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Fish and Game Q&A: Is it legal to use lights to monitor wildlife if you do not have any guns in your possession?

Two fawns nurse as a doe takes advantage of a late night snack.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: Is it legal to use lights to monitor wildlife if you do not have any guns in your possession? Watching wildlife at night is a very interesting way to educate kids to be on the lookout for and gain an interest in wildlife. I’ve always wondered if using lights to do this would be considered harassment somehow and not be allowed? (Bill T.)

Answer: It is not illegal to shine lights since you won’t have a "method of take" with you, but your activities could alert a game warden who might think you are using the spotlights to poach game at night. Be aware that there are vehicle code laws that prohibit shining a hand-held spotlight from a motor vehicle and another provision that requires "off road" lights to be covered while traveling on a public roadway or highway.

Instead, you might consider using a trail cam like those sold through most outdoor-gear stores. These will allow you to capture (with night-vision equipment) images or video of wildlife that might be visiting a watering hole or passing through an area. There are some cameras that take photos when a light sensor is tripped and some that take photos at certain time intervals. The trail cams would not bother or harass the wildlife, and you’d be able to take photos of them while they are acting normally, doing whatever they naturally do at night. You might also be surprised by the different species that will appear that you probably would not expect!

Q: I helped my boss, who is legally blind, get a disabled license for fishing. However, due to her disability, she will need help baiting her hook. Can I legally help her without needing a two-pole stamp? (Sandy B.)

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Irvine Lake crappie going wild

Seth DuBois shows off the 1-10 crappie he caught at the flats. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

The crappie population at Irvine Lake was on full display this week, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "We have been seeing a lot of crappie limits this week," Getty said. "During our big crappie tournament, a 10-year-old boy caught the winning limit of fish, which weighed a total of 7 pounds, 8 ounces. Several other limits were filled by slabs that averaged well over a pound apiece."

Getty tipped, "Many different techniques and lures are working. Crappie are being caught by trolling, casting, and drifting. Good lures include Atomic Tubes, Gulp! Grubs, and even Rapalas."

Trout anglers scored well using two different approaches. Most trouters dropped down three to six colors of leadcore line followed by a firetiger-color CD05 Rapala or a cop car-color Luhr Jensen Needlefish. Bait dunkers soaking Power Bait also found several large schools of trout in the Woody’s Cove area.   

The annual Masters tournament was held on Sunday, with excellent action and many heartbreaking losses of big fish. Tim Blackshire of Ontario took top honors with his 5-12 rainbow; garnering a package including the coveted "Masters jacket" and trophy, an unlimited one-year pass to the lake, $1,250 in cash, and more, with a total value of nearly $10,000.

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Trout and catfish plants for Southern California and Eastern Sierra during the week beginning May 23

A string of trout on the frozen surface of Lake Sabrina on opening day of the 2008 Eastern Sierra trout season.

Barring adverse weather, water or road conditions, the following is a list of Southern California and Eastern Sierra waters, listed by county, that will be stocked with rainbow trout or channel catfish throughout the week of May 23 by the Department of Fish and Game:

Trout:

VENTURA: Reyes Creek.

SANTA BARBARA: None.

ORANGE: Trabuco Creek.

LOS ANGELES: Castaic Lake, Cuddy Creek Pond, Elizabeth Lake, Jackson Lake and Pyramid Lake.

SAN DIEGO: Cuyamaca Lake and Doane Pond.

IMPERIAL: None.

RIVERSIDE: Perris Lake.

SAN BERNARDINO: Arrowbear Lake, Big Bear Lake, Green Valley Lake, Gregory Lake, Miller Canyon Creek, Mojave Narrows Regional Park Lake and Seccombe Park Lake.

INYO: Baker Creek, Big Pine Creek, Bishop Creek (Lower, Middle, South forks and Intake II), Diaz Lake, Georges Creek, Goodale Creek, Independence Creek, Lone Pine Creek, Owens River (section 2 and section 3), Shepherd Creek, Symmes Creek, Taboose Creek and Tinnemaha Creek.

MONO: Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Creek, Convict Lake, Grant Lake, Gull Lake, June Lake, Lee Vining Creek, Little Walker River, Lundy Lake, Mammoth Creek, Mill Creek, McGee Creek, Robinson Creek, Rock Creek (section 1 and section 2), Rock Creek Lake, Rush Creek, Silver Lake, Virginia Creek, Twin Lakes Bridgeport (Upper and Lower) and West Walker River (section 2 and section 3).

