Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Strain Of Cutthroat Trout To Be Released In Truckee River Basin


CDFW photo


The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will start releasing Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout into Truckee area waters to give Sierra Nevada anglers the opportunity to catch some trophy sized trout in a year or two.

Last week CDFW received a shipment of cutthroat trout eggs from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex in Gardnerville, Nevada. This is the second shipment of eggs in the last two years and is part of a joint effort between the USFWS and CDFW to bring a native, trophy sport fish to the Truckee River Basin.

“Anglers have been pulling some amazing, trophy-class Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout out of Pyramid Lake in Nevada for the last several years, and we really wanted to get this strain of fish for our anglers here in California,” said Jay Rowan, senior environmental scientist for CDFW’s North Central Region Hatchery Program. “Hopefully we will start seeing some really big ones showing up in a few years.”

The Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout is a lake form of cutthroat trout. This particular strain is native to the Truckee River Basin and is known for their aggressive feeding behavior and large size.

“They are an interesting fish to raise … being wild, they are a little wary, but they seem to take to feed fairly well,” said Steven Schnider, a CDFW fish and wildlife technician. “They are aggressive, so if you don’t separate them when they are young, you will see the bigger fish with tails sticking out of their mouths.”

This piscivorous (fish eating) behavior is what allows the Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout to grow quickly and to such large sizes. In choosing which waters to plant, CDFW fisheries biologists have targeted waters that have robust bait fish populations.

“We did a survey of anglers in some of the Truckee basin reservoirs back in 2010, and 85 percent of the anglers we interviewed were in favor of CDFW stocking Lahontan cutthroat trout in these waters,” said Rowan. “I think those results were largely driven by the success of Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout at Pyramid Lake.”

Stocking of the sub-catchable size fish from last year’s eggs will begin as early as next week and will continue as the snow melts and planting trucks can gain access. Lakes to be stocked include Echo, Fallen Leaf, Donner, Boca, Prosser, Stampede and Webber lakes.

The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex is an integrated fishery program that includes the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility and Fishery Assistance. The program emphasizes the connection of fishery management with the health of the lake and river habitats upon which species depend.


Countdown To The Trout Opener: My Earliest Trout Memories



Editor’s note: With this Saturday’s statewide general trout opener attracting anglers to many high Sierra lakes, rivers and creeks, we wanted to share a story each day from our April issue leading into opening day.

Today: Bill Adelman talks about his opening day memories.


By Bill Adelman  

The trout family – and no, not Mike Trout of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball fame and his folks – provides anglers countless hours of planning, organizing, traveling, thoughtful approaches, tackle selections, presentations, disappointments, and sometimes minimal successes.

I know a few anglers out there who recall being part of the “opening day” mystique of trout season. Prior to its popularity decline beginning in the 1960s, opening day was as important to a large section of outdoorsmen as the first day of baseball season. We listened in silence as the adults spoke of the previous year’s successes or failures and worked to make amends this year.

This was always stream creek or river fishing, not just drowning PowerBait in a local lake. Favorite waters and areas were as protected as one’s tax report or middle name. The kids were not allowed to fish until the older family members had finished. But we were taught the streamside method of field-dressing a trout and got to partake in that adventure immediately.

Many of the old-timers farmed their own worms or nightcrawlers, the bait of choice. Secrets as to how they were fed were similarly protected and kept to ourselves. My granddad’s formula was something or other, mixed with wet coffee grounds turned into the dampened soil by hand. His worms were bigger and more fearful than today’s ’crawlers that are bought in gas stations and tackle shops. We often broke the worm in half, since trout would react to half a worm just as readily as a whole one, so why waste a perfectly good full-size worm? And we learned to not get caught breaking a second worm when a half of one was in the can.

Then came progress, in the form of a certain brand of salmon eggs in a jar that hit the market and were an immediate success, but not so fast here. They had two formulas, designated by a red or green lid. We were only allowed to use the green label, as conventional wisdom dictated they caught far more trout and didn’t fall off the hook as easily when being cast.


As my paper route provided enough money to buy some stuff, my first investment was a Sears telescoping aluminum rod, a clumsy casting reel, Dacron fishing line and catgut leader material. Later on, we actually bought some spinners and a whole new world of trout fishing opened up to the kids. Our target fish back then was the rainbow trout. Who knew anything about browns, cutts, brook, golden, lake, bull or steelhead trout? Not us.

In the 1950s, trout farms began to pop up. Rainbows were much easier to catch and you had to keep every fish you caught and pay for them by the pound. It wasn’t as much fun as walking a creek in tennis shoes and old jeans. 

But as we aged, new options became available to us. A whole new world opened up, as we were able to fish creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes or through the ice. And fuel was less than 50 cents per gallon, so that should tell you something about it.

2008 Oregon Deer Trip


Native trout are very difficult to fool, and anglers had to hone their skills, with more and more turning to the fly fishing community. Fly anglers seemed to revel in presenting their techniques as so difficult to master that only a select few should even attempt it.

We now know this to not be the case. I can fly fish, so there’s that. As time passed, more and more regulations were implemented and limits were adjusted to suit what the experts deemed necessary to protect a fishery. Now we have a hatchery program that is getting butchered with regulations every year.

Catch and release, barbless hooks, no bait and barbless flies are the rule of the day on many waters, and quite frankly, most of these ideas are good ones. We have designated Wild and Heritage trout waters that demand special attention. There are those who demand all non-native trout be removed from the ecosystem. Why is it necessary to kill a German brown caught in the Merced River in Yosemite just because they were planted many years ago instead of being there since the valley was formed?

Our Trip To Lassen


Some fly fishing-only waters make it extremely difficult for the angler, as the degree of experience required reduces most of us to unsuccessful rookie status. But for the fly guy, it’s much more than catching a trout. The total experience begins with the planning stage and ends with the recalling stage upon returning home.

As much as it’s exciting to feel that first tick, it’s all part of the experience to uncase the rod and prepare it for the day. Part of the mental work is knowing in advance what your plan is.

