By Len Ackerman

A bill that would allow a fishing license to be good for 12 months from the date of purchase has unanimously passed through the State Natural Resources and Water committee.

This is a good step but it still has more to go. This bill is favored and pushed by several fishing organizations, all of whom agree that it would greatly increase the sale of fishing licenses which have been in decline for several years.

There is also an amendment to raise the free fishing age to 18 years of age. This would give youths a chance to be old enough to have a job to help pay for their license.

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For big game hunters, another bill, Assembly Bill 521 was passed by the Appropriations Committee. This bill would lower the cost of a resident elk tag.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, it would lower the cost of a California resident elk tag from $450 to $100 and also add an allocation for youth tags to go to $20. Previously, youth hunters had to pay the full adult price for a tag. California’s elk tags are much higher than all of the western states.

Just a few kokanee salmon are turning up at New Melones Reservoir, but those that have are bigger than average.

Standard kokanee gear such as Uncle Larry’s spinners, Hoochies, or Apex tipped with scented corn and trolled behind a dodger at depths of 15 to 30 feet have been successful. These same rigs are also hit by rainbows.

Bass fishing has been good for those specialists, and best in early mornings or late evenings. Catfish are beginning to turn up and, as the weather warms, the bite should improve.

The reservoir is expected to reach full capacity this summer.

At Pinecrest Lake, trout plants will be made every other week this year. My sons, Bill and Bob and I fished there last Monday on a very cold morning and caught five rainbows with one reaching 15 inches. The surface water temperature was 45 degrees.

Dick Anderson, of Twain Harte, recently caught a limit there while fly fishing from a small boat.

The Moccasin Creek Hatchery has planted the following local waters this week: Middle and Clarks Fork Stanislaus; Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Power House Stream; and Lyons Canal.

The 8th annual Tuolumne County Trap Championships will take place Sunday at the Mother Lode Gun Club located on Jamestown Road. Spectators are welcome.

The competition is limited to Mother Lode Gun Club members and Tuolumne County residents, including immediate family.

There is a $35 entry fee for 100 targets at 16 yards. There is no fee for the Master Division, 80 years old and above.

Many local anglers will remember Bob Leslie who passed away recently. He was an early fishing guide at New Melones and an avid fisherman. His wife is holding a yard sale to distribute some of his tackle.

The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at 418 Calaveras Way in Sonora.

The annual Memorial Day weekend Fisherman’s yard sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 26 and 27 on Dogwood Lane in Sugar Pine. All types of fishing tackle at bargain prices.