All posts by Chris Cocoles

LifeTank is a great way to store water for emergencies; won’t stagnify

Most people don’t realize you can’t live more than three days without water. This could be a serious problem if there is a disaster like Hurricane Katrina. This new storage tank stores three weeks of clean water that does not expire. Check out this video with the founder of LifeTank and the president of the company to hear about it works. Made in the U.S. Visit for more information.

Lake Almanor Derby Preview

Photo by Kevin Smith

Photo by Kevin Smith


California Sportsman is one of the sponsors for this month’s Lake Almanor Team Trout and Salmon Derby, scheduled for June 14 at the popular Plumas County lake.

Our Luke Kelly chatted with the event’s organizer, Gary Coe of Kokanee Power, and filed this report:


By Luke Kelly

CHESTER—Kokanee Power and the Almanor Fishing Association are hosting a team trout and salmon derby on Saturday, June 14 on Lake Almanor. The lake, located in Plumas County in northeastern California, offers exceptional opportunities to catch brown and rainbow trout, not to mention sizeable king salmon.

The Lake Almanor Team Trout and Salmon derby will give anglers the opportunity to test their fishing prowess against fellow fishermen, as well as the chance to walk away with a hefty chunk of change. The first place team wins $600, and the payouts go all the way down to 15th place.

The derby costs $45 for a Kokanee Power ( member and $55 for a nonmember. The derby is open to all ages, and teams get to weigh in a total of three fish (rainbows, browns, or kings). Teams are made up of one or more anglers, with a limit of one boat per team. There are also three side pots: “Blind Bogey” (the heaviest limit plus the lightest limit, divided by two), and pots for the biggest king and the biggest trout caught, each of which are $20 per team. There is a junior division for those anglers under the age of 16.

Derby chairman Gary Coe of Kokanee Power expects a good turnout this year at the lake. “This is our third annual derby. We’ve had close to 100 participants the last two years, and the fishing’s been great,” says Coe.

Photo by Kevin Smith

Photo by Kevin Smith

As far as conditions on Lake Almanor go, Coe says that they favorable thus far. “From what I understand, the fishing on Almanor is better than it’s been in years,” he explains. “The fish are heavier, feistier, and I think it has to do with the winter we’ve had. The fish are just eating like pigs. I understand they’re catching 20-inch rainbows up there.”

Although a variety of tactics have been producing on Lake Almanor this spring, Coe says that trolling is promoted during the event. “We prefer that people troll,” he says. “We really push for following all of the California state rules and regulations. Most people troll for the kings. You’ll see people trolling flashers and dodgers and worms, and you see people using various kinds of bait—hard-sticking it.”



Coe speculates a variety of baits will be used in the tournament, which is fine, just so long as they are legal.

Participants, aside from counting on a great fishing experience, can take pride in knowing that the entry fee goes to a worthy cause. Kokanee Power is a nonprofit, dedicated to the “to the enhancement of California and Oregon inland Kokanee, trout and salmon fisheries.” The proceeds from the Almanor derby will go to raising up to 15,000 fish to be released into the lake’s waters.

“All of the funding that comes from the event goes directly to the cost of fish growth in Almanor,” says Coe. “We (raise and) turn loose nice catchable 12-, 14-, and 16-inch rainbow trout into the lake for people to catch. So we help out the fishery.”
Registration is due a week before the derby. Check-in will be at Almanor Campground (Almanor Drive west off of Highway 89.) The derby starts at 5:30 a.m. sharp, and fish must be weighed in by 2 p.m. “A great big lunch,” as Coe puts it, is included in the entry fee, provided by the Almanor Fishing Association (

In putting on the derby, Coe says that he and his organization hope to promote both healthy fisheries and to share the joys of fishing with others. “We’re just a bunch of fisherman and we want to make sure that our fisheries are here for our kids and grandkids.”


Trout Plant At Caples Lake

Photo by Caples Lake Resort

Photo by Caples Lake Resort


Our friends at Caples Lake Resort  made a plant of rainbow trout fingerlings this week. Here’s the report:

60,000 rainbow fingerlings planted on 6/2/2014,

and California Department of Fish and Game intends to plant heavily in June.

