The month of May will feature a number of tours and programs geared toward outdoor enthusiasts, along with some hunting and fishing seasons opening.
Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfires or wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.
All calendar items are also subject to change as we navigate the changing conditions and guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents are asked to continue to adhere to all current safety protocols.
Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours by Reservation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be catered to include requested information. Each tour is limited to 20 people. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, which may include masking and/or physical distancing. Come prepared and be respectful of other visitors. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email Lori.Dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.
Various Days — Discover the Flyway School Program, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis. Discover the Flyway is an outdoor education program for kindergarten through 12th grade students that meets Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. Its goal is to offer children a meaningful outdoor experience that will give them an appreciation for the wetlands, agriculture and wildlife of the Central Valley and contribute to a lifetime of healthy outdoor activities and development of a land stewardship ethic. This school year, Yolo Basin Foundation is offering teachers three options: the chance to bring students to a field trip to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, the opportunity to have our educators and docents bring the program to their classroom or the option to participate from school or home in a live, virtually led activity. Teachers can learn more and register at www.yolobasin.org/schoolprograms.
Weekends — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Volunteers lead walks highlighting the natural history of the Elkhorn Slough every Saturday and Sunday. Capacity is limited due to physical distancing requirements and individuals must sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups of six or more should call ahead at (831) 728-2822 to reserve a tour. For more information, visit www.elkhornslough.org/esnerr/tours.
Sunday, May 1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Open for All Boat-based Anglers for the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas (Oregon/California State Line to Point Arena). Season opens for the following species: rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, California scorpionfish (aka sculpin), leopard shark, soupfin shark and spiny dogfish, and other federally managed groundfish. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary.
Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Open (until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier). For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut.
Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Open from Oregon/California State Line to Point Arena. For more information, visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.
Monday, May 2 — Archery-only Spring Wild Turkey and Additional Junior Spring Turkey Seasons Open (extending through May 15). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.
Saturday, May 7 — World Migratory Bird Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Celebrate the amazing migratory birds that travel through the Elkhorn Slough with bilingual crafts, interactive games and scavenger hunts for children. All activities are free and physically distanced. No registration is required. For more details, visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/world-migratory-bird-day-2022.
Wednesday, May 11 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program American River Parkway Tour, noon to 5 p.m. The tour will include sites in Rancho Cordova and Carmichael. For more information, visit wcb.ca.gov.
Saturday, May 14 — Tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis. Join Yolo Basin Foundation’s docent on a fantastic tour that is appropriate for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and birders. View seasonal and permanent wetlands, native grasslands and young riparian forests. Look for migrating and resident waterfowl, geese, swans, raptors and wading birds. Registration is required to attend. For more information and to register, visit www.yolobasin.org/wetlands-tours.
Thursday, May 19 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined, teleconference. For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov.
California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, 364 Knollcrest Drive #205, Redding. This meeting follows the prior Commission meeting and will start no earlier than 10:30 a.m. Webinar/teleconference participation options will be available. For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov.
Saturday, May 21 — Garden Days at Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Learn about native plant gardening and help the reserve maintain its new demonstration gardens. Participants will learn about native plant gardening and then spend time working in the gardens. Work changes with the season and may involve weeding, planting or collecting native seeds. All ages and abilities are welcome, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more details and to register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/calendar.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Pop-up Information Booth, 10 a.m. to noon, Parking Lot A, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis. Every third Saturday of the month, Yolo Basin Foundation will have a pop-up information booth in Parking Lot A of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. If you’ve never visited the area or have questions, it is a great time to visit since volunteers will be present to hand out maps of the auto tour route and hiking trails, provide information about what to keep an eye out for and answer questions as visitors set out to explore local wildlife. For more information about the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, visit www.yolobasin.org/yolobypasswildlifearea.
Thursday, May 26 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Agency Headquarters, First Floor Auditorium, 715 P Street, Sacramento (95814). The public is welcome. For more information, visit wcb.ca.gov.
Saturday, May 28 — Mindfulness Tour, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Experience the Elkhorn Slough Reserve on a guided sensory hike. Participants will explore the life cycles and habitats on this coastal estuary while reflecting on their own shared experiences. For more details and to register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/calendar.
Tuesday, May 31 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishing from Oregon/California State Line to the 40°10’ Line. The season will resume Aug. 1 to Sept. 5.
Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishing from Point Arena to Pigeon Point. The season will resume June 23 to Oct. 31.
For more information, visit the ocean salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.