OK Gang, here's an annual Don Q tip for those of you who like to fish, and it is about a special event that is coming up in the near future.
If you fall into one of the following categories, this special event is right up your alley:
Someone who has not yet fished this year in California.
Someone who has just moved to our area from somewhere other than the State of California.
Someone who has not bought a Calif. fishing license because you've been too lazy to do so.
Someone who has not bought a Calif. fishing license because you've been too busy working.
Someone who has not bought a Calif. fishing license because you can't afford it or you're too frugal.
Free Fishing Day:
If you fit into any of the above categories, be advised that Saturday, Sept. 27 is going to be Free Fishing Day in the Golden State.
You will be able to fish anywhere you desire in that state on that day, and you will not need a California fishing license to do so.
However, as my usual words of caution, also be advised that you will need to abide by all of the rules and regulations that govern whatever water(s) you will be fishing.
Not in Nevada:
Be advised that Saturday, Sept. 27 is NOT, NOT, NOT a free fishing day in the State of Nevada.
Now with all of that good advice out of the way, here are some recommendations for where to go and how to fish at some nearby California locations:
Upper and Lower Blue Lakes (they are 12 miles, via a paved road, from S.R. 88 in Hope Valley): If you fish Upper Blue from shore, try an inflated nightcrawler floated up off the bottom or orange Power Bait. If you fish Lower Blue, troll from a boat, try small silver flasher blades with a Rapala lure. If you fly fish at either lake, try a Prince Nymph in the mornings, a black Woolly Bugger at mid-day and an olive Matuka in the early evening.
Caples Lake (along S.R. 88 between Kit Carson Pass and the Kirkwood Ski Resort): They are currently drawing down the water to replace two water gates in the dam and have transported several thousand fish to either Red Lake or Silver Lake. However, there is still some good fishing remaining at this lake, even with the low water.
A float tube, inflatable raft, canoe, kayak or small boat would be ideal. Troll with small flashers and either a nightcrawler or small, brightly-colored lures.
If you fish from shore, you will get your shoes muddy!
East Carson River (just past Markleeville and it runs alongside of S.R. 4 and S.R. 89): Check with Todd or Chad at the Carson River Resort for the latest tip on where to fish for nice rainbow trout and what to use. If you catch a nice rainbow, return to the resort to have them take a photo of you and your catch. Remember to smile!
Special note regarding the East Carson River: The area from Hangman's Bridge (just out of Markleeville) all the way downstream to the California/Nevada state line has special restrictions.
West Carson River (in Hope Valley and then down the Woodfords Canyon, along side of S.R. 88, to Woodfords: It will be super low and super clear, so fishing could be a challenge. For best results, drift a juicy-looking nightcrawler or red salmon egg through the deeper pockets and larger holes.
If you catch a nice trout, drop in at the Woodfords General Store and Dave Kirby, the owner, will take a photo of you and your catch.
Davis Lake (just north of Portola, about 1.5 hour drive from Carson City, via U.S. 395, S.R. 70 and Grizzly Road): Has been producing some very nice-sized rainbows, all summer, as a result of the Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game (DFG) planting a zillion fish after the lake was chemically treated to rid it of Northern Pike, last year. Your best bet is to troll from a boat with flashers and different types of lures. if you fly fish, try the Camp Five area with your float tube.
Heenan Lake (Just off S.R. 89 between the East Carson River and the top of Monitor Pass): It is a zero-limit (catch and release only) lake with special rules and regulations. You would be well advised to carefully read those rules and regulations before fishing to avoid getting into trouble with "The Friendly Old Game Warden."
Heenan is a popular destination for lots of fly fishermen in float tubes, which makes for great "photo ops" with your camera.
Lower Kinney Lake (a short, fairly steep, one-half mile hike from Kinney Reservoir, which is on S.R. 4 near the top of Ebbett's Pass): If you're a fly fisherman, you will have a chance to catch Lahontan cutthroat trout that can go up into the 20+ inch class.
Upper Kinney Lake If you're energetic, take the short, steep hike to this lake above Lower Kinney for another chance at cutthroat. Heck, it's all downhill going back to your parked vehicle.
Stampede Reservoir (just off of I-80, west of Truckee): Good boat trolling for Kokanee salmon, very early in the morning. You'll have to be on the lake fishing before the sun peeks over the horizon.
Use downriggers, small flashers, small Kokanee lures and tip your hook with a kernel of white corn.
If you're not sure where to fish, just look for the largest concentration of boats and go join them.
Winnemucca Lake (a 2-mile hike at high altitude from the top of Kit Carson Pass on S.R. 88):
Best from a float tube or inflatable raft between the small islands and the back shore line. It contains Brook trout and Kamloop trout.
My favorite combination is to slowly troll from a raft with small silver flasher blades and a small Kastmaster or Flatfish lure.
That's it: This is your last chance to fish legally without a fishing license for 2008. Pick one or more of the above waters and go out and have fun on that special day.
Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon he can't tell you which of the above waters is Don Q's favorite.
If he grins and says, "That's easy. It's Winnemucca Lake where Don loves to troll with lures from his small inflatable raft on the back side of the lake," he could be one of my fishing partners.