Trout in a lake are almost constantly on the move. Trout in a creek are seldom on the move except to explore small sections for food. They mostly lie in wait and let the food come to them. Sorta like ordering a pizza via delivery rather than driving to the store.

Increased chances of success can be enhanced with new knowledge. Each species of trout has a water temperature range that provides a better-than-average opportunity for hook-ups, but how many of us actually know and take advantage of this information? You know who does? Black bass anglers.

We all enjoy a pic of our catch; however, trout will expire quicker than almost any other species of fish. The longer they are held out of the water, the more damage is done to the brain, which will result in a trout dying more quickly and becoming fodder for crawdads. Common sense can prevent about 90 percent of this occurring.

Good luck this fishing season, and don’t forget to keep your nightcrawler-feeding formula a well-guarded secret, since we had to. Cs

Countdown To The Trout Opener: Stocks Plenty At Collins Lake


Editor’s note: With this Saturday’s statewide general trout opener attracting anglers to many high Sierra lakes, rivers and creeks, we wanted to share a story each day from our April issue leading into opening day.

Today: Collins Lake’s stocking project bodes well for trout anglers.

By Chris Cocoles

One of the gems of the Sierra foothills is Collins Lake, located just northwest of Grass Valley and about a 35-minute drive from the Yuba City-Marysville area. Collins Lakes Resort ( is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and even without that party, the lake’s aggressive trout stocking program and outstanding bass and catfish prospects make it a destination for Northern California anglers. We caught up with Lincoln Young, the resort’s general manager and member of the family that’s operated it for several generations now, for more on what to expect this season.

Chris Cocoles What are the initial prospects for the spring season at Collins Lake?

Lincoln Young With the continual rains through the winter months, we were full early and the water clarity was very murky. Now that we have started having breaks in the weather, fishing will start picking up. Current lake conditions (as of March 17) have the surface temperature at 57 degrees and about 4 feet of visibility. By the end of March or early April, we should see a big increase in all fish as the temperature rises and water clears. 

CC California got a lot of rain in the winter. What is the lake’s water level looking like?

LY We got to full capacity December 27 and have been spilling ever since. 

CC Anglers are surely excited to see some warmer weather but also some hungry trout biting before the water temperatures get a little too warm. How do you expect the trout bite to go? 

LY With the colder/wetter winter and spring, the spring fishing will start picking up and should be solid through May. As the lake continues to clear and temperatures start to rise, we will start seeing all fish become more active. 

Collins Lake Fishing Derby 2017

CC Collins Lake’s family fishing derby is on May 6. Tell us all the details potential entrants need to know. 

LY This is the second annual Family Trout Fishing Derby. Participants can register through a link on our website ( 

We started the event to create a space for families to come out and have a good time together. All proceeds benefit the Yuba Sutter Young Life, which is a youth organization in our local area. All participants receive a free barbecue lunch and raffle tickets. 

CC What about the bass and catfish prospects for the spring and into summer?

LY April, May and early June should be active months for the bass and crappie, as the temperature starts to rise and they start to become more active. The natural population in the lake has been thriving, and these past two years of being at a full lake level has provided more habitat for them to flourish in. The prime spawning beds are on the east side of the lake and in the coves heading up into the northern channel. 

CC What kind of a stocking schedule do you have planned for trout plants?

LY We will be following a very similar plant schedule for spring 2017. We started our spring plants on Valentine’s Day and will be planting regularly through May for a total of over 36,000 pounds through the spring. This makes Collins Lake California’s largest private trout planting program north of Sacramento. Most plants include a mixture of catchable trout and larger trophy-sized trout (3 to 8 pounds). Check out our updated planting schedule at

CC Are there any other upcoming events or information visitors should know about? 

LY This season marks the 50th anniversary of Collins Lake. It has been owned by the Young family for the past 45 of those 50 years. We will be celebrating this landmark year with various promotions throughout the year. This summer we have live music on our deck, movies on our beach and are introducing Paint N’ Sip events to create activities for the entire family to enjoy while they are camping. CS

Editor’s note: Like Collins Lake at

Countdown To Trout Opener: Kayaking To Big Fish

Editor’s note: With this Saturday’s statewide general trout opener attracting anglers to many high Sierra lakes, rivers and creeks, we wanted to share a story each day from our April issue leading into opening day.

Today: Kayaks are a perfect way to reach trout hot spots.

By Mark Fong 

Jay Warren grew up with fishing in his blood. As a youngster he spent many summers in Gunnison, Colo.,  with his father and siblings, fishing for trout. 

Over the years the pursuit of his favorite game fish has taken on many dimensions.

His father-in-law was an expert angler who taught Warren what he knows today. 

“He was an outstanding spin fisherman; he taught me a lot about fishing the creeks. He would drift eggs and crickets,” remembers Warren. “He would throw a lot of plugs, a technique which was not popular at the time. He knew all the techniques, using the ultralight trout gear. He had a little aluminum boat that he would take to Eagle Lake.”

To this day, Warren continues to study the sport, reading lots of books about trout fishing. He is an avid fly tyer and fly fisherman. For a period of time Warren routinely took to the waters of Eagle Lake and Lake Almanor to troll aboard his Blue Water Jet Craft. Like many boat-owning anglers, the responsibilities of boat ownership ultimately outweighed the benefits. 


Not long after selling his boat, Warren found himself yearning to get back on the water. He searched around for a long time, looking for something that would allow him to scoot around his favorite lakes and chase his beloved trout. The answer ultimately came in the form of a pedal-drive Hobie kayak. 

Kayaks opened a whole new world of fishing opportunities for Warren. It allowed him to get from place to place on lakes that were previously inaccessible from a large motorized craft or unfishable from the shore.

Since a kayak is small in footprint and lacks motorized power, this kind of craft affords the angler the ability to make quiet and stealthy presentations. If you don’t think today’s kayaks are well-equipped fishing machines, think again. 

Warren employs a large-screen fish-finder that is equally at home on the deck of a high-performance bass boat. It allows him to find structure, measure the depth and temperature and, most importantly, locate the schools of bait and fish.

