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Maximum hunting days in effect for Canadian honkers

Rainbow fishing hot at Lake Almanor
By: George deVilbiss
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There hasn’t been much snow in the north to drive the millions of winter waterfowl south. That weather and the resulting migration is a couple of months away.
More birds, however, especially Canadian geese, have decided it’s more comfortable in the Sacramento Valley rather than flying to the far north and back again. In staying here, they’ve been actually been labeled a nuisance in many locales.
Just about anywhere you go, you can find sizeable flocks of what are called “honkers” by most hunters. The good news is that in 2010-11, the maximum number of hunting days is offered to California shooters for geese.
The early season for the balance of zone opens Saturday. The caveat is, the early shoot will only last four days, according to the Department of Fish & Game, again reopening Oct. 23 with the general waterfowl opener and running through Jan. 30, 2011.
The daily bag limit is six honkers with a possession limit of double the daily bag. Only Canadian honkers are allowed in the bag during the early hunt.
While Type C areas will be available for the early hunt, Type A and B wildlife areas won’t be. The closest Type C area that should provide good opportunities will be the Thermalito Afterbay Unit of the Oroville Wildlife Area.
For information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov.

Lead ban again in the works
The Center for Biological Diversity on Aug. 23 petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to ban lead from most of its outdoors uses, including ammunition, fishing tackle, sinkers, jigs, weighted lines and components that include lead such as brass, ballast in lures, spinners, stick baits and numerous other fishing products.
On Aug. 27, the EPA denied the petition regarding ammunition but let stand the portion related to fishing tackle.
Comments must be received by the EPA no later than Sept. 15. Just know there’s a good chance that lead in most, if not all, fishing products will be outlawed.

Current fishing
Temperatures in the high country right now range from the mid 30s to the high 80s. If you’re going to the mountains, take plenty of clothes to dress in layers.
Lake Almanor: It was our final week at this lake for the season, and the catching was hot. We caught and released no fewer than 30 half-pound rainbows a day, and that doesn’t count the number of missed hits.
We found a good bite from Rec Area 2 to the southern tip of the Peninsula. While we trolled, several boaters were anchored in the area soaking bait and catching fish. We caught rainbows to 3 pounds and lost one brown that we guessed to be between 6 and 7 pounds. Lead core was out six colors and the downriggers down 28 to 32 feet.
The next couple of days we shallow-water trolled along the west shoreline by Goose Island. We were mostly in 25 to 30 feet of water, down maybe 14 feet on the downrigger and out four colors of lead core. One or two rods at a time seemingly were getting constant action. I even caught a 3-pound smallmouth bass.
Brian Richter, a hunting and fishing partner, won the resort’s monthly big fish contest with a 5-1/8-pound rainbow on his last day of fishing. Another angler, toplining a trolled fly on the same day, caught a 4-3/8-pound rainbow in the area.
Klamath River: Salmon fishing is allowed in local rivers, but you can spend considerable time trying and coming home with nothing. Go north to the Klamath, and you’ll come home with Chinook salmon. The fishing is outstanding. There are big fish coming out, too, 35 pounds plus. Don’t have the equipment or know-how for that region? Get together with a buddy and hire a guide.
Eagle Lake: Fish are slowly migrating to the north. Yet, some of the best fishing is still at the south end, from Pelican Point to Shrimp Island.
The average trout being netted is 2½ pounds, but there is always the ’bow that tilts the scale at more than 3 pounds, too. Trout are munching on minnows, which means if you find bait fish, you find trout.
You only need to be in water eight to 10 feet deep with your offering five feet down. The bottom goes up and down continuously so you need to watch your depth. And yes, I’ve used a downrigger in these types of waters.
Best has been a two-inch grub in pumpkin seed, amber, brown or watermelon, and I’ve also done excellent hauling a Sure Catch lure called a Red Dog or German Brown.
Bobber fishing remains good in the Youth Camp region. Anchor in 12 to 18 feet of water and set your slip bobber with a threaded crawler down 7 to 10 feet. You should limit easily.
Fort Bragg: I received an e-mail from Pat Heaviside, skipper of the BRAGG-N, stating, “The tuna are in.” If it’s a good load of albacore you want, go now. His 32-foot long, 12-foot wide Boston Whaler is perfect for this type of fishery with considerable elbowroom. Call him at (707) 961-9692 or (408) 888-5485.
Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.