Fishing passport makes nice gift
The Department of Fish andamp; Game introduced a very creative program this year to encourage anglers to go beyond their familiar angling waters and fish species.The California Fishing Passport program is based on a free passport book that lists 150 species available to anglers in the Golden State. California has the most varied fishing opportunities of any state. The passport target species include fin fish from both fresh and salt water as well as shell fish. The California Fishing Passport is an angling challenge that will take years to accomplish.The program is an incentive to explore new fishing challenges but also to travel the state in pursuit of these fish. In this age of the fully stocked supermarket, angling is more about the places we go and the skills we learn than it is about consuming the harvest. To be successful you will have to learn fishing techniques for species that you have never pursued before. To totally complete the list you will have fished offshore, inshore and go digging for shell fish. You will have pursued both warm water and cold water fish on inland waters from low-land lakes to above tree line in the Sierra. The rules require that when you catch a target fish you enter the particulars in your passport. Get a photo of it or else get a witness to verify it in your passport. Catch and release is strongly recommended for certain rare fish. Then you go to a DFandamp;G office or participating license agent to get your stamp. There is no charge for the stamps. The passports are available for all adults who purchase fishing licenses and to anyone 15 or younger for the asking. I often get asked for Christmas gift suggestions for fishermen. An easy answer is next years fishing license. I particularly encourage this for younger anglers for whom the cost is prohibitive. For my 2007 license and various stamps I spent $60. While I can afford this, I believe it contributes to young adults dropping out of the sport.Along with the license as a Christmas gift, the California Fishing Passport would make a nice addition. The problem is availability with only a week left before Christmas. At this time, the closest locations to pick them up are the DFandamp;G offices at: 1701 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, (916) 358-2900 and 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001(530) 225-2300. The License and Revenue Branch at 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834 is another option. This winter the DFandamp;G will have passports available at their booth at the Sportsman Show. Wives Beware! The California Fishing Passport may be construed as the ultimate open-ended kitchen pass. You just might hear, If you didnt want me to go to the Salton Sea corbina fishing for a week, then why did you give the passport?At long last we have entered a wet winter pattern. The low snow levels will keep the rivers from getting blown out and ensure flows into the winter and spring. Look for the Smith and the Trinity rivers to fish well through the first of the year. Pyramid Lake in Nevada is another solid bet if you are prepared for the temps.
Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union, the Sierra Suns sister paper in Grass Valley. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.