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The Outdoors

By LEN ACKERMAN
For The Union Democrat   

    Hunters and fishermen will get a chance to see new innovations and materials of interest when the International Sportsmen’s Exposition opens on Jan.19 at Cal-Expo in Sacramento. The event concludes on Jan. 22
    Besides the showing of new gear, experts in various fields will share their secrets in ongoing seminars.
    The Youth Outdoor Sports Fair, sponsored by Western Outdoor News, will again be present where youngsters will get hands-on experience in an outdoor setting. It’s free to those 12-years old and under.
    For more information, go to www.sportsexpos.com.

    The water level has been slowly rising (not from rain, obviously) at New Melones and the surface temperature is 52-to-54 degrees.
    The trout bite has slowed a bit but shore anglers are doing well in the major coves and off Glory Hole Point with Power Baits and marshmallow/worm combos.
    It’s important to keep the floating baits off the bottom above a sliding sinker. Trollers are finding smaller (planter size) trout near the surface while larger holdovers may be found 15-to-25 feet and deeper.
    Due to the water clarity, it’s wise to use lighter monofilament lines (6-pound test or less).
    This week’s Big Fish contest at Glory Hole Sports ended in a tie. Kyle Wise checked in a 3-pound, 3-ounce rainbow and Blayne Nelson checked in a 3-pound, 3-ounce brown trout.

    The weather of late has been great for fishing but not so great for duck hunting. But avid hunters will stick it out until the end on Jan. 29.
    Despite the continuing weather pattern in the Merced Co. Grasslands, duck hunters are doing quite well. There has been some early fog with clearing by noon and temperatures rising to near 60 degrees. Not considered the best conditions, but several of the public shooting areas are showing respectable averages.
    Last Satruday Los Banos had a 2.25 birds per hunter average; Salt Slough 2.20; San Luis 2.53;  Kesterson 2.79; and Gadwall Unit the best at 3.86. These averages are quite flexible, based on some hunters coming out with limits and others getting “blanked.” A three-bird average is considered good.
   
    I joined Bill Davidson on Wednesday at the Santa Fe Club for our usual afternoon shoot. With “bluebird” conditions and no wind we were able to come out with five ducks.
    The early morning shooters in four other blinds had tallied limits before noon, mostly greenwing teal.

    There will be another 5-Stand shoot at the Mother Lode Gun Club trap range on Jan. 21. Regular trap will take place at 9 a.m.
    The Mother Lode Gun Club Youth Trap Program is accepting registration for the 2012 season (5th-8th grade).
    For more information, contact Bob Grandolfo at 984-5055 and John Luckie at 533-2162. Signups are also accepted at the gun club trap range. The deadline is Feb. 2.

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