Opening Bolsa Chica

Up until a few days ago, much of Bolsa Chica was closed off to the public, so when I heard that they had opened it up I went to go check it out. The water under the bridge is murkier because the water is now able to get into and out of the estuary a bit easier, now that they have widened the opening to the ocean. You can already see a difference.
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We saw about 6 stingrays in different places, all within a 30 minute span. This one seems to be missing his tail.
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Something was scaring all of the smelt, and we couldn’t quite make it out. Whatever it was, it was just shy of 2 feet long.
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Upon careful inspection, it turns out to be a white sea bass! I have never seen these in Bolsa Chica before. And there were a bunch of them munching on the the smelt!
A few days ago, a school of bonita came up next to the docks in Newport and attacked the smelt as I was teaching a class. The frenzy only lasted 10 seconds, and when it was finished, there were a bunch of baitfish flopping around on the dock. This was exactly how it was in Catalina last weekend, except I have never seen this happen in front of the Sea Base or Sailing Center in the 10 years that I’ve been around this area.
I’m taking these unusual sightings as a good omen for the fisheries along the coast. It looks like things are starting to recover. It’s about time.

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