Tag Archives: Trout

Warm Springs Hatchery Begins Spawning Operation for Russian River Steelhead

Ninety-six Russian River steelhead were spawned Feb. 20 at Warm Springs Hatchery, marking a strong but late start for the hatchery’s annual steelhead spawning operation.

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The Russian River and its tributaries comprise one of the most significant steelhead populations in the Central Coast area of California. The Russian River watershed also provides important habitat for endangered Coho and Chinook salmon. Although steelhead normally begin entering the river with the first heavy rains in the fall and can be found throughout the river and its tributaries through April, this year little rain fell from November through the first week in February, creating extremely low river conditions and few opportunities for steelhead to move into and up the river system.

Low water conditions in January also allowed the naturally occurring sandbar to form at the mouth of the river, blocking the migration of steelhead.

“Once the first rains hit in February, the sandbar blocking the mouth of the river washed out, allowing the steelhead to move in from the ocean into the river system,” said Brett Wilson, Senior Hatchery Supervisor for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “Based on what we are seeing right now, we should be able to meet our goal of taking enough eggs to rear a half million young steelhead for release into the Russian River.”

Emergency regulations that went into effect Feb. 19 closed most of the Russian River to fishing, adding extra protection for migrating steelhead and salmon.

March is an excellent time to visit the hatchery and view the steelhead moving through the concrete fish ladder into the restored stream habitat leading to the hatchery. A visitor viewing area also provides excellent photographic opportunity.

“The new restoration stream habitat just outside the hatchery intake gives visitors a chance to see steelhead up close and in native type of habitat,” Wilson said.

Warm Springs Hatchery is the end of a lengthy migration for the hatchery produced steelhead. From the Pacific Ocean, they enter the Russian River at Jenner and travel 40 miles upriver to Dry Creek near Healdsburg before following the stream 14 more miles west to the hatchery. Steelhead are also spawned at Coyote Valley Fish Facility on the East Fork of the Russian below Lake Mendocino.

The steelhead are generally held captive one week before the eggs are artificially taken. Spawning is open to the public and occurs throughout the entire season on most Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. The steelhead eggs spawned at the Hatchery and the Coyote Valley Fish Facility are incubated, hatched and reared at the hatchery for one year before they are released back into the Russian River to begin their migration to the sea.

Warm Springs Hatchery is located just below Warm Springs Dam on Lake Sonoma, approximately 14 miles above the confluence of Dry Creek with the Russian River at an elevation of 322 feet. The hatchery began operation in 1980 and is designed to produce a maximum of 161,300 pounds of salmonid fish annually. Although the hatchery is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it is operated by CDFW. CDFW also operates the Coyote Valley Fish Facility for trapping and spawning adult steelhead and imprinting steelhead destined for release in the Russian River. The Coyote Valley Fish Facility is located upstream on the east branch of the Russian River near the town of Ukiah.

Warm Springs Hatchery is a mitigation hatchery that produces steelhead to enhance the river’s natural steelhead population required due to the loss of natural spawning and rearing habitat associated with the construction of the Warm Springs and Coyote Valley dams. The mitigating agency is the USACE. The Warm Springs Hatchery is also home to the Coho Salmon Broodstock Program, which produces coho for release to 21 tributaries of the Russian River as part of a multi-agency recovery effort for this endangered species.

Media Contact:
Brett Wilson, Senior Hatchery Supervisor, (707) 433-6325
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Steelhead swimming upstream to Warm Springs Hatchery
Steelhead swimming upstream to Warm Springs Hatchery

Emergency Regulations to Close Angling Now In Effect

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) this week approved emergency regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission on Feb. 5 to close some waters to angling in response to severe drought conditions throughout the state.

The following closures are now in effect:

  1. Closure of the American River from Nimbus Dam to the SMUD power line crossing at the southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park until April 30.  CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8,7.50 (b)(5)(a-c).
  2. Closure of the Russian River main stem below the confluence of the East Branch of the Russian River until April 30. CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8, 7.50(b)(155)(a).
  3. Extension of the low flow restrictions angling closures for the north coast and central coast areas (above San Francisco Bay) until April 30.
  4. In the South Coast District (i.e., San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties), close all portions of any coastal stream west of any Highway 1 bridge until April 30.

