to start doing their statutorily mandated job to protect endangered fish?