Caples Lake is only 3 feet from full and rising 4 inches every day,

thanks to the EID keeping outflow to the minimum fish release.

Fishing should pick up as the temperatures warm up.

Caples lake Resort is open for lodging, its marina and store.

Look at our lodging special this June 6 weekend:

one night free with two nights booked!

John at




On a yearly basis new products arrive on the fishing scene. Rarely does one make a splash like Dave’s Tangle Free.

Lead has long been the standard for weight in terminal gear setups for Salmon & Steelhead. Drift fishermen, float fishermen, side-drifters, back-bouncers all utilize lead in their tackle boxes to accomplish one purpose – to get the bait/lure in front of the fishes face.

It’s really a simple concept – weight is used to target specific depths & water types.

So where does Dave’s Tangle Free fit in to this?


Dave’s Tangle Free is a brand new alternative to lead. It has burst on to the scene with a few claims to fame. Here are three benefits:

1    Lead-Free : This alone sets Dave’s Tangle Free apart as a forward thinking, innovative company. States that have outlawed lead as a fishing weight will need high-quality alternatives to lead. Dave’s Tangle Free fills that need.

2    Tangle-resistant : The swivel system in place on these weights allows for “wiggle-room” and movement when caught up. Also, the rubberized outer layer (the core is steel) does not “grab” rocks like lead would. These two factors make for a weight that pulls out of snags more often than lead. We at Fishing Addicts Northwest have seen the benefit of this. Many times when a weight seemed a lost cause snagged-up, they pulled out without breaking the line or losing the weight. This is ultimately a money saver in the end and a relief to the fisherman.

3    Easy-to-Use : Besides the obvious benefits of being tangle resistant, the weights themselves come attached with a top “swivel” piece that is easily attachable to a snap-swivel or tie-able to any line. These weights have totally replaced my previous bobber weights as I prefer a three-way swivel with attachable weight when fishing a sliding float. Also, for those that would attach a “slinky” to a snap swivel, the Dave’s Tangle Free weight works great in place of that.

The feel of these weights on the bottom is different than “slinky’s” or traditional lead. This may be slightly off-putting at first for drift-fishermen but they will find quickly that the weights are super effective as well as stealthy. Back-bouncers have found huge benefit in the “tangle-resistant” qualities of these weights. The method of back-bouncing is prone to placing lead in precarious positions. With the rubberized outer core and versatile swivel, it’s simple: you will lose less weights.

Does this mean you’ll never lose a Dave’s Tangle Free weight? No, logs & certain other obstacles can still claim a weight or two, but every single person that I’ve spoken with has retained more Dave’s Tangle Free weights than any other lead option hands down. They simply come back easier. I’ve even started making my lead-line heavier so that I can apply more pressure to it and many times the weights have pulled out of difficult positions.

With that in mind we have seen a move in recent years to eliminate lead in many states. Certainly this comes as no surprise due to the “state of California” perspective on it and the simple fact that we’re filling our river-bottoms with lead. This alone may be one of the largest reasons for why Dave’s Tangle Free is a great option for your tackle-box. The Smallmouth bass guys in the Columbia river are already picking up on them too, not to mention numerous other fishing applications in our area.

Dave’s Tangle Free brings a fresh perspective to the weight world. No doubt the benefits of these weights will continue to be seen & shared in years to come.


Ed Fast, a highly respected Portland-area Salmon & Steelhead guide had this to say about Dave’s weights:

“The slickest and trickiest weights you can buy! Dave gave me some back-bouncing weights to try and my clients and I loved them! I ordered a bunch more in all of the sizes I use and we only lost a few during my fall Chinook season. I also like them for my bobber rods.”

Ed mentioned to me how much lead he used to lose back-bouncing lead in upriver, bouldery situations, with the new lead he’s had considerably less lost weights and consequently; saved money on weight!

“When it’s available, I always try to use and promote local, quality, made in the U.S.A products. Dave’s weights meet all three of those criteria.

