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Having trouble submitting steelhead, sturgeon report cards on DFG site? Then mail them in

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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The deadline for returning mandated steelhead and sturgeon report cards was Jan. 31.

If you didn’t submit them, you’ll receive a note from the Department of Fish and Game.

Last year, I was able to stumble across the reporting site on the DFG’s website. I looked long and hard this year but couldn’t find anywhere to electronically report the results.

I sent the DFG an e-mail asking where the reporting site could be found. A reply from the DFG directed me to the same site where licenses are purchased and again, there was no section to submit report card results.

I again e-mailed the DFG, including a copy to the director of the department, and explicitly expressed how utterly useless its website was for this reporting purpose and how this online procedure was about the least user-friendly of any site I’d seen.

I’ve not heard back from the DFG.

So, if you have either the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card or Sturgeon Report Card as part of your 2011 fishing license package, and have yet to report the results, I suggest you get it done now.

If you can’t find either reporting system online, as I couldn’t, then mail the card to the DFG. Addresses will be printed on the cards.

Special hunt for snow and white-fronted geese

Hunting geese in the Balance of State Zone opened on the fourth Saturday in October and ran for 100 consecutive days, the exception being the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area, where white-fronted goose season closed Dec. 21.

However, there will be an opening of white-fronted geese and snow geese in the Balance of State Zone from Feb. 18-22.

Farmers have been complaining, so the purpose of this late-season special hunt is to reduce crop depredation on private land and push the geese to public land.
Type A and B wildlife areas won’t be open to hunting. However, Type C areas and other public lands that allow waterfowl hunting may be open, so you’ll need to know the boundaries. The Sacramento Valley Special Management Area also will be closed to the take of white-fronted geese.

There will be a liberal daily bag limit of eight. A hunter can have up to six white or white-fronted geese.

Current fishing

There’s probably just enough snow in the higher elevations to make roads impassable to some, but not all, of the lakes.

Lake Camanche: If you can’t catch a trout at this lake now, then you aren’t holding your head at the right angle. There was a recent plant from the Mt. Lassen Trout Hatchery of 600 pounds at the South Shore ramp and 1,200 pounds at the North Shore ramp. Additionally, a DFG truck showed up and splashed another 2,000 half-pounders at the North Shore. Those planted by the DFG were triploids, meaning the fish are sterile. They grow fast.

Trollers are hammering fish. The North Shore is the closest to get to. Get your boat on the water and begin trolling at the buoy line. The upper region around the Narrows is proving good, as is the lower region around Hat Island and the dam area. Shore casters can fish the coves or off the points with Power Bait, eggs or crawlers to get bit.

Lake Tahoe: The “Big Mack” is a big boat and one you’d more likely see going out under the Golden Gate Bridge than running at Lake Tahoe. Big, in this case, means comfortable, and if it’s too cold for you outside, disappear into the cabin to warm up.

Mickey Daniels fires up the diesels of the “Big Mack” when the sky is dark and is letting lines down as much as 350 feet before the first rays of light appear to the east. You’re trolling the North Shore region as the sun rises and seemingly cranking the reel forever when you hook up a lake trout — or mackinaw. Limits are common, but so is tagging and releasing the majority. Many five-pounders are kept, but there are much bigger fish to be had, too.

The best thing about going out with Mickey? You’re back at the docks by noon.

Bay waters: There are sturgeon to be had in San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay. The major problem is that both bodies of water remain heavy in salinity levels. That means you have to put up with the critters you don’t want to waste bait on because there hasn’t been enough fresh water going down the river to reduce the salinity. Finding your bait are crab, kingfish and small starry flounder.
You could even encounter small sharks. In amongst those, however, sturgeon are roaming. Eel, roe and all three shrimp baits are working if you’re willing to pick up a whole bunch of bait and wait it out.

Scott’s Flat: This lake just above Nevada City doesn’t get much boat or camping activity this time of year. That means you can fish for a day and possibly be the only boat on the lake. There has been some success by trollers hauling a flasher trailed by a threaded night crawler. Try down by the dam. The lake is also known for its smallmouth population, and they’ve been whacking worms and jigs off the points.

Jenkinson Lake: Most anglers call it Sly Park. The winter fishing can be outstanding for mackinaw, rainbows and nice brown trout. One angler working the Narrows nailed a five-pound brown on a Rapala. Those wanting to shore fish can find easy parking and a short hike at the cove at the second dam, where rainbows and mackinaw can be found. Power Bait, eggs and an inflated crawler work well.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.