OUTDOOR NOTES / RICH ROBERTS : The 1991 Catch Wasn't All Good for Anglers

A look back at some of the issues that affected Southland anglers in 1991:

Over fishermen's protests, the California Coastal Commission allowed continued dumping of dredge material on a five-year permit at the Horseshoe Kelp, a favorite half-day fishing spot off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. But the commission required the Environmental Protection Agency, which approved the action, to take a better look at a nearby alternate site with little or no aquatic life.

Comment: In five years, Horseshoe Kelp might have little or no aquatic life.

An eight-foot diameter penstock ruptured along the Owens Gorge, an Eastern Sierra trophy trout fishery that had been dry since the '50s. Subsequently, the L.A. City Department of Water and Power agreed to re-water the gorge between Crowley Lake and Pleasant Valley.

Comment: Good for the DWP--for having the sense to do the right thing, rather than risk a lawsuit it probably wouldn't win.

Mexico toughened its sportfishing regulations to an extreme that placed the San Diego long-range fleet in economic panic. Through persistent negotiations, led by Bob Fletcher of the Sportfishing Assn. of California, the laws were later liberalized.

Comment: The new regulations are satisfactory and sensible.

Fishing prospects improved when some of Southern California's driest lakes and reservoirs were replenished by March rains.

Comment: After five years of drought, the fish needed all the help they could get.

The DWP drops the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks and turns over the operation of Crowley Lake to a private concessionaire--Sierra Recreation Associates--which plans capital improvements.

Comment: But will it ever be like the good old days?

Department of Fish and Game wardens Cindy Adkins and Cindy Haight catch five men netting 236 trout from Piru Creek, a fragile trout stream off Interstate 5 northwest of Los Angeles.

And . . . Poaching with gill nets continues as a problem in Santa Monica Bay. A few violators are caught through the initiative of private citizens.

Comment: How many poachers don't get caught?

Cal-EPA says a four-year study shows that certain fish from Point Dume to Newport Beach are contaminated and shouldn't be eaten.

Comment: Anglers keep right on fishing.

A Southern Pacific tank car derails, ruptures, spills 19,000 gallons of herbicide and kills 45 miles of the Upper Sacramento River.

Comment: Shock? Surprise? For most of this century, it was an accident waiting to happen--and still is.

Some Inyo County fishermen discover an article in the State Constitution that prompts the DWP to open Haiwee Reservoir south of Lone Pine to public fishing.

Comment (by DWP) : Did we ever say it was closed?

And, finally, 13 months after he was elected, Gov. Pete Wilson finds someone willing to succeed Pete Bontadelli as director of the Department of Fish and Game. He is Boyd Gibbons, a National Geographic writer and former federal government environmental specialist, and he goes to work this week.

Comment: Good luck.

Briefly

SPECIALS--Along with its regular whale-watching trips ($12 adults, $6 children under 12), Newport Landing is offering a "Ring of Fire" trip Saturday, 2-6 p.m., to watch the annular eclipse from a prime vantage point between San Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands. The $20 fare includes special glasses for safe viewing.

BAJA FISHING--Cabo San Lucas: Gaviota Fleet reports average of 3 1/2 fish per boat day, with 42 striped marlin (average 130 pounds, 24 released), 20 tuna, 11 dorado and 2 wahoo. . . . Tortuga Fleet reports 1 1/2-2 striped marlin per boat, 130-180 pounds, dorado 15-45 and wahoo 40-60. Mike Connelly, San Diego, 92-pound wahoo last Sunday. San Jose Del Cabo: Victor's Fleet pangas averaged 13 yellowfin tuna last Thursday (average 35 pounds). Dorado bite excellent at Gordo Bank. Some wahoo. Palmas de Cortez: Marlin up to 300 pounds in area, along with sailfish, dorado and tuna. Winds increasing. Punta Colorada: Three blue marlin to 300. Also sailfish, dorado, tuna and some pargo.

SHOW--The 27th annual Anaheim Sports, Vacation and RV Show will run from Saturday through Jan. 12 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays, 2-10 p.m. weekdays. Admission: adults $6.95, children ages 6-15 $2.25, children under 6 free. Seniors $5 weekdays.

TRIPS--Ronnie Kovach's Fishing Ventures for '92 include a mini-long range school at Baja's Punta Colonet Jan. 10-12 ($350) and a Florida Keys school at Key Largo, Fla., April 24-28, targeting amberjack ($1,600). Details: (714) 840-6555. . . . Steve Abel has re-booked the Royal Polaris for a second 10-day big game fly-fishing trip off Mexico Oct. 11. Details: (805) 484-8789. . . . The Sierra Pacific Flyfishers will host a trip to Ireland for Atlantic salmon July 17-25 ($2,550). Details: (805) 297-2297.

FLY-FISHING--A.K. Best, a professional musician and fly-fishing expert, will visit the Long Beach Casting Club Jan. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and the Sierra Pacific Flyfishers Jan. 16, 6:30, at the Encino Glen in Encino, tying flies and discussing "Matching Naturals." . . . Charlene Hanson will present "Introduction to Fly Tying" each Monday evening in January, 7-9 p.m., at Bob Marriott's Education Center in Fullerton. Intermediate classes each Thursday night. Hal Patterson and Mark Walpin offer 1 1/2-day "Introductions to Flyfishing and Casting" each weekend starting Saturday, and rod-building Tuesday nights. Nick Curcione and Les Eichhorn offer the Sage Saltwater Flyfishing School Jan. 11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Details: (714) 525-1827. . . . New publications: "Longer Fly Casting," by Lefty Kreh (Lyons & Burford, $3.95 paperback), and "Saltwater Fly Tying," by Frank Wentink (Lyons & Burford, $24.95 hardcover).

FRESHWATER FISHING--Friends are organizing the Bob Bringhurst Memorial Brown Trout Tournament in March at Stampede Reservoir north of Lake Tahoe, in tribute to the Moreno Valley angler who was slain by a robber Dec. 7. Bringhurst once held the world record. Details: (805) 948-4300. . . . New regulations for certain parts of the Kings River effective March 1 call for artificial lures and barbless hooks, with a zero limit--total catch and release.

HUNTING--A North American Hunter Education Assn. survey found that 99 people were killed by hunters in 1991 and 47 hunters accidentally killed themselves. With 46 states now requiring safety courses, the toll is about half what it was 20 years ago. The victims included a hunter's mother, who was mistaken for a deer while pruning a fruit tree in her yard, and a father who killed himself after accidentally killing his son with a shotgun blast to the head--both incidents in New York state.

TRIVIA--California has 35 times as many people (30 million) as the state's combined populations of deer, bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn, black bears and mountain lions. . . . Freshwater anglers prefer country music, while saltwater anglers lean toward classic rock/oldies, according to the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Assn.

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