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California fish and game (Volume 1952-1954) online

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Intensified angling pressure and increased water utilization continued to aggravate the already diffi-
cult task of maintaining satisfactory angling for Oalifornia's growing population. The State's great
natural fisheries of trout, steelhead and salmon, striped bass, and warmwatcr species are now and al-
ways will be the backbone of angling recreation.

Increased emphasis is being placed on their sound
management, for it is important, above all else, to
maintain them in the best possible condition. The cost
of doing so is negligible compared with the cost of
improving angling by stocking or stream improve-

New dams and water diversions for power and irri-
gation continued to create serious fisheries problems.
Ever\' effort was made to obtain adequate protection
for the fisheries they threaten as well as to take full ad-
vantage of any new fisheries possibilities they present.

Programs which offer the greatest promise for im-
proving angling at a reasonable cost were expanded as
rapidly as available funds permitted. Financial assist-
ance from the Wildlife Conservation Board and the
federal aid to fisheries program permitted a gradual,
orderly expansion of these activities. Special emphasis
was placed during the biennium on lake and stream
improvement of several types; and major expansion of
the catchable trout program, coupled with an analysis
of its role in the California angling picture.

Increased emphasis was placed on warmwater fish.
A series of carefully selected new species was intro-
duced into various waters as part of a broad program
to evaluate the possibilities they offered for improving

In the description of the departmental program dur-
ing the biennium which follows, a broad separation has
been made between management and investigational


In general, fisheries management includes all of the
great variety of operational projects aimed at improv-
ing angling, based on facts obtained through research.
Thus, it encompasses such diverse activities as fish
stocking and rescue, barrier removal, construction of
flow maintenance dams, installation of stream improve-
ment devices, construction and maintenance of screens
and ladders, rough fish control, and enforcement of

Effectiveness of the department's fisheries manage-
ment activities was greatly increased b\' the decentral-
ization resulting from reorganization, and the attend-
ant strengthening of local supervision.

This management work is now a regional function,
although the various regional activities are coordinated
into broad state-wide programs.


The major fisheries management activit\-, in terms
of annual expenditures, is the production and plant-
ing of hatcherv-reared trout.

The period covered in this report has seen the
greatest expansion of trout hatcheries ever undertaken
in California, and perhaps by any state in the Nation.

As a result of 14,300,000 made available for capital
investment purposes by the Wildlife Conservation
Board over the past five-year period, California's huge
fish hatchery expansion program, which got under
way during the previous biennium but was slowed
down due to \sartime restrictions, got into high gear
during the latter part of 1952. Two new hatcheries
were completed, two existing hatcheries were im-
proved and expanded, construction of one additional
hatchery was started, and plans completed for two ad-
ditional new hatcheries. The two new units are Darrah
Springs Hatcher>-, located near the Shasta-Tehama
count)- line, about 27 miles east of Red Bluff, and the
iMoccasin Creek Hatcher\- at Moccasin, Tuolumne

Darrah Springs Hatchery, representing an invest-
ment of approximateh' 1765,000, is the largest trout
hatchery in California. Approximately 30 cubic feet
of water per second, coming from springs at a tem-
perature of 56 degrees, supplies 60 earth-fill, raceway-
type ponds, 124 standard hatchery troughs, and 32
nursery tanks. Exceptional growth is obtained at this
installation. Fish growing at the rate of one inch per
month permit production of two crops of catchable
fish each year.

Other facilities include a large food preparation
building with refrigerated storage for approximately
200,000 pounds of fish food, a garage and shop build-
ing for truck and equipment storage and routine main-
tenance work, and 12 houses for hatchery personnel.
The hatchery has a potential output of 2,000,000
catchable trout weighing 300,000 pounds annualh.

Being strategically located in the very hub of a large
fish distribution area, the results from catchable trout
produced at this new hatchery will be felt over a wide
area in Northern California.

Lease Arrangement

The new Aloccasin Creek Hatchery, located imme-
dately below the Moccasin Creek powerhouse afterbay
in Tuolumne County, was completed just at the close
of the 1953-54 Fiscal Year. The hatchery is located on
property owned by the City of San Francisco, and is


departjvient of fish and game

i^ii *^


^■wi«i '""Hw;j!«"" BJSiS S9S

Aloccoiin Cree^ Hatchery, completed during the biennium.

occupied on a long-term lease arrangement. Water for
operating the unit is obtained bv gravity flow from the
powerhouse afterbay.

