California wardens are in the spotlight on TV program

Plant yourself at Camanche Lake; limits are the rule on trout
By: George deVilbiss/Special to the Roseville Press Tribune
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Think California wardens have it easy? Think they just drive around getting fat and lazy on the job, out there just to harass the general hunting and fishing public?
If you have cable or satellite television service, you should have access to channels such as National Geographic. The same people who produce the popular TV show “Deadliest Catch” are doing a series on California game wardens called “Wild Justice,” which airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
If you haven’t been watching, you’re missing an eye-opener of what the roughly 290 wardens go through on a daily basis.
We’re about halfway through 11 scheduled weekly segments. A camera crew follows these men and women day and night as they perform a little-known job.
For all practical purposes, wardens are cops. While their primary focus might be on the state’s resources, both flora and fauna, they can bust offenders for every kind of legal violation there is. And on the show, they do.
If you’ve missed it, tune in.

Oh, where to hunt, where to hunt
There’s nothing more depressing to a hunter than going into the field time and again, putting out the required effort and still not putting game into the bag. Even more depressing is not even seeing the game you pursue.
Those with limited incomes regularly scratch their heads, wondering where can they go to be halfway successful. Seeing game at least gives you the hope of being successful in bringing home something other than an empty bag.
More than one hunter has permanently hung up the gun due to one fact – that properties where there’s game just seems to be inaccessible, generally because of the cost.
The California Department of Fish and Game’s “California Hunting Digest” might just be what you’re looking for. Originally produced in hardcopy form, it’s now available online in a 43-page publication.
The California Hunting Digest summarizes the hunting seasons for upland game and waterfowl, and important laws and regulations hunters need to know before going afield.
More importantly, the digest contains links to all huntable public lands throughout the state, making it easy to download and print maps and descriptions of hundreds of state and federally managed lands.
To find the digest, go to “”
Or, call (916) 322-8911 for a hardcopy version.

Current fishing
It’s the time of year when most anglers don’t want to travel far from home. And, you don’t have to. There’s good rod-bending action within a close drive.
Camanche Lake: Trout fishing is the best thing going, especially with the weekly plants, and limits are the rule. Throughout the winter, they’re planting triploid – or sterile – trout, which are known for their size and growth rate. Some are hitting four and five pounds. And they’re putting 90,000 pounds of those trout in the lake and pond. You don’t have to venture far from where the fish are planted in the North and South Shore areas. I’ve always done well south of the island in the straights east of the South Shore area, up into the Narrows. Most are toplining, and just about any flashy lure will work. However, keep changing lures until you get bit regularly. Or, use a threaded night crawler, always good for trout. The South Shore pond is a hot spot for those soaking chartreuse Power Bait.
Few are trying for bass with the good trout fishing. Plastics being drop-shotted, however, should entice bass, which are holding down about 30 feet.
Sacramento River: You don’t have to travel far. Those anchoring between Freeport on the upriver side to Courtland downriver generally are limiting on stripers along with an occasional sturgeon. Several baits work, like pile worms, eel, the various shrimp baits and mudsuckers.
Folsom Lake: Few are venturing onto the lake because of rain, wind and heavy fog. Fishing is slow for just about everything. For bass, fish with your scope first. Find balls of baitfish and then spoon or drop-shot. You’ll probably spend more time looking and watching the scope than actual fishing, though. There’s a king salmon and trout here and there, but you’ll burn a lot of gas trolling before getting bit. The dam to Dyke 8 has produced the few that have been caught.
Sierra lakes: There are pretty good snow depths in much of the mountain range already, but it just hasn’t been cold enough for lakes to freeze over. Don’t go onto a lake’s icy surface before it’s safe. Every once in a while, there are reports of an angler lost due to ice giving way.
Boca Reservoir: This popular ice fishing lake is wide open, and anglers are fishing from the rocky shoreline around the dam and finding a bite.
Caples Lake: Another popular ice fishing lake that has wonderful success has ice forming but is still a few weeks from being safe to walk on.
Ice fishing is coming. Just hang in there a little longer.
Contact George deVilbiss at