One of these days, lead fishing weights will go bye-bye

New fishing licenses required as of New Year's Day
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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If you cast your line often enough, sooner or later you’re bound to get bit. You might even catch something. The same principle can be applied to lawsuits.

Over the years, there has been lawsuit after lawsuit attempting to ban lead from anglers’ fishing gear. In other arenas, the lawsuits have been successful, such as banning waterfowl hunters’ use of lead shot.

While lead shot can’t be used anywhere for waterfowl hunting, there is no similar ban for other bird hunting – quail, dove, pheasant, pigeons, grouse, etc.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and even the hunters’ group Project Gutpile filed a lawsuit to ban the use of lead. The petition was denied by the EPA.

The group filing the lawsuit claims 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals die annually by lead poisoning.

In August, the EPA denied the ammunition part of the petition, citing the EPA didn’t have the authority to ban ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

A couple of months later, the EPA rejected the fishing tackle portion, citing the petition didn’t demonstrate a ban was necessary to protect against unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by law.

So, while their lawsuits were denied with this latest round, you can bet their staffs are diligently working to try again – and again and again – cleaning up the points where their petitions are denied.

As I said, cast your line enough, and sooner or later you’re bound to catch something.

How much fish do you eat?
OK, I fish a lot and tend to catch a lot of fish, including a variety of species. However, eating everything we catch would be impossible, so we do a great deal of catch-release.

And, unless it’s a specialty fish, I pretty much refuse to buy fish because of what I catch.

According to a federal study, the United States ranks third in fish and shellfish consumption behind China and Japan.

The study revealed that fish and shellfish consumption in the U.S. dropped from 16 pounds per person per year to 15.8 pounds.

What’s the No. 1 fish product consumed? Shrimp, with each person consuming 4.1 pounds.

The sad part is that 84 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported from other countries, and that’s up from 66 percent just 10 years ago.

Current fishing
It might be a hassle to purchase, but as of New Year’s Day, you’ll need to possess a new fishing license if you plan to hit a waterway.

Remember, too, you’re no longer required to wear your license for all the world to see. Too many anglers were losing their licenses when they were pinned to a hat and a gust of wind came along, and wardens couldn’t tell if what you were displaying was a valid license to begin with. So, keep it in your wallet and display it to a warden on demand.

American River: While the section of river from the Hazel Avenue bridge to essentially Goethe Park will open to fishing Saturday, the river is by no means fishable. So much water is being released from Folsom and Nimbus that the river essentially is in flood mode and too dangerous to be on or near. When the water decreases enough to allow safe access is anybody’s guess.

Lake Camanche: Marc Tanfani of Granite Bay was fishing in the North Shore region and nailed a 5½-pound rainbow. Others were caught in the same region that ranged from six to nine pounds. Soaking eggs, Power Bait and crawlers off a sliding sinker works well from shore. Trollers are nailing their share toplining with just about anything in the tackle box.

Bass are in their usual cold-water lethargic mode, meaning you’re going to do much casting before you get bit. You pretty much have to bounce your lure off their nose. Try tossing a purple or brown jig or drop-shot plastic. Bass are pretty much holding on the ledges, down 30 to 45 feet.

Lake Amador: The lake is full enough that the water is spilling from the spillway. While the weather has been lousy for the most part, there’s good rod-bending action on the trout plants. Amador also has its tagged fish program. Catch one with a tag and there are numerous prize redemptions, from a hat to free entry on your next visit. The rocky area of the dam, the muddy bank area around the spillway and the boathouse regions have been top areas to find trout.

Collins Lake: There are several trout roaming the water from the fall planting program, and those trolling and casting from shore are nailing their share. A usual stringer would be three to five trout. Haul a flashy little lure behind flashers, and from shore, Power Bait and eggs are working at the dam end of the lake.

Ocean waters: Bad weather has pretty much knocked out boats going out for crab or the big Humboldt Squid. It’s just not much fun if the boat is going straight up and down with deep waves.

Suisun Bay: A lot of fresh water is washing down the rivers to the bays, and that takes care of the critters you don’t want to waste expensive baits on – bat rays, king fish and crab. The sturgeon fishery is picking up, and some of the best fishing has been around the Mothball Fleet. There’s considerable water in Suisun that can be equally good, including down in the straits around Ozol. The mouth of Montezuma Slough, Big Cutt and all around the bay hold big diamondback sturgeon.

Contact George deVilbiss at