The initial installation includes 24 rearing ponds, a
hatchery building with 120 troughs, food preparation
and refrigerated storage building, and six residences.
While the hatchery was completed during the period
covered by this report, it was turned over to the de-
partment too late to begin operation during the bien-
nium. Its strategic location near important trout waters
remote from other hatcheries makes it a particularly
valuable installation.

Important expansion and improvements were made
at several installations, particularly Crystal Lake
Hatcherv' near Cassel, Shasta County; and Mojave
River Hatchery near Victorville, San Bernardino
County. Construction of the Crystal Lake Hatchery
was actually begun in 1947, when 24 ponds with neces-
sary water supply facilities were installed. Soon after
the ponds were placed in operation, serious disease
problems developed and it became evident that water
from Crystal Lake itself was not suitable for fish cul-
tural purposes. Pipelines were accordingly extended to
bring in water from nearby Rock Creek, which proved

New facilities at this installation represent an invest-
ment of $208,000, and include a garage and shop build-
ing, food preparation and refrigerated storage building,
and four employee residences. The hatchery, located
adjacent to the north boundary of the Lassen Volcanic
National Park area, has been an operating unit since
1948. During the 1953-54 Fiscal Year it produced 341,-
832 trout weighing 64,515 pounds. These were distrib-
uted mainly in Shasta, iVIodoc, Lassen, and Plumas

Ponds Doubled

Production facilities at the Mojave River Hatchery
near Victorville, San Bernardino County, were dou-
bled by increasing the number of ponds from 20 to 40,
and drilling two new wells to supply water. A large
aerating tower for dissipating harmful gases from the
water was installed, and a new food preparation and
storage building and three new residences were built.

This hatchery, which first became an experimental
unit in 1947, received its entire water supply from four
wells on the property. Each year its production has
increased. During the past fiscal year 672,920 trout
weighing 80,220 pounds were produced and distrib-
uted in the Southern California area. The expansion
recently completed at this installation makes it the
largest hatchery in Southern California.

Other minor improvements to hatchery installations
financed with Wildlife Conservation Board funds were
made at Mt. Shasta, Black Rock Rearing Ponds, Fill-
more and Hot Creek.

Construction of the San Joaquin Hatchery, below
Friant Dam at Millerton Lake, in Fresno County, is
well under way and this new unit will be finished early
in the 1954-56 biennium.

Plans were completed for the new Cedar Creek
Experiment Station in Mendocino County and bids
were called for this project. Initially, work at this in-
stallation will center around stocking experiments with
aged steelhead trout.

As part of the salmon and steelhead restoration pro-
gram to compensate for loss of salmon and steelhead
runs in the American River resulting from construc-
tion of the Folsom and Nimbus Dams, plans were
worked out in collaboration with the U. S. Bureau of
Reclamation and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
for a large salmon and steelhead hatchery to be con-
structed by the Bureau of Reclamation and operated
by the State, with the Reclamation Bureau reimbursing
the State for operating costs.

The over-all hatchery expansion program provided
that as new, efficient hatchery facilities were com-
pleted and placed in operation, the older, outmoded
hatcheries would be abandoned. Accordingly, the
Brookdale, Lake Almanor, Mt. Tallac, and Feather
River Hatcheries were permanently closed during the
biennium. Upon completion of the San Joaquin Hatch-
ery, the old Kings River and Madera Hatcheries also
will be abandoned.

Increased Capacity

The hatchery expansion program has increased
catchable fish production from 539,554 pounds during
the 1951-52 Fiscal Year to 796,384 pounds in 1953-54,
or a total of 1,631,688 pounds during the biennium.
This created serious distributional problems. Fortu-
nately, in 1953 it was discovered that the addition of



one-half grain of sodium amytal per gallon of water
would more than double the carrying capacity of fish-
planting tanks.

Use of this drug, which decreases activity and hence
oxygen requirement, coupled with addition of three
150-gallon, six 500-gallon, and three 1,500-gallon tank
trucks and operation of six fish-planting bases enable
the planting crews to keep up with increased produc-

The new 1,500-gallon units are invaluable for long-
range highway transportation of large quantities of fish
from hatcheries to seasonal planting bases. Throughout
the State, 40 smaller 150-gallon fish-planting tanks
mounted on pickup-type trucks are used for final dis-
tribution of the fish from both hatcheries and planting
bases to their final destination. The 500-gallon tanks
are used for lake stocking, large streams, and smaller
fish transfers.

The stepped-up catchable trout program has also
aggravated the problem of providing sufficient inex-
pensive fish food for the State's hatcheries. This chal-
lenge has been met by improving methods of feeding
fish in ponds and by using new products, which were
formerly wasted. Development of a method for proc-
essing fish frames provided a large source of good,
inexpensive food. These frames include the remains of
rock cod and petrale sole after the fillets have been

This material is ground at the source to the desired
size and placed in moisture-proof paper bags, then
quick frozen. The product is fed to pond fish by strip-
ping off the paper bag and placing the block of food
in the pond. This food has sufficient buoyancy to float,
and is held in place in the pond by an anchored frame
made oftwo-inch by four-inch material.

Fish nibble at the food from the bottom and sides
and eat as it thaws. This eliminates a considerable loss
of food in ponds, since small particles do not flake
away and settle to the bottom.

Usually, two or three feeding frames are used in
each 100-foot pond. This method is highly satisfactory
and does not result in any greater variation in size of
the fish than when food is scattered by hand.

Fingerling Production

Fingerling production has continued at about the
level of the previous biennium, with a total of 26,964,-
000 planted during the two-year period. These fish
were used to stock high mountain lakes in remote
areas, and other waters where conditions, were espe-
cially favorable for fingerling survival.

A major change in production during the biennium
was the resumption of golden trout operations in

Golden trout had not been hatched by the State
since 1941. The fresh start was a direct result of the

Fish and Game Commission's "Golden Trout Policy"
adopted on October 16, 1952.

Egg-taking operations started again at the Cotton-
wood Lakes, and a start was made toward procuring
a broodstock from Golden Trout Creek. In former
days most of the fish were planted as fry. Under the
new policy, the department started its attempts to
raise goldens to fingerling size. Plants under this pol-
icy are to be confined to barren waters and to a num-
ber of specially designated lakes in a limited program
of maintenance stocking. During the 1953-54 period,
201,295 golden trout were planted in lakes of the
southern Sierra Nevada.

From the standpoint of numbers, fingerlings planted
during the biennium represented 73 percent of the
total plant. By weight catchables made up 94 percent
of the total.

From July 1, 1952, to June 30, 1954, the department
planted a total of 26,964,700 trout and salmon, with
a total weight of 1,631,678 pounds.

For the first time, an adequate cost analysis study
was made for the entire hatchery and planting pro-
gram, but results were not available at the close of
the biennium.

A complete summation of fish distribution will be
found in Table 10, Appendix.






1930 1935 1940 1945 1950 1955



Fish Rescue

The effect of large multiple purpose dams on princi-
pal river systems is reflected in the department's fish
rescue operations. Each year, more runoff water is
brought under control. The overflow areas in the
central vallev are reduced, and less fish rescue work
becomes necessar\-.

Warniwater fish rescue operations centered mainly
in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley areas, while
salmon and steelhead salvage work was carried on
mainly in the north coast sections of the State. The
latter takes place during periods of low water on
coastal streams, when steelhead and salmon fingeriings
are trapped in pools or lagoons. Nearly 1,500,000 fin-
geriings were saved and transplanted during the p^t
two years.

A tabulation of the fish rescued is found in Tables
16 and 17, Appendix.


Restoration and improvement of environment is in-
creasing rapidly in importance as a fish management
tool in California. There is growing emphasis on
stream and lake improvement of many sorts, aimed
at producing more fish as well as putting more of those
already present into the creel. Increased emphasis also
is being given to improvement of warmwater lakes
by introducing new species of game or forage fish.

