Depending on how you look at it, Northern California has been either blessed or cursed by the weather gods these past few weeks.
Generally, we've enjoyed clear skies and pleasant daytime temperatures. But the lack of rain is getting some people worried about summertime water supplies, and dry conditions have not done much for steelhead reports neither locally nor for the big rivers up north. Even the main stem of the Eel River is reported to be "low and clear," and the outstanding steelhead fishing of the past few weeks there has slowed considerably. The Klamath, Smith and Chetco rivers are still producing steelhead at a steady rate, but all are slower this week than last.
We need rain and if the National Weather Service forecast is accurate, we might get some soon. An approaching Pacific cold front may bring much-needed precipitation to our area Tuesday, followed by "a chance" of showers Wednesday and Thursday. Steelhead season closes in our area March 7. With any luck, and a lot more rain, we may get another shot at this great catch-and-release fishery before the closure.
Over the past few years, a growing number of ocean enthusiasts have enjoyed kayaking and stand-up paddling in Santa Cruz. The growth of has been rapid enough to create concern at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor regarding safety and channel congestion in our small marina. Harbor officials began enforcing a "car-top launch fee" for paddlers in November that raised a bit of hullabaloo among those used to free launching from the West Harbor hand-launch ramp.
Always sensitive to their community, the Santa Cruz Port District is developing a pilot program to address issues relating to "the increasing use of Human-Powered Watercraft in the Santa Cruz Harbor." All interested parties are invited to attend a meeting on the topic Tuesday from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.
The meeting announcement states: "Anyone interested in use of the harbor for Human-Powered Watercraft is invited to attend. We welcome your suggestions on how the facilities can be safely enjoyed by all users during the coming season. As a courtesy to the neighborhood, please park in the harbor and access the Yacht Club by walking through the dry storage area and up the stairs."
Further information regarding the meeting is available on the harbor website: www.santacruzharbor.org.
Allen Bushnell can also be heard on the Friday Morning Fish Report at 6:45 a.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM. Send your photos, comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org