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What about bloodsucking Leeches?

5/5/11 -- California Outdoors Q&As by Carrie Wilson
Question: My daughter and I love to swim and play in waters wherever we find them. While in French Gulch (Shasta County) last year, we decided to play around in Clear Creek.

The creek was running pretty high, but when my daughter and I got out we had these black, worm-like things hanging off us. Our first thought was leeches, which got us out of the water quite quickly! Someone told me they were rock worms and wouldn’t hurt us. We haven’t returned there though because we’re still too scared they were leeches.

We also stopped at Eagle Lake (Lassen County) to go swimming and ended up with these tiny little round slime balls on us. When picking up these slimy things in question, they flattened out on our hands and started slithering like a leech across our hands. This was another trip where my daughter and I ran screaming out of the water to rinse off under the faucet! There were lots of people swimming in the lake who either didn’t seem to notice or else knew something we didn’t.

Clear Creek was a very cold creek, but Eagle Lake was very warm, so I could understand Eagle Lake possibly having leeches. Do these leeches suck human blood? Are they harmful to humans in any way? I love the outdoors and swimming, but too many encounters with creepy leech-like things are making me leery about the safety of it. (Kim B.)

Answer: Without pictures, it’s tough to say, but it sounds like you encountered two different invertebrates. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Associate Fish Pathologist Garry Kelley, Ph.D., the organism at Clear Creek was likely a free-living caddis fly larvae (Genus Rhyacophila), commonly known as a rock worm. This type of caddis fly crawls around rock bottoms in search of food and is commonly eaten by trout. Caddis flies are not at all harmful to humans.

The organism at Eagle Lake might be a leech based on the “slithering” swimming motion you described. There are many types of leeches and most are fluid feeders. Leeches are either scavengers or are parasitic (i.e., they feed on other organisms). Some species of leeches suck blood from vertebrates (humans, waterfowl, fish, etc.) while others feed on insects, mollusks, oligochaetes or dead animal matter. Kelley suspects the organism described at Eagle Lake was non-parasitic in nature because bloodsucking was not indicated.

Can cow cod caught in Mexico be imported to U.S. waters?
Question: If we’re fishing in Mexican waters and catch a cow cod, can we legally bring it back into a California port as long as we have all of the proper licenses and the Declaration for Entry form properly filled out? I’d just like to know for sure as we fish Mexican waters frequently targeting rockfish and I’d like to avoid a citation. (Jeff M., San Diego)

Answer: No. Cowcod may not be imported or even possessed in California regardless of where caught (Fish and Game Code, section 2353(a)(2)). Broomtail groupers and canary, yelloweye and bronze-spotted rockfishes are also illegal to be possessed or imported into California under this regulation and under California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.55(b)(1), even if they were taken legally in Mexico.

How many turkeys in possession?
Question
: I’m going out of town on a three-day turkey hunt and need some clarification on the possession limit. If my buddy and I each get a turkey each day (total of six) and get stopped by a warden on the way home, will we be legal? I heard that you can’t have more than one bird with you at a time, but the regulation states possession limit is three birds per hunter for the season. I want to make sure I am legal. Otherwise I will have to travel back and forth after each successful day and it’s about a two-hour drive each way. Any information you could give me would be appreciated. (Brent M.)

Answer: The daily bag limit for turkeys during the spring season is one bearded turkey per day and you can take three per season. According to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, you may have three bearded turkeys in your possession as long as you only take one per day. You do not have to return home after taking a bird on any one day.

Fishing for sanddabs
Question
: When fishing for sanddabs, how many hooks can be attached to the line on a single rod? (Len P.)

Answer: You may fish for sanddabs with as many hooks as you like on a single rod, unless rockfish, lingcod or salmon are on the vessel or in possession, in which case special restrictions apply (CCR Title 14, section 28.65).

Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

More Outdoor News

CDFW: Watch for waterfowl mortality!

