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Entries in California (56)


Latest Anti-Fishing Lunacy In California

California has seen the number of licensed anglers fall by half since 1984, from more than 2 million to barely 1 million who purchase annual licenses.

One big reason is declining opportunities — more waters closed to fishing in both the ocean and freshwater, fewer trout raised in state hatcheries and planted, and native species like steelhead and salmon that are in a tailspin.

Another big reason is expense. The cost of licenses and stamps rises every year, even though usually the fishing is worse. A person who fishes in both fresh and salt water can spend more than $100 annually on licenses, report cards and stamps.

And then there are regulations — tackle restrictions that can be baffling and seasons that are impossible to memorize.

Sometimes the obstacles are illogical, to the point where it seems the state is purposefully trying to make anglers throw up their hands and quit.

Such is the case with a bill introduced in the Assembly last week by, not surprisingly, a Democrat from the Bay Area whose district has almost no freshwater fishing. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, while not an expert on fishing, is doing somebody’s bidding with a bill that would outlaw many lead fishing weights.

Assembly Bill 2787 was introduced Friday and quickly denounced by the California Sportfishing League.

Read rest of story here.

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While I agree with the argument that this editorial makes, the author is uninformed regarding alternatives to lead. He doesn't even mention tungsten, which is my preference. But he is correct in that the alternatives are more expensive than lead.


Bass Fishermen Are Going To Love This

Dennis Choi caught this 15.46-pound largemouth at California's Lake Camanche, while fishing for trout with Berkley Power eggs. That's right, this lunker took the tiny offering rigged on Choi's light spinning gear and 4-pound test line.

And it was only the second bass that Choi has ever caught. But he fought it like a pro, taking his time so that it wouldn't spool his reel or break the line.

After taking photos and weighing the huge fish at the marina, he turned it loose.

"We released the bass at the boat ramp and it swam away," he said. "I'm thrilled that the fish is back in the lake swimming."

The bass is the second largest caught at the fishery southeast of Sacramento. The lake record is 18.17, taken in 2015.

As I explain in my book, Why We Fish, when you go fishing "you just never know."


One of California's best fisheries for big bass, Clear Lake, is in a slump according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Average size bass caught in this northern California fishery during tournaments in 2016 was about 3 pounds,  which probably was as good as, if not better than, any other lake in the country.

But in a recent tournament with 38 anglers, winning weight was just 16 pounds, with 9 pounds good enough for second.  "Many of the fishermen said this was the poorest fishing they had ever experienced on Clear Lake," the newspaper reported. "They also said the water was extremely brown in color throughout the lake."

Black bass are not native to California, but were introduced there more than a century ago. Recognizing Clear Lake's trophy potential because of its warm, shallow water and abundant habitat, the Department of Fish and Game started stocking Florida-strain bass in 1969. Current lake record was a 17.52-pound trophy caught in 1990. Southern California lakes, including Castaic, Casitas, Dixon, and Miramar, meanwhile, have yielded lunkers of more than 20 pounds.


Bullards Bar Spot Finally Recognized as Record By Both California and IGFA

California and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) finally are in agreement. The 11-pound, 4-ounce (11.25)  Alabama spotted bass caught by Nick Dulleck in February 2017 on Bullards Bar Reservoir is both a world and state record.

For IGFA, which recognized the catch in May, the previous world record had been 10.38 pounds, also taken at Bullards Bar. But a 10.95-pound fish caught at the same fishery in 2015 had been recognized by California. IGFA had disqualified that fish because its original weight was reported as 11.2.

In recent years, reports have surfaced regularly of other fish being caught that would have been state records, but the reporting process was so cumbersome that anglers didn't want to participate. In particular, they didn't want to kill the fish, either for DNA sampling or because a biologist wasn't immediately available to certify the catch.

Dulleck, however, was prepared, rolling video from cast to release, including weighing the fish on a certified scale in front of witnesses. He is now working with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to make state certification easier for other anglers.

"I didn't want this record to just be about me," he said. "I've worked with the IGFA and the California DFW a lot through this whole process. They have been great to work with. If I can help make the whole process better for all anglers, then I really want to do that. Then I will have done something that matters." 


Christmas Trees Bolster Fish Habitat Across Country

From coast to coast and border to border, Christmas trees are the holiday gifts that keep on giving for fish and fishermen. Bass clubs, municipalities, and power companies participate in this giant, annual attractor/habitat enhancement project, along with state and federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service.

“A lot of lakes we work with are manmade and there’s not much fish cover in them, so we have to figure out how to put fish habitat in those lakes,” said Kevin Meneau, a fisheries biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).  “Christmas trees are one of the best ways to do that in winter.”

In the St. Louis area alone, trees are submerged in 60 lakes, with each fishery receiving them every three years. Shenango River Lake, meanwhile, is but one of many lakes targeted in Pennsylvania, as the Corps teams with local communities. To the South, the Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association has worked with Alabama Power for six years to anchor trees in more than 70 locations.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife collects hundreds of trees each January for placement in Three Springs, Shanty Hollow, Barren River, and Green River Lakes, among others. And in California, the Corps sinks trees in Pine Flat Lake.

"We put them in the water here until they basically disintegrate and it gets a full life cycle out of the tree,"  said Adam Thompson, Corps senior park ranger, adding that discarded Christmas trees are the most cost effective way to sustain fish habitat annually.

"These trees create a perfect safe haven for the fingerling bass to hide from the larger predator bass," he said.

Additionally, the trees provide woody cover that makes excellent habitat for invertebrates, ideal forage for these smaller bass, along with panfish, added Missouri's Meneau. Of course, larger fish follow, as the entire food chain gets a boost.

Ideally, the trees are anchored with cement blocks and submerged in at 4 to 7 feet. This typically gives newly spawned bass in shallow water quick access to cover.

Of course, predatory bass and other species also are attracted to the brush piles, which provide cover for ambush, as well as a source of food. In turn, that makes them magnets for anglers.

Eventually, the trees become water logged and sink completely. But Meneau said that the tops usually are visible for five to six weeks after placement. This gives anglers time to mark them with GPS.