Recreational salmon fishing estimates and regulatory changes are being drafted now for the season opener May 1. Although last season’s estimates fell below actual number of fish taken, there are some heartening take-aways in the early stages. Stock estimates are forecasting levels similar to last year, which is to say, scientists who monitor salmon populations are not dropping (The fish count, not a drop in scientists). This is a significant change from the past when salmon populations were on a steady decline. Changes to the breeding habitat and salmon hatcheries and conservation operations are working to successfully stabilize this important resource.
On a Sunday drive to visit an old friend and his new lambs, the window was down, a bit chilly in spite of the sunny day, one of those ‘drop dead’ beautiful Sonoma County jewels. Passing a vineyard full of wild mustard in full blossom, a turnout and full stop was mandatory. The raw beauty of the mustard blossoms, the sunny vineyard, still sleeping, were like a moth to a flame, impossible to resist. Eyes closed, nose and mouth open, deep inhale. The air was so clean, given the rain the last two nights, and a now gentle breeze carried the scent of the miles away ocean. Then came the fragile scent of the mustard blossoms. Do other parts of the world share this incredible experience? Not yet spring, winter storms have become less intense, hills are decorated a deep, deep green velvet that reflects the intense sunlight. The vineyard had been trimmed of last years’ canes, promising a new year of growth, buds and infant leaves less than a month away.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has lifted its ban on sport harvested clams and mussels for our area. The ban was due to unsafe levels of toxins that accumulate in the shellfish. If you are a sport fisher of bi-valves it is important to keep the contact information handy: Up to date audio at (800) 553-4133 or viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map. For additional information, visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Marine Biotoxin Web Page.