A Heenan Lake, Alpine County, CA Lahontan Cutthroat brood stock trout awaits release into Echo Lake, El Dorado County, CA on May 18, 2021. (CDFW Photo/Travis VanZant)

California anglers looking to target the native but elusive Lahontan cutthroat trout may want to put Echo Lake in El Dorado County on their summer itinerary.

For the past several years, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has managed the deep blue waters of Echo Lake exclusively as a Lahontan cutthroat trout sport fishery.

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10thAnniversary
The El Dorado Chapter Board of Directors met on July 1st to rough out plans for the 2021-2022 year. The 10th anniversary celebration marked the opening of events with significant participants. The event was successful based on attendance, location, food and wine conversation and a raffle.

Another social meeting was defined for July 8. We will gather at Jack Russell Farm Brewery in Camino from 5-7 PM. Fellowship and fish tales will be augmented with pizza, available beer, some casting games and of course a raffle. Come see your old friends and meet some new ones.

A fishout is being planned for Caples Creek in August. In September we will gather at Wofford Acres, November will mark a return to the Veterans Memorial in Placerville followed by January, March, May and June. A fish out will be planned for February-March. A float tube fishout to Gerle  Creek is also on the agenda.

We are exploring activities with the EID and Forest Service. Suggestions for a restoration or other project will be welcomed.

sierra meadows osa meadow mike wierThe greater Sierra Nevada region is the source of more than 60 percent of California's developed water supply. It also encompasses a rich variety of natural areas, supporting 50 percent of California’s plant species and 60 percent of the state’s animal species. Sierra meadows cover less than 2 percent of the overall Sierra-Cascade landscape, but they are biological hotspots that sustain the headwaters of several major California water sources.

Trout Unlimited is partnered with California Trout and others in the Sierra Meadows partnership.  In 2016— in the Sierra Meadows Partnership—The Sierra Meadows Strategy for restoring and protecting our state’s Sierra Nevada meadows was officially released in 2016 after two years of rigorous scientific study by the partners. A key piece of CalTrout's source-waters-to-sea approach to combatting the effects of drought and climate change, this strategy developed among a broad coalition of conservation partners aims to restore and conserve meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada, protecting a major source of our state’s water supply and critical habitats to fish and other species.  Read More

Photo by Mike Wier

McCloud Above Shasta Res

On March 1st, 2021 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) implemented new Inland Trout Sportfishing regulations that will change the angling season(s) and experience on many waters. CDFW will also, as directed by the California Fish and Wildlife Commission, changed the general statewide fishing regulations on March 1.

The final regulation packet can be found here. Regulations for your favorite trout streams may have changed so please review this packet before your next visit to the river.

As many of you are aware, Trout Unlimited California and California Trout have followed the state’s regulatory change process closely, and engaged in multiple ways with CDFW and the Commission to make sure that our wild trout populations are conserved and that our best special regulations waters retain their unique character and fishing experience.

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DeadLake Sabrina

University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, written by Will McCarthy.

When Jay Rowan learned in late April that trout in California hatcheries were exhibiting strange symptoms, he had been the hatchery production manager for California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife for less than a month. Already forced to rejigger operations after the coronavirus lockdowns, Mr. Rowan began to worry that a second crisis was on the way.

The employees at the Mojave River State Fish Hatchery noticed the trout were developing strange bubbles under their skin. Eyes bulged. Abdomens swelled. At first glance, the symptoms pointed to gas bubble disease, a condition that’s relatively common in hatcheries. Still, they proved odd enough that the state’s senior fish pathologist, Mark Adkison, sent a pathologist to run tests. Within a week, they had their answer: lactococcus garvieae, a rare bacterial infection. It was the first time the bacteria had ever been found in California.

As Mr. Rowan and his team were under statewide shelter-in-place orders, they moved to institute a lockdown of their own. The Mojave River hatchery, which holds about 860,000 rainbow trout, provides fish for most of the waterways in Southern California. Most fish on site had already been affected. If this bacteria somehow spread to other hatcheries, or spread in the wild, the reverberations could be devastating. It seemed surreal — a pandemic within a pandemic — but on May 4 the state quarantined the entire hatchery.

“It rarely, rarely comes to that,” Mr. Rowan said.

An investment analysis that looked at how much it would cost water users to build and operate the proposed Temperance Flat Dam northeast of Fresno without government funding was
finished earlier this year and quietly passed among water districts, which just as quietly asked the federal government to shelve work on the project. Read More

IndependanceLakeA range-wide genetic analysis of Lahontan cutthroat populations in Nevada, California and Oregon done by Helen Neville, Trout Unlimited’s senior scientist and UC-Davis in 2018 turned up hybrids — a mix Lahontan cutthroat and rainbow trout — in Independence Lake samples. As one of only two lakes in the world to support a relict self-sustaining and naturally reproducing population of Lahontan cutthroat trout, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, Independence Lake is irreplaceable.

Learn the solution to maintain a "pure" species.

A century of fire exclusion from Caples Creek drainage has led to higher fuel loading and tree density, which has increased the risk of high intensity wildfire. An important community water supply serving 110,000 people in the El Dorado Irrigation District is threatened, and the condition of meadows, streamside corridors, and aspen stands has declined. This project will complete 25 miles of prescribed fire containment line in preparation for 8,800 acres of burning. The project includes 4,400 acres of lower elevation understory burning, 4,400 acres of burning in vegetative islands mixed with rock at higher elevation, 25 acres of aspen restoration activities, and 25 acres of meadow restoration activities.

Read the Project Summary

Caples 1024x768Caples Fire First Order Fire Effects. Preliminary Estimate of Burn Severity, Tree Mortality, and Fuel Consumption. Scott Dailey, USFS Enterprise Program

The Caples fire occurred in 2019 as part of the Caples Watershed Restoration project. A controlled burn was initiated at the end of September and classified as a wildfire in early October. The Fire Behavior Assessment Team (FBAT) has been in operation since 2003 and is a Multi-agency group of  Fire/fuels managers, and fire scientists. Their task is to collect fire behavior and fire effects data for various objectives and  agencies.

Read the complete report.

Middle Fork Salmon River Idaho 1080x804 1024x762by Chris Wood June 24, 2020

Our iconic Snake River chinook salmon are down to less than 1 percent of their historic numbers.

With a few real exceptions, juvenile smolts in Idaho rear in some of the West’s best habitat, but on their way to the Pacific Ocean they must traverse eight dams, including four on the lower Snake River.

How do those dams impact their survival? A recent study used various approaches to estimate Snake River dam-related mortality and averaged their estimates with other comparable studies. The study confirms what scientists have been saying for decades.  Read More

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