Experts guide anglers, hunters on locations, techniques
SACRAMENTO - If someone returned from a fishing trip and told you they landed 100 fish in two hours, you'd probably mark it down as one of the biggest fish stories ever told.
And if that person continued the story by saying they caught every fish using a simple hook and piece of yarn, you might fall out of your chair laughing.
Angler Chris Shaffer would find nothing funny about the story, because he's the only telling it.
Shaffer spent an hour Thursday afternoon discussing the “Top 10 Surprising Game Fish Destinations” in Northern California at the 19th annual International Sportsmen's Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.
Hundreds of lodges, resorts, guides and outfitters from Alaska, Canada, South Africa and the western United States were on hand, displaying awesome mounts taken during hunts and answering any questions interested clients may have about booking a hunting adventure.
Shaffer was one of the nearly 40 speakers, including bass pro Gary Dobyns of Yuba City and Shawn Dustin of Dustin Retrievers in Sutter, giving attendees tips and advice to make outdoor adventures more enjoyable and successful.
Shaffer's informative speech singled out some of the more secluded lakes where anglers might find themselves all alone on a body of water with plenty of fish to catch.
Each destination Shaffer discussed had its perks but maybe none more than Iron Gate Reservoir. The reservoir is located approximately 15 miles northeast of Yreka on the Klamath River and offers anglers an abundance of yellow perch, trout, bass and catfish.
“If you're looking to catch 100 fish in a day, you'll catch 100 fish in two hours,” Shaffer said.
The lake has an over population of yellow perch and the fish go crazy for any food source dropped in front of them, according to Shaffer.
“You don't even need bait,” he said. “You can take a hook and a piece of brown yarn with some scent and catch fish. ... The reason why they are that aggressive is there is a lot of competition for food in the lake because there are so many perch.”
He said bass anglers can also have a field day.
“You're going to catch a lot of bass, but you'll have to catch 100 perch before you get a half-dozen bass,” Shaffer said.
Duck hunters and dog lovers got a few quick lessons from Dustin in the Sporting Dog Arena.
Dustin gave an extensive demonstration of proper training techniques for retrievers with his chocolate Labrador “Magnum” and Chesapeake “Otter.”
Shawn has been training dogs for nearly 18 years and his Dustin Retrievers business is one of the best training centers in Northern California.
“I always had dogs my whole life,” Dustin said. “I did a bunch of competitions, did pretty well and then people started asking me to train their dogs. One thing led to another and we started doing it.”
Dustin said the biggest thing people should look for when purchasing a retriever puppy is the dog's pedigree.
“They'll want to look at the dad, mom, grandpa and grandma,” he said. “So titles, like Field Champion, Show Champion are important. Those things will be traits (for the puppies).”
Training a puppy to perform up to its potential takes plenty of patience and a plan.
“If you just going out and throwing a bumper for your lab, you're exercising your dog, but you're not teaching it anything,” Dustin said. “So, you're dog wants to go to eighth grade, and then to high school and then to college and you're stuck in sixth grade. So then problems develop. If you said, ‘hey I want to teach my dog to sit, heal and then retrieve-one, then retrieve-two, then retrieve-three, then start on blind retrieve,' then you have some type of plan.”
Dustin also said you want to look for a dog that has the desire to please, desire to retrieve and is able to take pressure.
At the bass tank, Dobyns, the West's all-time leading money winner, started his demonstration by simply saying, “a lot of people just want to catch fish.”
He then proceeded to teach three simple techniques that anglers can use for catching fish “day in and day out, every day of the year.”
The most simple of those three is the drop-shot technique.
“You'll want to use a polomer knot, a long leader about 8-10 inches and then put the bait right in front of the fishes' face,” Dobyns said. “Twitch it right in the fishes' face and they can't stand it. As long as the weight stays on the bottom, you can't fish it wrong.”
Shaffer, Dustin and Dobyns will be giving daily speeches at the Expo. The show, which costs $12, runs through 5 p.m. on Sunday. Youth under 12 are admitted free.