I dislike stocked trout, yet this year, I’m deathly concerned about the lack of them of them in the Upper Sacramento River.
California’s Department of Fish & Game was forced to suspend stocking activities in 2008 by a 2006 lawsuit alleging stocking was damaging native species populations. F&G was supposed to have prepared an EIR long ago, but hadn’t, and the lawsuit brought the state’s stocking activities to an abrupt halt in most of the state.
While the stocking program may have halted, the original fish harvest limits remain in place.
That means no rubber trout are finding their way into the Upper Sacramento River this year, yet the five-fish limit remains in effect from Shasta Retreat to the Sweetbriar bridge.
Once the river drops to a fishable level again, I fear for the wild fish populations in the catch & kill stretch, which will bear the brunt of the fish harvest.
According to a Redding Record Searchlight story, several popular fisheries were recently added to the “OK to stock list,” and local fly fishers will recognize some of the names:
Baum Lake, Grace Lake, Lower and Middle Burney Creek, McCloud Reservoir, Middle and Upper Hat Creek, and Whiskeytown Lake in Shasta County; as well as South Fork Battle Creek and Deer creeks in Tehama County
McCumber Lake will probably be OK’d soon, and while all this is happening, Fish & Game’s been dumping huge numbers of hatchery trout in Lake Siskiyou (the lake that feeds the “Upper Sacramento River”), and catch rates have skyrocketed.
Time To Fix It
I’d love to see all but a small piece of the Upper Sacramento River managed for sustainable wild trout populations over rubber trout and stringer-filling harvest limits.
Wild fish cost us little or nothing when compared to rubber trout, and reasonable limits or catch & release fishing end the ridiculous – and expensive – put & take games that actually cost us money.
My thinking is this: If we’re going to offer up a five fish limit, then we’d better offer up the rubber fish to meet that limit – else our wild fish populations are going to take a hit.
I’d suggest it’s time for an “emergency” reduction in harvest limits on the Upper Sacramento – before the river falls and the carnage begins.
See you on the phone, Tom Chandler.