New fishing regulations begin this month

By: George deVilbiss
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The fishing regulations booklet you may have stashed somewhere might just be a little out of date.


Each year, on March 1, new regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission, take effect. There are some new regulations that you definitely need to be aware of.


Do you fish for bluegill and crappie? There was a time when you could literally fill an ice chest with fish like bluegill, overall classed as sunfish. Now, you can possess a grand total of 25 of each, sunfish and crappie, in combination.


Up until March 1, you had to wear your fishing license somewhere above your waist, and have it displayed for all to see. Now, you must have a fishing license if you’re older than 16 years of age, but it no longer needs to be displayed.


Sturgeon fishing of any kind is no longer allowed along the upper Sacramento River, from the Highway 162 bridge near Butte City upriver to Keswick Dam just west of Redding in order to protect the threatened green sturgeon. Scientists believe that the green sturgeon only spawn in these waters along with the Klamath and Rogue Rivers. Eel and shrimp baits are also prohibited on this same stretch of water.


There could be other regulation changes that effect how and where you fish, so it is strongly recommended that you pick up a regulations booklet at your favorite sporting goods outlet, or go to the DFG’s website at



It appears that Groundhog Day was accurate. Mother Nature just isn’t ready to give up on rains and snows and both continue in forecasts.


At last report, the north state still falls below the 100-percent of normal rainfall and the latest, March snow pack survey hasn’t yet been completed. While I’m just as tired of the wet weather as you are, the rains and snows are still something that is needed in order for a full recreational season to exist this summer.


The recreational boating and fishing season is right around the corner. Foul weather will soon give way to warming skies.


Every spring, it seems, that wherever I put my boat, I wind up towing a boat or two back to the docks. Just because your boat ran like a charm at the end of the season does not mean it will again after it sat idle all winter. Get it into the shop now for its annual tune-up to ensure you will have uninterrupted fun once you do get the boat off the trailer.


Sacramento River: You don’t have to travel far to fish for sturgeon, and you don’t have to have a boat. The river is dropping and debris washing down the river has decreased considerably and it’s all contributing to an upswing in the sturgeon fishery. There’s a considerable amount of angler traffic along Lisbon Slough and the fishery is good. Lisbon Slough is the slough you cross on the 80 freeway at the east end of the Yolo Causeway. The same waterway continues up to and behind the Highway Patrol Academy. Some nice sturgeon are also being taken from the Elverta and Bryte’s Beach regions of the Sacramento River.

Go further up the river, the sturgeon fishing can also be great, places like Knights Landing, Meridian, Ward’s Landing, Tisdale and Grimes all showing good rod bending action. Launching might be tricky, though, with both Tisdale and Knights Landings ramps still closed.


Collins Lake: Their springtime trout planting program has started and they’ve planted a bunch of trout, including some in the trophy, bragging range. Boaters and shore dunkers are all scoring on trout averaging 2-3 pounds. Just remember that both the trout and the bass are in the top 10 feet.


Lake Oroville: The lake dropped so far over the summer and throughout most of the winter that very few people could get on the water to do any fishing. Well, that has changed. Ramps are in full operation again at both Bidwell and the Spillway, and boaters are now hitting the lake in bigger numbers – and scoring. The coho salmon bite is totally great and one area for either drifting or trolling is the dam region. Spotted bass are on a big bite and they’re running up to four pounds. Split-shotting, working tubes and drop-shotting have all been getting bit, with most of the bass being found down as far as 30 feet.


Folsom Lake: If you don’t let out a good 100 feet of line as you troll, the fish get spooked by your motor and rarely bite. Bunches of 12 to 16-inchers are being caught. Bass can be found moving back and forth into the shallows from the depths. Work both with plastics, jigs and drop-shotting and you can nail some nice bass.


Lake Camanche: Some downright whopper trout are being planted – and caught. A rainbow just under nine pounds was caught by a troller hauling a green-yellow grub. Other trout over seven pounds were taken, along with stringer loads of 2-5 pounders. Where to fish? Just get in the water. Around South Shore, just outside the buoy line from the North Shore ramp, up the lake around the Narrows, down the lake from Hat Island to the Dam – all good areas to point the boat. Shore casters are also doing well from points in the North Shore region. In fact, one troller working the water in the area of the dam had the fight of his life when he hooked onto and netted a 15-pound catfish.


If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at