Relax after the holidays with a trip to the outdoors
Hunting and fishing recreation offers families an outdoor adventure, so states the Arizona Game and Fish Department in its latest Wildlife News, and I wholeheartedly agree.
The stressful activity of the holiday season probably has most of us ready for a break, and what better way to get away and recharge than a fun, relaxing trip to the great outdoors.
A hunting and/or fishing license is your passage to escape to the open spaces of the desert or to a local fishing hole to spend some quality time with family and friends. The memories from an exciting outdoor adventure will far outlast any shopping spree. Arizona - particularly the Yuma area - is blessed with a wide variety of wildlife, great fishing opportunities, incredible landscapes and vast amounts of public lands. Hunting and angling are healthy activities that allow you to experience all that our state has to offer. Compared with other health and fitness programs available, the cost of hunting or fishing licenses - or even better is the combo license that also includes a trout stamp - is worth the reasonable price to start enjoying your wildlife-related outdoor adventure.
•Good news! I Just checked with Game and Fish and they report the water has gotten cold enough finally enabling them to plant trout this past week not only at Fortuna Pond but the West Wetlands pond as well - both places are ideal for taking the whole family. So put the holiday time to good use, get your gear out and toss that line in the water for some fishing fun. Beforehand it'll be a good idea to check the regulations or call Game and Fish at 342-0091 to be sure of bag limits. Don't forget that trout stamp!
If you're new to trout fishing, be aware that trout usually feed a foot or so above the lake bottom. If using a 2-4 pound test line, try setting up with a 14-18 inch-long leader with a small split shot just above the leader using a No. 8 or 10 hook. Then mold Power Bait around the hook in a small ball so none of the hook is exposed.
If trout are feeding near the surface, using a bobber can be effective with any bait. Try a slip bobber just in case other fish species are also biting. Remember, for trout, smaller is usually better.
With a two-pole stamp, you can set up one pole with the power bait to fish the bottom and the other pole with a small spinner for casting and retrieving because trout are cannibalistic. Another bait worth trying is a rainbow-trout-colored crankbait such as a Rapala. Rooster tails are also good. Trout are also known to bite on mealworms, salmon eggs, corn, cheese, marshmallows as well as artificials and lures of any combination.
•Yuma Bassmasters: Get together with the club at 6 p.m. Jan. 5 at Yuma River Marine (32nd Street and Avenue 3 1/2) to assist in January fishing tournaments plans. Annual member dues are $25 with reasonable fishing fees - call Jeff Pacewic at 580-2031 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org or River Marine at 783-6502.
•Desert Bass Anglers: Get out early to Fisher's Landing at Martinez Lake Jan. 9 to fish the Colorado River Bass Tournament with the club. Dues are $15 with $10 each additional family member. All team tournaments have a $30 entry plus options, open to anyone having a tournament-approved boat with remote steering and kill switch as well as a livewell with aeration capable of supporting a 5-fish limit of bass. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
•Yuma Pro/Am Series: The club received more than 100 toys donated at the latest Toys for Tots tournament to help a share of Yuma area kids have a better Christmas - Fishing results will be forthcoming. Annual club dues are $15 with basic tournament entry $25 plus options. Call Bob La Londe at 520-1270 or visit email@example.com.
•Youth Fishing Opportunity coming up: Watch this column for details on the Jan. 23 Yuma Youth Fishing Day, free to youngsters, being held this year at Yuma West Wetlands pond.
•Bass Class on the Water: A great way to learn how, when and where to catch bass at Yuma area waters with Dave Willhide of "Goin' Fishin' Productions" with a fully rigged bass boat and all gear provided. Call Willhide at 782-2621.
•Tis the season for leftovers - hunt permits that is: Game and Fish report many javelina, a few bear and even a share of turkey (including some on the Kaibab plateau, one of the state's most renowned areas for hunting Merriam's Turkeys) spring hunt permits are still available in-person at any AZGFD office. This is your opportunity for "a terrific outdoor adventure and healthy nature-grown protein on the hoof," says avid hunter and Game and Fish Information officer Doug Burt. For an updated list of what leftover spring hunt tags remain, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.
•Hunter Education instructor class: Sign up with David Williams at 623-236-7434 or the Yuma office of Game and Fish at 342-0091 for the class being conducted in Yuma Feb. 5-7 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. that Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online class information will be forthcoming.
•Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are most welcome to "shoot the trail" of 3D animals at 8 a.m. each Sunday at the Foothills Archery Range located south of I-8 - reached by traveling east 2-miles on the Frontage Road from Foothills Boulevard, then south 1-mile on Avenue 15E, turning east just after the golf course pond to the range. Membership and shoot fees are reasonable for great practice for the bowhunter and ideal recreation for the whole family with youngsters always free of charge. Call me for details at 726-0953.
•Southwest Bowhunters: Open archery shoots at 9 a.m. Sundays at Adair Park with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
•Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Adair Park. Call John Gross at 580-7837. Ask about youth shooting opportunities.
•Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Attend the 8:30 a.m. Jan. 2 meeting at the Adair Park black powder range for details on the Rendezvous being held Jan. 14-17 at the range, check this column next week for complete information, or call Glenda Graves at 314-1029.
•Take advantage of .22 rifle schutezen matches being held at the black powder range on the second and fourth Tuesdays - call Roger Bickel at 726-7453.
Check next week's column for complete shooting information.