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Current Projects

Low flow closures on the Eel River in Humboldt County

Read NCGASA’s response letter to the CA Fish and Game Commission asking them to exempt the Eel River estuary from any low flow restrictions. Click here to read the letter.


Donate to the Ellis Lake fish program

NCGASA is looking for help to stock Ellis Lake Park with catfish, bluegill/sunfish and largemouth bass. Visit our donate page to input any amount. Your donation will help make the  Youth Fishing Derby a success.

Ellis Lake is an artificial lake in Marysville, named for W. T. Ellis, Jr. The park surrounding it is called Ellis Lake Park. Located in an urban park with lots of trees, a picnic area and an improved path around the lake. Accessible fishing and toilets. Located in Marysville, at the junction of Hwy 20 & 70, on West side of Hwy 70.

Game Warden Nate Stebbins of the California Department of Fish and Game said fishing in Ellis Lake is subject to the same rules that apply to any other freshwater body. That means you need a license if you’re 16 or older, and there’s a limit on how many fish you can catch in a day.

Fishing is year round. Best time to fish:

Videos on the fishing: Click Here for Stacy Visits Ellis Lake, 2020


Central Valley Enhanced Acoustic Tagging Project

Track the hatchery Fall-run Chinook salmon paired releases from the 2021-2022 Season (provisional data). See real time fish detections.

Click on link to find out more or email: (…/pageSLPRFR_2022.html)

Read an article by Western Outdoor News about this project: CLICK HERE

615,000 fall Chinook fry released into the Sacramento River


NCGASA has been on the front line for over five years advocating for the Fry program to be reinstated on Sacramento River and we’re very happy to announce that the Department of U.S. Fish and Wildlife at Coleman National Fish Hatchery is leading the way! We have discussed the Fry program with two different Hatchery managers, three different supervisors, and many biologists & two directors over this timeline. Our group believes in planting fish in the river to RETURN to their home waters.

Trucking salmon from Coleman leads to a 98+% percent stray rate, (never returning to Sac River) and that’s the number one reason we advocate for in river releases to protect the INLAND fishery and returning adult salmon for escapement.

Last week Coleman released approximately 615,000 fall Chinook fry into the Sacramento River. This was the first of three fry releases that will occur this season.  These experimental releases are being done to study the possibility of increasing adult returns to the main stem Sacramento River. 

“This project will allow us to study the potential of generating additional adult returns to spawn naturally in the Sacramento River by releasing fry. We’re excited to provide these additional salmon to increase recreational opportunities for fishermen and women here in California.” – Paul Souza, the regional director who covers the California – Great Basin Region.

Watch a video of small fish swimming underwater with some plants visible in the foreground on the Coleman Hatchery’s Facebook page.

Sediment removal projects planned for the Feather River

Photo Caption:  An amphibious excavator is positioned near the confluence of the Yuba River and Feather River ahead of a dredging project being overseen by the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency. 

By David Wilson, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville on June 1, 2021

Jun. 1 — The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency has two sediment removal projects scheduled to begin this summer on the Feather River.

SBFCA Executive Director Michael Bessette said work is scheduled to take place at the Live Oak Boat Ramp as well as the Yuba City Boat Ramp. Both projects have been awarded to Dixon Marine Services, Inc and construction will begin at the Yuba City ramp in late June and at the Live Oak site in July.

Bessette said the Yuba City ramp will be open for the public between July 2 and July 18.

“The SBFCA team applied for a $5 million grant through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in February,” Bessette said. “This grant, if awarded, would provide additional funding to supplement the work currently planned at the Yuba City site.”

The Yuba City boat ramp is located along the Feather River at the confluence with the Yuba River. The project will remove approximately 65,000 cubic yards of accumulated deposits and sand, soil, and gravel that reduces channel capacity and limits access to the river, according to SBFCA.

The Oroville Dam Spillway incident of 2017 has exacerbated sediment buildup in the river, SBFCA said. The agency worked with the nonprofit Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association to obtain funding for this summer’s projects and for future projects.

Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association ( is a local organization that works to improve fisheries in the region, according to President James Stone.

“Our rivers are so full of sediment right now,” Stone said.

Stone said the Oroville incident in 2017 and general waterways mismanagement have been major contributors to the sediment level increasing in the Yuba and Feather rivers. He said it’s been over a year since people have been able to access the rivers from Yuba City or Marysville boat ramps.

“No one can go on the river in those areas … it is so clogged with sediment. There needs to be a massive clean up of this sediment,” Stone said.

He said sediment and debris from the Yuba River ends up in the Feather River.

Yuba Water Agency Communications Manager DeDe Cordell said sediment has been a significant issue in the Yuba River watershed since the days of hydraulic mining during the Gold Rush.

The discharge of an estimated 684 million cubic yards of gravel and debris from hydraulic mining into the Yuba River system has continued to impact the river and fish habitat, according to Cordell.

Chuck Smith, Sutter County public information officer, said the county maintains three boat ramps on the Feather River and one on the Sacramento River. Sediment has been dredged from the ramps in the past but it is a continuous issue. Sediment removal projects require permitting from the state and federal government, Smith said.

He said the county supports efforts to obtain funding to remove sediment and make the navigability of the area’s waterways better for residents.

“The commercial fishing industry and recreational industry is all very important to the economy,” Smith said.


Sediment removal begins at confluence
By Jake Abbott, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville on Jul 23, 2021

Work began Friday to remove nearly 66,000 cubic yards of sediment situated at the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers and Yuba City boat ramp.

The project, which covers an area of approximately 14 acres, is being overseen by the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency and carried out by Dixon Marine Services, Inc. Permits were issued for the project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday, and work must be completed by mid-October.

Acoustic Smolt Tagging Project for Fall-Run Salmon and Butte City Release Point

In an effort to turn the tide of vastly decreased river salmon runs, the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association (NCGASA) has collaborated with the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA) along with government agencies to increase future river salmon runs by means of a three-year experiment.

James Stone, president of the NCGASA, was on scene at the Butte Creek launch ramp on Friday afternoon to observe the release of 186,000 salmon smolts in the 3 to 4-inch range. He was accompanied by several members of the Golden State Salmon Association including President John McManus and Secretary and Executive Committee member, Dick Pool. He said, “We had originally planned to release the smolts 29 miles upriver at Scotty’s Landing near Chico at mile marker 195, but the water was only 2 feet deep, and we were unable to utilize our net pens with the flows at merely 4100 cfs.  As a result, we pivoted to move the release downstream to mile marker 169 which is just above the Butte City Bridge. This release was our variable group of smolts since a control group of 187,000 smolts was released at Battle Creek near the Coleman Hatchery on Wednesday. 25 percent of both groups of smolts are outfitted with wire-code tags, and an equal number of smolts in each group are outfitted with a $300 acoustical tag provided by the Bureau of Reclamation.”

NCGASA president James Stone (left to right) stands with project advocates and principals, CDFW employee and Mokelumne Hatchery Manager Bill Smith, President of Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA) John McManus and GSSA Secretary and Executive Committee member Dick Pool. Due to heavy losses, Pool advocated for years before the release project and study came into reality.

The project was the brainchild of Pool who said, “I proposed this project eight years ago, and although it took five years to make it happen, we are trying to test the survival rate of Coleman Hatchery smolts if they are released further downstream. A survey by the Santa Cruz Science Center in 2007 demonstrated that only 37 percent of the smolts made it from Coleman to the Butte City Bridge and during low water years such as 2007-09, the loss of smolts was 70 percent in the first 100 miles of the release. When the river is running high and fast, the predators don’t have much of a shot, and the smolt survival rate is much higher. It is extremely important to release the smolts in the upper river as we have discovered that smolts released in San Pablo Bay and beyond don’t track back to the streams of origin, becoming lost in various waterways in their attempt to spawn. Thanks to the cooperation of several agencies including the US Fish and Wildlife Department and the Bureau of Reclamation, we were able to set up this project. It occurred first during a high-water year in 2019, and many of the smolts were washed out. The 2020 project was postponed due to COVID, and this is the first year we have completed the releases during a low water year.”

