There's more than one way to tag an abalone

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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There are numerous special restrictions if you go after abalone.

One main restriction is there must be a tag hanging off that shellfish. If a warden asks to see your catch and there are no tags attached to every abalone, it’s an instant citation.

Attaching a tag to an abalone can occasionally pose a problem. Not all abalone will have a hole in the shell for attaching the tag, but attaching the tag is still required.

Taping the tag to the shell isn’t an acceptable method of “attaching” the tag.

So, what can you do? Take a knife and bore a small hole into one of the eyes of the shell.

A second acceptable method takes much less work. Take a knife and punch a hole through the foot of the abalone.

Think a warden would still cite you? He or she won’t so long as they believe you’re making an honest effort to tag that shellfish.

High fire danger in Sierra

Northern California has bit the big bullet so far. There have been devastating fires in numerous states. Tens of thousands of acres have gone up in smoke in New Mexico and Colorado.

Local regions have seen significant grassfires, but they’ve been quickly extinguished. Southern California has experienced hilly brushfires.

Fires can be caused by a spark from power equipment landing in dry tinder. Birds landing on power lines have been known to cause a spark that starts a fire. The bird usually gets fried for its effort.

More often than not, fires are created by Mother Nature. Lightning strikes create a vast majority of fires.

A significant storm raked across the northern Sierra range last weekend. There was scattered rainfall, but not enough to lessen fire danger. If no fires were caused by the storm, we simply got lucky.

Campers heading to the high country should look for fire restrictions. With lighter-than-normal snow and rain, the forests are much drier earlier.

If you’re a smoker, try your best to restrict where you smoke: in your vehicle, on your boat over the water or directly in your campsite. Make sure to completely snuff your cigar or cigarette.

Keep your campfire low.

While we don’t have control over Mother Nature, we control what and how we operate.

Maybe, just maybe, the north state can go through this dry summer without a major fire.

Current fishing

A pretty good storm moved through much of the north state, and it ruined fishing opportunities for those who wanted to give it a try. I don’t care about rain. I’ll commonly fish during a storm.

However, strong north winds pretty much shut down fisheries all over. Up and down the coast, boats that otherwise would be out for salmon or rock cod stayed in port.

The high country wasn’t immune. Lake Almanor appeared like an ocean. Waves were high. Nobody was out, not even sailboats.

But, the weather is warming again, and fishing conditions are returning to normal.

Lake Almanor: The fishing is great, but the catching is tough. Those trolling on the west side of the peninsula are connecting on a fish here and there. Those trolling the east shore side are doing better, but the catch is almost entirely salmon with a few Chinooks going 2½ pounds. Rainbows and brown trout are scarce. There’s a little action — very little — in Big Springs, and promising action in Lake Cove for those trolling and drifting.

Delta: It’s a good time to pack up the family with a big picnic basket and head for the virtual hundreds of miles of Delta waterways. A great catfishery exists this time of year. While catfishing usually is thought of as a nighttime activity, that’s not necessarily true. In some areas I’ve fished, you can’t seem to buy a catfish bite before the sun sets. I’ve seen other areas, especially in Delta waters, where catfish bite like crazy during the day. The bottom line is you can get into a good catfish bite during the day and have a family picnic at the same time.

Folsom Lake: There are trout and salmon for the troller. The trick is you have to be out there as the first rays of light begin to show. You can have the lake pretty much to yourself for a while and have good trolling time and catch fish. It won’t be long before water recreationists begin showing and the catching declines. You’ll do much better during the week. The main body of the lake, working the old river channel from the dam toward Brown’s Ravine, should get you bit. Watch your scope. Trout are shallower, king salmon deeper.

Lake Oroville: The lake is going to be dropping fast. They’re making big releases to entice salmon up the river. The lake level is high but won’t stay that way for long. Water will be released that will drop the lake level one foot a day for up to three weeks. The shoreline will dramatically change almost daily. While there has been a good bass bite, such a rapid drop in the water level could easily scare the fish off the bite for a while.

Lake Amador: Trout plants are over for the season and won’t resume until fall. There isn’t much competition for trout, but those who are trying for them around the dam-spillway area and up in the arms are being rewarded with hefty holdovers. Power bait, eggs and crawlers are attracting. The evening bite for bass has been terrific with a good number of five-pounders being hooked. Plastics will work well.

Contact George deVilbiss at