Have fun and fish free for the day in California

OK gang, pay close attention to the following "Don Q" advice.

Have you been wanting to do something in the Great Outdoors this Fall?

You have.

Well, here's something you can do outdoors in the very near future and best of all, it's F-R-E-E!

That's right, it's free.

You ask what?

Well, I'll tell you what.

September 22 is Free Fishing Day in the State of California.

Yep! Free fishing.

Mark that date on your calendar.

It is the second of two free fishing days that the State of California offers each year.

The first one was held back in June.

This particular one is always held in late September and is timed to coincide with the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration held each year across the United States.

So, if you've had a desire to fish in California but haven't done so this year, Sept. 22 will be your golden opportunity to fish in the golden state and at no cost to you.

There is no need to have a California fishing license on that date. However, be advised that you will need to abide by all of the regular rules and regulations that govern whatever water you will be fishing. So don't do anything dumb or illegal. If you do and if the game warden catches you, it could be a very unpleasant and expensive experience for you.

For those folks interested in free fishing on Sept. 22, the list of nearby fishable waters in California is almost endless.

There is an enormous number of creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs, all within about 150 miles of Carson City.

You ask what are they?

Well, here is a partial list of just some of those waters:


East Carson, West Carson, Feather, Owens, Sacramento, Susan, Truckee, Little Truckee, Upper Truckee, East Walker, West Walker, Little Walker.


Bishop, Buckeye, Convict, Green, Markleeville, Red, Robinson, Rush, Silver, Virginia, Wolf.


Boca, Bridgeport, Frenchmen's, Indian Creek, Kinney, Stampede.


Alpine, Upper and Lower Blue, Bucks, Caples, Convict, Crater, Crowley, Davis, Donner, Eagle, Frog, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver), Kirman (AKA Carmen), Lobdell, Lundy, Mammoth Lakes Basin (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin), North, Poore, Red, Roosevelt-Lane, Sabrina, Secret, Scott, Silver, South, Upper and Lower Sunset, Tahoe, Tamarack, Upper and Lower Twin, the Virginia Lakes area, Winnemucca, Woods.

However, rather than overwhelm you with that enormous number of choices, I would suggest that you narrow your choice down to any of the following, nearby locations (None of which are more than about 60 miles from Carson City):

-- Kinney Reservoir near the top of Ebbett's Pass on S.R. 4. Good fall fishing for small car-top boats, canoes, inflated rafts or float tubes. Best area is the back side of the lake.

-- Lower Kinney Lake (A short one-half mile walk past Kinney Reservoir Dam). Excellent walk-in fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout for fly fishermen with float tubes.

-- Lake Alpine, on the west side of Ebbett's Pass on S.R. 4. This lake was recently planted with a large number of good-sized rainbow trout.

-- East Carson River near the Town of Markleeville. It runs along S.R. 4 and S.R. 89. Very low and clear. Recently planted in the area of the East Fork Resort with good-sized rainbow trout. The area from Hangman's Bridge, just out of Markleeville, downstream to the Nevada stateline has special regs.

-- West Carson River, along S.R. 88. It runs the length of Hope Valley and in Woodford's Canyon. Very low and clear. Trout are very spooky. Catching them can be a challenge. Great scenery.

-- Red Lake, Caples Lake and Silver Lake, which are all along the highway in the Kit Carson Pass area of S.R. 88. Good fall fishing. Shore fishing can be on the slow side. Good fishing from boats with silver flasher blades and nightcrawlers.

-- Crater Lake, about 2 miles from S.R. 88 via an unsigned, dirt road. This small lake contains a large population of very small Eastern brook trout.

-- Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, Twin Lake, Meadow Lake, Tamarack Lake, Upper and Lower Sunset Lakes, Meadow Lake, Summit Lake and Lost Lakes. All clustered in an area about 12 miles from Hope Valley. Take the Blue Lake Road from S.R. 88 in Hope Valley. Good fall fishing at all of these waters. Best from shore with Power Bait or inflated nightcrawlers. Best from boats with small, silver flasher blades and worms.

-- Frog and Winnemucca Lakes, which are walk-in lakes from the top of Kit Carson Pass on S.R. 88. Good fall fishing. Frog Lake can be very good for shore fishing for rainbows. Winnemucca Lake is excellent from float tubes or inflated rafts but very poor from shore. You will catch Eastern brook or Kamloop trout.

-- Frenchman Reservoir and Davis Lake. Both are just north of Reno, near the town of Portola. Good shore and boat fishing for mostly rainbows.

-- Heenan Reservoir on S.R. 89 between Markleeville and Topaz Lake. A zero limit lake (Catch and Release only) with very large Eastern brook trout. A favorite with fly fishermen in float tubes. Has very special restrictions.

-- Boca and Stampede Reservoirs which are located just off I-80, near Truckee. Good boat fishing for Kokanee salmon. Best fishing is very early in the morning.

Special Note: Sept. 22 is NOT a free fishing day in Nevada. The one and only Free Fishing Day in Nevada for 2001 was held back in June.

For current fishing information, call:

-- Alpine County Chamber of Commerce in Markleeville at (530) 694-2475.

-- Carson River Resort on the East Carson River at (530) 694-2229.

-- Lake Alpine Lodge at Lake Alpine at (209) 753-6358.

-- Woodford's Station in Woodford's at (530) 694-2930.

-- Bridgeport area: Ken's Sporting Goods Store at (760) 932-7707.

-- Convict Lake and Creek: David and Adrienne DeSurra of the Convict Lake Resort at (800) 992-2260.

-- Eagle Lake: Dave Meserve of the Eagle Lake Marina at (530) 825-3454.

-- Frenchman Reservoir and Davis Lake: Wiggin's Trading Post at Chilcoot at (530) 993-4683.

-- Sacramento River, Feather River and Shasta Lake: Kirk Portocarrero of Outdoor Adventures Sport Fishing in Redding at (800) 670-4448.

-- Lower Twin Lake and Robinson Creek: Steve Marti at (760) 932-7751.

-- Upper Twin Lake: Dick Christianson at (760) 932-7071.

Finally, no matter where you decide to go fishing, plan to spend Sept. 22 enjoying one of America's most popular outdoor sports and you can do it free in California.

Give it a try!

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't name Little Donnie Q's all-time, favorite fishing location.

If he grins and says, "It is Winnemucca Lake in Alpine County," he wins, you lose.


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