Major objectives of the department's stream and
lake improvement program are:

1. To remove barriers to the migration of fishes, so
that the adults may reach suitable spawning areas
and the young may pass downstream.

2. To increase stream flows to aid fish migration,
and to keep streams from drying up.


3. To improve the habitat in existing lakes and
streams and to create new waters where it is eco-
nomically feasible to do so.

4. To increase and improve spawning grounds.

5. To control undesirable species by chemical treat-
ment of lakes and streams.

6. To improve forage conditions for sport fishes.

7. To provide increased utilization of the resource
when it is safe to do so.

During the biennium the scope of this work was
carried out by the five regions and was materially in-
creased by financial assistance from Wildlife Conserva-
tion Board funds, Federal Aid Project F-4-D, and
county fine moneys.

Barrier Removal

Major work on north coast stream clearance during
the biennium was accomplished through the use of
Federal Aid in Fish Restoration funds (D-J Project
F-4-D). Slides and waterfalls forming barriers were
removed or altered in eleven streams from Monterey
County northward, allowing easier passage of steel-
head and salmon into 1 30 miles of stream.

Removal of a barrier on Mill Creek, Tehama
County, made some 35 miles of stream more readily
accessible to salmon and steelhead.

Log jams were removed from nine streams utilized
by anadromous fish. The majority of these were in the
north-coastal area where log jams are generally con-
ceived as a by-product of logging activities. Benefits
derived by their removal are often transitory in na-
ture, being reaggravated by the next period of high or
abnormally high waters.

With the advent of enlightened watershed manage-
ment, the rate of development of log jams should de-
crease. All log jams removed by the department were
those where the determination of the party responsible
could not be ascertained. Most of this work was ac-
complished by Federal Aid crews.

Minor log and debris removal was also done on var-
ious lakes to insure access of fish to and from spawning

An abandoned mining dam was removed on Cecil
Creek, Siskiyou County, to allow passage of anadro-
mous fish. Beaver dams on several streams were re-
moved to prevent flooding and to allow spawning
migrations of trout to pass. In most instances the game
manager live-trapped the beavers and transplanted
them to more suitable areas.

Stream Flow Maintenance Dams

The department's stream flow maintenance dam
construction program designed to improve natural
trout habitat, has been continued under the auspices of

tog raft used in chemical treatment of Tamarack Lake, Mono Couniy.
Materials at hand often are used in back country activities.

the Wildlife Conservation Board, and a complete re-
port of these activities is shown under that heading.
Nine such dams were completed during the biennium,
three were started but not completed, and one previ-
ously constructed dam was raised to increase the water

Other Flow Maintenance

Irrigation waters were channelized into Pine Creek,
Lassen County, facilitating downstream migration of
trout into Eagle Lake.

Gravel wing dams were constructed with bulldozers
on the lower Eel River, Humboldt County, to deepen
the channel and minimize losses of anadromous fish
attempting to enter the river. This was accomplished
with Federal Aid funds.

Lake Construction and Improvement

Work was begun on Indian Basin Lake, Fresno
County, where a trout lake of about nine acres in size
will be constructed with Wildlife Conservation Board
funds. This work is being done by a contract with the
U. S. Forest Service.

Preliminary surveys have been made at several other
sites to determine feasibility of constructing other
trout and warmwater lakes.

At Doane Lake in San Diego County, the marginal
area was deepened, an old dam removed, and vegeta-
tion controlled under a Wildlife Conservation Board

The bed of Dry Lake, San Bernardino County, was
treated with bentonite to eliminate water loss through

A diversion ditch was opened from Little Kern Lake
Creek, Tulare County, to provide a constant flow of
water into Little Kern Lake. A more permanent head-
works structure is planned for the next biennium.

In accordance with instructions from the Legisla-
ture, the department made a survey of the snags and
logs in Lake Almanor, Plumas County, to determine
the feasibility of removing them. The survey indicated
that their removal would cost about $1,600,000.

Stream Improvement Devices

Spearheaded by a Wildlife Conservation Board proj-
ect, the department began a major stream improve-
ment program in southern California. Emphasis was
placed on pool building devices to provide sufficient
water and cover for planting of catchable trout. The
Santa Ana River received the greatest number of
structures with installation of 252 devices.

