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Warming temperatures bring out the boats

Outdoors
By: George deVilbiss
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After a few days of rain and winds, the skies have cleared. The air is warming and the water is slowly following suit. The 2009 boating season is just getting started and most waterways are showing increased activity, with some patrons just wishing to be on the water for some play time and others seeking serious fishing time. Safe to eat? Mercury has been found in many of the popular sport fish caught by anglers throughout the Sacramento River system, and warnings have been issued on just how safe it is to eat these fish. Mercury was used heavily in the 1800s by gold miners, who apparently left large amounts of it behind when mines were abandoned. As snows melt, causing streams to rise, the mercury is washed downstream to river systems and through the food chain, and varying amounts of mercury generally wind up in the critters that inhabit the waters. Surprisingly, the warnings indicate that it might be safer to eat bottom-feeders, such as catfish tha some of the more popular species. You can have a big catfish fry once a week, but for fish such as stripers and sturgeon, recommended safe eating is just once per month. Folsom Lake: The large increase in water over the past couple of months have given the fish much more room to roam in. The downside is they’re not concentrated in a smaller area. There’s a lot of smaller bass to be found, most up to a couple pounds and you will have to make a lot of casts to get bit. Sacramento River: From south of Sacramento around Garcia Bend all the way up to Grimes you can find striped bass. You’ll get bit by a bunch of shakers, but stick it out and you’ll find a keeper or two. Cut bait will be your best bet off a sliding sinker and will get you into the most action. It actually does help to have it soaked in an attractant. Collins Lake: This lake is heavily planted in the spring and this year is no different. Boaters and shore casters are all getting their share of some awfully big trout, some over seven pounds and a large number of three-pounders. Those campers coming out of their tents and RVs and fishing the shoreline from the lower lake area to the dam are getting hefty stringerloads. The fish aren’t concentrated in any one particular area so just about anywhere you cast, you can get into a bite. Lake Pardee: Trout are biting due to a continuing heavy planting schedule now totaling over 40,000 pounds. Shore casters all around the easily accessible Rec Area Cove are finding a good bite. While just about anywhere throughout the whole cove area produces fish, some of the hot spots are around the footbridge at Tom Sawyer Island, Rainbow Point, right near the launch ramp, and the cove behind the boathouse. Soak Power Bait with a sliding sinker on one rig while you cast-retrieve lures with the other. Limits are more the rule for those taking their boats and trolling. Most trout are being found shallow, down only 5-15 feet. Simply haul a flasher followed by the tail end of a crawler threaded onto the hook. While most anglers go to this lake for trout, the bass fishery is well underrated. There are some big bass roaming these waters. Lake Camanche: With the exception of Memorial Day weekend, they’ve seriously lowered their camping fees from mid April to June 25 to only $8 per night and group campsites are only 50 percent of normal. Trout are biting. Surprisingly those anchoring and bait fishing are out-fishing the trollers. The dam and causeway areas are both producing well by those dunking Power Bait and crawlers. There are a lot of big trout being nailed, some in the 6-8 pound class. As the water temperatures begin to stay consistent, the bass will totally bust loose. Spinnerbaits along with worms or lizards in and around stickups, the rocky points at the mouth of coves, and in the grassy regions in the back of the many coves around the lake should get you bit all day long. The lake has a great crappie population but they’ve not concentrated yet. I’ve caught crappie around hidden, underwater brush near the North Shore ramp area even trolling for trout. Find that brush on your fish finder and dunk minnows, you can pull some nice slabs out of it. Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM