Help Protect Steelhead Trout: Clean, Drain and Dry Fishing Gear to Prevent Spread of New Zealand Mudsnails

With the December 1st opening of steelhead trout fishing in coastal counties south of San Francisco, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that it’s critically important to clean gear after every fishing outing. This practice helps prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails (NZMS), tiny (3/16”) aquatic snails capable of surviving out of water in the crevasses of damp gear for weeks.

The resiliency of NZMS has enabled them to spread to aquatic environments across the globe, including Europe, Australia, North America, and Asia. To prevent further spread, anglers and others who wade or work in California waters should thoroughly clean all gear before using it in another waterbody.

“While New Zealand mudsnails have been detected in watersheds across the state, many watersheds and counties remain free of this unwanted species. Anglers and the public are key to keeping these waters free of mudsnails,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist George Neillands.

NZMS were first reported in California in 2000 in the Owens River (Inyo and Mono counties). In 2003, NZMS were discovered in northern California in Putah Creek (Yolo County) and the Mokelumne River (San Joaquin River). They have since been detected in one or more waterbodies in 27 additional counties (Alameda, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Ventura, and Yuba).

NZMS can survive in a variety of environments including rivers, streams, reservoirs and estuaries. They are parthenogenic live-bearers, meaning they self-reproduce. This enables a new population to begin from only one snail. NZMS have demonstrated the potential to reach high densities of up to nearly one million snails per square meter and comprising up to 95 percent of the invertebrate biomass of a river. When they reach high densities, NZMS outcompete native insects and invertebrates for space and algae, which reduces the forage available to steelhead trout. As a result, steelhead populations can decline. Once NZMS are established in a body of water, it may not be possible to eradicate them.

Here’s what you can do to prevent the spread of NZMS:

  • After leaving a body of water, inspect all gear including waders, boots and float tubes. Also inspect boats and trailers. Remove visible debris with a stiff brush and rinse on site.
  • Freeze waders and other gear overnight (for a minimum of six hours) or dry completely between use.
  • Use additional waders and boots in infested waters and store them separately.
  • Never transport live fish or other aquatic animals or plants from one waterbody to another.

For more information on NZMS visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/NZMS

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Media Contacts:

George Neillands, CDFW Region 3 Fisheries, (707) 576-2812

Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Little girls at Hot Creek Hatchery Trout Fest

Annual Trout Fest to Make a Splash at Hot Creek Hatchery

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites everyone to celebrate our state’s fishery resources at the Hot Creek Hatchery Trout Fest on Saturday, June 29.

“Fish hatcheries are a terrific family destination and Trout Fest offers a variety of free, fun activities that will interest the angler and non-angler alike,” said Hot Creek Hatchery Manager Michael Escalier.

The many fun things to do at Trout Fest include:

  • Touch a fish – Trout skin is slimy, colorful and cool. You can learn all about these things at the Trout Touch Pool!
  • Feed a fish – Watch trout jump for joy when you toss them a handful of their favorite food. Learn what trout eat in the hatchery and in the wild at the Aquatic Insect Activity.
  • Catch a fish – Try your new skills to catch your very own “whopper” at our Small Fry Fishing activity (for ages 15 years and under only).
  • Clean a fish – Trout are easy to clean and learn how as we clean your whopper at our Trout Cleaning station!
  • Taste a fish – Fish are delicious! There are so many ways to cook a trout! Here’s your chance to try a few tasty recipes at our Trout Tasting booth.
  • Form follows function – Learn how a trout’s anatomy holds the secret to their survival at the Dissection booth.
  • Paint a Fish – Make some fishy art at the Fish Print booth.
  • Join a school of fish – Learn angling ethics, techniques and helpful fishing tips from expert anglers at our Knot Tying, Rigging, Casting and Fly-Tying activities.

Fishing, science, art and cooking are only some of the fun and interesting activities Trout Fest offers. Local fly fishing groups will provide individual fly-casting lessons and demonstrate the art of fly-tying and catch-and-release techniques. CDFW wildlife officers will also be on hand to answer your wildlife-related questions.

Hot Creek Hatchery is located at 121 Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Mammoth Lakes (93546), to the east of Highway 395. Hours for all events are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Parking, admission and activities are all free. Gear and tackle will be provided (fishing is for kids 15 years and under only). No outside gear is allowed.

Additional information can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contact:
Jana Leiran, CDFW Hatchery Interpretive Services, (916) 539-6644
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

New Native Trout Challenge Kicks Off in 12 Western States

Deep in the West, under a secret rock in a cool stream, lies a prize worth finding. Anglers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and put the lure of the West on their bucket list. In addition to earning bragging rights and Western Native Trout Challengeprizes at the Expert, Advanced and Master Levels, participants will help the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) conserve 21 species of native trout.

The 12 states where these native trout can be found are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states are partnering on the effort, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.

“California’s Heritage Trout challenge takes anglers on an amazing fishing journey across the state,” said Kevin Shaffer, Fisheries Branch Chief for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.We’re pleased to partner on this new Western Native Trout Challenge that encourages an experience across the western states, which will promote a love of fishing, our western streams and rivers, and these amazing native fishes.”

