Category Archives: hatcheries

CDFW Trout Hatcheries Announce Angling Opportunities for “Trophy Trout” in 2018

Every year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) trout hatcheries release trophy-sized trout to approved waters for public recreational angling and a chance to “catch a big one”! Trophy trout are categorized by CDFW as larger than 2.99 pounds each, but can be much larger. Another category of large trout released by CDFW each year is “super-catchable,” which are fish between 1.1 and 2.99 pounds each. Some of these large fish are raised specifically to provide public anglers with a chance to catch a big one, and others are released to approved waters once they have fulfilled their role in providing fertilized eggs for populating fish of all life stages in CDFW’s statewide program of trout hatcheries.

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Trophy trout. CDFW file photo

Trophy and super-catchable trout require more resources than catchable-size trout. Younger trout (fingerling to catchable size) grow quickly and efficiently convert fish food to body size, and that efficiency drops with age. By weight, 93 percent of all trout released by CDFW trout hatcheries are in the “catchable” size category (most often 1/2 pound fish, or approximately 12 inches in length). In 2018, approximately 100,000 pounds of trout released for public recreational angling will be in the trophy or super-catchable size.


The following locations are scheduled for trophy and super-catchable size trout releases in 2018:

Northern Releases

  • Hat Creek, Shasta County (late April to early May)
  • Burney Creek, Shasta County (late April to early May)
  • Baum Lake, Shasta County (late April to early May)
  • Iron Canyon Reservoir, Shasta County (May)
  • Browns Pond, Modoc County (May)
  • Rainbow Pond, Modoc County (May)
  • Ash Creek, Lassen County (May)
  • Shasta Lake, Shasta County (May through August)
  • Lake Siskiyou, Siskiyou County (May through August)
  • Juanita Lake, Siskiyou County (May through June)

North Central Releases

  • Red Lake, Alpine County (May)
  • Indian Creek Reservoir, Alpine County (May)
  • Sawmill Pond (children’s fishing pond), El Dorado County (May)
  • Pillsbury Reservoir, Lake County: (May)
  • Various locations for Kid’s Fishing Day events (November through May)

Central Releases

  • Kern River, Tulare County (February through April)
  • Kings River, Fresno County (January through April)
  • Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County (June and July)
  • Pinecrest Lake, Tuolumne County (June and July)
  • Shaver Lake, Fresno County (February through March)

South Coast Releases

  • Pyramid Lake, Los Angeles County (November through May)

Inland Deserts Releases

  • 35 waters in Inyo and Mono counties, including but not limited to Bishop Creek, Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Diaz Lake, Ellery Lake, the June Lake Loop, Lake Sabrina, Lee Vining Creek, Lundy Lake, the Mammoth Lakes, the Owens River, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Twin Lakes Bridgeport, Rock Creek Lake, Saddlebag Lake, South Lake, Tioga Lake, Virginia Lakes and the West Walker River (March through September)
  • Silverwood Lake, San Bernardino County (November through May)
  • Trophy fish are regularly added to weekly plants of regular sized “catchable” fish in Inyo and Mono counties.
  • The trophy sized fish are tagged for identification as originating from CDFW hatcheries and released to approved waters determined to have the ability to sustain the larger fish.
  • Trophy fish will be stocked in Diaz Lake for the early trout opener and in Pleasant Valley Reservoir and in Owens River Section II for the Blake Jones Derby.
  • Trophy fish have been stocked in Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Owens River Section II, Owens River below Tinemaha and Diaz Lake since January and these waters will continue to receive trophy fish over the next few months.

Updated information on trophy and super-catchable trout releases for recreational angling is released early each calendar year and will be posted to the CDFW fish stocking website ( Anglers can also call the following lines for region-specific information:

  • Northern Region: (530) 225-2146
  • North Central Region: (916) 351-0832
  • Central Region: (559) 243-4005, ext. 183
  • South Coast Region: (855) 887-1275
  • Inland Deserts Region: (855) 887-1275

CDFW trout hatcheries are dedicated to providing millions of additional trout angling opportunities in approved, public waters throughout the state every year, using the best available science, and ecological, hatchery and resource management principles.


