DFG looking to expand bear and elk hunts

By: George deVilbiss
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Looking to someday feast on elk steaks or a big bear roast? It could be a little more possible with expanding hunt proposals by the Department of Fish and Game for both species. Specifically, the DFG is proposing to adjust tag quotas for elk, establish eight new hunt zones, and modify dates and hunting boundaries. Proposed changes must be adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, and that can’t be done until harvest and survey results are completed, which is not expected until late March. Anybody and everybody who wants a bear tag will pretty much have the opportunity to purchase one. The proposal is to cap bear tag sales at 30,000 tags annually and to boost the harvest total to 2,500 bears. California black bear numbers have been increasing year after year and with human encroachment into their territory, people-bear encounters are becoming more frequent. They’re a shy critter and rarely get physical with a human. They do, however, become quite a nuisance, breaking into homes, garbage cans and raiding the family pet’s food dish. The added hunting opportunity is another management tool for the DFG to manage bears, to keep them within a balance to their environment. CURRENT FISHING Finally, a long spate of great weather. It’s still winter, but spring is right around the corner, and we’ll certainly get more rain and snow. For now, put some of those home honey-do’s aside and hit the water way. Jenkinson at Sly Park: Troll the narrows to the dam with a Rapala. Some nice macks are cruising the area, some near the 10-pound mark. Or, park near the second dam, take a hike and soak night crawlers, Power Bait or eggs and chances are really good of stringing up rainbows and an occasional mackinaw. Sturgeon are a top bet with water conditions and weather. Just be sure to watch your tide book closely. Get on the water and try to find a good spot to fish a good one hour before the top of the tide. Once the tide turns and you get an outgoing tide, the bite should be good. With all the fresh water going down the rivers from the rains San Pablo Bay has pretty much flushed out the crab, kingfish and rays to the point where the sturgeon fishery is pretty good. Primary hot spots are all over the bay, from one end to the other. Try the mouth of the Napa River, near Sonoma Creek, China Camp, the Pumphouse region and Rat Rock. These big fish heavily roam the waters from the Carquinez Bride up to Collinsville – primarily Suisun Bay – and the fishing can be nothing short of tremendous. Launch at Martinez and it can be just a few-minute run to some of the closer fishing areas, such as the Mothball Fleet. Ozol, the mouth of Montezuma Slough and Big Cutt are popular producing areas. New Melones: The wintertime trout fishery here is legendary with some downright great rod bending activity, but don’t discount the bass fishery. Some bagging lunkers were recently caught that included a largemouth that tilted the scales at 13 pounds and several spots that were in the six-pound range. Toss small plastics in a shad pattern and swimbaits. From shore, Glory Hole Point and under the Highway 49 Bridge should get you into a good trout bite tossing Power Eggs, Power Bait or salmon eggs. It’s nothing unusual for people to get five-pound trout during the winter fishery. Folsom Lake: Some anglers would never dream of hanging a live minnow under a bobber. But, it’s been a sure fire way to attract a bass. If you’re not into live baiting for bass, try drop-shotting and working cranks. The water is cold, the fish are lethargic, so you must work them slow and often downright bang them on the nose to get them to bite. Word from closer Granite Bay is awfully quiet but those fishing Dike 8 to the dam have been stringing up trout, primarily trolling. There are both recent planters and some holdovers to attract. Keep adjusting your depth and your offering until you start getting regularly bit. Threaded night crawlers, however, are always a good bet. Sierra: Ice fishing possibilities now are pretty much endless. Many Sierra lakes have some access and the fishing is not only fun but those trying are being well rewarded for their time and effort at many lakes. Boca Lake is one of the most popular and the action is right now the top-rated lake. Recommendation, though, is get there early. As more and more activity occurs on top of the ice, the catching below the ice decreases. Rainbows up to 18 inches are being taken by soaking eggs or a crawler a crank or two off the bottom. Action will be considerably slower, but you can jig with your second rod with a minnow imitation and possibly get a bigger brown trout. Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.