07/30/14 -- Drought conditions have increased the possibility of disease outbreaks in waterfowl, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes avian botulism...Full Story

CDFW hosts speaker at Nimbus Hatchery

07/30/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is hosting the fourth installment of its speaker series with a presentation on Aquatic Invasive Species in the American River. The event will be held at the Nimbus...Full Story

Now 47 fires in Rogue River/Siskiyou NF

07/30/14 -- Updated at 8:30 p.m. as follows: [Firefighters are heavily engaged this evening with numerous new starts from an afternoon lightning storm and holdover fires from yesterday’s storm (see original post below). Ten new starts...Full Story

Explore Whiskeytown NRA Riparian Zones

07/29/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is inviting families to explore riparian habitats and learn about the importance of water quality. WNRA has numerous healthy riparian zones. Riparian zones are critically...Full Story

CA DFW ALDS license sales system down

By Frank Galusha
07/29/30 -- The California Department of Fish & Wildlife's ALDS auto-licensing system was down as of 2:30 p.m. today according to a recorded message at the Department's License & Revenue Branch, telephone 916-928-5805...Full Story

​Lassen Park/NASA to host Dark Sky Festival

07/28/14 -- Lassen Volcanic National Park, in collaboration with NASA, will host the 2014 Dark Sky Festival from August 1 to 3. The festival is filled with exciting activities for all ages. Daytime activities include safe sun viewing...Full Story

CDFW August Calendar

07/27/14 -- The Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve offers Docent-led walks which are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost...Full Story

Protecting Wildlife via Highway Fences

Game fences are primarily installed along traditional deer and elk migratory routes (Tule elk photo courtesy of USFWS)
California Outdoors Q&A by Carrie Wilson
07/25/14 -- I have been hunting deer and elk out of state for years. Every western state I have hunted has installed game fencing adjacent to highways where big game frequents and/or migrates. Why in the... Full Story

Light Your Way

Light Your Way by John Higley
Article and photos by John Higley
07/25/14 -- Okay, I was lost, or at least in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a long time ago and I was in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness Area following what I thought was the trail back to camp, only it was a path used primarily...Full Story

15 fires on Rogue River-Siskiyou NF

07/24/14 -- Thunderstorms on Tuesday ignited fifteen fires on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The starts are located on the Siskiyou Mountains and High Cascades Ranger Districts and are all reported...Full Story

Ramp etiquette; even more important

Low water conditions with boats clustered among the high banks of a lake. chuck giles
By Chuck Giles
07/24/14 -- Well, it is time once again for my annual diatribe on boat ramp etiquette. This year, however, it is even more critical that boaters mind their manners simply because, on some major lakes, there will only be one...Full Story

​Wild Horse Sanctuary open house 8/16

07/23/14 -- Looking for some wild summertime fun in the country? Well, look no further than the Wild Horse Sanctuary’s annual Open House on Saturday, August 16 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Shingletown...Full Story

Boat trailer frame repairs

Article and photos by Don Stec
07/22/14 -- One of the most common damages we see to a boat trailer is caused by “jack knifing” the trailer. This is usually when the trailer is being backed up and the turn angle becomes too severe. The trailer cannot...Full Story

Turtle Bay to host 3rd annual golf tourney

07/22/14 -- On Monday, September 8, Turtle Bay will host a shamble-format tournament that features four person teams in three divisions: Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed. The tournament will be at Riverview Golf...Full Story

Lassen National Volcanic Park

Jim Broshears, Mt. Lassen view from Brokeoff Mountain
By Jim Broshears
07/21/14 -- Lassen National Park is one of the best kept secrets in the National Park system. It may be hard to call a place that has over 400,000 visitors a year a secret but compared to Yosemite’s 2.5 million and the 9.4...Full Story

​Honey, Bees Can Make You Bumble!

