Looking back on 2014, it’s hard not to feel despair for California salmon. Come August, several streams in the Central Valley were drying up. Native fish were absent from many of their summer haunts. There was, however, a startling exception to the run of bad salmon news.
On the Shasta River, a lifeline for Siskiyou County cattle ranchers, more than 18,000 fall-run Chinook salmon returned from the ocean. That’s more than double the return from the previous fall. More importantly, average returns during the past four years have quadrupled.
If you think you would enjoy the team atmosphere that comes from working for a growing organization with a strong volunteer base and broad conservation mission; if you want to ensure TU remains relevant by diversifying our base; if you're excited to share this passion become a contractor with Trout Unlimited. TU seeks a dedicated and self-motivated contractor to serve as its Membership Diversity Coordinator. This contractor will join TU's Volunteer Operations staff for a 16 month period and assist with our existing women’s initiative and drive new initiatives to diversify the membership and help the TU community become more welcoming and inclusive. In this job, the Membership Diversity Coordinator will help chapters and state councils strengthen their own organizational capacity so that they are more successful in recruiting a diverse membership and leadership. The contractor will play an advisory role to marketing and communications on representation issues in our media and marketing, and participate in membership marketing.
The World of Trout is a seminal event celebrating trout and the passion they inspire around the world. Arguably no other freshwater species have had more impact on art and literature, conservation science, the global economy, and the human condition. This first-of-its-kind event will be held in Bozeman, Montana, July 26 - 31, 2015, in the shadow of Yellowstone National Park and in proximity to some of the most beloved trout streams in the world. This event will bring together a diverse audience that includes conservationists, scientists, anglers, writers, artists, educators, and the public for an exchange of ideas and focused events that explore trout as a global barometer, driver for ecosystem restoration, resource for sustained regional economies, instrument of human culture, and more. See the World of Trout for full details. A small window is open for submittal of art, film or papers.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is recruiting applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in the Sacramento region.
The NRVP provides conservation education through public service, while enlisting biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to CDFW's mission.
Volunteers have no law enforcement authority and are trained to be educational ambassadors for the department. They will participate in a variety of activities, including responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing CDFW at community outreach events and disseminating useful information to the public at CDFW lands, ecological reserves and fishing areas.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers and divers that they are required by regulation to report or return their 2014 report cards. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations. 2014 report cards are due by Jan. 31, 2015 for steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon fisheries. There are two ways to meet the mandatory reporting requirement. Online reporting (www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing#758846-harvest-reporting) is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted. Steelhead report cards may also be returned by mail to the following addresses.
Steelhead Report Cards
CDFW – Steelhead Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
Fish disembarking from the Werra that February in 1883 were trout-to-be in the form of 80,000 fertilized eggs from a hard-fighting strain of Salmo trutta, the European brown trout, which makes its first appearance in Roman literature about a.d. 200, swims through Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, inspires Franz Schubert's "Trout" quintet of 1819 and establishes a beachhead in North America with this 1883 shipment.
The consequences of its arrival are felt—on the riverbank, in public hearing rooms and in courthouses—to this day. Indeed, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that the continuing story of trout in America—native and introduced, threatened and thriving—is a fair reflection of our own restless history, with its marathon migrations, its paroxysms of prejudice, its well-intentioned blunders and its reassuring urge to set those blunders right again.
Recently the tide has been turning and there is a broad acceptance that native fish should be preferred over introduced species. This is not always an accepted conclusion in large waters with well established wild fisheries of introduced trout. These conflicts are being resolved throughout the land by cooperative work by scientists, conservationists, landowners, fishing groups and other stakehoders. Smithsonian magazine recently ran a comprehensive article that documents the introduction of alien species the result and work being accomplished to accept their presence or on a limited basis to eliminate the aliens and reintroduce natives. The complete article may be read here.
On December 3 the Fish and Game Commission accepted the DFW recommendation for the designation of Caples Creek, Putah Creek and Lake Solano as Wild Trout waters.
Trout Unlimited El Dorado has worked with the DFW for several years collecting fishing data in Caples Creek directed towards this result. We have also worked with the Forest Service in restoration and planting of the trailhead area on Silver Fork Road.