The fact that there is a functional, lead-free weight for some fishing situations is another thing I like about them.

And hey, they look really cool, too and let’s face it, that’s pretty important.”

For more, visit the website,

Not sure which weights to get? Check out the products page. The “Handi-Pack” retails at only $19.95 and features the perfect assortment of weights and sizes. We love these weights and we know you’ll find them to be an essential part of your tackle-box!


Bi-Mart is now stocking Dave’s Tangle Free! Keep an eye out in the Fishing Department.

You can follow them on Facebook –

Stay Addicted! -Lucas

Editor’s note: This product review first appeared on the Fishing Addicts Northwest website under the the title Introducing Daves Tangle Free! and is used with permission of the author, Lucas Holmgren.

Clear Lake, Berryessa Among Nation’s Best

Clear Lake 7 (1)

Clear Lake was named among the nation’s best fishing and boating destinations for families. (BRIAN LULL)


Apologies for not getting this out sooner, but two of Northern California’s two premiere Bay Area getaway lakes, Berryessa and Clear Lake, were among America’s top 100 fishing and boating lakes for families. The website published the list. Lake Berryessa’s Pleasure Cove Resort, which is just a short drive from Vacaville and about two hours from San Francisco, can play the “We’re Number One” game after finishing atop the poll. Clear Lake State Park ranked 17th in the poll.

Here’s what the criteria was for making the list, per the Take Me Fishing website:

  • Family-friendly location: Within an hour’s drive of a major city or town, so they are easily accessible
  • Have a public body of water that is known for having plenty of common fish species such as bass, crappie, bluegill and trout. Often times these public places are stocked with fish for all.
  • Part of a park that also offers amenities families need like parking, restrooms, playgrounds, picnic areas, or campgrounds
  • Has plenty of places to cast a line, like a fishing pier or has boat ramps to allow you to reach other areas on your boat
  • Is recommended by other anglers! Anglers from around the U.S. cast their vote and thought these parks offered some of the best fishing spots

Good for Clear Lake, a place that I spent many a summer at as a kid but has fallen on some hard economic times over the years.

The Lake County News reported on the results, which had plenty of California flavor to it:

California also notched seven other places on the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) inaugural Take Me Fishing Top 100 list of best places to fish in U.S. state parks and recreation areas, including Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley (7), Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area in Livermore (11), Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas (13), Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville (17), Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey (28), Echo Park in Los Angeles (33) and Millerton Lake State Recreation Area in Friant (75).

The entire list can be viewed at .

“The inclusion of eight California sites in the Take Me Fishing Top 100 list is a welcome recognition of the array of alluring recreational opportunities that exist in our state for anglers and boaters,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.




Memorial Day Remembrances

I’m sure I’ve said it before during one of my blog posts, but I’m a history geek. I almost jumped out of my chair last night when I was channel surfing and saw the History Channel’s promo for its three-part event, The World Wars.  My Dad is 82 now, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and I’ve been trying to convince him to get on a plane and check out Normandy and other war sites in France. But while Memorial Day is all about the coming off summer, baseball game and cookouts, it’s also one of those holidays where you have to take time out to reflect on those brave soldiers who have been lost, from Bunker Hill to Afghanistan, it’s important to reflect a little while you’re enjoying the holiday weekend.

I grew up in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco, and moved back there for a few years before relocating again to take on the editor’s position with California Sportsman’s parent company, Media Inc. publishing. The Golden Gate National Cemetery is located right alongside the street where I’d walk my dog every day, and each day we’d slow down a bit and I’d peek over the tombstones of those who fell in various conflicts. I know what these men and women have sacrificed for us. So I just wanted to post some of pictures of stops I’ve made over the years, and I just hope you all take a moment to say thanks on this holiday.

Shiloh National Battlefield

Shiloh (Tenn.) National Battlefield


54th Massachusetts mural, Smithsonian National Gallery

54th Massachusetts mural, Smithsonian National Gallery

World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. World War II Memorial, Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery; Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery; Washington D.C.







