Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Saturday a free fishing day

Don’t forget this Saturday is a free fishing day in California, so you can make your weekend plans now.


Calling All Anglers: Take a Friend Fishing for Free on Saturday, Sept. 7

Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8988

Calling All Anglers: Take a Friend Fishing for Free on Saturday, Sept. 7

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages anglers to go fishing with a friend or neighbor who doesn’t have a license this Saturday, the second of two days in 2013 when fishing licenses are not required.

CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without a sport fishing license. This year, the Free Fishing Days were set for the Saturdays following Independence Day and Labor Day (July 6 and Sept. 7).

All other fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for abalone, steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or for salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

Free Fishing Days provide a low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some CDFW Regions offer a Fishing in the City program that teaches new anglers how to fish in major metropolitan areas. Fishing in the City and Free Fishing Day clinics are designed to educate novice anglers about fishing ethics, fish habits, effective methods for catching fish and fishing tackle. Anglers can even learn how to clean and prepare fish for eating.

Anglers should check the rules and regulations at for the waters they plan to fish. Wardens will be on duty to enforce them. For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit

One final getaway

As we head into waning days of summer, I hope everyone was able to make that getaway you’ve waited for before we turn to football, some late trout action, the peak of the fall salmon run and the upcoming hunting seasons in California. The kids are going back -and in many cases already in- school for the fall. So the three-day weekend seems to come at the perfect time. In Northern California, this would seem like a ideal opportunity to escape the Bay Area traffic (especially with the Bay Bridge closure that is sure to make a mess of the San Mateo and Golden Gate Bridges), or the Valley heat, and head to the Sierra for some R and R. But the Yosemite Rim Fire has carried such tragic consequences and turned this beautiful area that normally is such a wonderful place to be at its many lakes,  rivers, streams and parks,  has been a smoky mess. Labor Day weekend seems a little hollow in California.

Watching news reports on this fire brought back, for me anyway, memories of 1991. I was in college, at Fresno State, and visited a friend who attended Cal-Berkeley. That Saturday we attended the Cal-Washington football game and then hit the town that night. The next day, I rode a BART train back across San Francisco Bay to visit a friend, and when the train rolled outside I could start to see smoky air filing up throughout the Bay Area. The “Oakland Firestorm” was just beginning to burn out of control. By the time firefighters had the blaze under control, there were 25 deaths and 4,000 homes or apartment units were destroyed. It was a sobering wakeup call of how much damage can fire do. The state has seen plenty of other devastating blazes before and since then. And this one, in terms of area burned, is one of the worst.

But all we can do is carry on. Be safe on the crowded roads.

Deer Hunting Grounds Affected By Klamath NF Fire Closure


The existing Emergency Closure for portions of Klamath National Forest lands, within and adjacent to the Salmon River Complex, was extended west and south to include National Forest lands around the Butler Fire. The purpose of the temporary closure is to protect public safety during efforts to suppress current wildfires. Simply stated, it is unsafe for the public to be near the wildfires due to unpredictable changes in wind, rolling fire debris, poor visibility and narrow roads busy with emergency vehicle traffic. Likewise, the closure order is important for firefighter safety.

With bow season for deer hunting starting Aug. 17, 2013, it is important for hunters to be aware of the closure order. Effective Aug. 10, 2013 only fire personnel are allowed to go into or be upon National Forest land within the closed area. Hunters are encouraged to seek alternative hunting areas.  A map and description of the closed area is available at Klamath National Forest offices in Yreka, Fort Jones, Happy Camp and Macdoel, CA; as well as online at



The closure area is defined by the following boundary: Starting at Somes Bar, CA the closure boundary follows the Siskiyou County line south to Youngs Peak, then angles north along Knownothing Creek to State Highway 93/Salmon River Road and Forks of Salmon, CA. The closure boundary continues east along, but not including, Forest Road 39 to Timber Camp Trailhead, then northeast to the Russian Wilderness boundary, continuing along the boundary to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The boundary parallels, but does not include, the PCT northwest to the intersection with Timothy Gulch, and then follows Wooley Creek southwest to State Hwy 93 and west to Somes Bar, CA.

Hunters should also be aware of the new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) governing use of motorized vehicles on the Klamath National Forest.

