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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

On the Hook

Western Outdoor News’ freshwater editor, Blake Warren, is a fishing enthusiast who pounces on any opportunity offering a shot at hooking any finned creature in any body of water. After serving as an auxiliary engineer in the U.S. Navy for 6 years aboard the destroyer, Paul F. Foster (DD-964), Warren went on to use his GI Bill at San Diego State University, where the proud Aztec earned a degree in Journalism. Hooked on fishing from a very young age upon first catching a trout in the East Walker River, he has never been able to shake the angling bug, traveling as far as southern Argentina in pursuit of fish. Warren currently resides in Capistrano Beach.


A well-placed (pod) cast
Grass roots. It’s the very place where the serious fishing bug is continually born and/or caught, generation after generation, and it is most certainly where it most consistently spreads and how the seed is nurtured to foster further growth. It’s teaching a kid how to rig up and make a solid cast. It’s talking to the folks at your local tackle shop and asking a bevy of questions. It’s geeking out with a fellow fisherman over the endless stream of baits out there and the plethora of different ways to rig and fish them.

It’s where the legitimate heart and passion of fishing lives and thrives, and where it’s passed on down the lineage.


One recent example of this is in the upstart weekly fishing podcast, “ Cast and Crank,” which initially launched in late August and is now up to its 25th episode venturing further into the New Year.


If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s headed up by co-hosts Nick Trujillo and Justin McTeer, two guys — both of whom I’ve yet to meet in person — who come off on the podcast merely as two dudes that are just into fishing and want to delve deeper into the angling rabbit hole. Sound and feel familiar?


And how else do you dig deeper and get closer to fishing Wonderland but to kick around ideas, theories, techniques, back­grounds, etc. with other guys who are already well on their way down the El Chapo escape tunnel of the proverbial fishing rabbit hole?


Cast and Crank has an easy-listening feel. It’s not over-produced with any real bells or whistles and it’s pretty rudimentary and straight-forward: just sitting around and talking fishing. The guys are still feeling their way into it and adding and adapting things as they go along, but for the most part, it’s just fun, and interesting.


Of all the noise that pounds our ears on a daily, minute-by-minute basis, I for one would personally prefer having that noise be fishing noise, or something else I’m legitimately interested in rather than the 90 percent of practically-unavoidable noise we’re pelted with that usually amounts to all but nothing in the end game. At this point in life, I’m convinced: simple IS best in the majority of cases. Pick your poison.


The podcast has mostly — with a handful of exceptions — focused on the bass scene to this point, both the saltwater and freshwater varieties. Which is fitting, especially with the relatively new wave of innovative and inevitable crossover between the two in recent years. There’s a bit of focus on the tournament fishing scene — both fresh and salt — along with a good bit on particular baits / gear and techniques, and the personal stories and experiences of the guests and their backgrounds, including how they first put their heads and arms down this vast and endless rabbit hole of fishing that many of us find ourselves immersed in today.


Perhaps the biggest early takeaways from the young podcast for me is the simple notion — which is always a good and helpful reminder — that there truly is no particular one way to fish or how to go about things, and that the myriad subtleties and possibilities in this sport of ours, just as in life itself, are practically endless. You can pick up on this in just listening to a handful of Cast and Crank episodes.


Take a half dozen guys who are true-and-true, dedicated calico specialists, and each of them are most likely to have their own preferred approaches and styles of fishing. One guy leans heavily on big weedless swimbaits, while the next dude might be a die-hard crankbait chucker.


And in between it all, there are those countless little nuggets in all the details about just how exactly each guy goes about it. Pay close enough attention and it can be pretty enlightening in a number of different ways.


Most of the guests thus far have offered up plenty of insight to chew on from each of their deep wealth of knowledge and vast experience of time on the water, which is clearly the ultimate teacher in this game when all is said and done. As far as any angler’s learning curve is concerned, you can only read about it, watch videos online or talk about and pick other folks’ brains so much — ultimately, you just have to get out there and continue casting away to keep ascending to that next level on the learning ladder.