Putah Creek Trout has over the past six years taken part as volunteers and acted as stewards of the Creek and fishery. This is a very important milestone in the fishery restoration that they have all been involved with. There is still a lot to do in the future to assure that the fishery will continue to improve as such an important resource for those that fish and for those that otherwise enjoy the Creek. This action demonstrates the effects which grass roots action can realize. The Sacramento Bee provided a history of Putah Creek.
DFW is required to designate 25 miles of wild trout waters in each year. The selection of waters this year included a record number of eight, all of which the Commission approved. The list includes Putah Creek, Lake Solano, the Truckee River, Caples Creek, Pauley Creek, Milton Reservoir, Gerle Creek Divide Reservoir, and Manzanita Lake. To see the complete list of designated waters and view maps, please visit us at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildtrout .
It may be a slow year for salmon in the rivers but returns to foothill creeks are showing promise and improvement. Two conservation efforts have been highlighted in the Sacramento Bee lately. The Dry Creek Conservancy works in Roseville on Dry Creek and its tributary creeks like Miners Ravine, Secret Ravine and Antelope Creek. They perform restoration work and conduct annual salmon counts in November and December. With only 3-5 reaches being sampled they found 100 fish on Nov 7, 120 on the 14th and 85 on the 21st. The Bee story ran on November 17th. SARSAS, Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead,works on the Auburn Ravine and tributaries to improve salmon recruitment. Auburn Ravine has numerous obstacles placed by the Nevada Irrigation District, NID, which restrict salmon access. They are on the threshold of gaining a fish passage on the Hemphill Dam with NID. Their Bee Story was published on November 23rd. You are encouraged to write a letter to the Bee urging completion of the Hemphill project and referencing Matt Weiser's article.
Four years ago, the Henry's Fork Foundation, HFF, completed a study examining the role small caldera tributaries play in young wild trout survival. Findings from this study showed that young trout migrate to smaller creek systems - like Fish Creek- in the late fall, when habitat from the main Henry's Fork becomes limited due to reduced river flow or reduced macrophyte.
In 2012, HFF in partnership with the USFS worked to improve altered habitat on Fish Creek by re-routing it back to its original channel bed. Years of straightening, grazing, and irrigation had decreased the quality of in-stream habitat available to young trout, decreasing their odds of finding suitable winter habitat. A deeper, narrow channel should improve winter survival.
Earlier this month, with the help from BYU-Idaho students and USFS personnel, HFF re-visited Fish Creek and found increased trout use throughout restored sections, indicating that restoration efforts were successful in increasing winter habitat availability for our wild trout. HFF will continue to monitor seasonal trout use in Fish Creek throughout 2015.
Knots giving you trouble? Can you tie a perfection loop or tie on those tippets. These and many others are pictured by Bass Pro Shops. See their Fishing Knot Library.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has launched an improved online Fishing Guide to help novice and experienced anglers plan successful fishing trips. The new guide is faster and provides detailed information about fish plants and fishing locations.
The map-based Fishing Guide allows users to research information about specific fishing locations by selecting from a drop down menu, clicking directly on the map or by searching for a specific address, city or zip code. Specific information about each location includes planting schedule, historical fishing information and comments about the terrain, local amenities, fish known to the location and links to lodging, camping and dining options.
In the coming year, CDFW plans to expand the Fishing Guide to include direct access to fishing regulations, license sales locations and boating facilities.
Current thinking on beavers identifies them as a desirable resource as well as a species to be maintained. Beavers and their dam building provide benefits including storing water, restoring eroded streams, limiting erosion, extending wet cycles in streams, preserving meadows and wetlands and providing wildlife habitat.
We see beavers in a wide variety of places in California but it wasn't always so. Some questioned whether beaver were native above 1000 feet in the foothills and sierras and cascades. These conclusions were the result of near extirpation of beaver by trappers in the 19th century. The Hudson's Bay Company instructed their trappers to make a "fur desert" below the Columbia River so as to make the western states less attractive to the United States. They proved to be very successful and beaver were scarce by 1890. Trapping started about 1823 and continued through the 19th century. It wasn't all done by the Hudson Bay Company and many American trappers were active in California.
California Division of Fish and Game began studying beaver and attempting their placement throughout the state in about 1920. This placement resulted in the parachuting of 200 beaver into El Dorado County in 1950. We all can attest to the success of this program via their presence from the foothills to the mountains including in Southern California.
A comprehensive article on their history can be found here.