Cross-country travel is closed forest-wide with implementation of this plan. Motorized access should be only on open roadways, and within 30-feet from the edge of open roadways for parking and camping. The Motor Vehicle Use Maps are the easiest way to learn which roads are open to which type of vehicles. The maps are available online at the forest Website at The maps are also available in hard-copy at Klamath National Forest Headquarters in Yreka, CA and ranger district offices. Following are forest office phone numbers:

Klamath National Forest Headquarters: 530-842-6131
Goosenest Ranger District: 530-398-4391
Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District: 530-398-4391
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District: 530-468-5351

Contact the ranger district office in the area you plan to hunt for area-specific information. Hunter related information will also be available on the CDFW Website at

California is in the midst of a very active wildfire season. Record low levels of snowfall coupled with previous droughts have left the state vulnerable to catastrophic wildland fires. A high percentage of wildfire starts in California are human caused. Human caused fires are preventable—and are therefore the target of a state wide fire prevention campaign.

The One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campaign focuses on locations and time periods which have high fire danger. Road uses during hot and dry weather become extra critical since road corridors include power lines, telephone lines and other important infrastructure. Similarly, equipment use becomes critical during hot and dry weather in business and residential areas. Wildfire occurrences in those locations become very high risk to human lives, and are costly for firefighting efforts. That is the basis for focusing this fire prevention campaign on vehicles and equipment use.

One of the goals of the One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campaign is to increase public awareness on the need to check trailer safety chains to insure they are not dragging on the pavement—generating a trail of sparks along the highway and igniting wildfires. This includes checking the chains periodically during a trip. Checking brakes and wheel bearings at the beginning of the hot and dry season is equally important for reducing the number of vehicle caused wildfires.

Hunters need to also be aware fire restrictions are in effect. No fires are allowed outside of developed campgrounds, picnic areas and signed camp fire use areas, except for  Marble, Siskiyou, Russian and Trinity Alps Wilderness areas. Portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed with a valid California campfire permit. Fire restrictions also affect the use of generators and chain saws. Check with local National Forest offices for specific rules.

Fresh Faces: Amada Plewes discovers abundance of opportunity near Carlsbad

CARLSBAD—The lilt to her voice as she says “troot” and “aboot” says “Canada,” but there’s no doubt that Amanda Plewes is exactly where she belongs, kicking a Hobie kayak around Carlsbad Lagoon in pursuit of halibut. The host of Big City Fishing on the World Fishing Network is right at home in sunny Southern California, despite the fact that she’s 2,600 miles from the small town in Ontario where she grew up and first fished.

Amanda Plewes with a toad Camp Pendleton largemouth caught on a Live Target frog

Amanda Plewes of Big City Fishing with a toad Camp Pendleton largemouth, caught in late June on a Live Target frog. (Photo courtesy Amanda Plewes)

“Now that I’m here in and I see the size of the fish you can get – and it’s year around! – I’m like ‘Hooooooooly, I found a new paradise’,” Plewes says. “I’m blown away by the health of the fish here.”

No small compliment from an angler who’s fished some of the most diverse, productive waters of North America in the past three years. Plewes’ “Big City Fishing” resume reads like an excerpt from “100 Places You Must Fish Before You Die”: Lake Ontario for giant German browns; peacock bass in the Florida Everglades; the Niagara River for trophy smallmouth and Chinook; the pristine trout waters of Kamloops, British Columbia; the list goes on and on.

It’s “dreams come true” territory for the girl who huddled in her grandfather’s ice shack, pulling perch through the ice, and who obssessed over the “really big, nasty carp around the docks” at her small local lake. Plewes landed on television after a random contact via Facebook by an agent, inviting her to audition for a fishing show. She aced the audition, and soon found herself in front of the camera for the first season of “Big City Fishing,” a show that focuses on close-to-home fishing opportunities that exist in populated areas of North America.

“A lot of it is from the bank,” she says. “We try to teach the basics, and that you don’t need to go spend a lot of money to catch fish. We go buy the $30 rods at the store and give tips throughout the show how to rig. A lot of people who don’t have the money for a boat really relate to the show.”
-Joel Shangle

The role of Dad in your hunting/fishing life

With Father’s Day fast approaching, it seems like a great time to recognize and salute all the men who have played important roles in our lives as hunters/anglers.

Chris and Dad huntingI can say with unabashed enthusiasm that my first, best hunting partner didn’t own a stitch of camo beside a John Deere baseball cap, only “scouted” for deer season while moving cattle from mountain meadow to mountain meadow, and had the worst case of buck fever I’ve ever seen (despite qualifying as an expert marksman in the Marines).