To follow these smolts as they migrate to the ocean. You can go to the CalFishTrack website and watch them “pin” in at various locations in real-time during their life cycle. Click on the LINK at the end of this article.

Stone added, “The goal is to have both the control group and the variable group released on Friday meet close to each other and travel towards the Golden Gate and into the ocean. As each group has members rigged with the acoustical tags, we can monitor their arrival at various locations along the journey including the Butte City Bridge, Tower Bridge in Sacramento, and finally, the Benicia Bridge in Suisun Bay. These are fall-run salmon, and they will be returning to the river in 2023, allowing for a three-year study to determine what is occurring with our river salmon. The health of the upper river is in obvious jeopardy, and this study will help provide answers as to why this is occurring, whether it is a matter of not enough nutrients available for the smolts or other factors. In 1996/97, salmon were released as fry which amounted to 200 to 300 percent more salmon, but the survival rate was extremely low as the smolts were sucked up into pumps along the gauntlet. Our release was planned for the evening resulting in far less predation from birds who key on the releases. Another aspect of Butte City was the deep water access adjacent to the launch ramp.”

According to Stone, the approximately 400,000 smolts were enhancement fish and not included in the normal mitigation releases as the goal of the Coleman Hatchery is to raise plus or minus 15 percent of 12 million smolts annually for the general hatchery management plan.

The ‘conveyor belt’ of the primary river for California’s salmon population is currently ‘broken’ as evidenced by the poor returns over the past several years, and collaborations such as this are essential to keep salmon a viable species within our state. Fortunately, due to the efforts of dedicated individuals within organizations desperately attempting to save California’s salmon from extinction, a collaboration with government agencies is in process.

Click Here for CalFishTrack real time information on this hatchery fall-run Chinook salmon acoustic tagging project for the 2020-2021 Season.

Donate to Ellis Lake


Help us stock Ellis Lake in Marysville, CA. Donate via PayPal to or mail check to PO Box 111, Sutter, CA 95982

Coleman National Fish Hatchery Project

NCGASA began engaging with Coleman National Fish Hatchery after hearing about an excess of adult steelhead filling the raceways at the facility. These fish came into the hatchery in an overabundance. The plan was to hold them in captivity due to wild population influence and salmon smolt predation. The fish had been put into a holding pond after hatchery mitigation numbers were reached and the fish began to die at an alarming rate. These fish arrived at the hatchery as a result of a rain filled winter in 2017 and positive hatchery results. We have worked with the hatchery and government officials to make sure sportsmen, guides, and the fly fishing community have an ample opportunity to catch, harvest, and release these fish for future generations.

Potter Valley Project – Eel River

The Potter Valley Project is a small hydropower project in the headwaters of the Eel River. It consists of two dams, a mile-long diversion tunnel, and a powerhouse with a 9.4 mw capacity. The project is located in the Eel River headwaters and diverts water out of the watershed into the Russian River. Removing this project is the necessary first step to fisheries recovery on the Eel River. Learn more about dam impacts to fisheries habitat & flow, local economy, energy production, and downstream safety here.

For more information click here:

PROJECT TWO: 2008 Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries Disaster Program

The California Salmon Council (CSC) under the direction of the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) assembled an Advisory Committee to develop a first draft recommendation for the 2008 Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries Disaster Program. The DFG took the Council’s recommendations and worked with the governments of Oregon and Washington to create a uniform set of criteria for the three impacted states. The following California plan is posted here for public view.

Project One: 2008 Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries Disaster Program

The California Salmon Council (CSC) under the direction of the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) assembled an Advisory Committee to develop a first draft recommendation for the 2008 Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries Disaster Program. The DFG took the Council’s recommendations and worked with the governments of Oregon and Washington to create a uniform set of criteria for the three impacted states. The following California plan is posted here for public view.
The CSC will assist the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) to distribute the 2008 disaster funds in accordance with the plan when it is officially approved by the Federal Government.

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