The Union Democrat Sports Department


For The Union Democrat

During the long waterfowl season I was an avid weather watcher, hoping for storms and north winds on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Now that it's over, I find myself relaxing from such activity, but it will soon start again as I watch for good fishing weather.

At New Melones, the trout bite for shore anglers continues to be good in the major coves, Tuttletown Ramp area, and off Glory Hole Point. Standard baits are Power Nuggetts, various colored Power Dough Baits, and marshmallow/worm combos. The key is to have a floating bait extended off the bottom above a sliding sinker. Over the past week, a youngster, Brianna Bloom, of Columbia, caught her first trout, a two-pound rainbow and she is now "hooked on fishing."

To show that trolling is still productive, Kyle Wise and Scott Kirkman, of Angels Camp, both caught limits of rainbows, using Rapala lures on the south end of the lake. Some big brown trout are showing up and a seven-pound, 11-ounce brown caught by Darwin Parrish, of Murphys, won him the Big Fish contest at Glory Hole Sports. Close behind was Ed Grossman, of Wallace, with a seven-pound, six-ounce brown, and John Stewart, of Sonora, boated a four-pound, 12-ounce brown trolling near the dam with a Rebel lure at 10 feet deep. Big Catfish winner was, again, Bill Heinle, of Arnold, with an 11-pound, nine-ounce cat caught on shad soaked in Pro-Cure Catfish Cocktail scent.

At Lake Don Pedro, guide Danny Layne reports finding rainbows and King salmon in the Tuolumne River arm between Rough and Ready Island and the Ward's Ferry Bridge, trolling shad or ExCel lures at 30 feet deep. Similar activity is found in the Woods Creek arm. Rainbows 16-to-18 inches and Kings to three pounds.

After a one week break from shooting, the ducks will be back to dodging shot, as the Annual Youth Hunts will take place Saturday and Sunday. Past Youth Hunts, for those under 16-years old, have provided lots of shooting for the youngsters who are coached by non-hunting adults. The State Wildlife Areas and private clubs will host the youths, at no cost and most will shoot Saturday and those shooting Sunday will, most likely, finish by noon so they can get back to watch the Super Bowl.

I had a report from my son Bill who hunted the Santa Cruz Club with Steve Hinze and they had a good shoot, bagging limits of the fast-flying greenwing teal, sometimes referred to as the "kamikaze" of the duck world.

Some people may not be aware of the waterfowl regulations and how they are set. They are based on surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who make studies and counts of the waterfowl in the northern nesting grounds. Based on these studies, the seasons and limits are recommended to the states in the various flyways and the states then set the limits and season dates. There is an ironic turn to this as the ducks and geese cross the border into Mexico, which many do on their migration. Mexico has a spring hunting season in which they allow 20 ducks per day and 40 in possession. Since many migratory waterfowl return to the northern nesting grounds, this puts a huge dent in population numbers.