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It's abalone season on the coast

By: George deVilbiss, Special to Gold Country News Service
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Red abalone is one of the state’s most prized shellfish, and it was pursued by about 34,000 people last year. Abalone may only be taken off the coast from San Francisco north to the Oregon border. Abalone season officially opened on April 1, with restrictions on those wishing to seek the shellfish. Aside from having a valid fishing license in possession, each person must also have an Abalone Report Card and tags. Every abalone taken must be tagged and recorded on the report card. There is a daily limit of three red abalone with an annual limit of 24. Minimum size is seven inches. If you find yourself getting an undersized abalone, you must take it back down and reattach it to the rocks. There are other regulations, even including the prying and measuring devices required, so it is suggested you review the full regulations prior to your trip. While the greatest number of abalone are harvested by those donning wetsuits and diving gear – without SCUBA breathing devices – and diving into the ocean depths, others find success simply waiting for a big minus tide. When such tide conditions occur, rock pickers can generally wade out in knee-deep water and find the abs. TROUT Most lakes and reservoirs throughout the state are open for fishing on a year-round basis, but streams, for the most part, are not. Saturday, April 25, marks the 2009 opening date for most, but not all, streams. In anticipation of the opener, the Department of Fish and Game’s trucks have been steadily rolling from hatcheries planting thousands of catchable trout in waters allowed and where road and weather conditions were favorable. If you want to find out exactly what streams do or do not open this Saturday, pick up a copy of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet. It lists virtually every waterway in the state along with the dates and any restrictions that waterway may impose. While a great many people will be heading for the high country, numerous factors will determine success. It’s been warm. Snow is melting and it’s melting fast. That means most streams and rivers will be flowing at a high, fast, roily rate. It will be downright difficult to fish many areas now as compared to June or July. And while snow may be melting, some areas will still be fully snowed in and not accessible. Secondly, the weather still seems to be in a yo-yo pattern with near summer like conditions one day and then cooling down with the potential of a raindrop or even a snowflake falling in the high country. If you’re headed to the high country, be prepared for any conditions that may come up. CURRENT FISHING Folsom Lake: Lot of bass, but most have been small. Go deeper by drop-shotting, crank and swimbaits and you might get into the bigger ones. Or, get a couple dozen minnows and drift them around the rocks. Feather River: Stripers, stripers and more stripers and some of those linesides have tipped the scales at 30 pounds. The fish are fully spread out throughout the river, all the way from the lower end at the confluence of the Feather-Sacramento Rivers upriver to Shanghai Bend. Drifting jumbo minnows or trolling Rebels or Rapalas works well. Try using a spreader with a Rebel or Rapala on one end, a Hair Raiser on the other. Lake Berryessa: With the warming weather, warm water soon follows. Because of it, bass have moved into the 8-10 depths on beds and the bass fishing is downright good for all three types of bass. Work the back of coves and the shoreline all around the lake. Kokanee are running an impressive size for this time of year – 15-17 inches. They’re found down as much as 40 feet, so keep adjusting until you get regularly bit. Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM