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.
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.
The Heritage and Wild Trout Program has been conducting a study on Putah Creek to track the movement of rainbow trout. Volunteer assistance is desired to monitor trout movement during the spawning period beginning in early December. We would like to track once per week and each tracking effort will take approximately a half day. For safety purposes, we will need a minimum of two people per day. It will be similar to the study we conducted in previous years to count redds and anglers, except this time we will be using a radio receiver to determine whether our study fish are in those same areas. For the most part, volunteers will be able to track from shore, with the exception of Deer Sign which will require a short walk in the water's edge to get to the site.
Stephanie Hogan has added an additional training session for those that might be interested in helping with the telemetry-based fish movement study. This additional session is scheduled for December 5 at Lake Solano County Park, meeting at 8:30 AM. Note that this is a Friday and that there is no limitation on the number of volunteers for the session. Sign up here.
Please sign up for one day and email to confirm. Include your contact number as well. More details on the meeting time (usually around 9 am) and location will be forthcoming. Once we have a few people trained, we will be using the same avenue to sign volunteers up for tracking December through March. The HWTP could really use your help for these fun surveys! Volunteers sign up here.
Open your teens eyes to the outdoor world of wild fish, as well as the joys of fly fishing.
For just $14, your TU Teen will receive:Four issues of the engaging, informative Trout Magazine; 16-month Trout Unlimited calendar (mailed mid-December);Official TU membership card; TU Teen Sticker; Membership in a local chapter with exciting opportunities to get involved in conservation activities and projects
For $28, your TU Teen will receive everything above plus a cell phone dry bag with a TU inscription. Submersible up to ten feet, it's the perfect outdoor gift for active teens that can't live without their phones nearby.
So give the gift of a TU Teen membership today, to ensure that the next generation will take care of the fish for years to come.
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.
Dams endangering fish seems like a no brainer but a new study form the Center for Watershed Studies at UC Davis examines the affect of dams on downstream water temperature. A total of 753 large dams in California were evaluated in the study, whose results were published last week in the journal BioScience. About a quarter of the dams were identified as problematic, including Folsom, Trinity, New Melones and Pine Flat.
The dams affecting the greatest number of native species with sensitive fish populations include the Keswick and Anderson-Cottonwood dams on the Sacramento River, and Woodbridge and Nash dams.
Read the full Story from the Sacramento Bee.
Jann Williams of the Forest Service and our El Dorado Chapter created a project to create Red-Legged Frog habitat near Georgetown. Frogs were known to populate private property near the divide. Jann searched for a nearby site within the National Forest to provide added habitat. Several sites were identified uphill from the existing population and Jann described a project and obtained approval for its conduct.
Jann led a team of about 30 individuals from the Forest Service, Save the Frogs, American River Conservancy, three from our chapter and some other NGOs on October 6 and 7 to create three wetland ponds at the site. Additional sites will be created in the near future.
Project design and technical direction were provided by Tom Beibighouser, consultant from Kentucky sponsored by the Amphibian and Reptile Organization. He was assisted by two others from British Columbia and Six Rivers Forest.
The project site was in a swale near the ridge top, had sandy loam soil and no water. Accordingly a lined pond was required. The ponds were excavated in the bottom of the swale and are 2-3 feet in depth. The liner is 32 mil PVC protected by 8 oz. geotextile cloth above and below. The materials were placed in the formed depression and nailed in place with 12 inch spikes along a level line defining the pond edge. Removed dirt was then placed over the liner to a depth of 6-8 inches so that all features were covered. Organic material logs and branches were included to improve habitat.
Plants and grasses will be added to the site as storms approach and Jann will anxiously await the ponds filling. It is believed that the ponds will retain water until August each year so that the frogs may complete their life cycle.
Have you wondered what Trout Unlimited is doing in California. You may know what your chapter is doing but what of the staff in the Bay Area and around the state? The California staff has been preparing quarterly activity reports to show their progress. Read their summer 2014 report to understand the variety of projects in process.
Visually stunning and powerfully eye opening, DamNation documents the attempt to reverse a century's worth of land and water management mistakes. Dam removal is something you can do that actually has immediate effects on the environment. There are 85,000 dams on rivers throughout the U.S. so it's an issue that is literally in everyone's back yard. Most people in the general public just look at dams as part of the landscape and I think once you see the film you'll look at dams a lot differently. The stories of the salmon are deeply effected by dams. Salmon are some of the most versatile and tenacious fish and they are a part of so many native cultures. One of the main problems with dams is that they effect salmon runs. Every spring salmon swim upstream from the ocean to spawn. The trip can be hundreds of miles and after releasing their eggs, most of the fish die. This is a cycle that's been happening for thousands of years. A dam essentially stops this cycle.
Yvon Chinard of Patagonia went to the Sierra Club and asked them to make this movie. Read the story of the film and see how you can watch it.