Saturday, December 31, 2011

#1 2011 Delta News & Review Story

Crawdad Festival is Back as

Isleton "Cajun Festival" 

By Steven Masone

Saturday, June 18th & Sunday, June 19th, The San Francisco Bay Area and the California coast from Mendocino to Monterrey might be windy, cold, and often dreary with fog this time of year, but Isleton California in the Delta is always been the place to be. Expect great weather this the time of the year when the Cajun Festival (Formerly Crawdad Festival) is back from  a year off. Bikes, Boats, and RVs converge on the tiny historic town to eat  Cajun style boiled crawdads,alligator on a stick.  listen to music, and shop for boutique gifts and antiques. The entry fees are low and the town has tried to orient the program and rules toward the entire family , there are other island retreats in the Delta region where there are other RV hook-ups at reasonable overnight rate.

In 2009 Iselton  City officials announced that their World Famous "Crawdad Festival" was cancelled. Economic hard times and some politics were cited for the decision. Fans of the Festival later learned that Isleton also sold the Festival name and rights to a Red Bluff California Group who now operate a Festival under that banner. However, Isleton has settled all issues and have a united front to make The Cajun Festival bigger and better.

Now, I was raised here in the Sacramento Delta myself, and as a young boy my brother and I would venture through Freeport, Clarksburg, Steamboat Slough and wherever our Schwinn bicycles could take us. Fishing and hunting,  trapping Crawdads and gigging  Frogs. Exploring and sometimes getting in trouble raiding sugar beets, and pear orchards.

 Though we did have virtues helping the Delta farmers keep down the jack-rabbit population with our .22 rifles and sometimes, bow and arrows. We were real "Huckleberry Finns and Tom Sawyers!" It could have been due to my being an avid Mark Twain fan, or just 'genetics' from my Louisianan heritage where my Great Grandfather lived and "shrimped" for a living out of Shreveport.

Just because Red Bluff is on the Sacramento River does not a "Crawdad Festival" make! I know for a fact if any crawdads are found up north there, they are few, and not... "Delta!" For example you can use ingredients from Italian Food recipes...but it's Italian "Style" not Italian. Those Northerners just ain't got "Delta" like we do here.

Later in life I was part owner and General Manager of Steamboat Slough Resort. Taking that opportunity to use our watercraft rentals to finally explore more of the 1,000 miles of Delta Waterways, I was forever bonded with the "magical wonder" one experiences because of the 'sense' that this "living organic Eco-System" we call 'Delta'... gets in your blood. It's a "river rat" thing, and anyone can partake of it's authenticity and flavor, when they come and explore The Delta.

Isleton is the embodiment of that "magical wonder" that transports you to another time and place where at any moment you sense you just might see Samuel Clemens sitting on the porch of the local Newspaper Office, as the sounds of a passing River Boat's steam engine chugging away to parts unknown... embedding all the sights and sounds and senses into your memories of that long ago era.

Don't worry about the better things that city life offers, the Deli at 25 main street offers Gunther's Ice Cream for you Sacramentans and Genova Bakery goods for the Stocktonians. Carnival for the kids, Antique Shops and Art & Eclectic Curio shops alike will offer great gifts and photo memories and video chronicles for your Delta adventure.

Bob's Bait Shop is there for the real 'Huckleberry' who can walk over the road to the Sacramento River where the life flow of this Delta comes from, drop a line in and get their "fish fry" as fresh as it comes.

Crawdad Cajun Festival!
  • My kind of food...crawdads and alligator!