Warren spends his days on the water fishing with a group of dedicated kayak anglers that includes his son, David. The two spend lots of time fishing the many spectacular trout fisheries up and down the state of California.


Trolling minnow plugs is one of Warren’s go-to tactics. He uses a 6-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot fast-action, medium-power spinning rod rated for 6- to 8-pound monofilament line. He’ll cast the lure behind the kayak and will continue to feed line until his bait is between 70 and 150 feet out.

Warren likes to place the rod in a holder so that he can drop the tip so that it’s level with the water, allowing the lure to reach maximum depth. The speed at which he pushes the pedals also impacts the running depth of the lure. Warren has had good success fishing in the 5- to 15-foot depth range and by targeting boulders and rocky structure, as opposed to the sandy flats. If a straight troll is not generating any strikes, he will vary his speed, performing “S” turns with the ’yak, or use his rod tip to impart a ripping motion to the bait.

“I also like to fish with spoons,” Warren adds. “I don’t troll the spoons; I cast them. It’s sort of like bass fishing out of the kayak. I’ll paddle the kayak to a fishy-looking area and I’ll start throwing to the shoreline, letting the spoon flutter down. Sometimes I will cruise the shoreline just looking for activity. I’ll look for rising fish or maybe I’ll see a group of trout working a bait ball. My favorite spoons are the ¼-ounce Little Cleos and ¼-ounce Thomas Buoyants.”

When artificials fail to produce, Warren turns to bait. He constructs a 3- to 4-foot leader by tying a small baitholder hook to one end of the leader and a barrel swivel to the other. On his mainline he adds a sliding sinker, then finishes by tying the mainline to the open end of the swivel. On the hook he uses a threading tool to attach a large nightcrawler. Using the wind to drift through the area, he vertically mooches the ’crawler. 

An often overlooked tactic is to simply use the kayak to reach a spot. 

“We often use our kayaks to get to another location, and then we’ll ‘bank’ the kayaks,” says Warren. “There is a lake we fish where everyone parks in a single location and they all fish in that area. In another part of the lake there is an inlet with some really good structure. Our group will use our kayaks to get to that area. We’ll beach the kayaks and then we’ll walk the shoreline. We catch some really nice trout doing that.”

Kayak fishing is getting more and more popular, and for good reasons as kayak anglers continue to find new opportunities to catch more and bigger fish. If this sound appealing to you, perhaps you should give it a try. CS

Thinking About Earth Day

OSPR chemist Susan Sugarman with kids at the 2004 American River Salmon Festival, at Nimbus Fish Hatchery. (CDFW)

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day, a good time to remember what John Muir said so eloquently: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” That fact influences nearly everything the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) does to manage and protect the state’s native plants, invertebrates, fish, wildlife and habitats.

Twenty million people in the U.S. participated in the first Earth Day in 1970, to increase public awareness of the damage humans were doing to the environment. People used the day to educate themselves and others about the relationship we have with the world’s natural resources. That year, California was one of the first states to enact statutes protecting rare and endangered animal species, and it remains a world leader in environmental protection. Now, Earth Day is celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 192 nations.

CDFW sees the effects of human behavior on wildlife and ecosystems every day. As the public steward for California’s wildlife and habitat, CDFW practices conservation and restoration statewide with considerable success. California tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) provide a good example.

By 1870 very few individual tule elk were known to exist; they were closely related and on the verge of extinction. When the state Legislature banned elk hunting in 1873, it was unclear if any even remained. One pair was discovered by a local game warden near Buttonwillow, and nurtured to save the species. In 1977, seven elk were reintroduced to their former native habitat at Grizzly Island in Solano County. Since then, this herd has not only flourished, but provided seed stock for CDFW to establish new herds. Statewide, tule elk populations have expanded to 5,100 animals in 21 herds.

Two charismatic birds that were once endangered have recovered well enough to be de-listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: the Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) and California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus). By 1969 both species’ breeding populations had plummeted, primarily because of organochlorine pesticides like DDT. The chemicals made the birds’ eggshells too thin and fragile to withstand the parents’ weight in the nest, so multiple generations were crushed during incubation. Recovery began when the state and federal governments and Canada banned the use of those pesticides. Reducing human disturbance of nesting and roosting sites aided the pelicans’ recovery, and a captive breeding program supported recovery of the falcon population. Along with landowners and other scientists, CDFW scientists’ research and monitoring provided the facts needed to list both species, make their recovery possible, and determine when it was time to de-list them. CDFW continues to work with many partners to monitor de-listed species to ensure their populations remain healthy.

The endangered Light-footed Ridgway’s Rail (Rallus longirostris levipes, formerly known as light-footed clapper rail) is slowly recovering, thanks to CDFW and other scientists and partners, and because of habitat acquisition by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), which purchased land for the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. There, and in other coastal marshes of Southern California, these secretive birds are protected, and a captive breeding program is underway to supplement the wild population. A population decrease in 2008 is believed to have been weather-related, and could be a harbinger of what’s in store if climate change predictions come to pass. The consistent management and captive breeding program have brought the population back up to more than 600 pairs.

Eighty years ago people thought Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) were extinct. A small colony was discovered at Big Sur in 1938 and given legal protection. The combined efforts of local, state and federal governments, nonprofit organizations and individuals have nurtured the population to around 3,000. That’s only a fraction of historic numbers, but a step in the right direction.

In 1994 CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and UC Davis created the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) to rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife injured in oil spills. OWCN quickly became the world’s premier oiled wildlife rescue organization and pioneered research in the subject to develop the best achievable care using the best available technology. Since 1995, the OWCN has responded to more than 75 oil spills throughout California and has cared for nearly 8,000 oiled birds and mammals.

“Working in the oil spill response field for over 25 years, I have seen how our community quickly responds to a detrimental environmental incident,” CDFW Environmental Program Manager Randy Imai said. “So, I know we can all do this at a much smaller scale in our everyday lives. Every one of us can make a difference.”

