Enjoy California's second free fishing day in Alpine County

If you're someone interested in fishing in the State of California and you don't have a California fishing license, be sure reserve Saturday on your calendar.

Saturday is a very special day in the "golden state."

You ask why?

Well, I'll tell you why.

Saturday is Free Fishing Day!

It is the second of two free fishing days the State of California offers each year.

The first one was held back in June.

This particular one is held in September and it is timed to coincide with the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration each year.

So, if you've been wanting to fish in California but haven't done so this year, Saturday will be a golden opportunity to fish in the golden state at no cost to you.

Plan to take advantage of it.

There is no need to have a California fishing license on Saturday. However, be advised that you will need to abide by all of the regular rules and regulations that govern whatever water you will be fishing. So don't do anything dumb or illegal. If you do and if the game warden catches you, it could be a very unpleasant and expensive experience for you.

For those folks interested in going Saturday, the list of nearby fishable waters in California is mind-boggling.

There is an enormous number of creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs, all within an easy two-hour drive of Carson City.

However, rather than overwhelm you with that enormous number of choices, this column will focus on one area.

That area is Alpine County.

Most typically, the Alpine County area (south of Carson City) attracts the majority of the angling attention from this area due to its close proximity to us.

So, if you are interested in fishing in California, I'll focus on the Alpine County area for selected choices for you to take advantage of free fishing on Saturday.

With that in mind, here are some of those nearby Alpine County fishable waters with the usual conditions found at those locations at this time of the year:

-- Kinney Reservoir near the top of Ebbett 's Pass on S.R. 4. Good fall fishing for small car-top boats, canoes, inflated rafts or float tubes. Best area is on the back side of the lake.

-- Upper and Lower Kinney Lakes (A short walk past Kinney Reservoir). Excellent walk-in fishing at Lower Kinney for Lahontan cutthroat trout for fly fishermen with float tubes.

-- Lake Alpine, on the west side of Ebbett's Pass on S.R. 4. This lake was recently planted with a large number of good-sized rainbow trout.

-- East Carson River near the Town of Markleeville. It runs along S.R. 4 and S.R. 89. Very low and clear. Recently planted in the area of the East Fork Resort with good-sized rainbow trout. The area from Hangman's Bridge, just out of Markleeville, downstream to the Nevada stateline has special regs.

-- West Carson River, along S.R. 88. It runs the length of Hope Valley and in Woodford's Canyon. Very low and clear. Trout are very spooky. Catching them can be a challenge. Great scenery.

-- Red Lake, Caples Lake and Silver Lake, which are all along the highway in the Kit Carson Pass area of S.R. 88. Good fall fishing. Shore fishing can be on the slow side. Good fishing from boats with silver flasher blades and nightcrawlers. Caples Lake contains very large Mackinaw (lake) trout.

-- Red Creek, which flows out of Red Lake on S.R. 88. Very low. Not a good choice for fishing.

-- Crater Lake, about 2 miles from S.R. 88 via a dirt road. This small lake contains a large population of very small Eastern brook trout.

-- Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, Twin Lake, Meadow Lake, Tamarack Lake, Upper and Lower Sunset Lakes, Meadow Lake, Summit Lake and Lost Lakes. All clustered in an area about 12 miles from Hope Valley. Take the Blue Lake Road from S.R. 88 in Hope Valley. Good fall fishing at all of these waters. Best from shore with Power Bait or inflated nightcrawlers. Best from boats with small, silver flasher blades and worms.

-- Frog and Winnemucca Lakes, which are walk-in lakes from the top of Kit Carson Pass on S.R. 88. Good fall fishing. Frog Lake can be very good for shore fishing fro rainbows. Winnemucca Lake is excellent from float tubes or inflated rafts, very poor from shore. You will catch Eastern brook or Kamloop trout.

-- Indian Creek Reservoir between Woodford's and Markleeville. Murky. Difficult to fish due to the water conditions. Best fishing is in the top layer of the water with bobbers and extra long leaders. Not a top choice for Saturday.

-- Markleeville Creek near Markleeville. Very low. A favorite for fly fishermen with dry flies.

-- Special Note: Typically, the Calif. Dept., of Fish and Game will have stocked many rainbow trout into such waters as the East Carson River, the West Carson River, Indian Creek Reservoir, Markleeville Creek, etc.

-- Special Note: Sept. 23 is NOT a free fishing day in Nevada. The one and only Free Fishing Day in Nevada for 2000 was held back in June. So, if you do not have a Nevada fishing license, do not fish in Nevada waters on Saturday.

Finally, no matter where you decide to go fishing, plan to spend Saturday enjoying one of America's most popular outdoor sports and do it free in California.

I highly recommend Alpine County.

For Alpine County fishing information, call any of these numbers:

-- Alpine County Chamber of Commerce in Markleeville at (530) 694-2475 during regular business hours.

-- Caples Lake Resort at Caples Lake on S.R. 88 at (209) 258-8888.

-- Carson River Resort on the East Carson River on S.R. 4 and S.R. 89 at (530) 694-2229.

-- Grover's Corner in Markleeville at 530-694-2562.

-- Lake Alpine Lodge at Lake Alpine on S.R. 4 at 209 753-6358.

-- Woodford's Station in Woodford's at (530) 694-2930 after 10 a.m.

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't name Little Donnie Q's favorite fishing location in all of Alpine County.

If he grins and says, "It is Winnemucca Lake," he has to be a longtime reader of the Outdoor Page.

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