JUNE 18th & 19th 2011 "The Cajun Festival" is alive and well where 'Crawdads, Alligator on a Stick, BBQ everything... Chinese, Mexican,Italian, all kinds of great cuisine infused with Cajun and California Southern Delta..(only Delta, no Delta north of here.) Good Folks, Food and Music and more for only $5 dollar admission. Kids under 12 are free!
  • Discover the Delta for yourselves, and don't wait for the Festival, go and see Isleton for yourselves. People come from all over the World for their restaurants, watering places and shops. The Delta Diamond Farms Event Center and Resort is available for Festival Parking and RV's .DELTA DIAMOND FARMS specialize in Weddings, Conferences etc...All Resorts are filling up their rooms, and reserving their watercraft quickly.
     I'll be at Peter's Steak House enjoying his Famous Prime Rib...and maybe sitting in with the band upstairs with my Mississippi Saxophone.    See you... at the CAJUN FESTIVAL.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fishing Weekend "Shout Out!" Dec 29 2011

AMERICAN RIVER - The American River fishing opener of the salmon spawning area upstream of the power lines crossing the river at Ancil Hoffman Park to the USGS cable crossing the river at Nimbus Hatchery on Sunday looks good, based on the number of steelhead in the Nimbus Hatchery and reports of some nice steelhead being caught downstream of the closure. Remember, it's barbless hooks only, and two hatchery steelhead as denoted by a clipped adipose fin may be kept. No salmon may be targeted or kept. Flows are very fishable, too, at 2,000 cfs. The fish racks have been removed so salmon and steelhead have free passage into Nimbus Basin, and, though fishing pressure is heavy, odds of hooking into a steelhead are better than downstream.DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side - Liberty Island and Prospect Slough have been good for stripers soaking mudsuckers, jumbo minnows or sardines. Umbrella rigs are also popular. Cast them along the levee breaks at Liberty Island. Clarksburg Landing has been good for sturgeon using eel and pile worm. Grass shrimp has also been productive. Cache Slough and at the mouth of Prospect Slough have also been popular sites using ghost or grass shrimp. SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - This side of the Delta has been slow due to the cold water. As fish acclimate, fishing will pick back up. Stripers have been biting better on live bait in areas with warmer water. Sturgeon fishing has been fair in areas such as Grizzly and Suisun bays. Chain Island and Montezuma Slough are also good areas to target. Salmon roe has been the most popular bait.TOPAZ LAKE - The trout season opens Jan. 1. The Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby will begin on opening day and run until April 15. Check out for details. According to Topaz Landing Marina, the lake is much higher than normal for this time of year and there will be plenty of shore fishing area for the opener. The Nevada Department of Wildlife has been planting the lake heavily since the Oct. 1 and fishing should be excellent on Jan. 1 barring any extreme winter storms.NORTH COAST RIVERSCHETCO RIVER, Ore. - It was raining over the weekend and the river was climbing slowly, at 678 cfs at noon on Christmas day, but expected to hit 6,000 cfs during the week and be a very fishable 4,000 cfs over the weekend. Despite the lack of rain, the numbers of steelhead have been very good, and the few anglers working the river have been having better than normal success for December. Look for the bulk of the steelhead to show up this week.COQUILLE RIVER, Myrtle Point, Ore. - Bank anglers are doing well plunking roe a short distance from the waters edge. "I have received a couple reports of drifters doing well from Hoffman Wayside to Myrtle Point," said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. "One angler sent me an e-mail saying they had hooked 13 steelhead on that drift using roe. He also wrote me the next day to report that they had went 3 for 3 on fly's during a short drift on the same water the next day." Rain was expected this week.RUSSIAN RIVER - Steelhead are in the river, but everyone is waiting for rain for more fish and better fishing conditions. Anglers in the know have been using stealth methods in the low, clear water and catching halfpounders and some adults, but it's been tough, and rain is needed to bring in the main run.SMITH RIVER - Flows on the Smith River dropped to a meager 550 cfs on Christmas Day, but were expected to approach 7,500 cfs with heavy rain forecasted this week by the National Weather Service. The 4-foot increase in flows should give steelhead fishing a major boost, guides predicted. "December was slow on the Smith," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "There were a lot of salmon below Rowdy Creek, but steelhead fishing was slow upstream and there weren't many kings above tidewater." Guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips said the expected rains should make steelhead fishing prime the first couple weeks of January. A few bright kings also could show up in the catch.UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore. - Steelhead fishing has been very good over the last week, but very few boaters were out drifting due to the extremely low water levels. Prior to the current rains, (and more expected this week), visibility was 8 feet and most anglers were using 1/8- to 1/2-ounce floats to drift roe or small jigs through slots, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERSTRINITY RIVER, Douglas City - The weather on the Trinity River drainage has been more than a little boring lately: cold, getting down to 20 degrees at night, and foggy. Not many fish are on the move as a result. The good news, so to speak, is that the river above Junction City has the highest concentration of fish. Fishing pressure has been fairly light, as well. Anglers have been using a variety of methods to get a couple of hookups and outing-from small nymphs like copper Johns to backtrolled plugs-and drifted roe in-between.KLAMATH RIVER, Orleans - Halfpound steelhead and a few adults to about 5 pounds were being caught on drifted nightcrawlers, roe, and spinners a the lower end of the Trinity. Some steelhead were being caught in the South Fork, as well. Anglers should be aware that access is being denied to non-tribal members on Hoopa Reservation lands.KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam - Air and water temperatures have been very cold, but the river is clear, and fishing pressure has been very light. Fishing has been very good for the few anglers trying. with anglers catching a dozen or so halfpounders and trout plus several adults to about 6 pounds. Drifted roe, nightcrawlers, and backtrolled plugs have been the baits and lures of choice. It's been too cold for a good fly bite.