The WCB supports projects that benefit wildlife with bond money approved by California voters for environment-related projects. In 2016 alone, the WCB allocated approximately $93 million to more than 100 projects. That money bought more than 8,000 acres of wildlife habitat, conservation easements on more than 33,000 acres of habitat, restoration and enhancement of more than 17,000 acres, public access rights, stream flow enhancement studies and infrastructure improvements, and it helped develop Natural Community Conservation Plans that protect multiple species.

You don’t have to be a scientist, wildlife officer or legislator to protect California’s wildlife and ecosystems. There are many things most anyone can do, including:

  • Pick up litter. Wildlife often mistake trash for food and die because of it, and wild birds can become entangled and die in abandoned fishing line.
  • Don’t use rat poison. Let rodents’ natural predators—coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raptors (owls, hawks) and snakes—control their population. See our Rodenticides webpage for details.
  • Replace your lawn with native plants to help conserve water and our native pollinators. Locally native plants can thrive in both dry and wet years.
  • Conserve water.  Conservation is the way of life in California. Use as little water as possible to prevent shortages and assure sufficient water for food crops and for ecosystem protection.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most California cities and counties have recycling programs for both residents and businesses. Visit CalRecycle Earth Day.
  • Buy in bulk and use recyclable materials. Compost veggie scraps and yard clippings in gardens. Landfills destroy valuable wildlife habitat, so think about that each time you make a trip to your garbage containers. The cumulative impacts are enormous.
  • Use biodegradable soaps. They pollute less than other soaps.
  • Drive less. Plan your errands to reduce the number of car trips. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit. Spare the Air! If you can, make your next car electric or hybrid to help slow climate change.
  • Never dump oil, chemicals, or any other waste into a storm drain or gutter.
  • Take children out for nature walks and teach them about the local plants and animals. They can’t be stewards of the future without understanding and caring for nature. We’re all in it together on this one planet Earth.
  • Volunteer at nature centers, ecological reserves, or for a government-led program like the Natural Resources Volunteer Program. Volunteer at schools or recreation centers, and create nature and ecology programs.
  • Go Birding! Share bird identification books and binoculars with others who may not have them. Visit California Audubon for information.
  • Keep dogs on a leash in wild places, even on beaches. Don’t let dogs flush birds! Birds need undisturbed time to nest successfully, to forage, and then to rest and preen and conserve energy.
  • Keep cats indoors. Cats kill millions of birds each year, not out of malice, but because they’re wired to kill and eat them. A clean litter box is not difficult to maintain. Just be sure to bag the waste in biodegradable material and dispose of it in your garbage can.
  • Go Solar! Utilities offer rebates, and if you can afford a solar energy system, you’ll help reduce the rate of climate change. If you can’t, let the sun warm your home through windows on sunny days.
  • Conserve electricity, use natural light as much as possible, and turn off all lights when not in use. It takes natural resources to create energy and wildlife habitat is compromised or destroyed in the process. Energy production pollutes the air and produces greenhouse gases, contributing to the climate change problem and respiratory ailments. Use thermal drapes and energy-efficient windows to keep your home warm or cool as needed, and dress for the temperature, so you use the heat or air conditioner less. Use a clothes line outdoors or hang clothes to dry indoors. You’ll save money as well as energy!

There are many entertaining and informative Earth Day events planned throughout California. Here’s a small sample:

Earth Day Festival at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, April 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach (92647). The free event will include educational activity booths and guided tours of the reserve. Exhibitors include CDFW, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Wetland and Wildlife Care Center, Native People of SoCal, Orange County Coastkeeper, Shipley Nature Center, Air Quality Management District, Wyland Foundation, Shed Your Skin, and co-host Amigos de Bolsa Chica. Enjoy the Windows to Our Wetlands bus, interactive booths, native plant stations, a craft booth, food for sale, and more. The event is handicap accessible, held in the north parking lot. For more information, call (714) 846-1114.

CDFW will be at the U.S. Forest Service’s Kern River Valley Bioregions Festival at Circle Park in Kernville April 22, to explain the Kern River Hatchery renovation project and the new Kern River Rainbow program with the Friends of the Kern River Hatchery. The CDFW Natural Resource Volunteer Program will provide a booth with information on volunteer opportunities.

CDFW will host booths at three Sacramento area events: the Roseville Celebrate the Earth Festival and Sacramento Zoo Earth Day on April 22, and the ECOS Sacramento Earth Day on April 23. Ask staff about California wildlife, Watchable Wildlife locations in the greater Sacramento area and Nimbus Fish Hatchery, which is open to visitors year-round. Enjoy a variety of hands-on activities, including the Salmon Survival Wheel, where players learn about the obstacles that salmon must overcome in order to spawn.

Volunteer Work Day at Friant Interactive Nature Site, April 21 and 22, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 17443 N. Friant Rd, Friant (93626). Spend a fun day outdoors, doing trail maintenance (pulling weeds, raking, pruning) in a lovely setting for outdoors education. For more information, please call (559) 696-8092.

Gray Lodge Clean-up and Field Day and Public Meeting, April 22, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). The event is in partnership with California Waterfowl Association (CWA), and will include habitat and maintenance projects, followed by a lunch sponsored by CWA. The day will be informative and will help improve the quality of wildlife habitat. At 1:30 p.m., CDFW will hold an annual public outreach meeting regarding the Gray Lodge and Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Areas at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area’s main office building. For more information, please call (530) 846-7500 or email

Los Banos Wildlife Area will have a hands-on activity booth at the Modesto Earth Day Festival in Graceda Park.

Many more events are listed at CalRecycle and

Lake Del Valle Season Off To Good Start

Sunnyvale’s Sophia Kirkpatrick used a Berkley MiceTail to land this 3-pound trout on Del Valle’s east side.

