If you have not yet bought a fishing license, and if you have been toying with the idea of going fishing, then put a big red circle around the date of Saturday, June 7 .
That will be Free Fishing Day in California.
Special Note: Nevada's Free Fishing day will be on June 14.
On California's Free Fishing Day, you will be able to fish without a license, however you will still need to abide by all of the regular rules and regulations that govern whatever water you will be fishing. So, be sure to obey all the rules and regulations, and don't be tempted to do something illegal. If you do and if you get caught, don't blame me, I tried to warn you!
To insure that the 2008 Free Fishing Day will be a memorable experience, the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game and various California Counties have been busy as bees, planting thousands of rainbow trout into many of their waters.
If you don't know here to go, here are some Don Q suggestions:
A Very Special Derby:
Davis Lake, just north of Portola, Calif., will be hosting a very special, one-day derby with a registration fee of $20 per person.
The lake will have been planted with tagged fish as follows:
One thousand $10 rainbows.
Ten $1,000 rainbows.
That's correct: Ten $1,000 rainbows and one $20,000 rainbow. Yep, $20,000 for catching the right fish!
Wow, if you were lucky enough to catch one of those 11 rainbow trout, that would buy a lot of Christmas gifts later this year!
The East Carson River near Markleeville and the West Carson River between Woodfords and Kit Carson Pass will have both been planted from their bridges. Your best fishing success will be the deeper holes downstream from those bridge locations.
The East Walker, downstream from Bridgeport Reservoir to the Nevada stateline, has big brown and rainbow trout, and lots and lots of fly fishermen.
Be advised it has special restrictions from the dam downstream to the California-Nevada stateline.
Buckeye and Robinson Creeks, both west of Bridgeport, near Lower Twin Lake, both have nice trout but will be crowded with all kinds of anglers.
Green Creek, also west of Bridgeport, has good fishing but it is notorious for mosquitoes. Take lots of repellent or stay away.
Silver Creek on S.R. 4 will have been planted with nice rainbows.
Bridgeport Reservoir west of Bridgeport can produce some eye-popping trout, both from shore and from a boat. If you have a boat, troll right in front of the marina.
Frenchman Reservoir, north of Chilcoot on S.R. 70, has nice rainbows from shore near the dam or at Lunker Point.
Indian Creek Reservoir, between Woodfords and Markleeville, will have also been planted.
Be advised that this body of water will be hosting a free kids' fishing derby on June 7, so it will be super crowded with families.
If you do catch a nice trophy-sized fish in the Markleeville-Woodfords area, take it into the Carson River Resort or the Woodfords General Store to have them take a picture of your catch.
Stampede Reservoir, near Truckee, has brown, Mackinaw and rainbow trout, plus as a bonus: Kokanee salmon.
Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, out of Hope Valley on S.R. 88, have average sized trout and lots of giant sized mosquitoes.
Caples Lake, near Kit Carson Pass, has all kinds of trout and it can produce an occasional mind-boggling Mackinaw trout in the 10+ class. Try shore fishing, near either of the two dams or near the mouth of Wood's Creek.
Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver Lakes) and the Mammoth Lakes Basin (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin Lakes), all near Bishop, will have been planted with eye-popping Alper's Trophy Rainbow Trout, which can run up to 6-8 pounds.
One of those monsters would be a great Free Fishing Day souvenir.
Be forewarned that all of those waters will be jam-packed with many, many other anglers.
Red Lake at the foot of Kit Carson Pass is the home for brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout.
Upper and Lower Twin Lakes, west of Bridgeport, have produced the last two state record brown trout (25+ pounds each). You could be the one to set the new record.
There you have it:
All kinds of choices for Free Fishing Day on June 7 in the State of California, ranging from rivers to creeks to reservoirs to lakes.
Pick one or more, pack a big picnic lunch, load everyone into the family vehicle and then go out and enjoy a day of free fishing.
Have fun and good luck to everyone on Free Fishing Day!
And, most importantly, remember that it will not be Free Fishing Day in Nevada until June 14.
Don't be tempted!
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you where I'll be on California's Free Fishing Day on June 7.
If he grins and says, "Don will be at a big birthday bash for his mother-in-law's 80th birthday," he could be one of the invited guests.
Note: If not for that big birthday party, Don Q would be at Davis Lake, trying to catch one of those special tagged rainbows.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal