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OUTDOOR NOTES : Weather or Not, It Was a Strong Start

“The catch rates were good; the weather was crummy,” said Curtis Milliron, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, who monitored the opening of trout season last weekend at Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra.

Results of the weekend could mean good news for fishermen when the weather settles into a milder pattern. Those braving winds to 60 m.p.h. Saturday averaged 0.6 fish an hour.

“People were staying out there, trying to get their fish, and the fishing was very difficult,” Milliron said.

On Sunday, the effort was not quite as high, but the weather was calm until about 11 a.m. Fishermen averaged 0.8 fish an hour that day.

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Rainbow trout made up 99% of the catch over the weekend, the average fish measuring just over 12 inches and weighing 0.82 pounds.

Brown trout, which Milliron said typically don’t become active until later in the season, made up the other 1% of the weekend’s catch, averaging 14.8 inches and weighing 1 1/2 pounds.

“The catch rates were higher this year than last and the fish that were planted last year and are showing up in this year’s creel are of an acceptable size and quality,” Milliron said.

The statewide reduction of the legal take to five fish from 10 was adhered to by most, although there were 13 citations for over-limits, as opposed to none last year.

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In the long run, the reduction is supposed to benefit fishermen hoping for bigger fish. Milliron said that planted rainbow trout in “put-and-take” streams and reservoirs had averaged three fish to the pound and this season will average two to the pound.

Fly fishermen at nearby Hot Creek--a wild-trout fishery in which only flies can be used and all fish must be released--averaged 2.5 fish an hour on Saturday and 1.6 Sunday for a weekend average of 2.2. Of all the fish caught, 28% measured more than 12 inches and 4.4% more than 15 inches.

Eighteen wardens made contact with 3,616 fishermen in the Eastern Sierra, issuing 64 verbal warnings and 103 citations for various violations. The majority were for using illegal bait or hooks on Crowley Lake tributaries. There were 17 citations issued to anglers fishing without licenses and 20 for fishing during a closed season.

The Princess Louise, an old cruise ship and more recently a San Pedro restaurant, will become the Southland’s newest artificial reef today when DFG officials sink the 330-foot liner in 90 feet of water about 1 1/2 miles off Point Vicente on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

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The ship has been thoroughly cleaned and anything that might rust has been removed.

San Diego sportfishers continue to find yellowtail feeding under floating kelp paddies in the waters south of Point Loma, and white sea bass are again active on the backside of Santa Catalina Island.

“We went over there last night and got our squid, and woke up (Tuesday) morning and the sea bass were underneath the boat at about 5 o’clock,” Skipper Bobby Taft of the Top Gun said in an interview with Phil Friedman of the telephone line 976-TUNA. “And we managed to get limits of sea bass (one a person until a three-fish limit is imposed June 15) out if it, one yellowtail and limits of calico bass (10 a person).”

Taft said most fish were about 20 pounds, a few at 30-50 pounds.

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Striped marlin fishing remains excellent off Cabo San Lucas, with some billfish hitting the scales at upward of 200 pounds--one at 264.

Fullerton’s Mike Daniel, David Forbes and party fished last weekend aboard the Tortuga II and Tortuga V, catching and releasing 12 marlin, taking home five dorado.

Briefly

The DFG plans to expand the San Diego portion of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program to include California halibut. The 5-year-old program releases thousands of white sea bass into San Diego waters as part of a feasibility study on enhancing marine populations through the use of hatcheries.

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The Fish and Game Commission has delayed until June a review of proposed black bear hunting seasons and until August reviews of seasons involving nongame and fur-bearing mammals. License and tag applications for the newly approved seasons for deer, wild pig, pronghorn antelope, elk, bighorn sheep, tree squirrels and rabbits--regulations for which become effective July 1--should be available at DFG offices and license agents outlets by mid-May.

Showtime: The sixth Fred Hall Western RV Show and Sale will run today through May 6 at Long Beach Convention Center.

Instruction: Ocean Fishing by Al Zapanta, East L.A. College, Tuesday nights, 6:30-8:30. Cost is $20. Details: (213) 265-8793; Fly-fishing school and fly-casting clinic, Bob Marriott’s Flyfishing Center in Fullerton, Saturday and Sunday respectively; Introduction to fly tying, by Charlene Hanson each Monday evening in May; advanced class Friday evenings.


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