The following press release is courtesy of Bob Stamumbaugh of Rocky Mountain Recreation’s Lake Del Valle:

We are open!
We opened last Saturday and kicked off with a bang. Almost everybody coming back with personal boats were catching fish. One angler caught five bass and two trout. But he released them. I saw several large trout, three different striper; but no catfish.
The water tempreture is currently 52 degrees with very little disability. the weather has been drizzly and on and off rain. But come Thursday, the weather will be perfect throughout the weekend.
The Trout are liking Mice Tails and garlic-flavored PowerBait.  Stripers are being caught using anchovies and mackerel.
Last week, 1,200 pounds of Mt. Lassen trout.

John Griffin from Sacramento caught an 8-pound trout at the Narrows using rainbow Power Bait.

Family: Mountain Lion Entered House And Attacked Dog (Updated)

CDFW file photo

UPDATE: DNA found on the scene indicates it was a mountain lion that entered the house. Frightening.

Here’s the CDFW release:

A trace of mountain lion DNA was identified in a blood sample taken from inside a home in Pescadero, confirming reports that a mountain lion entered an occupied home and took a dog off the bed where the homeowner was sleeping.

On Monday, Apr. 17, 2017, a Pescadero homeowner called 911 at 3 a.m. to report an animal had entered her home through an open door and taken her 15-pound dog, which was sleeping on the end of her bed. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded and although they did not find the dog, they reported seeing wet paw prints at the entrance to the bedroom. They notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a wildlife officer responded later that morning. The wet prints had dried and were no longer visible. The wildlife officer was unable to find any other tracks or obvious sign of a mountain lion. He did discover a small drop of blood on the door, which he collected for analysis.

Due to the nature of the report, the wildlife officer drove the blood sample to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento the same day. Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog.

The property owners are eligible for a depredation permit, which would allow them or an agent acting on their behalf to take the offending mountain lion. However, they opted not to receive the permit. No further action will be taken by CDFW.

CDFW stresses that this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen. CDFW urges residents in the area to take all reasonable actions to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with not only mountain lions, but all wildlife. For tips, please see


Was a dog’s tragic death the result of a mountain lion that entered a Pescadero (San Mateo County) family’s house?

Here’s NBC Bay Area with more:

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents on the Peninsula to lock and secure their homes after a women reported that a mountain lion attacked her dog in Pescadero, California.

Deputies responded early Monday morning to a report of a mountain lion entering a home and snatching a small dog. Vickie Fought told deputies she and her 12-year-old daughter were sleeping in a bedroom with their small dog at the foot of their bed and the back door open a crack.

Fought said they woke up in the middle of the night when their dog, Lenore, started barking.

“That’s when I saw what I thought was our bigger dog walking in,” Fought said.

Seconds later, Fought said Lenore, a 15-pound Portuguese Podengo, went silent.

Fought said she thought Lenore finally recognized the bigger dog. That was until, Fought added, “I saw the lion walk back out the door.”

Rainy Weather Postpones CDFW-Sponsored Lassen County Derby

Photo by CDFW

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Due to safety concerns over high water and unsafe conditions, the annual Susan River Youth Fishing Derby will be postponed. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the 28th annual derby was scheduled to be held on Saturday, April 22 on the Susan River in Susanville, Lassen County.

“With all the rain we have had and the accompanying snow melt, the Lassen Sportsmen’s Club and CDFW felt it was best to postpone the event until the river conditions improve,” said CDFW Fisheries Biologist Paul Divine. “We will be working closely with the Lassen Sportsmen’s Club to find a weekend later this year to hold the event.”

Fishing derbies are held in several locations around the state and are designed to promote fishing to young people and their families. At most events, all fishing tackle, gear, bait and equipment are provided free of charge and volunteers from local angling groups help with baiting hooks to cleaning the fish.

In California, anyone under 16 can fish without a license. For complete regulations on fishing in California, as well as fish planting locations, state fishing records and more, please go to


A Look At Various Salmon Fishing Restrictions And Closures

Photo by CDFW

Here’s a breakdown of various salmon fishing regulations, including many closures along the North Coast, from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

Historically low numbers of fall-run and winter-run Chinook salmon have prompted the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) to drastically limit the state’s salmon fishery for the remainder of 2017.

Returning stock projections for fall-run Chinook in the Klamath River Basin are the lowest on record. By limiting, and in some cases closing, the fisheries for the remainder of 2017, the FGC hopes to maximize fall- and winter-run Chinook survival and reproduction and support efforts to rebuild the fisheries.

“Closing an entire fishing season is not something that I take lightly, but the survival of the fall-run Chinook in the Klamath and Trinity rivers is at stake,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “CDFW and other fisheries management partners agree that these restrictions are necessary to help recover this vital species.”

Inland, spring-run Chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. After these dates, both fisheries will close for the remainder of the calendar year. However, the nearby Smith River will remain open for fall-run Chinook, and there are additional opportunities in southern Oregon rivers. During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain open, with some restrictions, as follows.

  • In the Fort Bragg area, which extends from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the season will continue through May 31, reopening Aug. 15 and extending through Nov. 12 with a 20-inch minimum size limit for the season. The summer closure in this area is also related to the limited numbers of Klamath River fall-run Chinook.
  • In the San Francisco area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude), the season will close on April 30 under a 24-inch minimum size limit, and reopen on May 15 through Oct. 31 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.
  • In the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and Point Sur (36° 18’ 00” N. latitude), the season will continue through July 15, while areas south of Point Sur will continue through May 31. The minimum size limit south of Pigeon Point will remain 24-inches total length.

Other restrictions for these areas are as follows:

  • The daily bag limit is two salmon per day of any species except coho salmon and no more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries.
  • For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod may be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling between Horse Mountain and Point Conception.

Shortened ocean salmon seasons in northern California were necessary partly because data show that Klamath River fall-run Chinook are most likely to be caught in ocean areas near the Klamath River mouth, with impacts on this stock decreasing the further south fishing opportunity occurs.

Concerns are also high for endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook, contributing to the decision to shorten ocean fishing seasons in areas south of Pigeon Point. Three consecutive years of low juvenile numbers, coupled with unusually warm and unproductive ocean conditions, led fishery managers and industry representatives to implement protections beyond those required by the Endangered Species Act biological opinion and the federal salmon Fishery Management Plan’s harvest control rule. Fishery data suggest that winter-run Chinook are concentrated south of Pigeon Point, especially south of Point Sur, during the summer and early fall. Ocean fishery closures and size limit restrictions implemented in the Monterey management areas are intended to minimize contact with winter-run Chinook.