The outdoor edge author badge for Don Webster, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Don Webster
07/21/14 -- It was a warm, sunny day in July, many, many years ago. In two months, I would officially be a teenager. As I recall, it was a Saturday, and our entire family had piled into two cars and we were headed...Full Story

Peak Bagging in Winter

Peak Bagging in Winter, Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures, Paradise, CA, MyOutdoorBuddy.com By Jim Broshears
02/11/13 -- Peak bagging, according to peakbagging.com/ refers to climbing mountains. When a summit is reached, it is “bagged”. You don’t have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport, or even be an elite mountain climber...Full Story

CDFW: Wild animals do not need handouts

horned buck, CDF photo
07/14/14 -- As the drought continues into the summer months, CDFW reminds residents to be mindful of their actions in the outdoors and to take measures to discourage wildlife from coming into contact with humans...Full Story

#ExploRedding finds winning photography

07/13/14 -- The Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Redding, is excited to announce the first of three winners from its #ExploRedding photo contest. The contest invites participants to share...Full Story

Two popular Oregon campgrounds closed

07/11/14 -- Cave Creek and Big Pine Campgrounds are not currently open for public use due to hazard trees. The Cave Creek Campground is a higher elevation campground located south of the Oregon Caves Highway...Full Story

Meteor shower party set at Whiskeytown

07/11/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, in partnership with the Shasta Astronomy Club, will be holding a special star party to view the Perseid Meteor Shower on Sunday, August 10th, 2014. These very knowledgeable...Full Story

Mountains of Marble

horseback riding trails, marble mountain, phil akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
07/11/14 -- Welcome to the Marble Mountain Wilderness located in the heart of the Klamath National Forest. Designated in 1931 as the Marble Mountain Primitive Area, this later became one of California’s original... Full Story

Explore wild places during summer break!

07/07/14 -- School is out, summer is here and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is encouraging families to spend time enjoying the outdoors. With long, hot days ahead, parents may be looking for...  Full Story

BoatUS: Why boats sink (10 prevention tips)

07/04/14 -- When a boat sinks, that’s likely the end of her. That’s because repairs on a sunken boat often cost more than the actual value of the boat. So if boaters want to prevent a sinking at all costs, what can they do...Full Story

Those Amazing Elephant Seals

Northern elephant seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas.
By Steven T. Callan 
06/24/14 -- My first opportunity to see a northern elephant seal was in October of 1959, as an excited eleven-year-old passenger aboard the Fish and Game Patrol Boat Marlin. My father, California Fish and Game Warden... Full Story

Whiskeytown NRA imposes fire restrictions

06/22/14 -- Due to continued extreme dry conditions as a result of the ongoing drought, the National Park Service at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is implementing fire restrictions at the park. These restrictions... Full Story

Tour historical Whisketytown Cemetery

06/22/14 -- Meet with a park ranger at the Whiskeytown Cemetery for a walking tour Sunday evenings July 20 through September 7 starting at 6:30 p.m. The tour will visit gravesites and learn about some of the individuals...Full Story

Will drought extend into 2015?

precipitation indices for Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, 1906-2013, grid
By Jay Lund and Jeffrey Mount
06/17/14 -- Debates over how to manage California’s critically dry water supplies this year have displaced most discussion about water next year. This year’s drought is bad, but another dry year that begins with even lower...Full Story

One for the Myth Busters?

By Gary Heffley
06/14/14 -- I have heard some off-the-wall claims in my life and at first blush this one was right up there. A shopper came into my department looking for a stun gun, nothing strange there but he wanted it to use on his dogs... Full Story

Whiskeytown NRA offers summer fun

06/09/14 -- Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers a variety of free, family friendly ranger-led activities throughout the summer. From kayaking to stargazing, there is something for everyone! Programs begin June 14... Full Story

