There are other ways to catch a fishing license

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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We’re past Jan. 1 now, when new fishing licenses are required anytime you visit a waterway and dunk a line in hopes of being bit and bringing home fresh fish for the table.

However, what it now takes to purchase a license is a royal pain, and I forecast license sales are going to plummet.

Many anglers are going to consider it not worth the hassle. Or, they’ll go fishing without a license knowing the warden staff is spread so thin the chance of being checked is rare and worth the risk.

Numerous anglers fish so rarely, such as once or twice a year for something like rock cod, that they’d purchase a one-day license aboard the boat. But with the new requirements to purchase a license, some party boat skippers won’t be selling them.

If you do want to be legal and have a license in your possession, the first trick is to find a store that carries the license. What stores now must go through to sell you a license – even major sporting goods stores – has become too burdensome, and many no longer sell them.

If you want to find a store, start calling around.

The second option is to visit the Department of Fish and Game’s website and purchase the license online.

You also must have a credit card. After filling out the required information, you can print out a temporary license for immediate use; the permanent license will be mailed to you.

The last option is to buy the license at the License and Revenue Branch of the DFG on Market Street in Sacramento’s North Natomas area.

Whether purchasing a fishing license is worth the pain is a decision you’ll have to make.

The DFG can use every justification in the world for what you have to go through to purchase a license, but there is virtually no justification for making it that much more difficult for anglers to enjoy their sport.

I’ve been telling the DFG directly, to the director. I suggest you do, too.

Pig hunts available by drawing
Joice Island is in the Suisun Bay region of Solano County. To keep the wild pig population in balance to their environment, a permit-only hunt is allowed.

Because the terrain is flat, only shotguns using slugs and archery equipment is allowed. The area covers 2,150 acres consisting of thick cattails, tulles, brush and standing water.

The first weekend hunt, March 5-6, is reserved for what’s now called “apprentice hunters,” a new term for “junior hunters.” Only those 12 years of age and over with junior licenses will be allowed to hunt.

The other hunt dates are March 12-13, March 19-20, March 26-27, April 2-3, April 9-10, April 16-17 and April 23-24.

Because the acreage is limited, three hunters will be drawn for each weekend hunt. Maps and permits will be mailed to successful applicants. If you hunt solo, you may bring along one non-hunting partner.

To apply, send a standard postcard with your name, valid hunting license number, address, phone number and requested hunt date. If you apply for the apprentice hunt, the junior hunter’s application must include the name of the adult chaperone.

Send the postcard to Joice Island Pig Hunt, 2548 Grizzly Island Road, Suisun, CA 94585.

Be forewarned: You may only apply one time and for one hunt. Apply for more than one, and your applications will be thrown out.

There is no fee for the hunts.

Annual Sportsmen’s Expo coming
It’s always a welcome event and heavily attended in the middle of winter, when outdoors-oriented folks are chomping at the bit to enjoy their sport but are limited by the weather.

The International Sportsmen’s Expo is slated for Jan. 20-23. Stay posted here for information as it becomes available.

Current fishing
A week of decent weather finally is on tap. Sun. But the early mornings are downright chilly. Because of consistent rainfall, rivers are running high and it would be advisable to stay away for now.

Folsom Lake: The lake is muddy because of heavy inflows, and while fishing opportunities are outstanding, the chance of getting bit even once is rare. It will take awhile before the lake clears enough.

Lake Oroville: The lake was in great shape last summer but dropped significantly by fall. With all the rain so far, the lake quickly has risen to about 60 percent again. Yet, toss spinnerbaits in the backs of coves and you can still get into a good bass bite. Small Coho’s are slamming small Kastmasters, and you can pull a pretty easy limit of 10- to 12-inchers in the Lime Saddle region, easily accessible from Highway 70.

New Melones: The lake is being planted weekly so there remains a good bite for boaters and shore slingers. Though planters are the most on stringers, there’s always a holdover or two in the two-pound class to be had. From around the Glory Hole boat ramp area, you can soak Power Bait, crawlers or eggs with one rod and cast-retrieve lures with a second.
Contact George deVilbiss at