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Rising cost of license may deter future anglers

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POSTED December 27, 2012 12:54 a.m.

Another Christmas has passed, and this year I got my annual fishing license as a gift from my parents.

I was reminded of when I was 12 years old; it seemed like yesterday when I didn’t have to worry about a fishing license. The only thing I worried about back then was getting a ride to my favorite fishing spot.

Fast forward to my 16th birthday, I was actually excited about having my first fishing license and gladly paid the $13-plus. The price for an annual license has increased every year since.

Curious at just how much the rates have increased over the years I did a web search and found that on California Department of Fish and Game’s website they have listed the annual fees. What I found was back in 1982 the cost for a license was $6.25, $13.75 in 1985, $20.50 in 1990, 26.75 in 2000 and $45.93 this year.

By the time my son is 16 years old the price for a license will surely top $60, and by the time he’s my age he may be shelling out over $100. Like my Costco membership that has long since expired, I’m not sure how much longer the average angler will be able to afford renewing his or her fishing license.  


Fishing for bass has been tough for a lot of anglers as very few limits are being caught. Those targeting bass are fishing mainly with jigs and crawdad imitating baits.

Fishing for stripers is tough, as very little schooling activity is being reported. Schools of striper are being found by anglers fishing Sycamore and Hog Slough.

Bluegill fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing around docks and marinas with wax worms.

Lake New Melones

Trout fishing is great. Anglers are still bringing in limits while fishing off the bank. The hot bait has been Power Bait. Trollers are catching fish up shallow but they have been a lot smaller than the ones caught off the bank. Because of this, a lot of boaters have chosen to drift live minnows under a bobber in the backs of coves in order to target the bigger trout.

Angels Cove and Glory Hole Cove have been the hot areas recently for trout. Bass fishing remains consistent as the bass have moved deeper. The bigger bass are being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs.  

Lake Don Pedro

The trout bite is good for anglers fishing from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Anglers are targeting the bigger fish that are combing the bank while using side planers and trolling a variety of shad imitating lures.

Bass fishing has slowed right now as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish.

Lake Camanche

Fishing for trout is very good both in the lake and in the pond. Anglers fishing for trout are doing well will fishing with Power Bait or casting various trout imitating lures along the bank.

Bass fishing has been steady for anglers fishing offshore structure. Locating schools of bass following schools of shad seems to be the key to catching them right now. Once the schools are found anglers are fishing with either spoons or a drop shotted Robo Worm in a shad color.

Lake Amador

Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber.

Tip of the Week

With the current state of our economy unfortunately there has been an increase in thefts to anglers and their equipment.

Personally, I’ve yet to have anything stolen from my boat but have had various items stolen from my truck and trailer while I was out enjoying a day of fishing. All spare tires should be locked and if you have any valuables stored inside the cab of your truck make sure that it is out of sight.

Lastly, don’t assume your vehicle is safe while parked inside a gated launching facility. When it comes to preventing theft it is better to be over protected than under protected.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail

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