New exhibits on I-5 point to Lava Beds

photo and map exhibit kiosk, Collier Interpretive & Information Center (CIIC) National Lava Beds monument
06/09/14 -- New Exhibits on the I-5 Corridor near Yreka are designed to bring more visitors to the Klamath Basin. Exhibits feature attractions such as Lava Beds, Tule Lake, and Klamath Basin Refuges... Full Story

Roaring Camp 1; Grumpy old man 0

 This is a better pic of Antonnette at the sluice box.
By Chuck Giles
05/31/14 – For a full seven day stretch last week, I was not a grumpy old man. I slipped into a happy trance. My wife, Antonnette and I spent the time at Roaring Camp Gold Mining Company in Pine Grove, California. I have... Full Story

Take a trail ride at Wild Horse Sanctuary

 Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown/Manton, 4 horses
By Jill Broughton
05/29/14 -- The Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown/Manton kicked off its annual trail ride season with the Wildflower ride on April 26th-27th. Professor Laird Blackwell, an expert on California wildflowers, entertained and... Full Story

Fleener's Chimneys -- Mystery & Change

Lava tube, chimney, Modoc County
05/29/14 -- Early Lava Beds explorer J.D. Howard visited and named Fleener’s Chimneys on his first visit in 1916. Ninety eight years ago, what would become Lava Beds National Monument was a very different place... Full Story

Summer programs at Lava Beds/Tule Lake

Pacific National Monument, Lava Beds
05/20/14 -- National Park staff is resuming summer interpretive programming at Lava Beds National Monument and the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Guided walks, cave tours, and patio talks will... Full Story

Find out what makes you...You

05/09/14 -- What makes you… You? Find out beginning this Saturday, May 10, at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The Park welcomes this year’s summer blockbuster exhibition, Identity: An Exhibition of You, presented by Shasta... Full Story

Walk on the Wild side at Turtle Bay

O5/09/14 -- – Back for another year.... Five Star Bank presents the Walk on the Wild Side animal show! Marvel as a hawk flies inches from your head. See a porcupine up close and personal. Watch a fox use its tail to balance... Full Story

50th Wilderness Celebration set for Red Bluff

05/01/14 -- Save the date (Oct. 10-12) and register early! Northern California will be hosting the premier 50th Wilderness celebration in Tehama County this fall in Red Bluff. “Wilderness Treasures – Celebrating 50...Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III

By Jim Broshears
04/09/14 -- Our search for Tuck’s lost meadow continued in 2013. After three previous trips and multiple days of searching, you might be wondering why we don’t just call it a day. Or possibly question why we have not... Full Story

Extreme Beam Flashlights

By Gary Heffley
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Snowy plovers nesting on S. Ore. coast

03/12/14 -- The nesting season of the western snowy plover, a small shorebird native to the Oregon coast, begins in mid-March. That means that as of March 15, beachgoers will see signs and ropes that identify... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
03/10/14 -- Our return to the Middle Fork of Feather River would take place in August of 2012. Having nearly 10 months to plan the next exploration, we, of course, waited until the last minute decide our course of action... Full Story

The Mystery of the Missing Valley -- Part I

The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
Article and photos by Jim Broshears
02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story

Fee Free Days set for BLM-Public Lands

Fee Free Days, BLM Managed Public Lands
01/01/14 -- The Bureau of Land Management, in conjunction with other agencies within the Department of the Interior, will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to the National System of Public Lands for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day...Full Story

Mendocino Weekend: Cave & Wave Kayaking

Mendocino Weekend: Cave & Wave Kayaking, John Whittenberger, Headwaters adventure, Redding Ca., outdoors recreation
Article and photos by John Whittenberger
10/30/13 -- My first day paddle (Thursday October 24) from Russian Gulch to the town of Mendocino was calming after being in my truck for so long. The sun came out and warmed me up just enough so I wanted to land on... Full Story

Old Station guide is also a great artist

Eagle on Moose Horn, Chuck Gularte, Rim Rock Ranch Resort, Old Station, CA By Mike Mogler
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BLM seeks input on use of OR public lands

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