For years, many of the boaters that I know of have been asking for there to be a boater’s license required. It looks like we finally have a license requirement in place for the upcoming year and all I’m hearing is complaints. Complaints about it being just another way to get more money out of boaters, complaints about it not really teaching anything, or complaints about it just being an inconvenience. I’m going to be honest, when I first heard of this requirement, I immediately looked at it as another money maker for the state. After further research I discovered that once it’s obtained, the license is valid for a boaters’ lifetime. There’s definitely a cost which seems to vary depending on where you go to get your license. So far, it looks like everything can be done online for as much as $30. The good news is that this requirement will be phased in over the next few years meaning that each year a different age group will be required to have a license.
January 1, 2018 Persons 20 years of age or younger
January 1, 2019 Persons 25 years of age or younger
January 1, 2020 Persons 35 years of age or younger
January 1, 2021 Persons 40 years of age or younger
January 1, 2022 Persons 45 years of age or younger
January 1, 2023 Persons 50 years of age or younger
January 1, 2024 Persons 60 years of age or younger
January 1, 2025 All persons regardless of age
Depending on your age, you may not have to get your boaters card for a few more years.
Bass fishing has really started to improve; the bass are biting on a variety of different baits right now. The always productive Senko is working just as good as ever right now as anglers are finding fish both inside and outside of the weeds and tulles. There are still plenty of fish to be caught on reaction baits but for the big ones, anglers are having the best luck flipping or pitching baits around vegetation. Don’t dismiss the top water bite; there are plenty of fish in post spawn making them very protective towards anything passing over their fry. Snag proof frogs and Zara Spooks are great baits this time of year.
New Melones Lake:
The kokanee bite is red hot right now as anglers are catching easy limits of fish while trolling between 35 and 60 feet deep throughout the lake. Anglers catching kokanee are using hootchies with shoe peg corn for their limits. The hardest part about catching kokanee is keeping them on the hook. Their mouths are very soft making them hard to land and they usually go crazy the closer they get to the boat making them even harder to keep on the hook. Bass are being caught by reaction baits as well as jigs. The bigger bass have been caught while using jigs and dragging Carolina Rigs along the bottom.
Lake Don Pedro:
Fishing for trout, king salmon, and kokanee has started to pick up for a lot of anglers. For king salmon try fishing 30 to 60 feet deep from Buzzard Point to Big Oak Island to Jenkins Hill. Small rolled anchovies, shad, Sockeye Slammers or small Ex-Cel’s are working well right now. Trout are being found on the top 20 feet while trolling traditional shad patterned lures. Kokanee are being caught from 25 to 30 feet deep. Lately the hot bait for kokanee has been an Uncle Larry’s red tiger tipped with Pautzke pink fire corn.
Anglers trolling for trout are trolling the top 20 feet of water for their limits. Fishing for bass continues to get better as the bigger females are starting to show up on the beds found throughout the lake. Make sure to practice catch and release when landing a fish that was taken off a bed.
Fishing for trout and kokanee is good right now for anglers trolling up river from 20 to 30 feet deep. Bass fishing is also improving as bass are being caught all over the lake right now. A lot of bass have made their way shallow to spawn. Anglers finding spawning bass are catching them while dragging worms and jigs through bedding areas.
Tip of the Week:
Spring is the time of year when the bites can be hard to feel. A lot of times while dragging a bait across a spawning bed the fish will just pick up the bait and move it off the bed. Because of that, it’s very important to pay attention to your line. Know when your line has made contact with the bottom and keep a close eye on it for any unusual movement.