My Dad, though he’s never been a hunting fanatic, introduced me to the world of guns, shooting, hunting and appreciation for the craft of being in the woods, and I’ll forever be grateful.

The attached photo is of myself and my oldest boy, Chris, on his very first hunt: chukar in east-central Nevada. That gun I’m holding was given to my by my great uncle, and Chris’s Red Ryder BB gun was given to him by, you guessed it, my Dad.

I want to hear from all of you, and see your photos of you and your Dad hunting and fishing together. It’s all part of a two-week celebration of Father’s Day, and the importance of the great dads, grandfathers, uncles, etc., who have given us the gifts that we so cherish as hunters and anglers.

Take advantage of our fantastic Father’s Day by clicking on this subscription special (seen on this page), or hit the California Sportsman Magazine Facebook page, or email me at

And thanks, Dad.

A New “Sportsman” …

June issue kicks off unique new outdoors magazine for California anglers, hunters, outdoorsmen/women

Amanda P CS June coverI am, always have been, and always will be a fan of magazines. I love the damn things. Love they way they feel in my hand, and the way they convey stories and informationin ways that even the super-awesome-fantasticness of the worldwide Web cannot.

My poor 9-year-old daughter knows that, as soon as we make it to the magazine racks at our local supermarket, we’re going to be there awhile, and that those racks are going to be rearranged, tweaked and rearranged again as Daddy studies. It embarrasses the hell out of her.

It struck me during one of my many such “study sessions,” while I was perusing an odd mix of men’s lifestyle, beer, muscle car and fishing/hunting titles, that the Golden State was in need of a fresh, new magazine that caters to all things that surround our fishing and hunting passions.

It just so happens that I’m in charge of a magazine, and that the publisher of said magazine is of a similar mind: There’s something missing in the fishing/hunting/outdoors magazine realm in California, and somebody should change that.

Welcome to the new California Sportsman.

The best info, the best entertainment: We’ve published this magazine for four years now, and have done our best to focus on the nuts and bolts of fishing and hunting in California. We’ve told you what lures to throw, what stretches of river to focus on, and which deer units will be most productive during archery season. That “go here, do this” information has been the hallmark of this company’s outdoors magazines.

And still will be. We’ll still tell you when, where and how to be successful in the field. You’ll still find the West Coast’s best writers, anglers and hunters contributing to these pages, and the most valuable inside information on everything from bass to billfish.

In addition, though, from this day forward, your California Sportsman will be flavored with the things that make your “outdoors lifestyle” complete. You don’t simply just fish or just hunt when you’re out in the field. You eat, drink, and enjoy the lifestyle.

Do you love food? Cool gear? Beer? NASCAR? Music? Trucks? Knives? Electronics?

So do we. And they all fit nicely into the world of fishing and hunting.

We plan to explore all of the above, and many, many other subjects that fall under the header of “fishing, hunting and outdoors lifestyle.”

What would you like to see?: The inbox is open, readers. I’d like to hear about other subjects that interest you. Feel free to drop me a line at

Trout limits weren’t the only things being … ahem … “caught” on the Eastern Sierra trout opener

It’s bound to happen, I suppose. Anytime you have a gathering of thousands upon thousands of new-ish anglers, there’s a better than average potential for some skirting of the rules. That said, percentages weren’t bad in the Eastern Sierra, where 17 California Department of Fish & Wildlife enforcement officers contacted an estimated 3,000 anglers during the end-of-April opening weekend: 60 ticketed violations, 43 warnings, and one arrest.

Here’s a story about the opener as posted on the DFW’s website:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers contacted more than 3,000 anglers while patrolling the local waterways in Inyo and Mono Counties during the trout season opener that started April 27. Over the opening weekend, 17 CDFW wildlife officers issued 60 citations, 43 warnings and made one arrest.

Violations included over-limits of trout, fishing closed waters, fishing without a license, use of prohibited gear and bait, fishing out of season, angling in a hatchery, snagging, boating without a fire extinguisher, no life jackets, boating under the influence, excessive speed and use of multiple poles.

Officers also conducted a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

On Tuesday, April 30, the southbound lanes of U.S. 395 were reduced to one lane and all vehicles traveling south on U.S. 395 were screened by the Department’s law enforcement officers.  Screening consisted of an introduction and brief questions.  Approximately 2,000 vehicles were contacted. Of those, 250 vehicles submitted to an inspection. A total of 14 violations were found which included 11 over-limits of trout, one driving without a valid driver’s license, one unregistered vehicle and possession of scales and drug paraphernalia.

