|Many of the newer anglers may not know this but DF&G used to stock the Delta with Stiped Bass in the 80's and 90's. DF&G stopped its stocking program completely in 2002
From the DF&G Website:
Department of Fish and Game, Central Valley Bay-Delta Branch
Striped Bass Information Page
Striped Bass Stamp Fund
How is my $3.50 used?
In 1981, striped bass anglers proposed and lobbied successfully for legislation to create a striped bass fishing stamp to generate funds for striped bass restoration. This legislation established an annual $3.70 Striped Bass Stamp, with revenues to be spent by the DFG on preservation and enhancement of striped bass in California. The stamp has generated over $17 million over the years.
Annual budgets are formulated with the assistance of a public Striped Bass Stamp Fund Advisory Committee appointed by the Director of the DFG. This committee consists of eight representatives of the striped bass angling community and interested citizens. Two approaches have been used to improve fishing, including programs that will immediately provide more fish for anglers and research programs to determine factors that affect the striped bass population in the Estuary.
Programs that are currently fully or partly supported by the Striped Bass Stamp Fund include increased law enforcement operations, annual surveys of the distribution and abundance of young bass during their first year of life, monitoring programs designed to determine adult abundance and the effectiveness of stocking young striped bass, screening of agricultural water diversions, and monitoring striped bass food habits.
Past programs that have been funded with Striped Bass Stamp monies include the DFG Striped Bass Hatchery, 1982–1991, the DFG Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory, juvenile striped bass stocking and tagging programs, the Lake Havasu Spawning Behavior Project, population modeling, and bass die-off studies.
Of all of the programs sponsored by the Striped Bass Stamp Fund, the most popular by far with anglers has been juvenile stocking and tagging. From 1980 to 2001, over 13 million captive-reared juvenile striped bass have been stocked in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary. Of these, a little less than half were marked with coded-wire tags or, in the early years of stocking, freeze brands and fin clips that can be used to identify the fish. The information from recoveries of marked fish has been used to determine which location is best for stocking; which size and age groups survived best; and whether captive-raised fish make a contribution to the restoration of the legal-sized striped bass population. Results indicate that San Pablo Bay is the best place for stocking; that larger or older fish survive better; and that the contribution of captive-raised fish has been as high as 26 percent of the population in 1993, but has since declined to only two to six percent, even as the legal-sized population increased dramatically.
Currently (2002), no captive-reared juvenile striped bass are being stocked in the estuary. This is the result of stipulations in the Incidental Take Permit for the stocking of large numbers of striped bass issued to the DFG by the National Marine Fisheries Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2000. This permit was necessary because of potential predation by the stocked stripers on several species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The permit and its associated Conservation Plan for the Striped Bass Management Program require adjustments in the stocking level if two consecutive legal-sized bass population estimates exceed 950,000. And that is what happened. When population estimates became available for both 1996 (1 million) and 1998 (1.3 million), it was apparent that the criterion for reevaluation of stocking had been exceeded. The federal agencies determined that the appropriate adjustment was to suspend stocking as long as the legal-sized population remained above 950,000 fish. This suspension of stocking likely will have a minimal impact on the striped bass population, as only two to six percent of legal-sized fish have been captive-reared in recent years, when the population has been high.
The Striped Bass Stamp was created in 1981 to generate funds to help “…preserve and restore the striped bass fishery in California…”
The Striped Bass Stamp Fund includes money from striped bass stamp fees and mitigation money from other agencies. Stamp fees are required by law to be used to increase the abundance of striped bass. The mitigation money is deposited into the striped bass stamp fund to help restore striped bass populations. These funds are used for a variety of striped bass projects. Enforcement
Historically, the Striped Bass Stamp Fund has purchased yearling and two year-old stripers to plant in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary. Stocking was discontinued in 2001 due to a significant increase in the striped bass population and requirements in DFG’s federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) permits. In addition to stocking striped bass over the last few years, the Striped Bass Stamp also funds overtime and equipment for wardens; on-going population studies; striped bass research; screening; and soon they will pay for alternative ways to enhance striped bass.
The Department is developing a Striped Bass Enhancement Alternative Strategy. Basically this is a suite of activities that benefit striped bass without exceeding the limits of our Conservation Plan. Our goal through the enhancement strategy is to enhance estuarine fish (stay in compliance with the Conservation Plan) and provide benefits to striped bass. We have coordinated with many experts and we are in the final phases of completing the strategy. Currently, we are looking into a suite of activities including: increase enforcement, habitat improvements such as floodplain restoration, improvements for fish salvaged at the pumping facilities, diversion screening in areas where striped bass are most vulnerable, research, and increased public outreach. We hope to have this plan finalized by the end of this month. Your $3.50 a year is an excellent investment in the future of striped bass.