DFG Aerial Trout Plants Trimmed


Mar 11, 2001
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DFG News Release

June 28, 2002

Contact: Paul Wertz (530) 225-2362


REDDING--Better wilderness trout fishing, improved fishery management efficiency and continued vigilance on behalf of mountain frog populations have set the Department of Fish and Game's back country trout planting program on a new course, the DFG said today.

Fish and Game's Region 1 office said it reduced the number of north state high elevation lakes it planted this year, suspending fish drops at the remaining waters either to test their ability to sustain their own fish populations or to give Cascade frogs a sanctuary.

As a result, the DFG said, hatchery and air crews this week completed their wilderness aerial trout plants in two days, dropping some 488,500 fingerling-sized trout into 122 lakes, down from last year's plant of 704,000 fish in 274 lakes. For some lakes, the number of fish dropped was adjusted.

Fishing will not be affected--for better or worse--this year because the young fish take one to three years to reach sport size, Fish and Game said. In some cases, angling could improve if trout were becoming stunted because too many fish were being planted in relation to available food.

The DFG said some lakes this year were taken out of the planting rotation for one to four years, some were put on an alternate year basis and the rest were left on the list of waters to receive brook, brown or rainbow trout annually. Factors in the lake-by-lake decision making included angler use, trout species presence, lake accessibility, trout stunting, adult-young trout ratios and Cascade frog presence.

Most waters removed from this year's plants are either dominated by brook trout, which can reproduce in a lake environment, or are considered good sanctuaries for existing Cascade frog populations. Rainbow trout tend to need a flowing stream environment for successful egg hatches.

A year from now, Fish and Game surveys of lakes not planted this year are expected to provide data on natural reproduction of trout and on the status of each water's amphibian life. Lakes with signs of natural trout reproduction or frogs will remain off the planting list until they are reevaluated in three to five years, while those showing no sign of new fish hatches may be returned to the list.

Meanwhile, DFG and U.S. Forest Service wilderness survey crews are beginning another season-long scouring of back country lakes to gather data on the status of trout and frogs. This year's efforts target the Salmon-Scott, Marble Mountains, Thousand Lakes, Caribou and Trinity Alps wilderness areas along with the Siskiyou Mountains and the Red Buttes.

The decision to launch back country surveys of trout and frog populations was triggered by earlier amphibian surveys of some wilderness sites by Forest Service research scientists. Results from the work raised questions about the possible impact of planted trout on frog populations.

Fish and Game biologists researching the subject and studying the data concluded that most watershed basins such as those in the Trinity Alps and Marble Mountains wilderness areas should receive structured scrutiny to determine the cross-impacts of trout and frogs.

The DFG said this year's aerial trout plants reached all 65 Del Norte, Humboldt, Lassen, Modoc and Shasta county waters that were planted with the tiny fish last year plus three additional waters in Modoc not planted in 2001. Most trout planting changes this year took place in Siskiyou and Trinity counties, where about 75% of all Region 1 wilderness lakes exist, the DFG said.

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