More Shiloh: The Peach Orchard

More Shiloh: The Peach Orchard

Little Round Top, Gettysburg

Little Round Top, Gettysburg





Absolute Archery’s On Target



 Absolute Archery: Celebrating the Rhythm of the Seasons in the Beautiful Foothills since 1994
If you’re a pro target archer, a hunter or new to the sport, Absolute
Archery in Shingle Springs, Calif., has the equipment, the knowledge, and
the experience to help make you as accurate as you want to be.

Darin Mack, co-founder and CEO, has 27 years of experience and passion for
the sport of archery. An experienced hunter, he holds the archery SCI World
Record Moose in Alaska. He was on the professional circuit for 13 years and
hosted a show on the Outdoor Channel. Deborah Mack, his wife, is co-founder
and CFO.

Absolute Archery Range

Some bows are $1,500, but a $300 can still be accurate. Archery is
something anyone can do, regardless of age. As the cost of ammunition
increases, archery is becoming a more inexpensive alternative.

Absolute Archery offers archery leagues, private lessons (equipment for
beginners free of charge), bows on consignment, a family-owned retail pro
shop, and visitors may test all products
before they buy.

Tue - Fri 9-7 pm
Sat & Sun 9-5 pm
Closed Monday

Exterior view

More Mysterious Dead Sea Critters

After the strange deaths of fish and sea creatures in Marina Del Rey  this week, on the Northern California coast, a baby humpback whale washed ashore off Half Moon Bay near San Francisco.

NBC Bay Area with the report and a Twitter photo courtesy of @carolsuestories:



View image on Twitter

A dead whale is floating in ocean in front of our RV in Pillar Point Half Moon Bay, CA 

What’s Happening In Marina Del Rey

In my days living in Southern California, my few beach experiences were mostly in the Malibu area (probably because my sportswriting gig took  me to nearby Pepperdine University took me there frequently. But driving south through a cavalcade of coastal communities you eventually run into Marina Del Rey, one of the nicer of those cities. But something strange is going in the harbor adjacent to Marina Del Rey. Fish are turning up dead. 

From the Associated Press

California Fish and Wildlife workers continued to remove the dead anchovies and stingrays that created a silvery blanket on the water’s surface and a pungent smell that set off a feeding frenzy among harbor seals, pelicans and seagulls. An octopus was also found among the dead sea life.

The incident is likely the result of a confluence of factors, said Dana Roeber Murray, a marine and coastal scientist with the environmental group Heal the Bay.

“They’re not unheard of,” she said. “I would not tie it to a big indicator that bad things are happening in our environment. It’s more like a multitude of circumstances happening at once.”

Anchovies travel in large schools and may have been pushed into the shallower, semi-enclosed waters of the marina by extreme tides caused by a recent full moon.

With so many fish in the water during last week’s heat wave, it’s also possible there was a low amount of dissolved oxygen and increased temperatures that hurt their chances of survival, Murray said.

Strange story, indeed.


The Coming Of Spring At Caples Lake

Update: Here’s Caples’ first plant of the season: California Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 22,745 German brown 3-inch fingerlings.




At 7,806 feet above sea level in the Sierras, spring starts a little later at Caples Lake than other mountain fisheries. But the resort area near Kirkwood off Highway 88 was happy to report the lake has fully thawed and will be open for business this week.

Here’s the report and photo from Caples Lake Resort:



HAPPY Caples Lake Thaw as of 5/12/2014 J

Caples lake thawed on 5/9/2014!

We are delaying our opening to this Friday May 16 for lodging, store and marina to reseal and re-stripe our paving and parking.

We have docks and boats in the water –see picture. The store will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with bait, tackle, beverages and snacks, and will be ready for boat rentals and launching on our ramp.

Fishing licenses are not available at this time. The water is at 54 feet lake level-8 feet down from full, and rising-but on our concrete ramp. The Silver Lake boat launch is open.

The Caples lake EID public boat launch is planned to be open on May 16.

The Caples Lake, and Silver Lake campgrounds are planned to be open Memorial weekend.

Check our phone message on (209) 258-8888 for updates.

Have a great spring 

John and Dave at