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DFG offers three types of wildlife areas to visit

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Last week, in describing changes in the Department of Fish and Game’s check-in at the state’s Type-A wildlife areas, some people asked, “What are the different type of wildlife areas I can visit?”

There are three types: Type A, Type B and Type C, and each describe how intensely the area is managed and what it takes to access it.

Type A: This is the most intensely managed area of the three. You’ll also find the most vegetation and water manipulation activities for the game that both will attract. The DFG will staff a hunter check station and physically check each and every hunter in and out. All game taken by hunters is identified and tabulated. There is a fee to hunt a Type-A area, which can be daily, or the hunter can purchase an annual pass.

Type B: There’s also a fee to hunt in Type-B areas, but you won’t find a staffed hunter check station. The Type-B area is less managed with less attractive water and vegetation. Depending on the weather pattern during the waterfowl hunting season, any flooding or even pond water generally is created by rainfall.
Yet, many Type-B areas are good for waterfowl hunting.

Type C: While these properties are owned by the DFG, they are not staffed. Most contain extensive upland habitats, ideal for game such as quail, pheasant and dove. Access is on a self-serve basis, and there are no fees for access.

To locate the various wildlife areas offered by the DFG, visit their website at www.dfg.ca.gov.

Current fishing

Fort Bragg: The wind was calm last week, the sea pretty well flattened out. And the salmon bite was on. I received an e-mail from Pat and Karen Heaviside, skippers of the 32-foot BRAGG-N, which said they had limits by 7 a.m. and were headed back to port. Now that can be considered a truly hot bite. The cooling weather trend this week, though, could disrupt the sea conditions, so check before heading up north.

Collins Lake: It’s a great lake for taking the kids. The fishing opportunities are good, and when the bite slows or stops, they can go swimming on the slow-sloping beach at the campgrounds area. Bluegill, crappie and bass are hitting in the shallows around structure — brush and trees. Haul a dodger in front of a spinner or threaded night crawler, and trout are still a good possibility.

Hell Hole Reservoir: Big warning: Bears and rattlesnakes are out in force in the region, so watch where you step and place your hands, and be sure all foodstuffs are secured. Even with that, the fishing at this lake is outstanding for kokanee, running just over a foot long and down 25 to 35 feet. Lake trout, or mackinaw, bite is good, but you really have to go deep. The lake is full and spilling, and you have to fish 10 feet off the bottom to find a mackinaw.

Rollins Lake: While it’s a recreational boating paradise, there are bass to three pounds to be had and even an occasional trout. Work the shady coves for bass.
Topwater gear should entice a bass at the crack of dawn and just before sunset. Otherwise, toss plastics, cranks and spinnerbaits. Trout mainly are being found in the Bear River arm.

Frenchman Lake: It took a while, but the lake is totally full. Tossing salmon eggs from shore at the campground has been yielding ’bows to 20 inches. If you troll, head for the east end of the lake. Needlefish have been working, but keep swapping lures until you find the exact lure and pattern that works that day.

Lake Almanor: The lake is within two feet of spill at the spillway next to the dam. Besides the high water, there’s a tremendous amount of debris on the surface you have to dodge when trolling. To top it off, the fishing is some of the worst. Last year, 205,500 fish were planted in the lake, which included 50,000 Eagle Lake rainbows, 45,500 German brown trout, 60,000 salmon and an additional 50,000 Eagle Lake rainbows released from cages after being raised in pens in Hamilton Branch by the Lake Almanor Fishing Association. This year, 50,000 rainbows were released from the pens in late May. While trolling, you don’t even scope that many fish, nor is anybody scoping the huge schools of Japanese pond smelt generally seen now. We’ve picked up a few but nothing like we should be hammering. Our biggest this past week was a 3¼-pound brown trout, falling to a hauled crawler behind a dodger, down 32 feet along the east shore.

Bay Area: Most boats continue in pot luck mode, fishing in the bay for a few halibut and stripers, and going outside and fishing along the Marin County coast for rock cod, an occasional Pacific halibut, and most have been getting a bunch of the most favored bottom fish. The lingcod bite has been outstanding.

Boats going for salmon, however, have found the bite remaining somewhat tough. Sometimes, getting one fish a rod — average — has been just about the rule.

Folsom Lake: Don’t look for much in the way of trout or salmon action, trolling or from the bank soaking bait. Nobody has been finding any. Bass are in summer lethargic mode, laying low in the shadows of structure. They’ll chomp on a drifted minnow, though most bass purists disdain any form of bait in favor of tossing artificials. Beat the water with everything in the tackle box. Bump them on the nose and you should get a reaction bite.

Monterey: The salmon bite in the San Francisco region north to Fort Bragg has been hit and miss, but it finally burst wide open in the Monterey area. When more than a dozen anglers on one boat can limit with fish to 35 pounds, and then do it again the next day, the salmon fishing can only be described as great. It could be worth the long drive.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.