NoCal Trout Info. Good opener predicted.

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April 13, 2002

CA DFG Region 1 News

Contact: Paul Wertz (530) 225-2362

GOOD OPENERS PREDICTED

REDDING--North state sport anglers will turn their attention to several hundred miles of trout streams that Department of Fish and Game wardens and biologists predict will be in good condition when they open to fishing April 27 and May 25, the DFG's Region 1 office said today.

"After a winter without major flood events, trout fishing in most north state waters promises to be excellent," said Mike Dean, wild trout biologist in Redding.

Herb Janney, DFG warden in Siskiyou County, sounded a common caution for north state trout openers, adding, "The stream flows we have right now would be good for fishing, but if warmer weather arrives, snow melt could raise the streams and make angling a little tougher."

As in the past two years, the condition of stream flows in late summer and fall also remains an unknown, the DFG said. Modest precipitation--and especially limited snow packs--over the past four months could translate into reduced stream habitat in the later weeks leading up to the standard Nov. 15 closing date for stream trout angling.

The April 27 opener will apply to most streams of the Sierra District within Region 1 and a large number of high elevation waters beyond the reach of salmon and steelhead inside the North Coast District.

A month later, the May 25 opener will launch fishing on a few remaining waters within the region's Sierra District and on North Coast District streams outside the Klamath-Trinity basin's anadromous fish territory and those streams that flow into, and north of, Humboldt Bay.

The majority of streams opening April 27 will carry a daily bag limit of five trout and a possession limit of 10, while a high percentage of waters that fall under the May 25 opening--for the most part, short-run coast waters with coastal cutthroat trout populations--have limits ranging from two down to zero.

Fish and Game said its 2002 sport fishing regulation booklets, free at DFG offices and license agent outlets, have a 28-page list of statewide exceptions to general trout regulations, including some 40 specific waters whose rules fall outside the norm of Region 1.

The booklets describe waters with different seasons, with bag limits sometimes as low as zero--referred to as catch-and-release waters--and with restrictions such as the common requirement that anglers use only artificial lures with barbless hooks. Some waters, such as official wild trout streams, also have minimum or maximum size limits on trout.

The rules also are found on the internet. The web site address is dfg.ca.gov/fg_comm/fishregs.html.

Fish and Game said most lakes and reservoirs within the eight-county Region 1 are open year around under the 5-daily and 10-possession limits. Examples of exceptions are the lakes of Fall River Valley, which open April 27, and Eagle Lake in Lassen County, with a May 25 opening date and a two-trout limit.

The May 25 opener also applies to some other Sierra District waters, including all streams in Lassen and Modoc counties east of Highway 395 and north of Clarks Valley Road and including the Hamilton Branch of the Feather River.

Daily fishing hours for trout are from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset. Anglers must possess a valid 2002 fishing license, this year costing $30.45 for residents.

Region 1 officials said trucks from the DFG's Darrah Springs, Mt. Shasta and Crystal Lake hatcheries will stock an estimated 50 lakes and streams with 141,020 sport-sized trout in time for the April 27 opener. By season's end, the hatcheries will have delivered about 1,097,350 half-pound rainbow, brook and brown trout to a total of 96 waters within the eight counties.

Sharon Hope, word processing technician in Fish and Game's Redding office, said anglers may learn each Friday which waters in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, Siskiyou, Modoc and Lassen counties have been planted with trout during the week by calling a recorded message at 530-225-2146. The first weekly recording will be made May 3, she said.

Among the targets of the weekly fish plants will be the upper Sacramento River between Mt. Shasta and Shasta Lake. New rules this year provide for a 10-mile section between Sweetbriar and Scarlett Way Bridge that will be stocked with trout from Mt. Shasta Hatchery. The daily bag limit will be five.

The lower 22 miles of the river will fall under a new two-trout limit and required use of artificial lures with barbless hooks, while the upper six miles above Scarlett Way will remain a zero-trout area with the same gear restriction. Neither of the two sections will be stocked with hatchery trout.

Other new regulations affecting stream trout fishermen this year include a ban on all fin-fish angling on any water that is closed to both salmon and trout fishing and a new, zero-trout limit, including an artificial lure, barbless hook requirement, on all tributaries to the Sacramento River in Shasta and Tehama counties that are accessible to salmon or steelhead.

Shovel Creek and its tributaries above Panther Creek in Siskiyou County opens April 27, a month earlier, this year, under the new rules. Also, the new regulations impose closures on portions of Big Chico Creek in Butte County and cut the trout bag limit from five to two, with an artificial lure, barbless hook requirement, on the North Fork Feather River between Belden Bridge and Cresta Powerhouse.

OPENER PLANTS READY

REDDING--The Department of Fish and Game said today it has tentative plans to release an estimated 141,020 sport-sized trout in 50 northern waters in time for the April 27 opening day for stream trout fishing.

Many of the same locations plus an additional 47 waters will receive trout plants as summer and early fall months unfold, according to the DFG. By season's end, about 1,097,350 fish will have been planted in 96 scheduled waters.

If road, weather and water conditions permit, Fish and Game said, the following waters, listed by county, will be stocked with trout before the April 27 opener.

LASSEN COUNTY--Ash Creek, lower Susan River.

SHASTA COUNTY--Baum Lake, Brandy Creek, lower Burney Creek, middle Burney Creek, upper Burney Creek, lower Clark Creek, Clear Creek above Whiskeytown Lake, Clover Creek, North Cow Creek, South Cow Creek, Rock Creek below Britton, Grace Lake, Keswick Canal, Kilarc Reservoir, Hatchet Creek, middle Hat Creek, upper Hat Creek, McCloud Reservoir, Nora Lake, Old Cow Creek at powerhouse, upper Sacramento River, Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta Lake, McCumber Reservoir.

SISKIYOU COUNTY--Antelope Creek, Bass Lake, upper Bear Creek, Butte Creek, Cold Creek, Greenhorn Reservoir, Indian Tom Lake, Juanita Lake, Lake Shastina, Little Shasta River, McCloud River, Orr Lake, upper Sacramento River, Lake Siskiyou, South Fork Sacramento River, Wagon Creek, Squaw Creek.

TEHAMA COUNTY--North Fork Battle Creek, South Fork Battle Creek, Deer Creek, Digger Creek, Gurnsey Creek, Plum Creek.

TRINITY COUNTY--Carville Pond, Coffee Creek, Ewing Gulch Reservoir, Lewiston Lake, Stuart Fork Trinity River, Trinity Lake, upper Trinity River. As the trout season progresses, the DFG said, additional trout will be planted in many of the same waters stocked for the opener and in the following additional waters.

LASSEN COUNTY--Round Corral Reservoir, Pine Creek Reservoir, Smith Flat Reservoir, Long Lake at Highway 44, Blue Lake, Caribou Lake, Crater Lake, Eagle Lake, Buckhorn Reservoir, McCoy Flat Reservoir, Dodge Reservoir, Shotoverin Lake, Silver Lake, middle Susan River, upper Susan River, lower Susan River.

MODOC COUNTY--Lily Lake, Fee Reservoir, Annie Lake, Ballard Reservoir, Bayley Reservoir, Briles Reservoir, Delta Reservoir, Dorris Reservoir, Duncan Reservoir, Reservoir C, Reservoir F, West Valley Reservoir, Stough Reservoir.

SHASTA COUNTY--Upper Bailey Creek, Buckhorn Lake, Iron Canyon Reservoir, North Battle Creek Reservoir.

SISKIYOU COUNTY--Lower Bear Creek, Bullseye Lake, Castle Lake, Eden Ponds, Gumboot Lake, Kangaroo Lake, Kelly Lake, Kidder Creek, Lily Pad Lake, Little Medicine Lake, Medicine Lake, Trout Lake.

TRINITY COUNTY--Mumbo Lake.

FAMED TROUT SPREADING

EAGLE LAKE--Could this dot on the earth one day be looked upon as the primordium of the world's best rainbow trout?