Klamath fall-run Chinook are currently classified under the federal plan as “approaching an overfished condition.” Given the poor return of adults to the river the past two years, coupled with returns this fall that are expected to be just as poor or even worse, the stock is expected to be classified as “overfished” in 2018. As a result, CDFW will be working with federal and tribal partners to develop a Rebuilding Plan for Klamath River fall-run Chinook next year.

CDFW and the FGC are tasked with managing the state’s fishery resources to ensure sustainability. Given the stock status, extra precaution is warranted. Every fish counts this year – especially every fish returning to the river to spawn.



From Alaskan Salmon To The Ducks Of The O.C.

Thompson was just as comfortable wading a river in the summer as he was skating on sheets of ice winter. (PHOTO BY NATE THOMPSON)

Thompson and the Anaheim Ducks open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday hosting a quarterfinal series against the Calgary Flames. (PHOTO BY MARK MAUNO/WIKIMEDIA)

By Chris Cocoles

NHL player Nate Thompson is so in love with hockey he’d probably play it for peanuts, and he’s equally passionate about fishing thanks to an early assist from Snoopy.

An Alaskan in the truest sense of the word, Thompson’s first fishing memory included using a toy rod of the adorable beagle from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip franchise. And good grief, Charlie Brown, did that Snoopy pole ever do its job.

Thompson, who grew up in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, was just 2 years old when he and his dad, Robert, went fishing. Young Nate wasn’t exactly using state-of-the-art gear.

Back in the day, Zebco manufactured a packaged “Catch ‘Em Kit,”  complete with a ready-to-fish rod and reel, and the container it came in featured the canine himself fishing from his doghouse. It’s a good bet the gear wasn’t designed to catch an Alaskan salmon. But the following is a true story.  

“It was by complete accident. I was just throwing my line in the water and my dad was fishing next to me,” says the 32-year-old Thompson, a center for the Anaheim Ducks, who host the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series tonight after Anaheim won the best-of-seven opener 3-2 on Thursday. “He looked over and saw the pole was bending and almost to the point where it was snapping. He managed to either jump on the line or jump on the pole. He pretty much tackled the fish in the water.”

And with that, the youngster had his welcome-to-fishing moment. “After that, my dad said I was hooked,” he recalls during a phone interview.

Only in this case the hooking didn’t result in a two-minute stay inside the penalty box. Thompson had two undisputed hobbies growing up in Alaska: the outdoors and hockey; or perhaps it was hockey and the outdoors. But he’s made a living with one and enjoyed life from the other.

And while he understandably stays busy with his job in Southern California and now has an infant son to raise, Thompson’s affinity for hunting and especially fishing is the same as it was when his Snoopy gear fooled that salmon 30 years ago.

“Pretty much every fishing trip after that, when I knew (my dad) was going, I’d be running out of the house and chasing him to make sure he wouldn’t leave without me,” Thompson says. “He said it was a given when he went fishing he had to take me with him.”

Thompson’s hockey career has sent him on a coast-to-coast tour across the continent, and Orange County is a whole new world than where he grew up, but it’s impossible to take the Alaskan out of his identity. In a state where winters feature frozen ponds and summers salmon runs, it’s not uncommon for skates, pucks and sticks or rods, reels and flies to define who you are.

“I look back now and whenever I go home, I kind of take for granted realizing that, ‘Wow! I grew up here.’ I know not a lot of kids get to experience what I did,” he says. “So it was a special place, remains a special place and is a cool place to call home.”

Thompson’s dad Robert and mom Cathy t were typically dedicated  hockey parents as Nate played throughout the winter growing up in Anchorage. (NATE THOMPSON)


SOME ALASKANS WEREN’T BORN in Alaska. But so many times you can find yourself there and never want to leave again.

The oil boom in the state helped Thompson’s parents get there. Robert is from Ohio and Nate’s mom Cathy hails from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Cathy’s parents moved north as part of the industry, and after she and Robert met in California they joined them.

Robert wasn’t much of an outdoorsman in the Lower 48, but living in our 49th state has a way of sucking you in – your kids too. Robert now lives around the salmon-filled Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage and fishes whenever possible. Young Nate and his sister, Tiffany, were introduced to the flora and fauna, even living in urban Anchorage.

“It really is the Last Frontier,” Nate says. “To be able to drive a half hour out of Anchorage, you can be in the middle of nowhere. Or you can drive to a place in Anchorage, go on a hike and next thing you know, you’re in the wilderness. There’s no place like that.”

Fly fishing became part of the father-son bonding process. They took local classes in how to tie flies and it soon became the Thompsons’ favorite outdoor pastime. Catching a hard-fighting salmon on a fly rod was a challenge Nate couldn’t get enough of.

When he got older, the endless sunlight of Alaskan summers allowed Thompson and his friends to do a “suicide run” to a nearby fishing spot, which is a lot less sinister than it sounds.

“You leave your house at, say, 8 or 8:30 (p.m.), then drive about an hour and 45 minutes to the river,” he says. “You fish and catch your limit and finish – depending on how fast – and whether it’s midnight, 1 or 2 in the morning, you then drive back home. The benefit of that is still mostly light outside. You don’t have to worry about it getting dark on you.”

“That’s one of the perks of being in Alaska in the summertime.”

Happy days back home in Alaska. (NATE THOMPSON)

IF SUMMER WAS A time for using a net to secure a salmon or trout, winter meant nets of a different kind. Thompson would lace up his skates and never be far away from a frozen pond.

“I think that’s where I improved the most as a player, playing hockey outside,” he says. “We would have practice (indoors) at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and there was an outdoor rink right next door. We’d take all our gear off and put on our hats and gloves and walk to the outdoor rink.”

Thompson and the other kids in the neighborhood spent the available daylight hours to hit the Mother Nature-created playing surfaces.

