The October salmon festival at the state operated Nimbus Hatchery has been held for the past 12 years and has been something well attended by not only the general public but also by school bus loads of children. Everybody would be wowed by seeing salmon coming up the ladders from the river to the hatchery’s holding ponds. Huge salmon. The salmon’s return means the end of their life and the beginnings of new life for the future generations of these fish. In the river, the fish spawn naturally. At the hatchery, the fish’s eggs and milt are manually retrieved. And regardless how they spawn, they die but they leave behind the makings for the future – baby salmon that will swim happily in ocean waters until it’s their turn to return to repeat the cycle, four or five years later. All the facts you ever wanted to know about salmon were shared at the salmon festival, along with the importance of clean and healthy waters as well as necessary habitat for salmon. But, it’s an event that will not be held in 2009 with the Department of Fish and Game along with their partners and sponsors citing both budget and staff cuts, state furloughs and the overall economic conditions. It is hoped that the festival will resume in 2010. Dove season not red-hot The Sept. 1 dove hunting season opener was not the barrel burner many hunters had hoped for as the bird population in local regions appeared to have decreased considerably with the cooling trend experienced prior to the opener. I managed a few birds on the opener just north of Lincoln. Other hunters in the same field called it quits for various reasons leaving me alone there by 8:30 a.m. Setting out dove decoys on a fence line on the second day, the decoys actually caused numerous flights to come by for a look-see and I did considerably better on the second day than I did on the opener. Decoys work. Most hunters have given it up for the season, but it will officially end on Sept. 15. Current fishing The weather pattern seems to be in a yo-yo, overly warm for a few days and then well below normal for a few days that is causing a number of people thinking we may be in for an early winter. That remains to be seen. The weather has little effect on the waters, though, and fish have not changed their patterns yet. Folsom Lake: Locating rock piles on your scope and working plastics and jigs will be your best bet to find bass. If you get out on the water at the crack of dawn, you can get bit by using noisy topwater gear or using cranks. Free-drifting a Senko with no weight around structure could also work. Carson River: Both the East and West Forks received big plants of rainbows and another planting is again scheduled. Three pounders are the rule in the East Fork and you should be able to do the same in the West Fork. Drifting salmon eggs or worms should get you bit or casting a light-weight spinner. Rollins Lake: The fishing can be decent but you’ll have to make the run up the Bear River to get into any possible rod-bending action. There are some brown trout in the river. Cut your motor and drift a crawler just off the bottom. Work the shady coves with plastics for smallies and largemouth in the two-pound class. Bay Waters: Halibut in San Francisco Bay can be good one day and not so good the next with all the usual spots being hit – Angel Island, off Crissy Field and the Berkeley Flats. Stripers in the same region move around. Find ‘em and you get into a good bite. Those taking the long ride out to the Farallone Islands are bagging full limits of rock cod along with decent counts of lings. There are still sturgeon roaming the waters of Suisun Bay, with shakers, keepers and oversized fish all being hooked. The easiest place to launch and get into the fishing quick is at Martinez. Drop anchor around Ozol, the Mothball Fleet or around the mouth of Montezuma Slough and you should get into some action. Collins Lake: The fire too near the lake is out and the air is again clear. Despite the warm weather the trout fishing remains one of the top bets, but the best action is early in the morning or late afternoons with both trollers and bait casters nailing fish. Catfish are on tap as well as bass. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.