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Licenses, tags and applications now available for 2013-14

Fishing report: Most streams are open for trout
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Generally, those who applied for a hunting license or deer tags last year have received the Hunting Digest by now.

The magazine has statistics from all over the state from last season’s hunts, including deer and elk. Most hunters, including myself, look forward to receiving this magazine.

Besides being laden with statistics, such as how many hunters applied for a limited number of tags in a particular deer hunting zone, it also details hunter success by numbers tagged and horn size. The success percentages often are a huge factor for hunters determining which deer tag to apply for.

While hunting zones such as A, B and D are sold across the board without restrictions, there are numerous other zones where you have to apply and hold your breath until you receive notice that your name was drawn.

The same goes for the numerous special hunts, such as limited hunts for elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep. There are a larger number of hopeful hunters than there are tags available, and the odds of being drawn are slim. If you don’t get drawn, you’ll earn a point, which can give you a drawing advantage down the line.

June 2 is the deadline to apply for any hunt that requires a drawing. Go online to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Web site, still reachable under the old address of www.dfg.ca.gov. Under the “Hunting” tab, click on “2013 Big Game Hunting Digest.” The digest should include applications for hunts requiring a drawing. Or, you can wait until the materials land in your mailbox.

You can purchase your hunting license and tags that don’t require a drawing by visiting to the DFW Web site, clicking on “Hunting” and then on “Online License Service.”

If you had a hunting license last year, you have an account with the DFW. It will require entering your birth date, last name and an identifying number, such as a driver’s license.

Click on “Purchase License,” and then click on “2013 Hunting” in the menu box. As usual, there is the annual price increase for all materials.

Just about everything requires you to first purchase a hunting license, which will set you back $45.93.

You’re allowed two deer tags in California. The application for your first tag will cost $30.50; the application for the second tag is $37.80. Add a bear tag for another $44.54.

Do you hunt quail, pheasant or dove? The Upland Game Bird Validation is $9.46. It doesn’t include the cost of the tag if you’re drawn for elk, pronghorn antelope or bighorn sheep, but it will cost you $8.13 just to apply for any of those hunts.

If you don’t receive the Hunting Digest soon, you can visit the DFW’s office at 1740 North Market Blvd. in north Natomas, where all materials should be available.

 

Current fishing

 

Stream trout: The general season for fishing the north state’s streams opened April 27. While most streams opened, others didn’t, so check your fishing regulations booklet. With the lack of snow in the higher elevations, most streams are already in prime condition, and fishing should be outstanding. DFW trucks will be adding catchable rainbows to enhance the fisheries.

Lake Amador: With the warming temperature, lake management will discontinue trout plants. The water gets too warm to support a trout fishery. While there are still trophy-size trout to catch, much of the action is turning to bass and crappie. The bass fishery is great right now, as the bass guard their beds in the shallows. Crappie can be found dropping a minnow under a bobber near a light around the docks as the sun begins to set.

Lake Camanche: They’ve planted more than 20,000 pounds of trout in 2013, and another 600 pounds recently was added. Fishing is good. You can get into a top-water trolling bite early, but once the sun gets on the water, you’re going to have to drop deeper. With trout migrating to deeper water, the shore bite is getting tougher. Bass are on their beds and are easy targets. Many have spawned, but if you nail a bass with a bulging midsection, be sure to gently put her back in the water, as she hasn’t spawned.

S.F. Bay fleet: The salmon fishery was outstanding off the San Mateo coast. They found a massive school of salmon, and many boats are coming back to the docks with limits of king salmon, including several to 15 pounds.

Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg: It’s been a tougher fishery finding salmon for boats out of either of these ports. The fish, however, could have easily moved in by now and the fishing is good. Check with your favorite boat.

Suisun Bay: While you can get pecked to death by small, undersize stripers in local water, you can head to Martinez, launch, head over to places like the Mothball Fleet and get into a really good sturgeon bite. Even those fishing from the pier at Martinez are getting into sturgeon. Soak grass shrimp or pile worms. Put a glob of salmon roe on the hook, and a self-respecting sturgeon just can’t pass that up.

American River: Some chrome-bright, fresh-run steelhead came up the river. While only maybe to 20 inches, they’ll give you a battle, and it’s a lot of fun on light tackle. Best waters were from around the Sunrise Bridge downriver to Sailor Bar in Fair Oaks. Fish the water off the gravel bar just below the foot bridge before it turns into riffles.

Folsom Lake: Bass, bass, and more bass. They’re in all the various stages of spawning, from still staging to spawned. And the fishing is good. You can get well bit hooking up a live minnow. If you don’t like using live bait, just about anything you throw at bass is going to get bit — swim, crank and jerk baits, drop-shotting, all forms of plastics. Get on the water early; even noisy top-water gear can attract a bite.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.