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    Western Trout Chronicles



    Cruising through the internet I happened upon an interesting article by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Barb, Andy and I recently visited this little gem and had a great time catching planted "Steelhead". The article is presented (via cut and paste) below along with some photos from our visit.


    Steelhead Planted at Mill Creek Lake in Mendocino County.

     Barb with a nice planted Steelhead. This one happened to have an adipose fin.

    A small lake in Mendocino County is the second water in the state planted with native steelhead trout under new environmental mandates. On Jan. 11, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) planted Mill Creek Lake with steelhead trout that were raised at Warm Springs Fish Hatchery. A total of 15,000 fish will be planted in the lake over a five- to six-month period.

    This fish planting meets all new environmental planting regulations established in 2010 and state fish planning mandates codified in Assembly Bill 7 by Assembly Member Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto). According to the new mandates, non-native rainbow trout can no longer be planted there because of potential escapement downstream into the Russian River system, where they could interbreed with native steelhead trout.

    Bill Cox, DFG State Program Manager of Fish Production and Distribution, said, “We are always looking for better ways to provide angling opportunities, make the best use of hatchery facilities, and adapt to changing circumstances and regulations.”


    DFG completed and filed the Hatchery and Stocking Program Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement in 2010, culminating a two-and-a-half year effort to evaluate and analyze impacts of fish stocking on certain California native species. As part of the actions, waters like Mill Creek Lake fall under new strict stocking guidelines.



    “We realized that waters like Mill Creek Lake could not be planted with non-native hatchery rainbow trout. So instead of writing it off as a lost fishing opportunity, we found a way to use all our resources at Warm Springs Hatchery and provide a fishery,”  said DFG Senior Hatchery Supervisor Brett Wilson.

    The new planting program utilizes excess steelhead eggs from the Russian River drainage mitigation programs to rear steelhead trout to plant into Mill Creek Lake. These fish meet the genetic integrity of hatchery steelhead stocks monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

     I caught a couple of nice goldfish to add to my species list.

    Key to the new planting program are utilization of hatchery space and resources. Only one concrete hatchery pond is needed for the rearing process, eggs come from normal hatchery operations, and food and personnel costs are covered under a reallocation of license money.

    This planting program also helps meet native trout planting goals defined by the Heritage and Wild Trout Program mandated in AB 7. The bill specifies that only coastal rainbow and steelhead reared under special constrains can count toward meeting native trout production goals.


    Warm Springs Hatchery is fully funded by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and maintained and managed by DFG.


    And as always....... a great way to finish the day.



    Coming soon.......Adventures in the Gold Fish Wilderness!!!!



    Pics of the lagoon.

    Not all fishing trips can be epic.

    We headed up north to the lagoons to try and catch some cutthroat trout and maybe a steelhead or two. The lagoon was completely full to the rim and muddy. After a couple of hours just bobbing around hoping for a bite we decided it would be best to scrap this lagoon and see if we could scratch out a fish from another lagoon up the road. I figured the lagoon up the road would be clear because it did not have any large tributaries flowing into it, which could muddy it up. The water was clear but the fish had lockjaw. Barb got lucky and caught one rainbow trout. Barb got a new Iphone 6 so at least we managed to pull off a few cool pics.


    Central Oregon  

     This year we decided to hit central Oregon. We would base camp out of a house that I rented in Sunriver. The plan was to fish a different lake every day for nine days.


    Loaded and ready to fish.


    I tied over 100 flies for this trip.



     Davis is a shallow lake that contains Klamath Redband trout, Mountain Whitefish and Largemouth Bass. The lake was shallow and hard to fish, but we did manage to catch a few giant Mountain Whitefish and I caught a Klamath Redband.

    Barb hooked up at Davis Lake.


    Barb's first Mountain Whitefish.


    Fish on for Andy.


    These were some of the largest Mountain Whitefish we had ever seen.

     My first Mountain Whitefish.


    Davis Lake is known for its Klamath Redband Trout.



    Gold Lake is a Fly Fishing only lake located just north of Lapine. It is catch and release for the rainbows. Oregon wants to make it a trophy rainbow fishery and allows the take of all Brook Trout. We thought this would make for a great opportunity for Brook Trout tacos.

    I wish we had fly fishing only lakes in California.


    Gold Lake.


    Barb with a nice rainbow from Gold Lake.


    Miss Piggy mackin on some Brook Trout Tacos.




    We found a lake in the McKenzie River drainage that contained Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Brook, Bull and Bull Trout/ Brook Trout Hybrids. This lake was our favorite and we ended up fishing it two days.


    The sign says it all.


    Christy hooked up.







    Double hook up.


     Barb with a nice Bull Trout.



     Good- bye bully.


    Bull Trout for Frank.



     Andy thought he had a Bull Trout but ended up with a Mountain White fish.









    Todd lake was a hike in lake that contained a population of self sustaining wild brook trout. It did not offer the best fishing but was amazing for its scenery. It also provided us with some very friendly wild birds.

    Todd Lake.






    Nice Brookie but who is the weirdo in the back ground?



    With a tip from the local fly shop we thought we would give Lava Lake a try. It was the most consistent of all the lakes and everyone caught fish and had a great time. The lake held rainbow trout in the 14-17 inch range. They were extremely hard fighters and Andy really had this lake dialed. Every time I looked over at him he was battling a scrappy rainbow.

    Lava Lake.



    Christy hooked up again.







    Fish Lake

    Fish Lake was the last lake we fished. It was located in southern Oregon. The plan was to fish the morning at Fish Lake and then hit Klamath lake in the afternoon. The wind came up big time and we could only fish the morning at Fish Lake. The lake contains; Rainbows, Tiger Trout, Brook Trout and small Spring Chinook Salmon. The water was very low and the fishing was difficult. We did manage to find a deep hole that was loaded with very small Spring Chinook Salmon.


    Fish Lake was extremely low.


    Barb with a small Spring Chinook Salmon


    The Spring Chinook were very small but there were plenty.

    Overall it was a great trip and Oregon was amazing. We fished several other lakes but the ones detailed above were our favorites. I really loved the small community of Sunriver and all of the breweries in Central Oregon. We did not catch as many fish as we had hoped. I think we ended up in the 200-250 fish range. Next year we might fish Montana or Arizona, Colorado, Washington, or even stay in California. Regardless, I’m sure we will have fun planning for it all year.

     A few more random photos;


    Come here little birdie. No I am not creepy......


    Typical meal for Christy.





    Working pay phone???



    Golden Trout Wilderness with Barb.

    Earlier this summer I did an overnight trip into the Golden Trout Wilderness with my sister Barb.  She had never been there, nor had she ever caught a golden trout. We caught all three subspecies and had a great time.


    Barb sneaking up on a Little Kern Golden Trout.


    Barbs first golden trout.


    Barb risking her life for a Kern River Rainbow Trout.


    We crossed the bridge of death to catch this monster!


    The California drought has really effected The Golden Trout Wilderness.


    This little guy came from the mud puddle shown above.


     We made it back to Sacramento on Sunday around 10:30 A.M. and decided to fish the creek by my house for bass.


    A nice little spotted bass from the local creek.