San Bernardino County plants started two weeks ago; Prado Park is not getting trout this season


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

The San Bernardino County Parks Department kicked off its trout stocking season the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with little fanfare or publicity, and the initial plants that week and again this week have been from the Jess Ranch hatchery in Hesperia, and a few trophy rainbows topping six pounds were planted.

The plants will be weekly (on Thursdays) at Glen Helen, Cucamonga-Guasti, Yucaipa, and Mojave Narrows parks. Prado Park will not be getting fish this season because the lake is scheduled to be drained in mid-December for maintenance of the under-lake drainage system. Runoff water from nearby neighborhoods and dairies has caused the park to shut down in the past because of poor water quality, and drainage was rerouted under the lakes to prevent this. That drainage system is undergoing upgrades and repairs.

Plants will range from 800 to 975 pounds per week at the lakes, with the fish originally allocated for Prado, going into the other lakes. Fishing is not allowed on stocking day at any of the parks, except Glen Helen, which is experimenting with allowing fishing on stock day this season.

There will be four general trout derbies this year and four derbies for kids, one of each at the four parks getting trout plants. There will also be a whole series of teaching workshops for those wishing to learn how to catch trout at urban lakes. Fees vary, but a $10 vehicle entry fee is required on top of the participation fees.

For the general derbies, entry fee is $20 per person. The first general derby of the season will be Jan. 7 at Glen Helen, followed by a Feb. 25 derby at Cucamonga-Guasti, March 11 at Yucaipa, with the final event April 1 at Mojave Narrows.

The juniors-only derbies are for kids 7 to 15, and there is a $4 per child entry fee. The first event is Dec. 17 at Glen Helen, followed by Feb. 11 at Yucaipa, March 18 at Cucamonga-Guasti, and April 15 at Mojave Narrows.

There will also be an adult fishing workshop Jan. 21 at Guasti with a fee of $10 per person. Designed for people 16 and over, these events will give the basic on shore fishing for trout at the county park lakes during a three-station seminar and then a two-hour fishing session to test out new skills. All equipment, terminal tackle, and bait is provided.

Junior fishing workshops for kids 7 to 15 has five learning stations followed by a two-hour fishing session for the $8 entry fee. The junior fishing workshops will be Feb. 18 at Glen Helen, March 4 at Mojave Narrows, April 8 at Yucaipa, and April 22 at Guasti.

Anglers can contact the individual lakes for more information on the plants, derbies, or workshops.

CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT REGULATIONS: Carlos Luna of Bakersfield recently called to tell me that I had it all wrong in the weekly fishing report. Not everything, just the note in the California aqueduct report that said there was a 12-inch minimum size on largemouth bass. Luna is right, and I removed that little note a month or more ago.

This is just another example of how complex (and poorly written) our fishing and hunting regulations have become, even in the face of years of trying to simplify regulations (on one hand) while making them more complex (on the other hand). Bottom line: There is NO 12-inch minimum size on largemouth bass in the California aqueduct anywhere along its course. You might be confused about this if you read the regulations (perhaps thinking the 12-inch exception only applies to waters on private property because of poor grammar), but there is a five-fish limit and no minimum size restriction on largemouth bass in the entire California aqueduct.

All the nearby reservoirs and lakes do have a 12-inch minimum size restriction on all black bass (largemouth, largemouth, and spotted bass), while the Kern River has no minimum size restriction on black bass. Not to make things more confusing.

The regulations are even more confusing on striped bass. The California Aqueduct has a two-fish limit, with an 18-inch minimum size restriction on stripers -- at least until the aqueduct reaches Los Angeles County. From the county line until it ends at Lake Silverwood in San Bernardino County, there is no minimum size restriction on striped bass and you can keep 10 from this portion of the aqueduct because it is in the “Southern District.”

YOU HAVE TO LAUGH: In case you missed it, the Department of Fish and Wildlife sent out a pair of press releases on Friday in the same e-mail. The first was a brief release noting that the DFW license sales counters would be closed Monday. The second was a brief release noting that the license counters would indeed be open on Monday.

Now I know that one was posted at 10:45 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m., essentially cancelling the first one. But you have to laugh when the pair was sent out together in the week’s end summary package of press releases. Only government….

[Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at odwriter@verizon.net or by phone at 909-887-3444.]

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