The above regulatory actions were approved by OAL and became effective Feb. 19. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) learned about OAL’s approval today.

Also, CDFW has closed some waters to fishing in order to protect native salmon and steelhead from low water flows in California streams and rivers that have been significantly impacted by drought. These closures are within CDFW’s authority under Title 14 and did not need Commission adoption.

A map of the closures can be found here: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata/gis/fishing_closures.asp

CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(c) to close south central coast streams to fishing from December 1 through March 7 when it determines that stream flows are inadequate to provide fish passage for migrating steelhead trout and salmon. As a result, the following waters are closed to angling until March 7 or until stream flows are sufficient to allow fish passage for returning adult steelhead and salmon. To determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the south central coast closure hotline at (831) 649-2886:

  1. Pescadero Creek and all anadromous reaches of San Mateo County coastal streams normally open for fishing, from Elliot Creek through Milagro Creek.
  2. The San Lorenzo River and all its tributaries, as well as all anadromous reaches of coastal streams normally open for fishing in Santa Cruz County from the San Lorenzo River on North through Waddell Creek.
  3. Aptos and Soquel Creeks (Santa Cruz County).
  4. The Pajaro River and Uvas, Llagas and Corralitos Creeks (Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties).
  5. The Carmel River and those sections of San Jose, Gibson, Malpaso and Soberanes creeks west of Highway 1.
  6. The Big Sur River and those Big Sur area streams from Granite Creek to Salmon Creek west of Highway 1.
  7. The main stem of the Salinas River below its confluence with the Arroyo Seco River and the Arroyo Seco River (Monterey County).

In addition, CDFW has the authority under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(a) to close north coast streams to fishing when it determines that the flow at any of the designated gauging stations is less than minimum flows stated in regulation through January 31. Today’s OAL approval extends the end date of that authority to April 30. As a result, the following north coast streams will be subject to angling closures until April 30. To determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the north coast closure hotline at (707) 822-3164:

  1. The main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road with the Eel River to the South Fork Eel River.
  2. The South Fork of the Eel River downstream from Rattlesnake Creek and the Middle Fork Eel River downstream from the Bar Creek.
  3. The main stem Van Duzen River from its junction with the Eel River to the end of Golden Gate Drive near Bridgeville.
  4. The main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to Cowan Creek.
  5. The main stem of the Mattole River from the mouth to Honeydew Creek.
  6. The main stem of Redwood Creek from the mouth to its confluence with Bond Creek.
  7. The main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to the mouth of Patrick Creek (tributary of the Middle Fork Smith River); the South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tyron) bridge and Craig’s Creek to its confluence with Jones Creek; and the North Fork Smith River from the mouth to its confluence with Stony Creek.

Under Title 14, Article 4, Section 8.00(b) the following central coast streams are subject to angling closures through April 1. Today’s OAL approval extends that end date to April 30. To determine whether or not these waters are open to fishing, please call the central coast closure hotline at (707) 944-5533:

  1. Sonoma Creek (Sonoma County), and all streams tributary to the Pacific Ocean (and its bay) in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, except the Russian River.
  2. Napa River (Napa County) between Trancas Avenue in Napa and Oakville Cross Bridge near Yountville.

These closures listed above represent only about five percent of the fishable rivers in the state. There are still plenty of opportunities for California anglers to catch fish in the state’s rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs. Additionally, California’s coast offers substantial ocean fishing. All are subject to current regulations already in place. For more on fishing in California, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing/.

CDFW low flow closure hotlines:

North coast: (707) 822-3164
Central coast: (707) 944-5533
South central coast: (831) 649-2886

CDFW Hot Creek Hatchery to Host First Trout Fest

The Hot Creek Hatchery in Inyo County will host its first family-friendly Trout Fest on Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Trout Fest is a free fishing celebration that introduces people to the sport of trout fishing and gives the public a close up view of the millions of trout on site and hatchery operations.