But that’s not to say that you can’t absorb ample insights without having a deck under your feet, because you most certainly can, especially when it’s coming from guys who’ve logged more hours on the water in the last 10 or 20 years than the rest of us could ever hope to accumulate in a lifetime, even if we make an honest and valiant effort at it.


From Eric Bent reminiscing about the early days of saltwater bass tournament fishing to Chris Lilis breaking down the nuances within the nuances of a particular calico bite on a kelp line.


From Eric Landesfeind recalling a once-in-a-lifetime teener calico boiling on his bait just like a 25-pound yellow and the heartbreak of the trophy bass getting away, to Captain Jimmy Decker giving advice on how to get the most out of any given seminar you attend, and Ben Secrest advising all the SoCal skiff “captains” out there on simply how to avoid being a “ kook” while out on the water.


There’s a lot to be gleaned by one with keen and open ears who’s mining for gold nuggets of information, insight and possibly some new ideas to incorporate into your game.


All in all, it’s something that has likely been wanted and needed in the sportfishing community for a long time now. It’s definitely worth a listen or three to at least check it out for yourself and see what you might be able to glean from it. It certainly beats the perpetual droning on of the nightly news or scrolling through the perceived and exaggerated, overhyped glitz and glamor of social media.


After all, it is grass roots. And one very well-placed (pod) cast…


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Options 'Galore(y) Days'
These are indeed very unique and interesting times, both as a mere participant currently existing in this ever-evolving – or, in a number of other cases, devolving – world, and especially so if you happen to be a fisherman in the southern half of California at the moment. With the fast-paced nature of our modern society, aflood with a constant barrage of social media posts and a relentless carpet bombing of non-stop tidbits of information coming our way from every direction, it can sometimes be easy to lose a little bit – or “a lot bit” – of perspective, and taking just a brief step back for a moment, it's damned near impossible to not notice that these are in fact some great days, months and years we're living through if you just so happen to have some kind of passion for hooking – and landing – any variety of finned predators.

This is one helluva playground we're currently playing in. The options are seemingly endless: a shot at the catch of a lifetime in a 200- to 300-pound bluefin tuna right out your backdoor? Excellent and rapid-fire calico bass action inshore along kelp stringers up and down the coast and frenzied boiler rock reaction bites at the islands? A better-than-fair chance at kelp paddy dorado and yellowtail without burning barrels of fuel? Schoolie-grade bluefin and yellowfin at numerous spots to keep rods bent and freezers filled? Bottom fishing galore practically year-round? Heavy-duty, consistent snaps on white seabass during monthly moon cycles? Big halibut, trophy corbina and more and more hefty striped bass being beached from the breakers of our beaches, along with consistent bites for big croaker, perch and sharks? Chunk spotties in the bays before or after work?


And then if you want to shift into your freshwater gears a bit, there's always that shot at a double-digit / trophy largemouth at any number of lakes within tolerable driving distance, and a good chance at finding good numbers of biting bass at just about anytime of year. Big stripers are always willing players at a handful of SoCal lakes, while youngsters are easily sucked into the sport with relatively easy catches of panfish and catfish during their off-days of summer as well, Then mix in our relatively access to the wonders and trout-laden waters of the Eastern Sierra and we have a whole ’nother gem of a fishery on our hands just a few hundred miles up Hwy. 395.


The options truly are seemingly endless. And that's a very good problem for us as fisherfolk to have on our hands.


These past few warm-water years have brought more droves of pelagics up into very reasonable striking range, and at least for now, it seems like they are going to be here to stay. The volume of bluefin that many assumed would slink right back down the Baja coast once that cooler water came has never truly happened, and while that cooler water has surged up a handful of times, we've also just seen peak ocean temps pushing 80 degrees – perhaps meaning our backyard playground is merely becoming an extension of northern Baja for the long(er) haul with the way things are currently trending. No complaints here (except for the occasional Orlando-like humidity that appears to becoming more commonplace through the warmer months of the year with it all). Win some, lose some, I suppose. Gotta take the good with the bad. And the good has been very good to us here recently for the most part.


So let's stop just short and hesitate at the verge of getting jaded with all of this goodness. Dial back some expectations here and there and just enjoy what we have right in front of us in these Glory Days. It's really far more than any of us could realistically ask for with a reasonable tongue.