Isleton Native Daughter Dies

Respected Pomo elder, traditional artisan diesPDFPrintE-mail
Written by Elizabeth Larson   
Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Luwana Quitiquit of Nice, Calif., died on Friday, December 23, 2011, at her home. She was 70 years old. Photo courtesy of the Quitiquit family.

NICE, Calif. – In the days before the Christmas holiday, Luwana Quitiquit was tired.

The 70-year-old Quitiquit, a respected local Pomo elder and basket weaver, artist and activist, had been the lead plaintiff in a case filed against Robinson Rancheria, whose council was trying to evict her and several others from their homes on the reservation.

It was the latest assault on Quitiquit and her family, who in 2008 were disenrolled by the tribe. Also disenrolled at that time was her mother, who was posthumously removed from the tribe’s rolls.

Quitiquit, who had formerly served on the Robinson Rancheria tribal council, told Lake County News at the time that the move to force her family out of the tribe was purely political and retaliatory.

“I'm ready to fight,” she said in a December 2008 interview. “They're not going to make me cry. I'm going to fight all the way.”

She had continued to fight, even as the tribe attempted to push her from her home, signing up to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit to fight the evictions. A judge recently had granted a delay in the proceedings until March, according to her sister, Wanda Quitiquit.

But, as sister Wanda pointed out, Luwana Quitiquit was both busy and tired from the battle, and she was struggling with her health.

“You would not believe the stress she was under,” Wanda Quitiquit told Lake County News.

In order to pay for the retainer fee for the attorney representing her and others targeted for eviction, Luwana Quitiquit had just sold one of her exquisitely beaded American Indian dresses, Wanda Quitiquit said.

With money to pay the attorney, Luwana Quitiquit believed things were going to be all right, said her sister.

On Thursday, Dec. 22, she went to bed exhausted. The next morning, her son went to check on her.

“She died in her sleep and we should all be so lucky,” said Wanda Quitiquit, who called her sister her best friend.

Wanda Quitiquit said the fight to battle the evictions at Robinson Rancheria needs to continue on behalf of her sister.

“They can't touch her now,” she said of the tribal council.

Luwana Quitiquit was born in Isleton, Calif., on Nov. 13, 1941, to father Claro Quitiquit, of Filipino ancestry, and mother, Marie Boggs Quitiquit, who came from Robinson Rancheria.

She was from a big family, with a total of 15 siblings.

She grew up on Union Island in the Bay-Delta area near Stockton, where she and her family were employed as farm workers.

Luwana Quitiquit of Nice, Calif., demonstrated traditional Pomo basket weaving. She died at age 70 on Friday, December 23, 2011. Lake County News file photo.

Her interests and activism took root there, but grew beyond the boundaries of a youth spent in farming.

While in her 20s she worked at the University of California, Berkeley, and in November 1969 she took part in an earlier “occupy” movement, when she and other American Indians decided to occupy Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay.

Her family said she was one of the first Indians to step foot on the island as part of that occupation, remaining there until its end two years later, in 1971.

