Many Sierra Trout Waters Open April 25 in California
One of California’s biggest trout fishing openers is coming up on April 25. Numerous waters opening April 25 are already planted with 8-12 inch-long catchable size trout. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will plant roughly nine million rainbow trout state-wide in 2009 providing outstanding angling opportunities. Many families plan annual camping and fishing trips around the spring opener and the excellent family recreation it provides.
“The April opener is a fun fishing opportunity that traditionally draws anglers to California’s many lakes, streams and rivers,” said DFG Director Donald Koch. “We encourage Californians to take advantage of this and other outdoor opportunities.”
While numerous lakes and reservoirs are open year-round, hundreds of other lakes, streams and rivers open on April 25. The 2009-10 California Freshwater Sports Fishing Regulation booklet describes which waters open on April 25. Please contact a DFG regional office for a copy of the booklet.
To find out if your favorite water is scheduled for fish stocking, anglers can check the Fish Stocking Schedule site at www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Hatcheries/FishPlanting.
“Last year DFG planted several million fingerling trout which have now grown to catchable size,” said Neil Manji, DFG Fisheries Branch Chief. “This year DFG is planting millions of catchable size trout statewide. Thousands are planted prior to the opener as water conditions permit. In waters that we are not planting due to a court order there are still fish from last year’s plants that anglers can fish for.”
A resident fishing license costs $41.20 for residents 16 years of age and older. One- and two-day resident licenses are also available. Reduced fee and free licenses are available to qualifying individuals. Licensing information is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing.
Some waters normally stocked by DFG may not be planted this year due to a court order limiting where the DFG can stock hatchery- reared trout. The court order resulted from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Rivers Council against DFG. The court ordered DFG to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that examines the impacts of the stocking program. Due to delays in the EIR process, an interim order was issued, restricting where DFG can stock fish based on a list of 25 amphibian and fish species presented by the plaintiffs. DFG is on schedule to complete the EIR by January 2010. The EIR progress can be tracked at www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice/hatchery. New planting regulations will be established after the completion of the EIR. A complete list of water bodies that will and will not be stocked this year is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/news/stocking.
DFG also encourages anglers to help prevent the spread of Quagga and Zebra mussels in anticipation of the upcoming trout opener by asking boaters to clean, drain and dry vessels to avoid being turned away from lakes and reservoirs. Boaters and anglers can move Quagga and Zebra mussels, a non-native invasive species that can ruin boats and fisheries, unintentionally from one water to another. Many local water managers have vessel inspections programs designed to prevent the mussels from infesting their waters. Anglers and boaters should always clean, drain and dry watercraft and equipment. A public toll-free number hotline has been established for boaters and anyone involved with activities on lakes and rivers seeking information on the invasive and destructive Quagga mussels at 1-866-440-9530.
For more information on the Quagga/Zebra mussel response, please visit the DFG Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives/quaggamussel.