Western Outdoor News headquarters is no stranger to receiving the occasional gripes and disappointment-laden complaints here and there claiming that someone was “jobbed” because a 2-day trip targeted trophy bluefin at San Clemente Island and “ONLY” decked 8 of 'em, rather than just go paddy hunting and pick off whatever dorado and yellowtail was available – and contrasting objections also trickle in essentially saying just the opposite: “Why were we worrying about these 8- to 10-pound kelp paddy dorado and yellows when we have this shot at the fish of a lifetime?”


Different strokes, certainly. But let's not necessarily break out the torches and pitchforks just yet folks. There's plenty to go around. Plenty more than most of us could legitimately ever hope for or really expect, so let's just pump the brakes, gear up and enjoy it. There's most definitely no shortage of variety to enjoy here right in our backyard.


So just get on out there and get your own little – or big – taste of these Glory Days.


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Irvine Fake
It’s still there. Hasn’t gone anywhere, dried up or been stricken from the earth via some kind of natural catastrophe. Nope. Irvine Lake still sits there in Santiago Canyon as it has since its construction in 1929 and since it opened to fishing in the pre-World War Two era in 1941. No fewer than four generations of Southern Californians have enjoyed Irvine Lake’s serenity, uniqueness and perhaps most of all — at least to us anglers — its multi-pronged fishery.

It’s been out of commission to recreation now for 2½ years, since it closed to the public Feb. 28, 2016 after a land deal consisting of 2,500 acres surrounding the lake going from the Irvine Co. to the County of Orange, which was agreed upon in 2015. Aside from the presumed nighttime ninja fisherman desperately hunting for his PB largemouth or any possible transients squatting in the nearby hills poaching fish in the evenings, nobody has wet a line there since just after Valentine’s Day in 2016 — and no one here locally can love that.


But really, why?


Well, the shortest of answers is that the powers that be haven’t really figured anything out at all since then. The main players are the Serrano Water District, the County of Orange and the Irvine Ranch Water District, all of which are run by publicly elected officials — with elections coming up this November to most definitely keep in mind in this case.


What should by any and all assumptions very well be an incredibly valuable and fantastic public resource, hasn’t been accessible to the public for more than 30 months now. And there doesn’t seem to be much resolve on the part of any of the main parties involved to do anything with an eye toward the good of the public or surrounding community for the sake of recreation or fishing in the near — or distant — future.


Instead, the bickering and stalemate continues, while those of us who happen to enjoy a little time on the water and catching a fish now and then are essentially boxed out. For no real, legitimate reason, and merely because perhaps a couple dozen folks can’t — or won’t — get their act together and figure out a solution that makes the premier freshwater fishery that Orange County has really ever known accessible to the people who pay high dollar to live their lives in Orange County and Southern Cali­fornia in general.


With the two water districts controlling the recreation rights to the lake’s water, the parties involved would have to come to some sort of agreement in order to transfer Irvine’s recreation rights to the County of Orange to begin paving the way back to reopening the 25 acres of lakefront to public use again. And there doesn’t seem to be much traction in getting there as of now. All sides say they are working toward some type of solution that could eventually do so, yet there also seems to be quite a bit of finger pointing and balking among them at the same time, or at the least the appearance of a lack of urgency to move the ball forward to toward restoring public recreation at the lake.


One primary sticking point in this situation rests with the Serrano Water District, which last managed the concessions and recreation at the lake before its lease was not renewed back in 2015, and ultimately when the gates closed Feb. 28, 2016. Serrano controls 25 percent of the lake’s water rights, yet has not come to any sort of terms as to taking a requisite 25 percent of any future water-based recreation revenue. So, here we are. The stalemate continues, and the public continues to lose out most of all.


According to the county, it has engaged and facilitated discussions with the water districts to push the ball forward toward coming to an agreement that would allow for eventually reopening the lake to public use. However, the folks at Serrano say the County of Orange hasn’t breached talks or approached the water district for a year now. Like most things in life, the truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle of it all in the gray, but that doesn’t give much solace to the public that’s being denied use and access to one of its most long-favored and popular outdoor recreation areas amidst an ever-growing and expanding urban sprawl so desperately in need of it.


