Conservation News

SWC-IFFF Receives Grant from the Western Native Trout Initiative

Silver Creek, a tributary to the West Walker River in Mono County, is a Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) Recovery water that was illegally stocked with brook trout. Brook trout were discovered in Silver Creek in 2004, during a survey intended to collect baseline population information to support opening the stream to regulated angling. Unfortunately, lack of budget, low staff levels, and lack of ability to utilize efficient methods of brook trout removal (piscicide) that could be completed within two or three seasons have resulted in the lost opportunity of angling for a native Walker Basin cutthroat trout in this mountain meadow stream.

The International Federation of Fly Fishers and its local clubs and members mobilized volunteers and funds for three successful years so far of electrofishing support to provide a refuge for the LCT. This coming season is Year Four, and approximately four miles have been treated. This grassroots effort will continue until the refuge is cleared for the LCT to survive. Electrofishing is being conducted with California Dept of Fish and Wildlife as the lead, CalTrout and Trout Unlimited providing both funds and volunteer time.

The grant is to fund an interpretive panel design and construction to reach out and educate to people the negative impacts of illegal stocking on native ecosystems, and urge fishermen to participate in the Heritage Trout Program, a program designed by CDFW to restore opportunities for anglers to catch California’s native trout. International Federation of Fly Fishers and Southwest Council are providing matching funds for the project.

Notice of Approval of Emergency Regulatory Action

The State Office of Administrative Law has posted this emergency rule making it is effective as of July 2 and will expire on December 30, 2015.

The department shall maintain a list of closed waters of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1:00 pm. In the event that water conditions change later in the week, the fishing status for each specific water will not change until the day following the next Wednesday. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number provided below or go to the department’s website at to obtain the current status of any water.

The number to call for information is (916) 445-7600.

CDFW Puts Closures in Effect


Debbie Sharpton
Conservation Chair

By now you've probably heard that on Tuesday, January 29, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed certain coastal waters to fishing in order to protect native salmon and steelhead from low water flows in California streams and rivers that have been significantly impacted by drought. CDFW is also recommending that the Fish and Game Commission adopt emergency regulations on other rivers. The lower American River downstream of Nimbus Dam is one of these other rivers currently under severe angling pressure. Chinook salmon redds built in the last few months have been dewatered; the eggs and fry from those redds will surely die. Additional deaths will result from inattentive wading on redds that are now exposed to shallow water. Endangered Central Valley Steelhead are moving into the river and will suffer, as well.

Read more: CDFW Puts Closures in Effect

Lahontan Project 2015

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery
Volunteers needed for Summer 2015

Southwest Council of International Federation of Fly Fishers, Cal Trout, Trout Unlimited, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

In the summer of 2015, a consortium of the region’s fly fishing and conservation groups will come together to improve and extend the habitat of the endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout. The bulk of the improvements will come from removal of invasive brook trout. Please join us in this daunting yet rewarding undertaking, and in the process learn more about this coveted habitat and species.

The project will focus on two upper Walker tributaries in the Eastern Serries---Silver Creek and Slinkard Creek. A maximum of three volunteers will work on either creek at any one time. Volunteers will assist in electro-fishing to remove brook trout from both water systems.

Volunteers will work in conjunction with paid interns, who will work in blocks of eight days followed by six days off. Volunteers will begin work on the Thursday of each block and will typically contribute as possible through Sunday.

Slinkard Creek

Slinkard Creek is a tiny creek which holds great potential for the Lahontan cutthroat. It is heavily overgrown with willows and brush and thus presents major difficulties for access. Even highly experienced small-stream anglers find this riparian corridor impassible. As such, volunteers will be primarily tasked with brush clearance and path creation for the team of electro-shockers. Volunteer experience with hand and power tools will be particularly valuable.

More information will be available for participants shortly, including a contact number. Expect to arrive on a Thursday (or Friday, if necessary) and depart Sunday afternoon, though volunteers will be permitted to stay on throughout the week. The Slinkard Creek site is 50 minutes north of Bridgeport, CA, on highway 89, followed by a drive along a rough road for two to three miles. Access to the creek is generally less than a mile but over challenging terrain. Expect to camp near the work site, though each person is free to do otherwise.

If you wish to volunteer for the Slinkard Creek Project, download this document and fill it out.  You will have to turn it in when you arrive.

