Liberal limits spur big catches

Lake Mead’s striped bass might not be providing anglers with the fast-moving action they have come to expect, but every once in a while a lunker rises up from the depths and makes some fisherman’s day.

Just ask Mike Palmira.

On Jan. 20, Palmira tied on a handmade trout imitation and began trolling in a 14-foot aluminum boat along the beaches north of the Hemenway launch ramp. His lure of choice was a Machen Machine, so named for the craftsman who designed it, 73-year-old Don Machen of New Harmony, Utah. Shortly after 9 a.m., a large striper grabbed Palmira’s lure, and the fight was on. When the Las Vegas Valley resident finally landed the fish, it weighed in at 31 pounds and measured 40 inches from nose to tail.

"This is the largest freshwater fish of my life," Palmira said in an e-mail.

Local angler Marshall Gabriel wrote in to say that he has been finding more large striped bass during the past six months and has been doing so with frequency. Based on the photos he sent to back up his story, I’d have to say he was doing all right. Gabriel reported that from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, he caught 121/2- and 21-pound stripers at Lake Mead and a 31-pound fish near Cottonwood Cove at Lake Mohave. All were caught on what Gabriel described as "jointed trout lures" that he fished after trout plants by the state wildlife department.

Even the anglers fishing from shore have been pulling in fish as large as 15 pounds, said Gabriel, who credits the state’s liberal limits on stripers for the increased size of the fish he is catching and seeing others catch. For striped bass less than 20 inches in length, there is no limit. For stripers 20 inches or longer, the limit is 20.

PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT — The Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that manages the vast majority of publicly owned land in Southern Nevada, is seeking public comments as it begins the process of revising the Las Vegas Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. This is an opportunity to identify issues or share concerns you might have as to how BLM land in the Southern Nevada District is managed.

When completed, the RMP becomes the guiding document that governs what activities are allowed, restricted or prohibited on lands managed by the BLM in Clark County and southern Nye County. The RMP will address issues that have been identified through agency, interagency and public scoping efforts. The BLM will have a series of public scoping meetings during the first two weeks of February. Dates, times and more information can be found at www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo.html.

The list of issues identified includes renewable energy development, off-highway vehicle designations (off-highway refers to anything not on a paved road), visual resources management and evaluation of existing and new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, among others.

The BLM Southern Nevada District Office must receive comments by 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4. They can be submitted by mail or delivered to the BLM at 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130, Attn: Carrie Ronning; faxed to 702-515-5023, Attn: Carrie Ronning; or e-mailed to carolyn_ronning@blm.gov.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His "In the Outdoors" column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at dougnielsen@att.net.

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