Catfish:

ORANGE: Carr Park Lake, Centennial Park Lake, Eisenhower Park Lake, Greer Park Lake, Huntington Lake, Laguna Lake, Mile Square Park Lake, Ralph Clark Park Lake, Tri-City Park Lake and Yorba Regional Park Lake.

 Photo: A string of trout on the frozen surface of Lake Sabrina on opening day of the 2008 Eastern Sierra trout season. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

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Spring skiing, record Sierra snow

Mammoth:May 2010

And the snow just keeps coming....

Forget the Memorial Day backyard BBQ ... how does a weekend of skiing sound? As we've already reported on Outposts, for the fifth time in seven years Mammoth Mountain will be open through July 4, and for the first time that I can remember, some Lake Tahoe resorts will be open for Memorial Day weekend.

Mammoth snow Mammoth picked up about 33 inches of snow this past week, for a record 660 inches — so far. That's nearly double the resort's average of 342.5. That photo above is from Memorial Day 2010, when the season total was nearly 558 inches.

Up at Tahoe, the snowpack has also been fantastically deep, so much so that the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, which was to circle the lake, was canceled. But there's still skiing. Here's a rundown of resorts extending their seasons:

Squaw Valley will be open for skiing and boarding through May 30 on Fridays through Sundays until 2 p.m. The High Camp pool and bar area will be open until 4 p.m.

Alpine Meadows is closed but will reopen for July 4 weekend, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. that Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Kirkwood is closed but will reopen for Memorial Day weekend

Boreal is closed but will reopen for its June Ski/Snowboard Camp on June 20-24. Wait, is this Mt. Hood or California?

All of the resorts listed will offer discounted tickets, so check their websites for details.

And if you're a backpacker or fisher-person, don't even think about accessing the backcountry for a while. Lake Mary Road to the Mammoth Lakes Basin is still closed. And the Inyo National Forest says Reds Meadow Road is projected to open June 24, later than normal due to the huge snowpack.

— Julie Sheer

Photo: View of Chair 23 at Mammoth Mountain on Memorial Day 2010. Credit: Julie Sheer

 

 

Fish and Game Q&A: Can a disabled war veteran hunt with a canine companion?

Injured veteran retired U.S. Army Capt. Leslie Smith with her seeing eye dog Isaac. In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I’m a 100% disabled war veteran and have a canine companion dog (yellow lab) that goes with me everywhere as my hearing dog. I lost most of my hearing in the war from enemy fire. Is it legal to take a companion dog turkey or deer hunting? Can my dog go turkey hunting on a leash, not as a hunting dog but as a hearing dog? My dog has never been trained to hunt and he won’t be part of that life. He wouldn’t be chasing game but because he is my second set of ears, can he be used for hearing? (Larry L.)

Answer: Yes, you can use your dog in the situations described. Generally, there’s no prohibition against using dogs (having them with you) while bird hunting, but there is a one dog per hunter limit during general deer season. No dogs are allowed during archery deer season or while hunting with an archery-only tag (California Code of Regulations, section 265).

Q: While bank fishing in the Delta recently, I watched some people nearby land a legal-sized sturgeon. They took some pictures and were about to release the 63-incher when a family came running up and asked if they could keep it for dinner. It appeared to me that the catch-and-release fisherman felt compelled to give it to them, and he did. I could not tell if the sturgeon was properly tagged prior to the transfer of ownership because the family left pretty quickly. I thought I might offer one of my tags as I am also a catch-and-release fisherman who has never landed a sturgeon and would never need three tags, but I am wondering if this would be legal. Not knowing, I decided not to give up my tag. My question is, can someone donate a sturgeon tag to another fisherman? (Rob Grasso)

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Volunteer beach cleanup Saturday at Dockweiler State Beach

Sunset at Dockweiler State Beach.

The May Nothin' But Sand beach cleanup will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at Dockweiler State Beach, Playa del Rey.

Hosted by Heal the Bay, the cleanups are held on the third Saturday of each month at different locales and are an opportunity to help keep our local shores tidy.

Volunteers should plan to meet at 11999 Vista Del Mar, at the end of Imperial Highway. All cleaning supplies will be provided, so volunteers are welcome to just show up (those younger than 12 need to be accompanied by a parent).

Attendees should plan on wearing closed-toe shoes and bringing their own drinking water and snacks as well as a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a jacket. More information on what to wear and bring is available on the Heal the Bay website.