Log and rock deflectors; log, piled rock, and rock
masonry dams have been installed on 13 different
streams. The type of structure used was determined by
the nature of the stream and the materials at hand, al-
though all are in experimental stages of design, location
and feasibility.

Typical rock deflecfors constructed for flow maintenance and creation of
natural pools for trout fiabitat.

Various counties assisted through county fine
monies. Many ^sportsmen and sportsmen's groups in
the area gave generously of their time and effort. As
a result of the combined efforts, more than 650 such
devices were installed. Unfortunately, flash floods pro-
duced by localized cloudbursts removed 92 in one

Aquatic Plant Control

Continuing its policy of improving lakes for fishing
wherever possible, the department investigated uses
of new weedicides for control of aquatic plants.

Pilot investigations of weed control were continued
at Twin Laks, Mammoth, Mono County, with sodium
arsenite, and the department did further work at
Doane Lake, San Diego County, and Crystal Lake,
Los Angeles County. Experimental work with CMU
was carried out at Lost Lake, Fresno County, and with
Borascu at the Moon Lake, San Bernardino County.

Fish Population Control

Chemical treatment continued to be the most useful
tool in control of undesirable fishes and reduction of
stunted populations. Rotenone-bearing powder was
the primary chemical used. Methods of application
varied from the use of a log raft in a back-country
lake to the dissemination of an emulsifiable rotenone
compound by aircraft. Aerial observation also proved
useful in the Grouse Ridge area lakes in Nevada
County so that accurate determination of lake areas
could be made. Such information is needed to deter-
mine the proper amount of chemical needed.

California's own "cubebeater," a self-propelled mix-
ing device developed by the department was used
effectively on one of the big jobs at Lake Merced,




£/ec(ro-fi$hmg, which harmlessly stuns fish, can be used io segregate species of fishes, to determine populations, and lor fropping fishes for

egg taking.

San Francisco County. (This is the same device which
Oregon made use of in its treatment of Diamond Lake
late in 1954.)

The department's rough fish control activities were
highlighted by the eradication of rough fish in Bass
Lake, Madera Count}', and in 10 miles of its tributary
streams. This 1,165-acre reservoir was treated when
the Pacific Gas and Electric Company drew down the
lake to repair the outlet valves. Many of the game fish
were rescued and held for restocking the lake after
chemical treatment. The weight of carp killed greatly
exceeded the weight of game fish.

Twenty-four other lakes and ponds were also
treated with rotenone to eliminate rough fish. Most of
these \\aters have been restocked with game fish to
provide improved fishing. Forage species have also
been introduced in waters suitable for them. See Table
20, Appendix, for a tabulation of results.

Chemical Treatment

Large-scale chemical treatment of streams was at-
tempted for the first time during the biennium. A pro-
gram was initiated in the Russian River drainage to
improve conditions for steelhead trout by eliminating
rough fish in several tributaries. Here a checkup
showed that no more than 5 percent of the resident
fish were game fish. About 87 miles of tributaries were
treated in Dr\' and Maacama Creeks, in Sonoma
County. In most instances barriers were built or nat-
ural barriers were utilized to prevent re-entry of
rough fish.

Santa Ysabel River and its tributaries, San Diego
County, were also treated with rotenone to remove
undesirable fish before inundation by a contemplated
water project.

Numerous sportsmen's groups have assisted mate-
rially in the department's rough fish control program
by donating many hours of work. Various counties

also assisted by making county fine money available
for purchase of rotenone.

In 1953 electrofishing was used for the first time in
California to segregate species of fish in population
control. It was used in Pine Creek, Lassen County, to
separate the Eagle Lake rainbow trout from its com-
petitor, t1ie eastern brook trout.

An experimental gill netting program was conducted
at Convict Lake in Mono County in 1953 to remove
large predatory brown trout. These fish consumed
many of the catchable rainbows which are stocked
annually, but are themselves almost invulnerable to
capture by angling. A total of 124 browns weighing
368 pounds was removed during the operation. The
largest weighed over 20 pounds! Creel census records
from 1954 will be compared with past catch records

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