Average screening took less than 20 seconds per vehicle and the average inspection took about 2 minutes, 20 seconds per vehicle.  If violations were found, the occupants were detained for an average of 28 minutes to conduct the inspection, interviews and issue citations.

Anglers found in violation of the trout limit were returned their legal possession limit of 10 trout per person; the excess trout above the legal limit were seized.  A total of 88 seized trout were donated to the California Department of Forestry conservation camp.

The Department provided informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand mud snail to help reduce the spread of these invasive species.

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passes away

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passed away May 6.

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passed away May 6.

By Rachel Alexander / Editor, Western Shooting Journal

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Mike Raahauge, one of the legends of the West Coast firearms community.  Raahauge, son of the Southern California hunting/shooting legend Linc Raahauge, died at age 72 of esophageal cancer diagnosed in August.

His Raahauge Shooting Enterprises in Norco hosts one of the biggest gun events in the country every year, Turner’s Shooting Sports Fair, which is one of the few shows that allows participants to test firearms on the range before purchasing them. The fair, which California Sportsman has provided considerable coverage of in recent years, annually welcomes thousands of show-goers to the sprawling 1,200-acre ranch in Norco, and is one of the hallmarks of the shooting year in the United States.

Raahauge will be memorialized at this year’s Shooting Sports fair, May 31 to June 2.

Read more at The Press-Enterprise.

Salmon season approaches on Sacramento system: time to write letters about the state’s “no fillet” rule

Except as otherwise required, all salmon and steelhead taken in inland waters where a sport fishing license is required, must be kept in such a condition that species and size can be determined until placed at the anglers permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility or being prepared for immediate consumption. Also when required, the presence or absence of a healed adipose fin scar must be able to be determined until placed at the anglers permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility, or being prepared for immediate consumption. Personal residence means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of residence or dwelling such as a cabin, tent, trailer house, recreational vehicle, or any hotel, motel or rooming house used during a fishing, pleasure or business trip.

Guide/blogger J.D. Richey with a piece of well-carved salmon flesh. Unfortunately, much of that beautiful red meat will likely be wasted as an after-affect of the state's new "no fillet" rule. (Photo courtesy

Guide/blogger J.D. Richey with a piece of well-carved salmon flesh. Unfortunately, much of that beautiful red meat will likely be wasted as an after-affect of the state’s new “no fillet” rule. (Photo courtesy

I wrote in an editorial a couple of months back that the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s new “no fillet” rule was “stinky,” or something to that onerous affect. But, I’m just a fish writer – I don’t make a day-to-day living handling fish, and dealing with clients who travel, and pay a good amount of money to fish with you.

Translation: I’m not a guide. But J.D. Richey is, and in typical J.D. style, he sums up the potential frustration of the state’s no-fillet rule in a recent blog in his site. I’m pretty good with a fillet knife, but it’s safe to say that the vast majority of people who fish with J.D. and the other professional guides working the Sacramento, American and Feather are a little less skilled when it comes to caring for their catch.

“As a guy who takes pride in making sure people end up with a quality product, this disturbs me,” J.D. writes. “I’ve always been of the mind that if I’m going to kill it, the animal at least deserves the respect of having its flesh handled properly and consumed. Sadly, I feel this new regulation is going to turn some salmon clients off and guides will lose business.”

Hear hear!

Go check out J.D.’s “Write a letter in opposition of …” blog, and do exactly that, if this rule smells as bad to you as it does to me.

Yes, J.D. went there: “Mythbusters,” fishing guide version, tests out the power of pop (soda)

Science at work! Courtesy

Science at work! Courtesy

By Joel Shangle /Editor

File this away under “Damn, I always wanted to try that!”

CS contributor and blog buddy J.D. Richey put a good ol’ urban myth to the test recently. The legend in question: can soda pop really clean your fishing tools? J.D. was posed that question by a surfer of his blogsite,

“Hey JD, can you really clean rust off a set of pliers with a can of pop?”

Well, Tom, at first I read your question wrong and thought I saw and extra “o” in the word “pop.” Eeewwww!

But then I re-read it and realized my error…phew! Oh…pop (soda to us in California)…I’m with ya now! As a matter of fact, a few years back, another guide I know had told me that the chemical agents in soda would indeed eat the rust right off but I had never gotten around to trying it until you wrote in. Here’s what I found…

Check out the final results of this scientific opus here!