Here and there, a Department of Fish and Game biologist whispers such a thought, but no one says such things out loud. After all, there must be consideration for the feelings of the other rainbows--the Shasta strain, the Whitney strain, the Pit River strain and others.

Yet, when March rolls around and hearty, 25-inch Eagle Lake rainbow trout fight their way from the briny waters of Eagle Lake up Pine Creek and into the hands of DFG fish culturists--and give up nearly 2.3 million eggs to provide more trout--the talk begins.

"Eagle Lake rainbow are in New Zealand, Wyoming, Montana and throughout California," said Paul Chappell, department fishery biologist in Lassen County.

"They are an exceptionally strong subspecies of rainbow and they are turning out to be great additions to more and more trout waters," he said.

In three days during late March, crews from the DFG's Crystal Lake Hatchery near Burney sorted dozens of Eagle Lake trout that had negotiated a mile of Pine Creek and had swum into Fish and Game's Pine Creek trap--a partially submerged concrete and wooden structure designed for capturing, sorting and spawning the fish.

When the short-lived spawning migration was over, the crew had reached its goal of collecting trout eggs--2,242,800 this year--that will turn into fingerling-sized trout for aerial plants in wilderness lakes, sport-sized trout planted in dozens of California waters and a few select brood fish from which more eggs can be collected two to four years later.

And, of course, they will also turn into 180,000 large Eagle Lake rainbows that will be returned to Eagle Lake in spring and fall plants, keeping the popular trophy trout water among the most popular of California lake trout angling targets.

In addition, full-grown brood fish from prior seasons' egg collections produce about 4.2 million eggs annually at Mt. Shasta Hatchery. Mt. Shasta, in turn, ships the eggs to eight other California hatcheries where they are raised, then planted in dozens of California waters as fingerling or "catchable"-sized trout.

Perhaps the most miraculous part of the Eagle Lake rainbow trout story is the fact that a little over 50 years ago, the unique rainbow subpecies--at that time found no where else in the world but Eagle Lake--had fallen on hard times. In fact, DFG biologists in the mid 1900s worried that the fish was on the brink of extinction.

Among the problems besieging the now revered rainbow of Eagle Lake was Eagle Lake itself. A closed basin remnant of the Great Basin sea, Eagle Lake is highly alkaline. No other trout is known to be capable of surviving the lake's harsh habitat.

During the first half of the 20th Century, drought, poaching and water diversions along Pine Creek, the lake's only viable tributary, brought the rainbow to the brink. Something had to be done, DFG biologists of the 1950s decided.

Fish and Game erected a temporary trapping facility in the snow on Pine Creek upstream of the present trap--and waited. And waited. Over a period of a month, a total of six female trout made their way up the creek to the trap. A few males were collected and the first artificial spawning and incubation of Eagle Lake rainbow trout eggs was under way.

From that handful of fish--in fact notes indicate it may have been from a solitary female trout--the DFG has rebuilt the large lake's trout population to a level that draws anglers from hundreds of miles away. About 25 years ago, the agency decided to expand use of the Eagle Lake rainbow subspecies to other waters, spreading the joy globally.

Eagle Lake is open to fishing from the Saturday preceding Memorial Day--May 25 this year--through Dec. 31. The limit is two trout per day and four in possession.

COAST PLANTS ON CALENDAR

BLUE LAKE--Sport-sized rainbow trout will be stocked in four Humboldt and Del Norte county waters during May and early June, the last of the north coast's fish releases until late summer, the Department of Fish and Game said today.

The DFG's Mad River Hatchery said it will plant 1,800 rainbows in two plants at Freshwater Lagoon and 2,000 in two plants at Fish Lake, both in Humboldt County in May. Del Norte's Dry Lake will receive 1,500 trout and Lagoon Creek Pond will get 1,000 rainbows, both in single May plants.

Fish Lake will receive another 1,000 trout in early June, the last Mad River plants until late August. Fish and Game said summer weather raises the temperatures of the coastal waters to levels not suitable for trout plants.

Trout plants from Mad River will resume in late August, September and October, when the last of the year's 51,000 trout are released.
 

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