(From the Fresno Bee)
John Poindexter, president of the Fresno Chapter of the California Striped Bass Association, is convinced that raising striped bass for wild release can revive the sagging fishery at San Luis Dam and O’Neill Forebay the same as it did in the San Joaquin Delta, where the population is at 1974 levels.
Poindexter will plead his case for a second time with the state Striped Bass Stamp Committee on Oct. 10. Central San Joaquin Valley anglers spend the same $3.70 for a striper stamp as do anglers in Northern California, but with little bang for their bucks.
San Luis has produced five world record fish, but barely rates a mention in the weekly fishing reports of the past few years.
Poindexter is seeking $46,000 and 100,000 half-inch striper hatchlings to get a pen-raising program rolling by next July with the first yearling class ready to be let loose in San Luis by 2002.
“We need two pens, roughly 50 feet by 30 feet, that can be expanded. They will cost approximately $13,000 each to build and install,” he says.
“Then we need $20,000 for a years supply of pellet food to grow hatchlings to yearlings. We’re pretty sure there will be 100,000 half-inch stripers.”
This year, 200,000 of the little fish were rescued off the fish screen at the Central Valley Project pumping plant near Tracy.
Poindexter says the local chapter must have the nets ready for next July when the fish will be available.
“This is a five year program, and I’m sure we’ll get the fish. We’ve got people lined up in the Los Banos area who will hand-feed the fish and check on the pens every day. The nets need to be washed off once a month to remove buildup of algae.”
“We were turned down by the Stamp Committee in out first meeting, but not completely. This time, we’ll be back with more people and more documentation.”
Kelly says there were 70,000 hatchlings available for a short time last year, and he and the Fresno CSBA members were scrambling to find some nets. Without a viable Valley program, those fish were used to fill needs in the Bay Area.
Randy Kelly, fishery biologist supervisor for the state Department of Fish and Game in Fresno, says he is fully supportive of the local chapter’s efforts.
Bruce Farris is a staff writer. Write him at: The Bee, Fresno 93786; fax 441-6070; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org