Her older brother Lawrence Thompson, who died in 2009, also had been involved in the Alcatraz occupation, captaining a boat that transported people from San Francisco Pier No. 40 to the island.

In the years that followed the Alcatraz occupation, Luwana Quitiquit continued her education. In 1977 she received her bachelor's degree in sociology from U.C. Berkeley.

Since then, she had become known as a talented scholar, researcher and grant writer, and worked to address challenges facing natives in Indian Country.

Her family said she even went on to visit New Zealand and Australia. Indigenous leaders there encouraged her to work to preserve her Pomo culture and heritage.

Luwana Quitiquit studied Pomo basketry – renowned weaver Mabel McKay was among her teachers – and owned and operated the Pomo Fine Art Gallery in Lucerne’s Harbor Village Artists complex.

She traveled around the state to share her talents, going to Albany last month to take part in an American Indian art show with her son, Alan Harrison.

“Luwana taught a cultural wellness class at the health clinic that became a class model for other tribal clinics in California,” said friend Sandy Elgin. “She was, and still is, a legend with a gentle spirit that will live on forever.”

Luwana Quitiquit is survived by her three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, 11 of her siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Tyrone A. Douglas; her parents and four of her brothers.

Quitiquit's obituary can be viewed here: Luwana Quitiquit, 1941-2011 .

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at, on Tumblr at, on Google+, on Facebook at and on YouTube at .

Joy White modeled one of the original handmade buckskin dresses made by Pomo artisan Luwana Quitiquit (left) of Nice, Calif. Quitiquit died at age 70 on Friday, December 23, 2011. Lake County News file photo.

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NY Times Reports on Delta

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Thursday, December 29, 2011


December 29, 2011, 1:59 PM

California’s Delta Ecosystem Is Healthier, For Now

DESCRIPTIONCalifornia Department of Fish and GameDelta smelt seen through a microscope at the California Department of Fish and Game.
Green: Science
The ecosystem of the delta where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet has been in the legal equivalent of an intensive care unit for four years. But just before Christmas, an upbeat report came in, showing that a year of copious rain and snow had significantly improved.the delta’s condition.
The tiny delta smelt.Fish and Wildlife ServiceThe tiny delta smelt.
High flows of water from the melting of deep snow in the Sierra provided enough for both the tiny fish known as the delta smelt, long considered on the brink of extinction, and for the farming communities that have chafed under legal rulings requiring them to give up water to keep the smelt and its ecosystem going.
Mike Taugher reported in The Contra Costa Times that an index reflecting the smelt’s abundance had seen a 10-fold increase, from a score of 29 in 2010 to 343 in 2011. The index was at its highest level in a decade, though still less than a quarter of the levelsrecorded in 1970 and 1980.
The high water levels were not necessarily the main or the only cause of the rebound — a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that changes they had pushed for in the management of the estuary could also be responsible. But there was no question that the populations of fish besides the smelt — particularly the striped bass population — also did well, although shad did not.

Hard on the good news, however, came a worrisome report that an invasive aquatic weed called the spongeplant, which sits on top of the water looking like watercress and multiplies with abandon, had been found near islands in the delta. It is still a relatively new arrival, but Lars Anderson, a scientist from the federal Department of Agriculture, told Mr. Taugher, “Your jaw drops at what’s going to happen.”
“The weeds don’t stop,” he was quoted as saying.
In an article on the spongeplant problem, Dr. Anderson wrote that the large mats of spongeplant seen in the San Joaquin River and the delta indicate that the plant could spread across large areas of open water “and render them ill suited for healthy fish and wildlife habitat.” The plant’s spread would also be “problematic for critical Delta pumping and irrigation delivery systems,” he added.
Those would be the same pumping and irrigation delivery systems whose schedules were modified to protect the smelt, reducing deliveries of water through the Delta to southern farmers and cities. Another weed, the water hyacinth, caused pump problems several years ago and was eventually brought under control.
At the moment, however, the spongeplants are getting less water than they might be accustomed to, as the Pacific weather system known as La NiƱaholds sway. So far California’s winter rains have been few and far between.