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hitide
05-14-2013, 09:38 AM
Since the levee gave way at Mildred Island in 1983, my family and friends and enjoyed much success trolling the area for stripers, and ending each trip with a stop to pick up a few catfish for dinner. We have done this continuously for these many years. We have trolled up stripers, salmon, and a few other species over the years, and you could always count on picking up some cats before you put the boat on the trailer.
A few years ago we started to see large sea lions in the area, and it was not uncommon to see them with a striper in their mouth. We didn't notice any change in the fishing right away, but as these years rolled on, it took longer to catch limits of stripers, and put some catfish in the basket.
In the last year or so, we have made a few trips to the Mildred Island area. Our success on these last 5 or so trips has been terrible. I can understand the lack of stripers at certain times, but what happened to all the catfish. The area seems to be void of catfish. Yesterday we gave it a try again. We boated one 18" striper on the troll, but could only catch 4 or 5 very small stripers on bait and no catfish at all.
When we got to the marina, I asked an employee what happened to all the catfish. He told me that the seals got em. Now is that possible? How much can these furbags eat? This is a very large area to be void of catfish. If I had not watched it happen over that last couple of years, I would not have thought it possible.

allfishing
05-14-2013, 10:28 AM
Its not how much they can eat, because all the eat is the stomachs out of the fish. These things need to go back to the ocean so the commercial guys and send them 2000 leagues under the sea. I also believe they are messing up fishing in the river, during salmon season I have seen several even in the american river past Sac State.

redneckpunk
05-14-2013, 10:58 AM
While I agree I have seen a change in the catfish fishery in many parts of the D that has seen an increase in Sea lion activity, I'm not certain they have "gotten them". At the same time, I have seen increases in catches in a lot of the sloughs further east and south that tend to be more shallow and warmer. My guess is the cats are being driven from our "honey holes" we've enjoyed over the years by many factors including sea lions, water flows, recreation, and even fishing pressure. Dont under estimate the power of the pumps!!

~RNP

dabalone
05-14-2013, 11:01 AM
I have personally followed and watched a seal lion go up a dead end slough, almost every dive we watched him go down he came up with a catfish, bit it off behind the spines and ate it. At one point in a wide area he stayed and we watched him bring up at least three decent size catfish and then continued up the slough and was still getting fish when we turned around. He was a big boy and no telling how many catfish he could eat but it was really eye opening how efficient he was at catching those fish in low visibility water.

WhopperStopper
05-17-2013, 02:32 PM
Funny that they would predate catfish. Makes one wonder if there is a lack of better forage in or closer to salt.

dabalone
05-17-2013, 03:05 PM
Funny that they would predate catfish. Makes one wonder if there is a lack of better forage in or closer to salt.

I think it is learned behavior not instinct that brings some of them up the rivers following striped bass and salmon on their annual spawning runs. While here I would assume they also learn to prey on other food items in the rivers and sloughs like catfish which are probably easier to catch, the one we watched certainly had no problem picking them off. They do go back down into the ocean for their breeding seasons and believe some studies show its mostly the same animals who return to the rivers year after year, so the behavior may even be handed down, if so, that is not good.

WhopperStopper
05-17-2013, 06:40 PM
Not good at all. On the positive side though it is not instinctive so not all of those darned pinnipeds are doing it just a select number that have learned such behavior.

fishingfrieda
05-18-2013, 06:48 AM
Nature conservationist takes on sea lion mystery - Page 2 - Coastline Pilot (http://articles.coastlinepilot.com/2013-05-16/news/tn-cpt-me-0517-sea-lion-20130516_1_sea-lions-jeff-corwin-melissa-sciacca/2)

Sea Lion Pup-date Brings Good News: Strandings Are Declining | Wired Science | Wired.com (http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/05/sea-lion-strandings-declining/)

I was reading a couple months ago about the baby sea lions that were being stranded on shore malnourished. Scientist were speculating that the parents were having to forage futher out at sea, sometimes not coming back, or coming back when their pups were already starving. This was in So. Cal, but it makes me wonder if this has anything to do with the sea lions making the rivers their permanent homes. Last time I was at discovery I saw 5 sea lions at one point. Does anyone know if any have been born there?

twopatch
05-26-2013, 09:41 AM
The seal population has been protected for over 40 years now.It is at an all time high. It is no wonder that they are everywhere,they need to eat,and eat they do. The eco system is out of balance,and those "DO GOODERS" that are "SAVING" the seals are making the whole situation a whole lot worse. Let nature take its corse,or even better lets Manage the WHOLE eco system.

dsa2780
05-27-2013, 04:34 PM
The seal population has been protected for over 40 years now.It is at an all time high. It is no wonder that they are everywhere,they need to eat,and eat they do. The eco system is out of balance,and those "DO GOODERS" that are "SAVING" the seals are making the whole situation a whole lot worse. Let nature take its corse,or even better lets Manage the WHOLE eco system.

Do you honestly think it'd be better for humans to manage the entire ecosystem?