“All day, every day, whether it was playing for whatever club team I was with, or me just skating outside with my buddies,” Thompson says. “And then when it started to get warm outside, the hockey gear went away … Every weekend we’d go fishing.”

But since this is Alaska, winters are looonnnggg, so all that time on the ice would pay off for Thompson, who joined future National Hockey League players Matt Carle, a former San Jose Shark, and Tim Wallace and played together for a local youth team, the Alaska Stars.

At his side for all the games was his family. Sarah Palin might be the state’s “celebrity” hockey mom, but Cathy is one of many unsung matriarchs shuttling their sons and daughters to 6 a.m. practices and tournaments in far-flung cities and towns all over North America.

“Talking about the games, the practices, the big fish that we caught – those are the things that you just never forget,” Thompson says of his parents. “They were a team and my mom was definitely a hockey mom and my dad too was a (hockey dad). We’d have games on Saturdays and they’d be in the stands freezing their butts off bundled up in a parka jacket with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. My poor sister had to be dragged to the games. I still hear about that from her. But they were great and very supportive.”

Remember all those pickup games Thompson and friends would play? Dad would frequently be waiting in the car, heater blasting, with lunch from McDonald’s once they took a break, after which they’d head back out for another four hours of skating. Cathy wasn’t sure what to make of her young son’s proclamation that he’d be a professional someday, but clearly the kid was onto something.

It’s no wonder that all the practicing helped Thompson excel at Anchorage’s Dimond High School, and then in the major junior hockey circuit with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, with whom he was selected 183rd overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2003 NHL Draft.

Thompson made his Boston debut in the 2006-07 season and has enjoyed a solid career, also playing for the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning before getting to Anaheim. It was in Florida where he got the chance to play with his childhood friend Carle, who’s also part of a close-knit fraternity of Alaskans in pro hockey.

“We probably had played together for six or seven years growing up all over on youth hockey teams,” Carle says. “It was a cool experience, because Nate and I kind of went different ways. We got drafted in the same year and I went to go to college (University of Denver) and he went into the Western Hockey League. So we kind of came full circle. We played against each other a lot in the NHL, but that opportunity to be on the same team was pretty special for those two years, and it will be memorable when we look back on our careers.”

They’d been friends and teammates since boyhood. Sleepovers at each other’s houses usually involved hockey talk or makeshift games of some kind.  

“We started playing together when we were 6, 7 years old and played together on every team, but when we went different routes we stayed in touch, and have been close ever since,” Thompson says of Carle. “To be able to later on play for the same NHL team – as best friends growing up – is something I’ll never forget.”

(Tampa Bay became even more nostalgic for Thompson since Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman was hired as the Lightning’s general manager during Thompson’s four-plus seasons there. His favorite player and team growing up was Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings. “He was the ultimate pro and ultimate leader who did everything right,” Thompson says of Yzerman.)

The Lightning traded him to Anaheim in the summer before the 2014-15 season, where he’s been a valuable contributor to a perennial postseason team. Only injuries have slowed him down. Thompson missed the first 25 games in 2015-16 after undergoing offseason left shoulder surgery. Then last summer, while working out he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right foot. Another operation shut him down until he was able to return to the Ducks’ lineup on Jan. 31 against Colorado, which – even as a player in a sport known for toughness – has been a remarkable recovery timeline.

“I feel really good. During the time when I was injured and rehabbing, I think the biggest thing in why I’ve been feeling so good on the ice is I didn’t waste any time,” he says. “Even when I was in a walking boot I was working extremely hard off the ice. I made sure I was ready to go when I hit the ice.”

When Thompson returned and seemed to make a seamless transition back into the lineup, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the Orange County Register that Thompson was a “glue guy” on the team.  

And sure enough, while he’s not the prolific goal scorer as hotshot youngster Rickard Rakell or Anaheim mainstays like captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Thompson nonetheless is the kind of player who endears himself to coaches for understanding his role. Thompson fits nicely as the Ducks’ fourth-line center. That fourth unit traditionally isn’t expected to produce a lot of points – Thompson had 48 career goals (with 63 assists) in 550 games, including a critical goal in the regular-season finale against Anaheim’s SoCal rival L.A. Kings  that secured the Pacific Division title – but instead establish a physical forecheck – applying pressure along the boards in the offensive zone – and occasionally generate scoring chances. As the center, Thompson also takes a lot of faceoffs and helps out on the Ducks’ penalty kill when the team is shorthanded.

Thompson (left) returned from offseason Achilles surgery and centers the Pacific Division champions’ fourth line. (JOHN CORDES/ICON SPORTS MEDIA)

“He’s someone we needed. He’s a specialty player – blocks shots, plays his role,” veteran Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano once told the Los Angeles Times when asked about Thompson. “All the teams that win Stanley Cups, they have those guys, and those guys are big parts because they do the right things and all they worry about is doing the little things. They don’t get credit, but the guys in the room give ’em credit.”

And he’s skilled enough to chip in with goals when needed, scoring twice in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs series with Nashville. Not that Thompson or his teammates have a lot of memories from that postseason. The Ducks lost to the underdog Predators in seven games, which has become a trend for one of the NHL’s best teams of the past few years but lost in a seventh and deciding home game of a series for four consecutive seasons, two with Thompson on the team.

So there’s a sense of unfinished business with these Ducks, who feature a nice blend of established veterans (Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan Kesler and Cam Fowler) mixed with some young emerging talent (Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Nick Ritchie). Anaheim’s dressing room is well aware that the players will be judged on what happens in the postseason, starting with this Calgary series.

“I feel like we have a team that’s built to win now and I think we have everything to win a championship,” Thompson says. “Hopefully we can go on a nice run and I can bring the (Stanley Cup) back to Alaska.”