So for now, we just wait. Or we write the county expressing our displeasure with the situation. Or we cast a ballot for a whole host of new and different names in the upcoming November elections and merely hope that somebody will finally get the ball rolling. Because the folks currently in place certainly don’t seem to even be holding the ball, let alone appear to be inclined to rolling it forward with any positive momentum at this particular point in time.


Does a lake sit in the woods? And while we know this particular one does in fact sit there right in our backyard, does it really even exist if nobody can even access or enjoy the resource? Philosophy for dummies.


In the meantime, that unique body of water out in Santiago Canyon continues to just sit there and taunt those of us who truly realize its value and importance to the angling community and beyond to no avail. And it’s really a crying shame across the board.


But, yes, to answer the question. A lake does sit in the woods...


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


No you're not
It had been at least 10 minutes or so since we'd last seen any other car when we pulled over on the side of the road to the dirt shoulder of this rural Indiana highway. And by highway, I mean a two-lane road through the middle of the countryside with nothing but an occasional farm here and there in sight. Beautiful country though. Nobody should be complaining in this type of setting.

We got out of the old Chevy and got all of the gear and rods out of the truck, and I began following my uncle into the tall grass down the slope and toward the river that the topographical map my uncle had been browsing for the couple weeks preceding my summer arrival to the Midwest farmland. Coming down the 45-degree angle hillside, Uncle Bill pointed up into a tree just 20, 25 feet ahead of us. The giant feline lurked on a long, bending branch, looking both fully relaxed yet poised to pounce at a moment's notice at the same time. I don't quite remember what type of apex predator cat it was, but the memory of its presence still lingers clearly nonetheless.


After taking the long route around the big cat down the slope, we arrived at the river. It was slow and meandering – not quite the typical bass waters my young self was familiar with, but it did look pretty fishy, and Uncle Bill did say he'd been asking around and pondering the spot we'd first be fishing once I got out there.


He set up shop a little ways upriver from me, and we both got to fishing. My uncle, with his old-school Texas rig tied on, got into a decent smallmouth right away. Then another. Then a 2½-pound largemouth.


“I thought you were a fisherman,” he jabbed at me 20 yards upriver with a giant $#*!-eating grin and a clear snicker implying he was thoroughly enjoying peeling bass off his hook and tossing 'em back right in front of me while I had yet to find a decent rhythm or settle in. “Do you want me to put one of my worms on yours?” He sarcastically asked that question with a clear intention of getting under my skin a bit, and I – being the stubborn, know-it-all kid I was at the time – chuckled on the surface, but internally just forged more steely focus into getting on the board with a fish.


I was throwing an inline spinner around – a Rooster Tail, if I remember right – parallel to a big, fallen tree jutting right across the moving water. There were a couple eddies that looked decent right along that tree, and I kept tossing it. Fish number four, five and six were lipped and thrown back just 20 yards upriver from me right in front of a mocking smile I knew well, and it was getting a little frustrating right about then.


On cast number 30 or so, it happened. Two of the Rooster Tail's trebles got into a lip of serious substance and I felt some trepidacious excitement set in as my rod doubled over with the fish hitting the momentum of the current. At 14, there certainly was a little panic involved. It was definitely there after finally hooking a good one, and those six straight smirking smiles I'd just gotten flashed by Uncle Bill weren't lost in my mind's eye – still aren't. I absolutely had to get this sucker to the bank.


Line started peeling off as the fish jetted downstream toward a deeper pool and larger rocks. After a few moments – minutes, or seconds... I don't really remember exactly – there was a big bass nearing my feet in the moving water below.


I was ecstatic when I got the big bass to the bank where I could lip her and make the day complete. We had no scale on hand. She was only weighed in the memory of a 14-year-old boy who thought catching that fish was some kind of monumental occasion to be reported to the Associated Press. It was probably a 5 or 6 pounder in hindsight, but grabbing it and holding it up for the first time, it sure felt – and looked (to me at least) – like some kind of world record of sorts. I had focused most of my freshwater efforts on the species of trout in my young angling journey at that point, so a fat-gutted Indiana bass like this one was something else to me at the time, especially after all of those sarcastic smirks coming coming my way from just upriver.


