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SHARE program offers wild pig hunts at Bobcat Ranch in Yolo County

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Bobcat Ranch is in Yolo County’s Vaca Mountain foothills west of Winters, just under an hour drive north on Interstate 5.

The Department of Fish and Game has a little-known program called the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE). Under this program, opportunities are given to hunt areas otherwise inaccessible, including eight limited wild pig hunts on the ranch from March 13 through May 2.

Limited means you’ll have to apply and be drawn to access the property chase down a wild pig. There will be six general-method hunts, one archery and one apprentice (junior).

Hunting the ranch under the SHARE program helps its long-term conservation management objectives, including providing public hunting opportunities and controlling the wild pig population.

Applications for the general and archery hunts must be in the DFG’s hands by 3 p.m. Feb. 29, but the deadline for the apprentice hunt has passed. You must have a 2011-12 hunting license and wild pig tag to apply and be drawn.
Applications and additional information can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/index.html.

You can apply once for each hunt but can only be drawn once, and only one application will be accepted for a party or individual. Parties can have up to two hunters, and non-hunters won’t be allowed in a party for this hunt.

No more than six hunters will be allowed per hunt period. Taking a dog won’t be allowed, and only certified non-lead ammunition for big game may be used.

If you’re drawn, there will be a required orientation on the first day of each hunt. DFG personnel will be onsite, and checking in and out of the hunt area is required.

Two-day hunts will be held six consecutive weekends beginning March 20 and ending April 25; the archery hunt is May 1-2.

Current fishing

Folsom Lake: Bass fishing remains slow because it’s just that time of year. Colder water put bass in their usual lethargic mode, and you have to awaken them somewhat to bite. Spooning, working a jig or drop-shotting will get you bit wherever you find a ball of bait on your screen.

Trout and salmon fishing is decent enough to launch the boat and troll. Top-lining a threaded crawler behind a dodger should get you bit by a rainbow. You need to get down as much as 50 feet to find a salmon bite, so top-line one, drop the other on a downrigger, and you could easily get both.

Clear Lake: It’s the largest natural lake in California, which means there’s a lot of water you can cover. You can pretty much have the lake to yourself this time of year. Point the boat to the Redbud region, work the water off the points, and you can hammer bass. Or, try Horseshoe Bend or the Oakes arm. Even the mid-lake area is showing rod-bending action. Drop-shotting and live bait are accounting for nice catches.

Sacramento River: Striper fishing has been slower than hoped for, and it’s being blamed primarily on the colder water. However, the same conditions haven’t affected a decent sturgeon fishery. A good sturgeon bite has been found from Garcia Bend downriver to Hood. There are boat-launching facilities at Garcia Bend and Merritt Island on the north side of the river just below Clarksburg. Further upriver, spots such as off Jefferson Boulevard, the Fremont Weir and to Verona also have produced.

The trick? Get on the river and get ghost shrimp or pile worms down on the bottom, then kick back and wait for the bite.

Caples Lake: Limits aren’t the rule, but boring a hole through two feet of ice, dropping your bait to the bottom and making a couple of cranks up will still get you bit. Those fishing through the ice around the spillway are doing the best. Power Bait is always a good choice, but crawlers and bay shrimp are also favored by the lake’s trout population.

Jenkinson Lake: That’s the official name, but most people just say “Sly Park.” Trolling has been slow, but shore anglers have scored on a few trout, mainly around the second boat ramp. With a plant scheduled for this week, rod-bending action should improve.

Camp Far West: Bass fishing actually has been good, but the bass are youngsters, mostly to 13 inches. Scrappy little things, though. Senkos and a variety of plastics are getting bit. The main body of the lake and creek arms have produced. Around the rocks of the dam-spillway should be a good bet right now.

Collins Lake: Not only is the DFG making a “catchables” plant, but lake management also is throwing in a truckload of trophy trout. Action should be great for boating traffic and those casting from shore.

The lake is in good shape, just 19 feet from the full mark. The warmer winter weather has put bass on a bite. One angler used live crawdads to limit on bass with the largest going nearly four pounds.

Lake Camanche: Downright good fishing, whether you troll or soak bait. They plant big fish weekly from the Mt. Lassen hatchery, so the pond and main body produce well. From shore, the points and coves at the North Shore will do you well, and trolling right outside the buoy line, the Narrows region at the upper end, around Hat Island to the dam and even Houseboat Cove have produced good stringer loads of big trout. One angler trolling in Houseboat Cove limited, and his two largest were more than five pounds.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.