Thompson (far right) has joined childhood friends like Tim Wallace (far left), Matt Carle (second from left) and Joey Crabb (third from right), all former NHL players on summer fishing adventures for years, with Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge owner Brian Kraft (second from right). Another former Anchorage hockey player, Peter Cartwright, is also pictured. (MATT CARLE)


Thompson’s team off the ice includes his 2-year-old son Teague and yellow Lab Eddie. (NATE THOMPSON)


WHEN THEIR FAMILY COMMITMENTS and other circumstances allow it, the Alaska hockey gang reunites in the summer and goes on a fishing trip with  a bunch of puckheads. The group includes Thompson, Carle, Wallace, ex-NHLer Joey Crabb and others.

“Just a good couple days since we’ve known each other for just about our whole lives,” says Thompson, who also shared many wonderful days in the field with not just family and friends but his beloved black Lab, Diesel, who loved to swim the same waters his owner/dogfather fished in.  

“I’ve been always been a dog lover, and my dad had three Labs. I first had Diesel when I was 20 and he went through a lot of cities with me,” says Nate, who lost Diesel at 11 years old last June. “He was my first dog, and it was tough. Losing a dog is losing a family member.”

But a new four-legged son, yellow Lab Eddie, joined Thompson’s growing family, which also includes son Teague, who turns 2 in May.

(Thompson is now a single dad, and in late March he was trending on the internet and the social media spin cycle when multiple gossip websites reported he was romantically linked to HGTV personality Christina El Moussa, now a frequent tabloid newsmaker after splitting with her TV co-host husband.)

For obvious reasons, Teague takes up a lot of possible fishing time, but it’s easy to envision this dad getting his son on the water. Snoopy rods might not be Teague’s first piece of gear, but his dad will be glad to share the same outdoors he’s grown to love as much as playing for a Stanley Cup in the O.C.  CS

“I look back now and whenever I go home, I kind of take for granted realizing that, ‘Wow! I grew up here.’ I know not a lot of kids get to experience what I did,” Thompson says. “So it was a special place, remains a special place and is a cool place to call home.” (NATE THOMPSON)


In hockey lingo, they call it “lighting the lamp” when a player scores a goal. Childhood Alaskan fishing and hockey bros Nate Thompson and Matt Carle are on a personal quest to turn on the red light.

This is a story of two Alaskans in search of the holy grail. But this doesn’t involve a goblet and Indiana Jones’ last crusade to find it, but instead it’s a 30-inch rainbow trout they have vowed to land during their return trips to the Last Frontier.  

Carle, the same age as the 32-year-old Thompson and a longtime NHL veteran who is also from Anchorage, remembers one trip to the Bristol Bay area where both anglers came agonizingly close to beating each other to the punch.

“It was the last day, our last chance that we’d have at a fish,” Carle remembers. “And I caught mine and it (measured out at around) 29½. And then within an hour or two Nate caught a 29½-incher. That was probably one of the most fun days I’ve had while fishing.”

It was breathtaking for each to witness the other’s rod bend heavily upon the strike and see that gorgeous trout leaping from the river’s surface.

“You think, ‘Wow, this could be it,’” Carle says. “We get both the fish and you measure them but they’re a little bit short. Of course, that’s always going to keep us coming back.”

Thompson (middle) and former NHLer and close friend Matt Carle ( right) show off their nearly 30-inch dueling rainbows. (MATT CARLE)

They were even in the same boat when it happened, though Thompson says his was closer to 29 inches.

“We were both so close,” Thompson says. “I think he still got me by half an inch. Someday we’ll both do it; it’s just a question of who gets the bigger one.”

“It’s an excuse to go back up to try and go up and catch one,” adds Carle, who began his career with the San Jose Sharks. “So when I do actually catch one, I guess the next thing will be to try and top it. I certainly have a place on my wall for that fish to get mounted.”

On a different trip, the guys were able to get to Alaska in the fall, when they’re usually busy with their jobs. But the league endured a lockout that delayed the start of the 2012-13 season until January.  

“I thought that was going to be my opportunity because I able to go to the lodge when we could close it down; it was the first week of October, and as long as I was playing, it was going to be the latest I could get up there and get an opportunity,” Carle says.

But that late into the fall, the Kvichak River, which flows from Lake Iliamna to Bristol Bay, was flooding, creating a murky mess and tougher fishing than anticipated. It was unfortunate timing, given that the work stoppage allowed the guys a rare opportunity to fish when they normally were starting their seasons.

“We still had a great time and caught some nice fish,” Carle says. “But nothing over the 30-inch mark.”

Carle, after being traded by San Jose, went onto a nice career with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers (reaching the Stanley Cup Final with both teams before falling short against the Chicago Blackhawks both times). Carle retired during the 2016-17 season and may have the leg up on his buddy with more chances to fish as Thompson continues his hockey career. But the guys are rooting for each other in this quest.

Whenever Carle and Thompson can get away with their families, they head back home and join other friends to fish at Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge, where they know the trout – especially the ones over the magic 30-inch plateau – are waiting.

“I think (lodge owner) Brian Kraft has it rigged,” Carle jokes. “That way we’re always coming back.”

Thompson doesn’t expect any trash talk if he or Carle reach the milestone length before the other.

“I think it’s just going to be two guys looking at the fish and then looking at each other,” he says. “Besides, we’re both competitive and there doesn’t have to be much said.”

A holy grail of a trout speaks for itself. CC


As you might expect, Nate Thompson has a lot of stories from fishing in Alaska. This is just one that came to mind:

“If you’ve seen those postcards of the bear catching a salmon jumping up a waterfall, we went to that area, Brooks River Falls in Katmai National Park. And we were fishing there for rainbow trout, and the bears are just there to look for salmon, but they’re all around you. At this park you can’t even bring ChapStick because the bears can smell it.”

“But we’re fishing there with the bears, and we had an indicator on the end of the line, an orange bobber. And one of the bears was kind of behind and was moving back and forth and would get out of the way as we were walking. The bear saw the orange bobber at the end of the line and started charging at the line. The bears, when they’re in that water, will cut through the river like butter, and one of the guys with us wasn’t from Alaska and thought the bear was charging him and not the line. He basically jumped on the end of his line, dove in there and kept swimming across the river. He had to check his shorts after that.” CS