Christmas stocking stuffers for your favorite outdoors person

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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We’re coming down to the final hours of Christmas shopping. I find there’s still a good segment of the population scratching their heads as to what to get their favorite outdoors-oriented person, the perfect stocking stuffer.

The process can be more difficult if you don’t participate in the sport with that person. What is appropriate? What is needed? Go to any store that has hunting and fishing supplies and the choices can sometimes be overwhelming.

Certainly, he or she has complained about something wearing out, or that stock and supply of certain items are running low, or that, “Gee, I sure could use (name the item).” Perhaps it’s just an upgrade of something he or she already has. For those of us oriented to the great out of doors, the above applies.

For the angler in your family, there’s always the need for hooks, weights and replacement fishing line. Do you know what he fishes for and where most fishing occurs? Rivers? Lakes? Streams? Talk to a store clerk and describe that fishery, and the clerk should be able to recommend any number of items.

Then there are the little things that can be a great aid in fishing. How about a high-quality filet knife? And don’t forget a means to sharpen the knife. A quality stringer can always be used.

Salmon eggs are popular bait for trout fishing in lakes and streams. Power Bait by Berkley is popular for lakes, and the possibilities seem endless.

Rubber worms aren’t used just for bass fishing anymore. I only troll for trout using rubber worms and have converted some anglers to their use, as they work just as well — if not better — as a live night crawler. Try a pack or two.

When you browse the aisles for fishing equipment, there are so many things you can get your favorite sports person that would be greatly appreciated.

For the hunter, there are a few things that will fit nicely into a stocking without breaking the bank. Know what caliber rifle he or she shoots? Check an existing box of ammo when his back is turned and get another one. Ammo is always a good choice.

A good skinning knife tends to be pricey and something that would be more appropriately wrapped than stuffed in a stocking. However, I have a Wyoming Knife that I regularly use. The price isn’t out of budget and would fit nicely in a stocking.

Sometimes when we enjoy our outdoor sports, the temperature can get chilly. A good pair of gloves would be highly appreciated.

While it’s nice to go hunting and fishing in T-shirt weather, there also are critters that go hunting during fair and warm weather: Mosquitoes. There are several options of repellant on store shelves. Without endorsing any particular brand, choose the one that has the highest concentration of the ingredient DEET. It’s scientifically proven to be the most effective at repelling the pesky mosquito.

I wish all readers the merriest of holidays with good feasts and great companionship, and may you receive everything you want and need to fully enjoy the out of doors.


Crab fishing delayed


The Department of Fish and Game tests Dungeness crab for body weight. Crabs ready for harvest should ideally contain at least 25 percent of their body weight as meat. As of now, however, they haven’t reached that point and ocean waters north of Sonoma County have delayed commercial fishing season for Dungeness until Dec. 31. It originally was scheduled to open Dec. 1 and then was delayed to Dec. 16.

This is the commercial fishing season. That means there is more available crab for the sport angler, as counts usually are harder to come by once competition from commercial boats begins its harvests.


Current fishing


Weather prognosticators some months ago said California would be impacted by a very wet winter.

The storm doors opened with a vengeance. With the current storm pattern and the holiday season, few people are going fishing. Yet, there is still decent fishing within close distances.

Port of Sacramento: The port and the upper Deep Water Channel hold many stripers this time of year. While there is a good population of smaller, schoolie bass in the three- to six-pound range, there’s also a lunker in the 30-pound class here and there. Try trolling a Rebel or Rapala or even a HairRaiser feathered jig. Cast-retrieving a Rat-L-Trap has done well, and there are numerous jigs that work well imitating a wounded shad. Or, you can simply soak a jumbo minnow. I usually float the minnow under a slip bobber and have done well.

Lake Amador: The lake is now fewer than 20 feet from full and, rain or shine, 600 pounds of trout per day are being planted Monday through Friday. That includes record-busting trout, and anglers are nailing line busters. Shore casters and boaters are nailing their share of big fish. One of the biggest lately hit 13 pounds, and there are several six- to eight-pounders. Shore casters are using anything white. White crappie jigs cast and retrieved work well. White grubs and white Power Eggs are working well. Trollers are having some of the best luck hauling a small Rapala in Fire Tiger, and fly casters bobbing around in float tubes are working Woolly Buggers.

Eagle Lake: This Lassen County Lake will close to all fishing Dec. 31, not to reopen until Memorial Day weekend. The road is still open, and you’ll be guaranteed launching at the south end of the lake. The fishing has been good for the few people hitting the water. There are fish all over the lake, especially the south end and the Spaulding Tract section.

Collins Lake: Surprising what good rainfall does. The lake is now only 14 feet from full. The downside is it’s muddy. Hit the upper end of the lake and you can get into their big catfish. One angler had a good stringer of kittyfish with one whopper hitting 15 pounds. Trout plants have been made. Limits may not be the rule, but fish off the campground beach and around the dam and you can get into a decent bite. Most anglers are picking up at least two or three fish.

Contact George deVilbiss at