“Hell yeah!,” I said in Uncle Bill's direction as I held my trophy up high. “I'm gonna mount this thing!”


A relatively long and subdued laugh followed my exclamation. “No you're not,” Uncle Bill said to me from upriver, “You're gonna put it right back where it came from.”


Totally deflated at first, I pondered for a moment what he had just said to me and tried to see some kind of logic in it. “Put it back?” I questioned to myself.


Uncle Bill wandered back downriver to acknowledge my catch and, undoubtedly, make sure the largemouth made it back into the water unscathed. “It's the biggest bass I've ever caught, why can't I keep it?” I asked him in somewhat of a state of shock.


“Are you going to eat it?” he asked me.


“No, I want to get it mounted,” I said.


“Well then, that's why you're going to let it go right now,” Uncle Bill told me. “You can mount one when you get a 10 pounder, but you're going to let that fish swim away.”


There was no flip phone or digital camera on hand that day to document things, and I'll never really know just how big that Indiana river bass ever truly was. But to this day, just about exactly 23 years after that largemouth was banked and 14 years after Uncle Bill passed away, that fish is still my favorite bass I've ever caught – and also my favorite bass I've ever released, right in that random Indiana river, and thanks to Uncle Bill, of course. Without even truly understanding the full grasp of everything, I somehow still understood.


And until it happens, “No you're not,” will forever remain at the forefront of my bass fishing mind. At least until that 10 pounder finally comes along – and that fish most certainly will be released too... “No you're not.” Thanks Uncle Bill.


* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Time to reassess things? You ain’t lion
Chances are, if you fish California’s coastal waters with any regularity, you’ve had – or at least have seen – one instance of a sea lion stealing a hooked fish on the line with impudence. If you are among the few who work the bait barges along our coast or if you fish commercially, the dogs likely cause you major grief and sometimes, serious problems, on a routine basis. And if you’re one of the truly unlucky, you might have had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with one, or even been bitten by one of these buggers. And the situation certainly isn’t getting any better.

Those of us who fish our coast even just occasionally already well know that these guys are a real and legitimate issue, and have been for some time. It’s sure as heck isn’t a secret to your average SoCal fisherman.


sealionsCALIFORNIA SEA LIONS were recently deemed to have reached their “natural carrying capacity,” according to a recently released NOAA report, meaning sea lion numbers have grown to the maximum population a species can reach based on the region’s available food. The sea lion population has boomed from just under 90,000 in 1975 to over 250,000 today.


But just recently on Jan. 17, a National Oceanic and Atmosphere Association (NOAA) study backed up exactly what most of us anglers have known for years... there are simply too many of these damned things here in 2018, and it seems that the time is ripe to reevaluate the whole situation.


The recent NOAA study revealed that the California sea lion population has nearly tripled in the past four decades, soaring from just under 89,000 in 1975 to over a quarter million (257,606) in 2014. Since being listed as a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) — which passed overwhelmingly in both the U.S. House and Senate in 1972 — California sea lions have become the first mammal species along the entirety of the West Coast to recover to its “natural carrying capacity,” or, the maximum population a particular species can reach based on the region’s available food. That, my friends, is legitimate reason enough to seriously rethink things in regard to sea lions and at least push the powers that be to reassess their protected listing and urge some type of game plan in dealing with these brazen sea mammals going forward. It’s becoming an ever-growing necessity, not merely an option.


The sea lions’ serial hooked-fish theft up and down the coast is undoubtedly a giant pain in the backside for all anglers, but that’s not the only issue the sea dogs pose. Broken docks. Busted bait cages. A handful of bitten swimmers. These guys are even responsible for sunken boats in a few instances. And all those great white sightings along the coast last year? Don’t think for a second that the burgeoning sea lion population isn’t playing at least a decent-sized role in drawing in the apex predators and keeping them tight to our beaches. And that’s not to mention the effects on the local ecosystem on the whole, as the lions continue to scarf up tons of anchovies, sardines, etc.


