Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
New Melones bass fishing has improved, Melanie Lewis said. Eastman bass are hitting, and trout bite is good too, Patrick Movey reported. Southern Aqueduct stripers are biting, Pete Cormier said. Pine Flat king salmon are breaking out, Merritt Gilbert reported. Success bass action is "excellent" Larry Kerns said. McClure bass are back on track, Manny Basi reported. Coastal lakes are kicking out big bass, big weights for tournaments.
I finally got through my seven-day Quagga mussel quarantine from San Luis Reservoir -- the one I wrote about last week -- but there is now more to the story. It all started when my wife and I decided to go to Monterey. Stopping at a service station on Highway 152, Elaine asked if we could go up to the reservoir and I could show her where I usually go fishing and possibly see the elk herd, too.
As we drove up the hill to the Basalt Ranger/Inspection Station, I laughingly pointed out to her that that was the scene of the crime for my quarantine. Pulling up to the station, two younger women I had never seen before asked what I wanted to do, and I told them I just wanted to drive to the Basalt ramp to look around. As they handed me a 15-minute free pass, the inspector who had tagged me for my quarantine appeared from around the corner -- with a big smile on her face. "Sir, did you ever get your bilge dried out last week?" she asked.
Surprised, and pinned like a butterfly to the wall in front of the other two women and my wife, I could only laugh and tell her, yes, I had done some soul searching on the way home and thought I had it figured out. "I knew when the water came out of the bilge and I saw your face go pale, that you couldn't believe it and that it was unexpected," she said. "Sorry I had to tag you."
Feeling uncomfortable, I told her that she had directly asked me during the inspection if I would write about the incident and her. I had said "maybe." But now I came clean and confessed I had written a column about the situation. Talking fast, I said, I had been very fair to her -- writing she was very nice and just doing her job. Grease always helps!
With a big grin, she told me she had read it. Yikes -- busted again! Obviously, she had pegged me the minute she saw me drive up. How lucky can a guy get?
One of the younger women then piped in, asking me if I knew what the real issue was, and I told her I didn't know. She told me that the women inspectors were tougher than the men, and that they had had many anglers complain that they were much pickier. I couldn't argue that point.
While I had the chance, I asked why they let in cars and shore anglers without any inspection? "Theoretically, I could drive right in with a 5-gallon bucket full of Quaggas, pull down to the lake and dump 'em in, without it alarming anyone," I said. She agreed and said that's something they are still trying to figure out.
As an aside, anglers are also asking about what happens when it rains. It seems from my own and others' experiences so far, they will still sometimes check the livewells to see if they are dry, but the rest of the inspection is usually overlooked at that point if it's been raining. It's a good idea to call if in doubt because, the way I read it, the regulations say you can't launch the red-tagged quarantined vessel on any water for seven days!
So, I guess I'm on the hit list now, but it's probably turning out to be for a good cause if it keeps a few of you from singing the "Quagga Blues" too!