By LEN ACKERMAN
For The Union Democrat
A recent report was received from local area Wildlife Biologist Nathan Graveline on the annual winter deer herd count for the 2013-14 season.
The D-6 zone is divided into four herds where counts are made.
1. The Mother Lode herd turned up 30 bucks, 89 does, and 48 fawns; 2. The Stanislaus herd: 21 bucks, 33 does, and 12 fawns; 3. The Yosemite herd: 43 bucks, 74 does, and 34 fawns; 4. The Tuolumne herd: 42 bucks, 130 does, and 51 fawns.
Jim Maddox, a retired biologist, who still assists with the counts, said that the counts are made by groups of volunteers along with DFW personnel.
The fawn numbers are most important as they are the future of the herds. The survival rate of deer after the Rim Fire is another unknown factor.
At New Melones, the lake level has changed very little over the last few weeks, indicating that the same amount of water coming in is also going out.
Bank fishing continues fair to good for anglers using bottom fishing bait rigs with Power Baits and Gulp Eggs. Trollers are finding trout close to the surface early mornings and down 15 to 25 feet later in the day with lures such as ExCels, Rapalas, or flasher/worm combos.
Big Fish contest winner at Glory Hole Sports was Jerry Brown, of Angels Camp, with a 2.16-pound rainbow caught off Glory Hole Point with Power Bait.
Big catfish winner was Bob James, of Murphys, with a 7.50-pound cat caught on garlic scented Power Bait at the south end of the lake.
Bass fishing is improving at Melones as the warming weather makes them more active. 2 to 4-pound spotted bass are common with an ocassional larger one turning up.
John Leighty, employee of Glory Hole Sports and a bass fishing expert, recommends using soft baits that are worked to crawl along the bottom. With DFW planting rainbows now, large bass will feed on them and a rainbow pattern swim bait may work well.
California Tournament Trails is holding a bass tournament at Melones this weekend. Weigh-in will be at Glory Hole Marina at 3 p.m. each day.
The latest word I have on Beardsley Lake is that the Day Use Area is completed, but the launch ramp remains closed due to the low water level, which is well below the new ramp extension. Going around the ramp, which many of us use to do, is also prohibited at this time. The hope is for more snow to provide spring runoff.
For information on the area, call the Summit Ranger Station at 965-3434.