The Marine Mammal Protection act has proven extremely effective in the case of sea lions but we have now reached the crest of the wave where we have to look at the effects of it breaking — it works both ways: then the yin, now the yang. Just as those who pushed the legislation through 45 years ago protecting the species were just and correct in doing so to preserve the natural resource, the yo-yo has now hit the end of its knot and the situation needs to be addressed from the other end of the spectrum. It’s not simply a one-way street we can travel down forever.


As anglers, most of us understand the balance of nature in the Pacific Ocean as well as anyone. After all, there is no teacher quite like first-hand experience. And most of us also understand our role in being stewards of the environment and the importance of conservation and the preservation of the natural resources and the sport we love for both ourselves and future generations to enjoy. And as most of us also know, the best decisions regarding how we deal with our natural marine resources — and all of our natural resources, for that matter – are rarely made or truly understood by those wearing suits in Sacramento or Washington D.C.


It’s a delicate dance that must be constantly two-stepped. Just as there are times for species that are dwindling in numbers for whatever reason to be protected, there are also times for those protections to be lifted to varying degrees when there is ample scientific evidence that they should be for the sake of the bigger picture and the greater good of the environment on the whole. Sure seems to me that we’re right about there in this particular instance, or at least very close.


The numerous issues that the growing sea lion population is posing are only growing. And this recent NOAA study slots in the scientific backing to support it. It at least merits to be considered sooner rather than later.


Don’t take this all the wrong way, though. This isn’t exactly a call to arms either. But we should at least look at ways to deal with “problem” sea lions, just as we do with “problem insert-mammal-here” of numerous other species, like mountain lions or bears for example. There should at least be something that can be done in regard to particular sea lions that are known to have attacked humans or that are overly aggressive, those that are causing property damage and generally creating a consistent nuisance. It’s certainly a logical place to start.


Just over two years ago, a San Diego man was posing for a photo with a fish on a boat in Mission Bay when a sea lion surged out of the water and grabbed the man in an attempt to snatch the fish. The man suffered several bites and was dragged to the bottom of the bay before he was able to free himself and get back on the boat. In just May of last year, a young girl was grabbed off a dock and pulled into the water. And just as recently as Jan. 11, 2018, a female swimmer was bitten in San Francisco Bay — that attack coming on the heels of two different swimmers being bitten in mid-December in San Francisco’s Aquatic Park Cove, causing a closure of the area for at least four days. When the area reopened, yet another swimmer was bitten in late December.


Throw in those particular sea lions that are repeat offenders in causing varying degrees of property damage in various harbors and bays, and there you have yourselves at least a healthy handful of “problem animals” that we should probably consider finding a way to properly deal with. And that’s even without bringing the factor of how the lions affect fishing on the whole into the equation.


These problem sea lions have been dealt with before, so there is some precedent here. Federal officials in 2008 permitted the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho to kill approximately 80 sea lions a year that were congregating at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River and eating large quantities of endangered spring-run Chinook salmon. The repeat offenders were simply branded with a mark, and then if they continue to eat the fish, they were trapped and euthanized. Something similar in this case would only serve as a logical method of dealing with problem sea lions in our backyard that are biting folks and destroying property.


With the sea lion population reaching its natural carrying capacity, the NOAA report states in its ‘Management Implications’ section: “… the determination that a population is at OSP (optimum sustainable population) provides the opportunity for individual states to request a transfer of the authority for management and conservation under the MMPA from NMFS to the state.”


This essentially means that at the current population level (according to the NOAA study), California can apply for autonomy in managing the sea lions. And since the Golden State is home to more of them than anywhere else on the West Coast, our state is most likely to bear the brunt of the issues caused by the rebounding sea lion population — and it would probably be a good idea to acquire the legal means to manage things locally and address certain issues, rather than merely remaining under the restraining blanket of the federal MMPA.


The only times sea lion populations have ebbed is during El Niño events, but history has shown them to bounce back strongly in the ensuing cold-water cycles.


If anything, we ought to at least keep a close eye on things in the coming years and consider a new game plan should the lion population keep booming.


* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special weekly supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


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