by Sean Paul Golden, Chapter Member
On California Arbor Day, March 7th 2009, volunteers are needed to help plant up to 150 trees of all sizes, reforesting with native oaks in Elk Grove from 9 - noon. This is a wonderful event for families, teens and children. Sponsored by the Sacramento Tree Foundation, this will be the second year of Arbor Day planting with a goal to plant 5 million trees in the Sacramento Region by 2025. This initiative is called Greenprint, and is a partnership comprised of 22 cities and 6 counties to double the tree canopy over the next 40 years.
From an angler's perspective you know that trees are beneficial for not only water and air quality but also bug production/ life cycles with potential impacts to local fisheries. My vision is to get local fishery oriented conservation groups together, along with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, in hopes the Tree Foundation and its network of major partnerships (SMUD, City and County of Sacramento, and The Center for Urban Forest Research) will help plant our local watersheds and educate our local anglers. Stronger organized conservation efforts will help protect, educate and rebuild our local damaged fisheries.
Take a break from your tying bench and your local stream on March 7th and help plant a tree - your local fishery will reap the benefits.
[For further information, visit the Sacramento Tree Foundation website at www.sactree.com or contact Sean at 530-305-1423. If you are unable to participate March 7th, plantings at 2 other sites will occur March 21st.]
(Source: El Dorado Irrigation District news releases)
The emergency repairs to the 85-year old slide gates of Caples Lake dam, which necessitated the fish rescue efforts in August & September have been completed, bringing four months of intensive effort to a successful conclusion. On-the-ground actions included drawing down the lake level to create a safe working environment for the repair crews and installation of temporary "bladder" dams upstream of the main dam to store as much water as possible. While the repairs were made, EID pumped water from behind the temporary dams to provide flows for fisheries downstream.
The on-site fish rescues conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game utilized more than 90 volunteers to help capture and relocate 27,000 fish and fingerlings; the fish were released into nearby Silver and Red Lakes. The District and DFG have established a fish restocking plan to begin next spring.
[We wish to extend our appreciation to both EID and DFG for their efforts in protecting and restoring the fisheries, and for requesting our Chapter's participation in this important effort.]
On November 19th, five Chapter volunteers worked all day with EID, DFG and USFS personnel to survey Caples Creek, e-shocking, netting, separating, weighing, measuring and typing the trout (and other fish) before releasing them back into the stream, as well helping haul ALL the equipment down to the stream then back UP the hill to the parking lot. The volunteers included Stanley Backlund, Jim Della Santa, Dustin and Cindy Rocksvold, and John Sikora. Jann Williams, a USFS employee who participated as part of her job, is also a Chapter member.
The survey was an early step in the fisheries monitoring plan developed by EID, and required by the USFS, to monitor fish populations in the creek following the emergency repairs and fish rescue at Caples Lake (see update below). EID plans to conduct a follow-up survey next year when the survey sites can be safely accessed. It will be interesting to help with the survey in Spring to see what differences may occur.
[Added by Barbara Bania] The Chapter received the following thank you letter for our assistance with this project: "I just wanted to extend my thanks to five Trout Unlimited members for their assistance in a fish monitoring effort at Caples Creek. Members helped capture, count, and measure fish during the survey. They also helped transport equipment to and from the survey sites which involved hiking over one mile in the snow! I wanted to recognize and thank these volunteers because their participation made this monitoring effort a success. Sincerely, Brian Deason, Senior Hydroelectric Compliance Specialist, El Dorado Irrigation District"
On Wednesday, Nov. 13th six of us gathered at the Kyburz Fire Station to caravan to a site where the USFS had done some recontouring of a tributary to the Silver Fork of the American River to improve water flow and reduce erosion. Now it was our turn to help with the hand labor of planting a variety of native plants.
The picture does not adequately represent the scope of the work; cropped off of this picture is more hillside down to the stream, and an even larger area planted on the other side of the tributary. We planted several hundred plants and trees on either side of the tributary but, because of the recently graded soil and the teamwork of the members, it only took us a little more than 2 hours. We picked up some trash in the area and ate our sack lunches sitting on logs or rocks beside the flowing water of the Silver Fork. The weather was very pleasant, and the beauty of the forest in Fall was outstanding. We had a great day!
Cindy and I joined up with several volunteers from Sac-Sierra Trout Unlimited (SSTU) to assist DFG, Forest Service and El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) employees with the electro-shocking of Caples Creek on Wednesday November 19th.
We left the house nice and early to ensure that we could stop at Cook's Station to get some breakfast. Once again their biscuits and gravy were top notch.
We arrived at the Kirkwood Inn around 8:15 AM and waited for the others to show up. There were 2 EID employees, 5 DFG employees, Jann Williams from TU/Forest Service, along with the 5 SSTU Volunteers. We unloaded the vehicles and sorted out the gear. Then we proceeded to haul the gear up over the hill and down into the valley below. It took about 20 minutes to get the gear down to the beautiful meadow. Part of the hike we were walking through snow and ice.
The Sac-Sierra Chapter sent 3 volunteers to assist the DFG Heritage and Wild Trout Program with their trout population survey on Hot Creek in the eastern sierra near Mammoth Lakes, Ca. From Tuesday through Thursday, the 34 volunteers assisted DFG personnel to carry loads of equipment down, then back up, the step canyon trails to/from the creek. The surveys were conducted on 3 separate 200' sections of Hot Creek. The crew would fence in the section, electroshock the trout, net them into holding barrels, weigh & measure them, check for injuries and release them back to the creek. The largest of the hundreds of fish caught was a 6# brown. The calculated number of trout per mile is, as yet, undetermined, but it equates in the thousands of trout/mile in Hot Creek. The lush vegetation in the stream provides unlimited cover for these big fish.
The region opened up Hot Creek (and a few other streams) for year round fishing last year. This survey was performed, in part, to determine if that year-round fishing on Hot Creek impacted these fish. As of this writing, this data, and additional data, is still being collated to determine the impact, if any, on the trout fisheries in Hot Creek.
CONSERVATION PROJECT (Nov. 12th, 2008)
The USFS would like our help to complete a stream restoration project on a tributary to the Silver Fork of the American River. The heavy equipment work has been done and all that remains is to replant the area to prevent erosion and provide habitat for the fish and other aquatic species.
We will meet at 9:30 AM at the fire station in Kyburz . The fire station is on the left side of Highway 50, just east of the Kyburz Store & gas station. We will caravan/carpool from there to the work site. With a sufficient number of people, we should be done early afternoon.
Wear durable but comfortable work clothes, sturdy boots or shoes, a jacket and hat. Bring lunch and snacks, gardening gloves, garden tools such as a shovel and hand trowel (or an old spoon for digging in the soil), and a 2-gallon watering can if you have one.
Please sign up by contacting Barbara Bania at if you wish to assist with this project.
Let me start by giving a little background information for those of you whom I have not met. My name is Dustin Rocksvold and I am the President of the Amador Flyfishers. I am also the webmaster for the Sac-Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I received Barbara's call for help, and since Caples is almost in my back yard, I figured I should help out. I work for PG&E and live in Pioneer. Pioneer is located on Highway 88 on the way up to Caples & Silver Lake.