Liability waivers can be printed in advance and must be signed before pitching in. Participants 17 and younger must have a parent or guardian sign their form.

Groups of 10 or more are asked to email Eveline Bravo or call (800) 432-5229, Ext. 148, to let organizers know they plan to join.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Sunset at Dockweiler State Beach. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Department of Fish and Game offers tips on staying safe in bear country

A young black bear foraging in the Falls Picnic Area caused the closure of parts of San Bernardino National Forest in 2009. Campers, anglers and hikers enjoying the outdoors may have encounters with wild animals -- including black bears, which are estimated to number 40,000 in California. Certain precautions can and should be taken when it comes to interaction with these omnivores, especially by limiting food odors that attract bears.

"Bears are constantly in search of easily obtainable food sources," said Marc Kenyon, California Department of Fish and Game statewide bear program coordinator. "A bear’s fate is almost always sealed once it associates human activity with potential food. It’s always unfortunate when a bear has to be killed because people either haven’t learned how to appropriately store food and trash, or simply don’t care."

The California Department of Fish and Game shares the following precautionary tips that should be taken when in bear country:

-- Keep a clean camp by cleaning up and storing food and garbage immediately after meals.

-- Never keep food in your tent. Instead, store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle.

-- Use bear-proof garbage cans whenever possible or store your garbage in a secure location with your food.

-- Don’t bury or burn excess food; bears will still be attracted to the residual smell.

-- Garbage should be packed out of camp if no trash receptacles are available.

-- While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear.

-- Keep a close watch on children and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.

-- Never approach a bear, pick up a bear cub or attempt to attract a bear to your location; observe the animal and take pictures from afar.

-- If you encounter a bear, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to appear as large as possible.

-- If attacked, fight back; if a bear harms a person in any way, immediately call 911.

The Department of Fish and Game’s Keep Me Wild campaign was developed in part to address the increasing number of conflicts between black bears and people, and provides further tips for living and visiting safely in bear habitat.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A young black bear foraging in the Falls Picnic Area caused the closure of parts of San Bernardino National Forest in 2009. Credit: California Department of Fish and Game  

'Grunion Fish-tival' Thursday at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Grunion come ashore to spawn twice a month during spring and summer.Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro will hold a special "Grunion Fish-tival" on Thursday at 7 p.m. to supplement its regular "Meet the Grunion" program. The evening will include a film on grunion as well as the added opportunity to hatch grunion eggs, make grunion origami and other arts and crafts and interact with grunion researchers.

The cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for seniors, children and students. Tickets can be purchased onsite (cash only).

Afterward, those who wish to participate will head to the beach to await the spawning run, which has a projected two-hour window of 11:05 p.m. to 1:05 a.m.

Grunion may only be caught in the months of March, June and July; because grunion are not in season now, the outing is for observation only.

Runs are a sight to behold. For four consecutive nights, beginning on full- and new-moon phases during spring and summer, the small, silvery fish leave the water to spawn on beaches. The shoreline may glisten with fish as the silversides attempt to lay and fertilize their eggs.

There is no limit to the number of fish that may be caught during open season (the next one begins June 3), but the California Department of Fish and Game asks that people catch only what they will eat. Catchers 16 and older must possess a valid state fishing license.

The program will be offered again on June 3 and 17 and July 16.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro. Directions and parking information are available on the website.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Grunion come ashore to spawn twice a month during spring and summer. Credit: Gary Florin / Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Big Bear Lake's 'Fishin' for $50K' Trout Derby registration open

A tagged trout similar to this could be worth $50,000.

Registration is open for anglers interested in participating in Big Bear Lake’s "Fishin' for $50K Trout Derby." The third annual tournament, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., offers the chance for a lucky angler who catches the grand-prize tagged trout to net $50,000 (the tags will look similar to that in the photo above, from the inaugural tournament, though will be a different color to thwart possible cheating).

"We're calling all bounty hunters, or in this case bounty anglers, to come up to Big Bear to catch a tagged trout worth $50,000," said Big Bear Lake Resort Assn. Chief Executive Rick Shoup. "The grand prize is no pocket change."

There will be a total of 10 tagged trout planted, including the one particular fish worth the top prize. Prizes for the other nine fish include Big Bear lodging and adventure packages.

In addition to the tagged trout, anglers who catch the largest fish by weight in four classes -- adult male, adult female, male child younger than 16 and female child younger than 16 -- will be awarded prizes. There will also be a bonus prize of $500 awarded to the overall largest trout by weight caught using Berkley PowerBait.

