A quick look back at 2002:

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January Waterfowl hunters had three more weeks of hunting and results were fair to good as late northern birds began to show up in good numbers.

A highlight for me was accompanying two grandchildren on the special Youth Waterfowl Hunt after the regular season. Tosh of Aptos and Jordan of Watsonville, along with their fathers, had lots of shooting while bagging seven ducks apiece. Thanks to the Santa Fe Club near Gustine for the use of their facility.

The adults, incidentally, did not carry guns (they did the coaching).

February-March Dodge Ridge, which got off to a late start, finished strong with enough snow to last until Easter Sunday, and the ice skating rink at Long Barn was going strong.

April-May Snowmelt began to fill the upper lakes, such as Pinecrest and Beardsley, and then on down to New Melones Reservoir and Lake Don Pedro. As the spring season moved on and summer approached, anglers expected Melones to fill much higher than it did.

For reasons described as "environmental issues," the outflow was greater than the inflow during the summer, and the lake only reached about 65 percent capacity.

German brown trout began to show in May, and Leo and Jane Koskela of Twain Harte each landed browns of seven and five pounds, respectively, on the same day.

The big fishing news for May was the catch made at Pinecrest Lake by 8-year-old Conner Fenton of Modesto. He landed an 11.2-pound brown while trolling from a canoe with his father.

Another notable catch was made by Dick Anderson of Twain Harte when he landed a 9.2-pound rainbow with a fly rod while float-tubing at Camanche Lake.

June-July Kokanee took over the spotlight at Melones as guides and private boaters took to the lake with a vengeance after the landlocked salmon.

Also during this time, Rich Kowski of Angels Camp tightened his grip on the "Brown Bomber" title with a 10.2-pounder which will be a hard act to follow. His phenomenal luck continued two weeks later when he hooked and landed a 31-pound catfish while trolling for kokanee at Melones.

The Union Democrat
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