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CDFW staff and volunteers teach attendees the basics of trout fishing from knot-tying to catching, cleaning and cooking trout.  Fly-fishing groups will demonstrate the art of fly-tying, casting and catch-and-release techniques.

Children can feed the fish in the raceways and try their hands (literally) at catching a trout in the either the raceway or the onsite ponds. Art activities will run continuously, including gyotaku, the traditional Japanese art of fish printing, wildlife stamp tattoos and face painting.

The trout tasting booth features grilling demonstrations, free recipes and samples of foil-wrapped barbecued trout.  CDFW will also feature its 1928 Dodge Hatchery Planting Truck, and wildlife officers will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate how their K9 units operate. Visitors  will be able to see various life stages of trout up close in the living stream display.

Admission to the Trout Fest and all related activities are free. All tackle is provided. No outside tackle or rods are allowed. Children 15 and under can fish with a one-fish limit.

The Hot Creek Hatchery is located about 37 miles north of Bishop, or 3.5 miles south of the junction of U.S. Highway 395 and State Route 203, near the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport, follow the signs for parking.

Media Contacts:
Jana Lerian, CDFW Region 4, (559) 539-6644
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Paiute cutthroat trout restoration begins this summer

salmon-colored trout in gravel-bottomed creek
Threatened Paiute Cutthroat Trout

Media Contacts:
Christie Kalkowski, U.S. Forest Service, (775) 355-5311
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Jeanne Stafford, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (775) 861-6336

A project to restore one of the rarest trout species in America to a remote stream in Alpine County will begin this August. The Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project is a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The agencies are working together to restore this rare species to 11 stream miles of Silver King Creek and three of its tributaries in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. The Paiute cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris) was listed as endangered in 1967. It was reclassified as threatened in 1975.

The objective of this project is to recover and reestablish Paiute cutthroat trout in its small historic range and to prevent additional hybridization with other trout species. This is a critical step to conserving the species and restoring it to a level that will allow it to be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Learn more about the Paiute cutthroat trout, this project, and read associated environmental documents at www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Resources/WildTrout/WT_Paiute/WT_PaiuteCutRestor.asp

CDFW Trout Fest Series Kicks Off in Central Valley

Media Contact:
Jana Leiran, CDFW Hatchery Interpretive Services, (916) 539-6644

Catch ’em, Clean ’em, Cook ’em and Eat ’em at Annual Fish Festival

As the trout season opener approaches, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites all to Trout Fest. KernRivRbwTrt

Trout Fest is a free community event that introduces families to the low-cost outdoor sport of trout fishing, as well as offering a view of California’s unique hatchery system and the role of native trout in California’s rich natural history.

“Beginner, novice and experienced anglers alike will find that this activity-filled day features something for everyone,” said CDFW Education and Outreach Director Kirsten Macintyre. “If you are looking to build your fishing skill set or find an enjoyable activity for the whole family, Trout Fest is a great place to start.”

In 2013, Trout Fest will be held at the following locations:

• Saturday, April 13 – Moccasin Creek Hatchery in Moccasin (Tuolumne County)
• Saturday, April 27 – Kern River Hatchery in Kernville (Kern County)
• Saturday, May 11 – San Joaquin Hatchery in Friant (Fresno County)
• Saturday, June 29 – Hot Creek Hatchery in Mammoth Lakes (Mono County)

Hours for all four events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with parking, admission and activities at no cost to the public.

CDFW staff and volunteers from local fishing groups will be on hand to teach attendees the basics of trout fishing, including how to rig a fishing pole, handle fish and clean and cook a fish. Pan-frying and grilling demonstrations will feature free recipes and samples. Fly-fishing groups will demonstrate the art of fly-tying, casting and catch and release techniques.

Additional information can be found at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/Events/Trout_Fest/.