Media Contacts:
Mark Clifford, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (530) 918-9450
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Nimbus Basin will be Closed to all Fishing as of March 2018

The Nimbus Basin on the lower American River will permanently close to all fishing as of March 1, 2018, as per fishing regulations amended by the Fish and Game Commission in December 2017.

The closure will take effect from Nimbus Dam on the lower American River to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gauging station cable crossing approximately one-half mile downriver (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 7.50(b)(5)(A) and (B).

Under current regulations, the American River from Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue bridge piers is open to fishing all year (CCR Title 14, section 7.50 (b)(5)(A)), and from the Hazel Avenue bridge piers to the USGS gauging station cable crossing about 300 yards downstream from the Nimbus Hatchery fish weir from Jan. 1 through Aug. 15 (section 7.50(b)(5)(B)).

Closure of the Nimbus Basin to fishing is part of the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project, which involves reorienting the hatchery’s fish ladder into the Nimbus Basin and removing the existing fish weir. This project will create and maintain a reliable system of collecting adult salmon and steelhead broodstock for the hatchery and increase the amount of natural spawning and rearing habitat available in the lower American River.

The changes will also minimize American River flow fluctuations associated with installation and removal of the hatchery’s weir and eliminate health and safety concerns relative to the deterioration of the existing weir structure. The new spawning habitat opened up by the permanent removal of the weir will improve juvenile salmon production and increase harvest opportunities downstream.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIR/EIS) for the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project in 2011. Planning is currently underway and construction is scheduled to begin in federal fiscal year 2019. The EIR/EIS is available for download from


Media Contacts:
Jeanine Phillips, CDFW North Central Region Fisheries, (916) 358-2030
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478


CDFW to Release a Half-Million Steelhead into Feather River

Hatchery trucks from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today began the weeklong process of stocking a half million young steelhead smolts on the Feather River near Yuba City. The 125,000 fish released Monday were the first of the fish reared from eggs rescued from the Feather River Fish Hatchery during last year’s Feather River spillway failure. Plants will continue through Thursday near Yuba City.

More than a million steelhead eggs were endangered in February 2017 when silt and debris overwhelmed the hatchery water system following the spillway failure. With less than 72 hours to complete fixes on aeration and filtration systems CDFW engineers went to work to save the steelhead eggs stacked in hundreds of trays at the hatchery.

Feather River steelhead are on the state and federal list of species of concern, and the hatchery is key to maintaining the viable run in the Central Valley. The eggs in the hatchery during the Feather River spillway event represented a year-age class of steelhead.

Engineers redesigned the water in-flow system using city water for the incubating steelhead. They also brought in massive six-foot-tall charcoal filters to purify the city water and reconfigured the aeration system. These alterations made this week’s release of more than 500,000 steelhead possible.

“CDFW engineers did something that had never been done successfully before on a massive scale,” said Feather River Fish Hatchery Manager Anna Kastner. “The eggs were in a fragile state of incubation and could not be moved, so innovation was the only option. The use of city water for incubation paid off.”

CDFW Engineers George Heise and Beth Lawson, working with hatchery personnel, pathologists and biologists, conferred on the requirements of redesigning the system.  Once agreed upon they went to work.

“Our options were limited and something had to be implemented immediately. The team told us what they needed and we went to work making it happen,” Heise said.

Thousands of anglers fish these waters annually, significatnly boosting the local economy. Finding an emergency fix for the potential catastrophic loss of a year of hatchery production of steelhead was critical – recreationally, economically and biologically.

John Church, a local fisherman from Yuba City, is one of the many anglers who value and rely on steelhead fishing opportunities on the Feather River. “It’s really important to me and family … I take my daughters to the Feather River for the chance to catch a steelhead each year,” he said. “It is what we go there for.”

