More than one way to catch your turkey

By: George deVilbiss
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After last week’s column announcing the opening of some bird seasons, including turkeys, along with some hints and tips about hunting methods, one reader was quick to inform me that there is a an alternate method of successfully hunting these birds. During the spring hunt, it is the breeding time for turkeys and the big ol’ tom is looking for hens. Set up a decoy, get and stay hidden and do some calling and if there’s a lonesome tom around, he’ll often come running thinking he’s got a lady in waiting. However, for the fall hunt, it’s not quite that simple. Birds are usually in their separate groups, hens and jakes in one, toms in another. Regardless, however, at night they roost in trees and at the crack of dawn they’ll fly down to go for water and feed. Unless they’re disturbed, they’ll maintain their groups both in the trees and on the ground. And that’s where you come in. A common method of pursuing these birds is to find out where they roost, and then, on foot, with or without a hunting dog, shake up and scatter the flock by running at them. Once they’re adequately scattered, bury yourself in whatever natural habitat there is and begin calling. They’ll want to regroup and one by one they’ll do just that. By calling, you can be the center point of their re-gathering. Give it a try. TROUT DERBY UPCOMING Mark your calendar. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13, is the annual fall trout fishing derby put on by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District at their Rancho Seco lake, rain or shine. The lake will be well stocked with trout prior to the opener. Boats are allowed on the lake, but no motors. Take a boat you can row, kayak, canoe or float tube, or simply fish from shore. There are limited camping sites for those wishing to make a full weekend of it and it can be a great outing for the kids. There will be prizes for adults, 16 and over, and prizes in the children’s category. Gates at the facility will open at 6 a.m. In addition to the standard vehicle entry fee, there will be a $3 per person derby entry fee. The one derby ticket will be good for both days of fishing, and the ticket must be purchased prior to catching your winning fish. CURRENT FISHING Port of Sacramento: The Lake Washington Outboard Club held their annual striper derby this last weekend and the results were a little disappointing. The event was well attended with boats ranging from throughout the turning basin to downriver in the channel. By 1 p.m., only a grand total of maybe seven fish had been checked in with the largest hitting the scales at exactly 10 pounds. Just about every method known to mankind was being tried: drifting minnows, plugging, jigging, trolling, and one boater was actually fly casting. One boat club member, half asleep at the wheel while he was jigging further down the channel got bit unexpectedly and the fish jerked the rod right out of his hands and the fish happily took the rod with him on a swim. Lake Tahoe: Mickey Daniels has one of the largest boats you’ll ever see on Lake Tahoe, a 55-footer that looks more at home on the ocean than on this lake. It’s a comfortable ride and he’s extremely successful at mackinaw, especially this time of year. You get on the boat before the first crack of dawn even begins to show on the eastern horizon. Mickey is dropping lines down while it’s still dark. And lately, he’s been back at the docks well before noon because everybody on board has limited. Keepers usually range in the 5-7 pound class. Mickey’s on the north side of the lake at Carnelian Bay. Lake Camanche: The wintertime trout fishing here can be phenomenal and lately it has been just that. Lake’s management is enhancing the fishing with weekly plants. Half of the scheduled fish usually go to the pond at the South Shore while the other half alternates weekly between the South Shore and North Shore regions. But, in the lake, it doesn’t much matter where they’re planted. Fish have tails and swim really well, so they can be found elsewhere. Two anglers trolling recently had 60 hook-ups, netting 40, and releasing just about all the fish. Bigger trout have been hitting up to seven pounds. Hauling a crawler behind blades has worked well, but lures such as a Rapala or an R-Lure also has been working well. Try trolling from Hat Island to the dam area. Bait has been the primary getter in the South Shore Pond, such as Power Bait, Power Eggs and even worms, but some good rod-bending action has been found by cast-retrieving lures too. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.