By Peter Jaeckle
Six salmon poachers used juvenile salmon as bait for sturgeon fishing on the Sacramento River. CDFW wildlife officers reeled in fishing lines. They found dead young salmon on the hooks. Officers cite salmon poachers.
Drought conditions recently revealed sand banks in the Sacramento River in Yolo and Sacramento counties. Salmon poachers are using the sand bars in the early morning and during darkness to fish for sturgeon. Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Delta Bay Enhanced Enforcement Project (DBEEP), Special Operations Unit (SOU) and local wardens are using Gov. Brown’s drought overtime support for increased patrols in this area. The patrols are to protect salmon and sturgeon from poachers.
Wildlife officer noticed one group of anglers use a large net to capture young salmon. They later baited their hooks with the young salmon just caught. Subsequently, wildlife officers cited Tony Saetern, 25, Michael Anglero, 24, and Kao Saeyang, 28, all of Sacramento, for unlawful use of salmon as bait and unlawful possession of salmon out of season.
Several nights later, wardens observed an angler with a big flash light and a dip net capture and keep several juvenile salmon. In total three suspected salmon poachers used young salmon for fishing. The officers found two of them with salmon on their fishing lines. While conducting the investigation another fishing rod belonging to the group hooked a sturgeon. Wildlife officers reeled it in and released the sturgeon.
Members of this group of salmon poachers had a Snapple bottle with 14 juvenile salmon in it. They kept them there for use as bait later on.
The investigating officers cited Nai Poo Saechao, 36, of Antelope and Lai C Saechao, 27, of Sacramento, for unlawful use of salmon as bait, possession of salmon out of season and a overlimit of salmon. They cited Vincent Sai Poo Saechao, 23, of Antelope, for using an unlawful method of take of salmon.
The unlawful practice of catching and using juvenile salmon as bait is of particular concern during the drought. State and federal authorities are doing whatever is possible to protect and support the long-term viability of salmon populations of the Sacramento River watershed.
“During this time of year, juvenile salmon are migrating downstream to the Delta and are vulnerable to this type of poaching as they seek shelter from prey fish close to shore,” DBEEP Warden Byron Trunnell explained. “Salmon season is closed on the Sacramento River, and nets are not an authorized method of take for game fish in inland waters.”
CDFW asks the public to report illegal activities, particularly salmon poachers, on the CDFW Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters (CalTIP) line at 888-334-2258. You can also use e-mail or text for a report. See www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.aspx for details.