Media Contacts:
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program Evaluation Report Now Available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the Evaluation Report for the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP).

The report concludes that while the OREHP has significantly contributed to the scientific understanding of marine enhancement science, it has not substantially increased the abundance of legal-sized White Seabass, resulting in less than one percent contribution to recreational and commercial fisheries catches. The information generated by the program, to date, can be used as a learning experience for enhancement of wild populations, whether focusing on White Seabass or other species. CDFW will use this information along with public input to guide decisions regarding the future of the OREHP.

The OREHP was established by the California Legislature in 1983 to conduct research into the restoration and enhancement of marine finfish species populations important to California for their sport and commercial fishing value. The program, the longest-running experimental marine fish stock enhancement program in the United States, is managed by CDFW with the assistance of the Ocean Resources Enhancement Advisory Panel. The OREHP includes a marine fish hatchery operated by Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), and 10 growout pens operated by volunteer organizations throughout Southern California. White Seabass are raised at the hatchery and transported to the growout pens for their eventual release along the coast.

In 2015, CDFW contracted California Sea Grant (CASG) to coordinate the first formal, comprehensive review of the program’s progress toward achieving its goals and objectives. With guidance from CDFW and HSWRI, CASG recommended a science advisory committee comprised of nine scientists from around the country to evaluate the program. The committee, appointed by CDFW Director, Charlton H. Bonham, included members with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including aquaculture, fish pathology, population dynamics, genetics and water quality.

During the two-year review process, the committee assessed the hatchery’s functionality and efficiency, considered alternative hatchery uses, assessed environmental impacts, documented scientific accomplishments, assessed economic costs and benefits, and evaluated the extent to which the OREHP has succeeded in enhancing wild White Seabass stocks. The report details the committee’s evaluation process, including development of scientific review criteria, summary and synthesis of all available OREHP data, and identification of key findings, gaps in information, and recommendations for better meeting the program’s objectives and goals.

CDFW will conduct public scoping meetings in Southern California to receive comments on the evaluation and discuss potential next steps for the OREHP in early 2018.

Media Contacts:
Valerie Taylor, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 342-7170
Kathryn Johnson, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 342-7179
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Mojave River Hatchery in San Bernardino County Reopens after Major Renovation

The Mojave River Hatchery in Victorville, northern San Bernardino County, has reopened after an extensive and much needed overhaul to promote more efficient trout production for anglers in Southern California.

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invested several hundred thousand dollars on the project, including pressure washing and disinfecting 6,000 linear feet of fish rearing ponds and associated plumbing, coating all fish rearing surfaces with Food and Drug Administration-approved epoxy coating to improve fish culture conditions and installing new manifolds for the water recirculation loop to improve efficiency.

The modernization of the Mojave Hatchery will greatly benefit Southern California trout anglers. Fish production at Mojave River Hatchery has already resumed and healthy juvenile fish have been brought in from other CDFW hatcheries for additional growth at the renovated facility. The first batch of catchable-sized fish from Mojave Hatchery are anticipated in late February, with others to follow.

Millions of fertile trout eggs are also being shipped to Mojave for incubation and rearing into catchable fish for stocking later in 2018, and CDFW is continuing to stock catchable fish in Southern California from sister hatcheries farther north.

The last major renovations to Mojave River Hatchery took place more than 45 years ago.

In addition to the raceway renovation and improvements, contractors upgraded the plumbing from the hatchery building, refurbished the well pump motors, and excavated the two settling ponds and installed new, UV-resistant rubber lining.

Mojave River Hatchery is one of 13 state-run inland trout hatcheries that provide millions of additional trout fishing opportunities each year for California’s angling public.

Media Contacts:
Dr. Mark Clifford, CDFW Trout and Salmon Hatcheries Program, (916) 764-2526
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944