Hearing loss not restricted to the older generation

Cooler temperature brings improved fishing conditions
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Many people think hearing loss is age-related, but various stages of hearing loss are being seen by those much younger for several reasons.

I, for example, have considerable hearing loss, and the decrease actually began before I was 21 years old. The Marine Corps in those days didn’t educate hearing loss or provide ear protection when it came to shooting weaponry. Additionally, I was assigned to heavy artillery that made tremendous noise.

Couple that with continuous shooting during target practice and hunting, and the ability to hear has taken a major hit. And, not being able to adequately hear major parts of conversations or sounds in the field has its disadvantages.

Many hunters are afflicted with hearing problems. If you’re young, you can protect your hearing. When you go to a rifle range for target practice or to sight-in your rifle for the upcoming season, the range generally requires that you wear eye and hearing protection. When you squeeze the trigger, you hear the “pop” but not the actual explosion.

While hunters at the range dutifully wear eye and hearing protection, once they head for the field, all forms of protection are left at home.

The average conversation takes place at a level of 60 db. The average gun blast exceeds 140 db. Any sound level that exceeds 85 db is considered dangerous. Today’s youth commonly has the music cranked up to 100 db.

One professional turkey caller credits a major part of his hearing loss to long-term practice of his art, including indoors, where space was limited and the sounds couldn’t easily dissipate.

As hunters, we don’t give much thought to the noise of shotguns and rifles. When you’re shooting at a critter, your attention is on the animal and the blast isn’t really heard. Besides, out in the open, the noise seems to dissipate quickly.

But once you’ve gotten older, you realize that wasn’t necessarily true because your hearing has diminished.

If you’re training your youngster in the fine art of hunting, that should include hearing protection. At a rifle range, most shooters use earmuffs. In the field, you don’t need something as elaborate or cumbersome. Buy a pair of foam earplugs.

My hearing loss is irreversible, and had I known about the damage of loud noises, I would have taken measures to protect my hearing. Not being able to adequately hear normal conversations and television shows without cranking up the volume is terrible.


Current fishing


Cooler temperature is great for fishing in the high country, the valley and along the coast. The temperature certainly will rise again, so take advantage of it now.

Lake Almanor: Larger masses of pond smelt are being seen around the lake. Open the stomach of a rainbow, and you’ll generally find it stuffed with smelt. Despite the amount of natural feed, the fishing has turned from mediocre to good. Trolling is mostly occurring along the east shoreline, from Big Cove to the dam. A mass of boats can be seen working the water around Big Springs, and those dropping anchor and bait fishing are catching their share. The top spots have been a cove just south of Lake Cove Resort, the east shoreline from Lake Cove to the dam, off Rocky Point and off the PG&E campground. We’ve concentrated our trolling along the second meadow going south to just below the Dorado Inn. In one day, we put four fish in the ice chest, released a good dozen other smaller fish and had numerous short hits. We’ve now caught numerous rainbows around three pounds with the largest hitting five pounds. One angler fishing the cove near Lake Cove Resort has been using a slip bobber with a threaded night crawler and has tallied four or five fish a day, a mix of German browns and rainbows running three to 3½ pounds. The lake is dropping, but the fishing is worth it.

Ocean fishery: A good to excellent salmon fishery continues for the San Francisco Bay fleet with good counts and big fish. Fort Bragg continues to see good salmon numbers. The hot bite at Bodega Bay has tapered off but can turn red-hot again without notice. The rockcod fishery in all ports remains great with limits the rule.

Lake Camanche: The trout fishery remains pretty good. The trick is to get out early. When you launch, put the hammer down and head up to the Narrows or the dam. Drifting with bait or trolling will get you bit, so long as you get down 45-50 feet. From the campgrounds and even around the North Shore boat ramp you can get into a good catfish bite once the sun sets. Keep the mosquito repellant nearby.

Lake Pardee: Trout plants continue, and if you’re there when the truck shows up, the rod-bending action is hot and heavy. Otherwise, the shore fishing, or rather the catching, is really tough. It’s going to take a boat to get to them, and that means heading for cooler water in the mouth of the river and areas upriver. How deep you fish will determine what bites. Trout are running about 40 feet down and kokanee at the 90-foot level.

Caples Lake: It’s one of the best lakes in the north state with the lake just over 90 percent. Fishing from shore around Wood’s Creek and the spillway should get you bit soaking a worm or Power Bait. Trollers are headed to Emigrant Cove. A lot of 12-inch planters are bending rods, and there’s the occasional four-pounder, too.

Davis Lake: The lake is still in good shape being nearly three-quarters full, and trollers are nailing rainbows to 18 inches. The ’bows are being found in 15-25 feet of water, and those hauling their gear around the big island are scoring. Toss bait from shore around Fairview and Mallard, and you can get bigger trout. Shore casters are nailing ’bows to 22 inches. Either way, get on the water early. At neighbor lake Frenchman, the level isn’t great but fishing is for rainbows to 17 inches, and those fishing from shore around the dam or along the west side of the lake are getting limits to near limits. No need to troll. If you boat, cut power and drift. An inflated crawler or Power Bait will work.

Contact George deVilbiss at