As you likely know, steelhead season for the Central Coast started December 1st. As the season opened few large fish were encountered. Reports were mostly of egg-eaters and resident trout, though a few larger steelhead have been caught such as this one caught by one of our members.
This year, there are new Angler Survey boxes on several Central Coast streams including San Gregorio, Pescadero, San Lorenzo and Aptos Creek. After every fishing day please fill out the surveys available at the boxes and deposit them in the box. The information collected will provide valuable information that is needed to better understand and manage the fishery. Please write on the back of the survey any observations that you have made, such as seeing steelhead rolling or waking through the lagoons even if you haven’t hooked or landed any. Other observations such as the presence of predators in lagoons or water conditions are also important. Angler’s observations are important in providing specific knowledge of timing and character of the anadromous runs and numbers of resident trout for our Central Coast streams. The collection of this data will assist MBSTP in developing and enacting the monitoring component of the new Steelhead Program. Also CDFW does cares about the angler community and wants to supply ample opportunities, while considering the constraints of the steelhead fishery.
MBSTP is working diligently on the required Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan so that we can restart our steelhead production program in the 2017-18 season. We are very sorry that it is taking so long, but this expensive process is difficult and complicated. Several board members and I are putting a huge amount of time into the creation of this document without any compensation other than the knowledge that the work should ensure a future for a Steelhead fishery on the Central Coast. High costs are incurred when we need assistance from contracted scientists to help with development of some of the more difficult sections to speed up the process. We are confident that we can produce a plan that will be accepted and are eager to get back into the production that will support good steelhead fishing on the Central Coast. Having good information from anglers will help support our process!
This Steelhead season is scheduled to run thru March 7, and fishing is limited to Wednesdays, weekends and holidays. Some of the streams (such as the Carmel and the Big Sur) have specific low flow closures. These low flow closures are updated weekly. You can check for closures by calling the Central Coast Low Flow number (831) 649-2886. This year’s Ca. Fish and Wildlife regulations allow for take of hatchery-produced steelhead on the San Lorenzo River and other creeks too, but some creeks such as Scott Creek are closed to any take. Please see 2016-17 CDFW Fishing Regulations for more complete information. Remember to purchase and fill out your Steelhead Report Cards accurately and completely. It really does help in managing the fishery. Also, remember that on all of our Central Coast streams only barbless hooks are allowed.
Steelhead fishing day checklist:
Tight lines to you all!
Mat Rowley – MBSTP Director