The Union Democrat Sports Department

By Len Ackerman

For The Union Democrat

My friend Dick Anderson, of Twain Harte, and I headed down to Vierra's Resort on the Sacramento River on Oct. 4 to try to catch a salmon or two.

It's a trip we've made several times since 2001.

The weather forecast indicated a "Delta Breeze" in the Fairfield area which is nearby. And as most anglers know, the "Delta Breeze" means wind.

We arrived at the boat ramp at about7:30 a.m., finding a strong wind from the north. We had second thoughts about launching, but saw boats trolling along the west bank of the river, which was somewhat protected.

We decided to launch. Anderson pulled out and I was struggling to get the boat out and across the dock and paralled to the river. I worked it out to the railing and got to the bow line. As I was leaning back against the wind, the bow line had hung up a ways back, and suddenly it slipped off and I went down hard on the dock.

From the sound and force, I knew there was something broke. I found I could not get up. A worker and another person, along with Anderson, got me up and suggested an ambulance which would have gone to Lodi. I said, "No, get me in Anderson's truck and we'll go to Sonora," as I wanted to be closer to home.

After the two-hour ride we arrived in Sonora where it was discovered I had a broken femur that required metal rods for support.

So as I awoke at dawn of Oct. 19 in a Sonora rehabilitation center, I could only wish I was part of the "War Zone" that took place in the Central Valley for the opening day of the waterfowl season in the Balance of State zone.

My son Bill and Steve Hinze, of Aptos, reported a great shoot at the Santa Cruz Club south of Los Banos, bagging limits by9 a.m.which included their allotted quota oftwo pintails each. They stayed over to shoot againSundayand found it much lower as the birds soon find the sanctuary of no-shoot zones, especially with the warm "bluebird weather."

Sundaywas Bill's birthday, and this was a unique way for an avid duck hunter to spend his day. I started him hunting at age 13 at the Apple City Gun Club near Los Banos, around 1970, and he is the only son who has been able to continue in the sport.

I would surmise that virtually every private duck club in the valley, as well as most state and federal wildlife areas, had good shootingSaturday, but from here on it will be weather related until northern storms start the southward migration.

Now that the government has re-openedNew Melones Recreation Area, it is recommended that caution be used when launching boats at the Glory Hole ramp until the Bureau of Reclamation moves the docks to the lower ramp.

The very end of the concrete is not far from the edge of the water so when launching, your trailer tires may slip off into the mud and get stuck.

Meanwhile, the surface temperature of the lake is dropping and trout are moving closer to more shallow waters, chasing small clusters of shad minnows. Small shad pattern lures should begin to work well as the main source of food for trout in the fall is shad.

Kokanee fishing is all but over as they move upriver to spawn and die, as all salmon do. The best bite is slow but catfish are available most any time for the patient angler who will soak baits such as night crawlers, mackerel or anchovies.

At Lake Don Pedro,Bob Post, of Sugar Pine, continues to make some good catches of rainbows and king salmon by trolling shad pattern lures such as Needlefish from 40-to-75 feet deep.

Pinecrest Lake Marinawas closed Oct. 14 to all boat launching or boat rentals, however, shore fishing is still available throughout the lake.