Gone Fishin’ | SierraSun.com

Gone Fishin’

Bruce Ajari

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) manages 20 fish hatcheries throughout the state, including 12 trout hatcheries that produce fish for recreational anglers.

In 2004, these trout hatcheries produced approximately 5.4 million fingerling, 1.2 million sub-catchable, and 7.4 million catchable-size trout, which were planted in waters throughout the state.

Because of ongoing budget reductions, including the loss of $4 million in Tidelands Oil Trust funds and reduced Sport Fish Restoration Act (SFRA) funds, the Department is developing a plan to maximize the efficiency of the hatchery program. This plan may require one or more hatcheries to suspend operations.

As part of a long-term effort to improve the efficiency of the state’s fish hatchery system, the DFG is asking anglers and other members of the public to help identify which waters and types of trout they value for recreational purposes. The DFG will use the information to develop the plan.

DFG Director Ryan Broddrick stated that, “The state’s budget shortfall, and the loss of state and federal funds earmarked for hatchery operations, may require drastic measures to bring spending in line with revenues in the next couple of years. However, with the public’s help and good planning, we can develop a more efficient system that meets Californian’s demand for hatchery-raised fish.”

Members of the public are urged to submit input on this hatchery plan between now and Aug. 31. Comments can be submitted in the following ways.

-E-mail comments to DFG Director Ryan Broddrick: director@dfg.ca.gov

-Submitting comments to the DFG website: http://ww.dfg.ca.gov/lands/fh/hatcheryplan.html

-Posting a letter to DFG Director Ryan Broddrick: 1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.

-Participating in four regional public meeting to be held during the summer of 2005: Dates and locations to be announced.

Based on the results of the public input, the DFG will prepare a plan to make the hatchery system more efficient and responsive to angler demand. The plan also will incorporate aspects of the DFG’s strategic plan for trout management, available online at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing/assets/publications/StrategicPlanNov03.pdf.

New technology and transport equipment can help the DFG deliver fish virtually anywhere in California, regardless of where individual hatcheries are located, Broddrick said. “The measure of our success will not be in the number of hatcheries we operate, but how effectively we can serve anglers with the limited funding and resources available,” Broddrick said.

The DFG has not planted any trout in the river between Tahoe City and Truckee ” as it had in the past for the last five years ” due to the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout reintroduction issue. Is this important to our area? Two of the last three years, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has planted catchable LCT. Their plan is also under review and deserves comment.

In short, let the DFG know what your thoughts are on where you think the fish should go. Remember, the plan will be based upon your responses, so the more comment made, the better treatment our area will receive. If you feel hatchery trout are good or necessary for the area, then comment about it.