Click the links below to volunteer for Slinkard Creek

June 25 through June 28

 July 9 through july 12

July 23 through July 26

August 6 through August 9

August 20 through August 23

September 3 through September 6

Silver Creek

Silver Creek is a mid-sized stream that meanders through a glade-like forest. Brush and access do not provide major hindrances. The goal at Silver Creek to both remove the brook trout and relocate resident Lahontans to sections of the creek that are free of brookies. Volunteers will participate in all roles except operating the electro-shocker. Volunteers who feel uneasy about killing the invasive brook trout may prefer to assist on Slinkard Creek, where volunteers will primarily assist in brush removal.

More information will be available for participants shortly, including a contact number. Expect to arrive on a Thursday (or Friday, if necessary) and depart Sunday afternoon, though volunteers will be permitted to stay on throughout the week. The Silver Creek site is located 23 minutes north of Bridgeport, CA, on highway 108, followed by a ride along dirt roads for two to three miles and a two-mile hike. Volunteers camp near the work site or trail head.

If you wish to volunteer for Silver Creek  download this document and fill it out.  You will have to turn it in when you arrive.

Click the links below to volunteer for Silver Creek

July 9 through july 12

July 23 through July 26

August 6 through August 9

August 20 through August 23

September 3 through September 6

Conservation Projects

As part of the Southern California Steelhead Recovery Project, we are teaming with GSF and San Diego Coast Keepers to monitor water quality in the San Luis Rey River.  Coast Keepers was surveying the River every other month through the rainy season and this Cal Trout grant allows us to do the intervening months.  San Luis Rey is one of three streams in San Diego County that DF&W believes are potentially viable steelhead streams: San Mateo and Santa Margarita are the other two, but they have invasive and access issues.  The project requires 6 to 9 volunteers for one Saturday morning every other month and will sample four sites if possible.  Some readings are taken on site, plus samples are carefully preserved and returned to the Coast Keepers laboratory for detailed analysis.  The results are available to the public via the State's "CEDEN" database.
Another conservation project we continue to work on is the San Diego River Watershed Monitoring Program sponsored by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB).  We helped raise fast money to purchase 14 acres of critical habitat adjacent to Boulder Creek, just below Lake Cuyamacha and are currently working to restore the site and develop a small research area to be used by DF&W, the RWQCB and regional universities in monitoring water quality and fish and wildlife populations.  We purchased "state of the art" temperature and disolved oxygen loggers to be used in that effort.  In the lower watershed, we are working with the DF&W and RWQCB biologists to do creel surveys, fish population counts and fish toxicity analysis in selected ponds from Lakeside to the estuary near Mission Bay.

Out third and favorite conservation project is maintaining the cattle exclusion fence in Casa Meadow at the south end of the Golden Trout Wilderness.  2014 will be our ninth year of hard work, helping USFS sustain the Golden Trout spawning streams in this beautiful meadow.

H.R. 5781

Congressman David Valadao has authored H.R. 5781 which was introduced on the House Floor last night  (December 2, 2014).  A first reading of the bill reveals that it does little to "solve water shortages" resulting from the drought, but it does alter how environmental protection statutes are implemented and enforced for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. 

It also contains language to expedite Federal review of storage projects (within a 30 day window) which could have a negative impact on the availability of flows into the Delta and that could be used according to a recent UC Davis report to provide additional water for Governor Brown's proposed twin Delta tunnels.  It also allows for expedited water transfers which puts the health of our Northern California rivers and groundwater supplies at stake, especially during times of extended drought.

Read More: @ Restore The Delta

Tenth Annual Rush Creek Cleanup

rush creek

 The Tenth annual Rush Creek clean-up will take place on Saturday June 11 2016 and will focus efforts on an eight mile stretch of Rush Creek from the Southern California Edison power plant upstream of Silver lake down the canyon to US 395.

Volunteers should meet at the Silver lake boat ramp at 8:00am and bring gloves, a hat, sunscreen, repellent, boots and waders if you have them.Trash bags will be provided by Silver Lake resort.

This section of Rush Creek is especially popular with anglers and each year up to 50 bags of material are collected. of particular importance is collecting stray fishing line caught in the bushes and trees as this is a huge threat to birds and other wildlife.After the clean-up, Silver lake Resort will treat the volunteers to a free barbeque lunch.

If you are interested in keeping this pristine stretch of water clean come up and meet members of the Streamborn Fly Fishing Club who are the primary organizers of the event.Any questions on the clean-up you can contact Joe Lemire to confirm your attendance (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at (909)609-1101