Native trout are the embodiment of the West. The wild rivers, alpine lakes and trickling arroyos — the fiber of Western geography — are the habitat for the redband, the cutthroat and the Gila.

The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of the 12 Western states, at their own pace. There are three levels of achievement. Participants who catch six trout species across four states will earn “Expert Caster” rewards. Those who catch 12 trout species across eight states will earn “Advanced Caster” rewards. And those who catch 18 species across all 12 states will not only enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, but will also be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.

Anglers can get details on which fish to catch and where to find them by registering online at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org. Registration is $25 per adult and is free for those 17 and under. The vast majority (92%) of the fee will go toward helping conserve native trout populations for future generations to also enjoy.

“We’re thrilled to be launching this fun way to support native trout conservation across the West,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “For every $25 program registration fee, $23 will go directly back to conservation projects that are helping native trout populations thrive. We want anglers to learn about these unique species and where they can go to catch them. In addition, catching the selected species helps conserve them by promoting angling and fishing license sales for native trout species, which also supports conservation efforts. It’s a wonderful way to help conserve these beautiful species, in beautiful places, at your own pace.”

The Western Native Trout Challenge is complementing a similar effort in some states. Anglers can participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge at the same time they participate in state specific programs, including the Arizona Trout Challenge, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Nevada Native Fish-Slam, Utah Cutthroat Slam and the Wyoming Cutt-slam.

Learn more, and register at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org.

Follow the action on:

  • Twitter: @WNativeTrout
  • Instagram: @WesternNativeTrout
  • Facebook: /westernnativetrout

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $29 million in federal, public and private funds to serve 139 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 87 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,130 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

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

Lydia Saldaña, WAFWA, (817) 851-5729

General Trout Season Opens April 27

One of California’s most anticipated and celebrated outdoor traditions unfolds Saturday, April 27 one hour before sunrise when the state’s general trout season opens in many counties throughout California.

In the last three weeks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) trout hatcheries have stocked more than 170,000 trout weighing nearly 95,000 pounds.

Trout fishing is available and popular year-round in many waters across the state, but the general trout season unlocks many destination waters in the Eastern Sierra that will attract thousands of anglers, rekindle friendships and renew family traditions on opening weekend.

The communities of Bridgeport and Bishop are the epicenters of the opening weekend trout fishing activity, festivities and revelry – what many anglers refer to as “Fishmas.”

Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, CDFW released trout to accessible waters approved for stocking prior to the Eastern Sierra season opener. Because of heavy snow this winter, some popular high-elevation waters were inaccessible or covered in ice.

CDFW’s Hot Creek, Black Rock and Fish Springs trout hatcheries stocked several waters with catchable trout, including Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, June Lake and the West Walker River in Mono County; Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Owens River in Inyo County; and Markleeville Creek in Alpine County.

In the Central Valley and western Sierra, CDFW prioritized stocking waters adjacent to major highway corridors such as State Routes 108/120 in Tuolumne County, State Route 168 in Fresno County and State Route 178 in Kern County. After the 2018 flooding, evacuation and subsequent repair, CDFW’s Moccasin Creek Hatchery in Tuolumne County is once again raising fish. The hatchery is expected to reach full production in 2020.

Check CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule for the latest waters stocked with trout. CDFW also offers an online, map-based Fishing Guide and mobile app.

Most lakes, river and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits, and gear restrictions. Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2019-20 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations available online or in printed booklets at most local tackle and sporting goods retailers where fishing licenses are sold. All anglers 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state boundaries.

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Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

 

trout in stream

Public Comment Sought on Statewide Regulation Changes of Trout Season

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host a series of statewide meetings to inform the public and seek input on the proposed new statewide changes for trout fishing regulations.

“The California Fish and Game Commission directed our department to make the regulations and seasons more simple and easy to understand, while continuing to protect and manage the state’s trout resources,” said Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager. “We look forward to explaining how these new changes came about, and how they could be implemented.”

The meetings will focus on the following key areas:

  • Objectives of the new regulation framework and species management goals
  • Parameters of the regulation standardization and consolidation process
  • Review of specific proposed changes to regulations

CDFW personnel will be available at information stations to answer questions and listen to stakeholder interests, needs and ideas. All stakeholder input will be taken into consideration as a regulation simplification package is developed for formal public review through the California Fish and Game Commission.

Meetings will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
6-8 p.m.
Talman Pavilion, Tricounty Fairgrounds, 1234 Fair St., Bishop

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
6-8 p.m.
Redding Library Community Room, 1100 Parkview Ave., Redding

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
6-8 p.m.
Betty Rodriguez Regional Library, 3040 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno

Saturday, April 6, 2019
Noon-2 p.m.
Bass Pro Shops, 7777 Victoria Gardens Lane, Rancho Cucamonga

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
6-8 p.m.
Colonial Heights Library Community Room, 4799 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
6-8 p.m.
Truckee-Tahoe Airport Community Room, 10356 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee

More information is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/trout-plan. Meetings are in-person only and no conference line or webcast will be available.

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Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (916) 445-3777

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8911
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988