Oink, oink: Wild pig-hunting opportunity at Joice Island

Fishing report: Fresh-run steelhead the reward in the American River
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Joice Island is in the Delta, inside the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, which is owned, operated and controlled by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

And, there just happens to be a small population of wild pigs that roam the island. The CDFW annually conducts hunts on the property, mainly for herd reduction.

You have to apply for the hunt, and access is on a drawing basis only. Getting the first crack at the pigs will be the junior license holders, those 12 and over, on March 2-3. Then, for the next seven weekends, beginning March 9 and concluding April 21, adults and youths will be allowed to hunt.

You won’t be faced with a great deal of hunting pressure. A whole three hunters will be allowed onto the property each weekend. That means 24 hunters maximum will roam Joice Island to roust a pig from its hiding area, something pigs are well able to do during the day.

The deadline for applying is Thursday, Feb. 7. The drawing will be held Friday, Feb. 8.

There is no application form. On a postcard, the CDFW will need the name of the hunter, a valid 2012-13 hunting license number, your mailing address, a phone number and desired weekend hunt date.

If two hunters apply on one postcard, all of the above information must be included for both hunters. If a junior hunter is applying, the card must also include the name of an adult, non-hunting chaperone. Each permitted hunter is allowed to bring one non-hunting partner.

While there is no application fee, don’t get creative. You’re only allowed to apply for one weekend hunt. Get busted applying for more than one, and you’ll get tossed from them all. Your application also will get tossed if it’s missing any of the required data.

If you’re drawn, you’ll receive maps and additional information by mail.

Good luck.


Current fishing


American River: The river is down to a fishable condition, and those trying for fresh-run steelhead are being rewarded. Not everybody is finding their rod doubled over, but those who do are hooking onto quality, big fish. Several are breaking 10 pounds. Fishing pressure tends to be a tad on the heavy side on weekends, especially between the Hazel Avenue Bridge and the dam, and the stretch from Sunrise to Sailor Bar. Early mornings will be your top catching time. If your rod guides ice over, dunk your rod into the water and the ice goes bye-bye. Crawlers, roe, eggs and flies account for the majority of steelies being caught.

Clear Lake: The good thing about this lake this time of year is there’s not much fishing pressure and no acres of the green mossy stuff the summer months bring. The downside, if you’re a total bass purist, is that live bait, such as big minnows, will tally you the most and biggest fish. There are a few five-pounders falling prey, especially when the afternoon sun warms the water.

New Melones: Trout are super aggressive right now. Schools of rainbows will chase and corner a school of shad against the bank. You can easily tell the trout are there, as many shad will fly out of the water to evade the wide jaws of rainbows coming at them. It’s a tremendous sight to see, and that’s where you want to concentrate your fishing activity — in close and in the shallows. See the water swirling and shad flying out of the water, and you’ll need to start cast-retrieving something that somewhat resembles a shad — and you’re going to nail trout. With your second rod, suspend bait — a crawler or eggs — just under the surface, and you can get well bit in the meantime. Those trolling are anchoring at places like Glory Hole and going up the river arm to drop lines, especially around the mouths of coves and where water enters the lake.

As would be expected more due to the time of year, you can get into a fair bass bite. Again, with the lake’s shad population, use something that looks like a shad. Cranks and spinner baits are fooling some of the bass into biting, and drop-shotting also is accounting for a decent bite.

Scott’s Flat: This is a nice little lake up behind Grass Valley and Nevada City. You can get into a decent trout bite or go after bass. Those top-lining in the top 20 feet with a threaded crawler behind blades will generally get bit. Good areas are where the stream enters the lake and around the dam. Mostly small rainbows, but an occasional German brown is getting ahead of the rainbow to get hooked, too.

Camanche Lake: Management is still putting good numbers of fish in the lake, being delivered all the way from Red Bluff. The latest release was 600 pounds into the lake and 600 pounds into the South Shore Pond. The lake is still rising, so the shoreline you saw last week will have changed when you go up this week.

Trolling will be best in front of either the North Shore or South Shore marina areas or heading down the lake to Hat Island and the dam region. Don’t go too deep this time of year, however. Top-lining will get you more fish than anywhere else in the water column.

Shore action has been good at the North Shore area and the South Shore Pond. Limits have been a regular occurrence for those fishing off the Eagle Beach campground using Power Bait. The trick, they say, is to suspend your bait in the top 15 feet, which means either a bobber or a cast-a-bubble. Garlic and rainbow Power Baits have been the top getters for shore casters, but salmon eggs always attract their share, as will marshmallows with a good chunk of a crawler.

Contact George deVilbiss at