fingerling release

CDFW Stocks More Than 1.45 Million Fingerling Landlocked Salmon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed its 2019 stocking of fingerling Kokanee and landlocked Chinook Salmon, planting more than 1.45 million of the popular sport fish into inland waters where they will provide recreational angling opportunities in two to three years after growing to catchable size.

This year’s stocking consisted of releasing 792,942 fingerling Kokanee Salmon into 16 waters and 672,734 sterile, fingerling Chinook salmon into eight waters. Additional allotments of the sterile – or “triploid” – Chinook Salmon are scheduled to be released later this fall into northern California’s Lake Oroville, Lake Shasta and Trinity Lake.

The 2- to 4-inch fish are stocked into landlocked, inland waters to provide a diverse fishing experience where natural reproduction is insufficient to provide a high-quality angling experience. Anglers can expect excellent opportunities in these waters in two to three years when these fingerlings reach catchable size. Stocking fingerling-sized fish is a very cost-effective way to maintain these popular, inland recreational fisheries.

After a record Kokanee egg take in 2018, CDFW had an additional number of Kokanee fingerlings available for release this year. These fish were surplus to stocking goals. To provide and enhance recreational opportunities, CDFW released these additional Kokanee into Lake Shasta in Shasta County, where anglers can expect a new fishing opportunity in the next few years. Kokanee Salmon are the landlocked version of the Sockeye Salmon native to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Instead of migrating to the ocean, the landlocked Kokanee often are able to reproduce naturally in feeder streams, inlets and along gravel shoreline in the lakes where they are stocked. Like all Pacific salmon, Kokanee die after spawning.

Monitoring and evaluations of these fisheries are vital to providing a balance between numbers of fish and their average size. Stocking too many fish may provide an abundance of fish, but not produce fish of a desirable size. To evaluate stocking efforts, CDFW has begun marking stocked Kokanee Salmon prior to their release. In 2018, CDFW marked Kokanee that were released into Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County. In 2019, marked Kokanee were released into New Melones Reservoir in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. All fish were marked with an adipose fin clip for easy identification and to distinguish from naturally spawned fish.

To assist in these evaluations, CDFW has partnered with the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. (CIFFI) and Kokanee Power (KP) to develop an online angler survey. The Kokanee & Inland Chinook Anglers Survey allows anglers to provide catch and effort data from any device with internet connectivity. Anglers are asked to report their effort and catch, both the number kept and released by size class, for each angling day. This data will assist fisheries managers in evaluating management goals for these fisheries.

CDFW would like to thank volunteers from CIFFI and KP for their continued cooperation assisting with the Landlocked Salmon Program. The careful planning, coordination and funding provided by these two organizations have contributed to the success of this program.

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Media Contacts:
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 375-5483

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Magnifies Efforts to Recruit Hunters and Anglers

In an effort to get more Californians involved in fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is partnering with the recreational fishing and hunting communities, state and federal agencies, and others to address barriers and opportunities to hunting and fishing in the state.

“Our goal is to support and encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy California’s wild places,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The fishing and hunting opportunities in this state are unparalleled, they belong to all Californians and should be utilized by all of us. This effort is to make sure Californians know that.”

CDFW has formed an executive-level task force, hired a full-time coordinator to head-up the effort, hired a research scientist, and finalized a statewide recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) action plan. A staff-level working group is working to increase hunting and fishing participation by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to transform barriers to participation into opportunities. Some of the barriers CDFW will look at initially are access and opportunity challenges, public perception of fishing and hunting, and license structure and pricing. The effort will also focus on encouraging more adults to take up hunting and fishing for the first time.

Research shows spending time outdoors improves physical, mental and social well-being. Many hunters and anglers say the reason they participate in these activities is to enjoy the quality time with family and friends and to bring home great memories and healthy food.

California is home to some of the nation’s most diverse hunting and fishing opportunities, but participation in these activities has declined significantly since the 1970s and 1980s. Hunters and anglers play a crucial role in managing natural resources by regulating wildlife populations to maintain ecological and biological diversity, participating in wildlife surveys for scientific data collection, and reporting wildlife crimes. Hunters and anglers also help sustain a multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry and provide the primary funding source for state-level fish and wildlife conservation in California. The decline in participation poses an ever-increasing threat to wildlife conservation, the state’s long-standing hunting and fishing heritage, and Californians’ connection to the outdoors in general.

“The fishing and hunting community has rallied around CDFW, and we are now poised to tackle the challenges before us,” Bonham said.

To get involved or learn more about the state’s R3 efforts, please contact Jennifer.Benedet@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Jen Benedet, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 903-9270
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

Kokanee Fingerlings Released into California Lakes and Reservoirs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has recently completed the release of the 2016 allotment of kokanee salmon fingerlings. This year’s allotment included 634,430 kokanee released into 13 lakes and reservoirs throughout the state.

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Kokanee were introduced into California waters to provide diverse recreational angling opportunities for anglers and have become an extremely popular sport fish. They are typically smaller than the landlocked Chinook salmon with the average size about 12 inches.

Due to the continuing drought conditions making it difficult to obtain kokanee eggs within the state, this year’s allotment was supplemented with eggs provided by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Anglers can expect excellent fishing opportunities in these waters two years from now, when these fish reach a catchable size,” says Kyle Murphy, Senior Environmental Scientist and project leader of CDFW’s Landlocked Salmon Program. “The stocking of fingerling-sized fish is a very cost-effective way to maintain this popular recreational fishery.”

The landlocked version of the sockeye salmon, the kokanee (pronounced coke-a-nee) spends its entire life in fresh water. Instead of migrating to the ocean, adult kokanees inhabit large lakes before returning to their natal streams or gravelly shorelines to spawn. Like all Pacific salmon, kokanee die after spawning, the whole life cycle taking from three to seven years.

CDFW worked closely with volunteers at the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. and Kokanee Power, Inc., especially during the 2015 kokanee egg take operation. The careful planning and coordination between these two organizations, the American River Fish Hatchery, the San Joaquin River Fish Hatchery and the Silverado Fish Planting Base have made this year’s kokanee salmon releases a huge success.

The fish were planted in the following waters:

Water                                                   County                             Fish Planted

Boca Reservoir                                  Napa                                 25,042

Bullards Bar Reservoir                    Yuba                                  70,140

Donner Lake                                      Nevada                            25,042

Hell Hole Reservoir                          Placer                                25,042

Lake Tahoe                                         El Dorado                         138,099

Little Grass Valley Reservoir        Plumas                             15,052

Stampede Reservoir                       Sierra                                60,027

Union Valley Reservoir                  El Dorado                         49,995

Lake Berryessa                                  Napa                                 50,111

Bass Lake                                             Madera                            50,064

Don Pedro Reservoir                      Tuolumne                       19,980

New Melones                                   Tuolumne                       55,524

Shaver Lake                                        Fresno                              50,312

CDFW typically stocks between 800,000 – 1,000,000 fingerlings annually in 18 waters statewide.

Media Contacts:
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 323-5556
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 32-8944