The entry fee is $40 for adults and $25 for children under 16. The tournament is limited to the first 750 registrants.

Free entry will be given to those who stay at least one night June 10-12 at a participating Big Bear Lake Resort Assn. lodge, and to anglers who rent a pontoon boat at a participating marina in Big Bear Lake the weekend of the tournament. 

An awards ceremony will take place June 12 at 3 p.m. in the Big Bear Visitor Center parking lot. The ceremony will include a raffle, with thousands of dollars' worth of fishing gear, bait and tackle from national manufacturers up for grabs. Prizes for tagged fish that have not been redeemed, with the exception of the $50,000 grand prize tagged fish, will be donated to the raffle.

Read the rules, or go online or call (800) 424-4232 to register for the tournament. Registration may also be completed online, by mail or by fax.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A tagged trout similar to this could be worth $50,000. Credit: Dan McKernan / Big Bear Lake Resort Assn.

Deer hunting clinic offered by California Department of Fish and Game

Mule deer in a field.

The California Department of Fish and Game will be holding a deer hunting clinic on June 18 as part of its advanced hunter education program.

Co-sponsored by the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Assn. and the California Deer Assn., the class will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Canada De Los Osos Ecological Reserve in Santa Clara County.

The clinic, specifically designed for hunting deer in California, will cover deer biology; hunting locations, techniques and requirements; methods for locating deer; field dressing and care of game.

The cost is $45 and space is limited, so those interested are advised to register early. A barbecue lunch is available for an additional $10.

Those 16 or younger will be admitted free but must be accompanied by an adult. Registration, including fee payment, closes two weeks before the workshop date and can be completed online. After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring. For more information email or call DFG Lt. Dan Lehman at (916) 358-4356.

-- Kelly Burgess
Twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Mule deer in a field. Credit: Gary Zahm / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


Trout and catfish plants for Southern California and Eastern Sierra during the week beginning May 16

A trout breaks the surface at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery near Independence.

Barring adverse weather, water or road conditions, the following is a list of Southern California and Eastern Sierra waters, listed by county, that will be stocked with rainbow trout or channel catfish throughout the week of May 16 by the Department of Fish and Game:

Trout:

VENTURA: Reyes Creek.

SANTA BARBARA: None.

ORANGE: None.

LOS ANGELES: Castaic Lake, Cuddy Creek Pond, Elizabeth Lake and Pyramid Lake.

SAN DIEGO: None.

IMPERIAL: None.

RIVERSIDE: Diamond Valley Lake, Hemet Lake, Lake Fulmore and Strawberry Creek.

SAN BERNARDINO: Big Bear Lake, Jenks Lake, Santa Ana River, Silverwood Lake and South Fork of the Santa Ana River.

INYO: Baker Creek, Big Pine Creek, Bishop Creek Dam Intake No. 2, George Creek, Goodale Creek, Independence Creek, Lone Pine Creek, lower Bishop Creek, Middle Fork Bishop Creek, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Shepherd Creek, South Fork Bishop Creek, Symms Creek, Taboose Creek and Tinemaha Creek.

MONO: Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Creek, Mammoth Creek and McGee Creek.

Catfish:

LOS ANGELES: Alondra Park lake, Belvedere Park lake, Downey Wilderness Park Lake, Echo Park lake, Hansen Lake, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, lake in Hollenbeck Park, Lincoln Park lake and MacArthur Park Lake.

Photo: A trout breaks the surface at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery near Independence. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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California State Parks closures target 70 of the state's 278 parks

Tufa formations have an unreal look on Mono Lake at sunset.

Come fall, Californians could find themselves with fewer parks to visit and fewer services available at parks that are open. That was the tenor of the plan that California State Parks officials outlined Friday as they targeted for shutdown 70 of the state's 278 parks because of budget problems.

The closure plan is far from final, and if it does come to pass the closures wouldn't go into effect until September, said State Parks Director Ruth Coleman.

Coleman also raised the possibility of diminished services -- i.e., closing bathrooms, lifeguard towers and other facilities -- throughout the state park system to cut $11 million in the coming fiscal year and $22 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year. But the budget details haven't been finalized.

Times Daily Travel and Deal blogger Mary Forgione has the details, including the full list of parks slated for closure, on her post: California State Parks: Salton Sea, Palomar on list of possible shutdowns

Photo: Tufa formations have an unreal look on Mono Lake at sunset. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

 


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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