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California fish and game (Volume 1952-1954) online

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on this lake to determine the effect of this experiment
on survival of rainbow trout. Whether or not such
work is justifiable in view of the time and special
equipment required, still is uncertain.

Carp Permits Issued

Carp seining permits have been issued wherever
practicable to reduce competition with game fishes
for living space.

During the biennium more than 651 applications
for the stocking of private ponds were processed, 282
ponds were visited, and about 500 ponds were stocked
with fish by the owners. See Table 21, Appendix.

It has been the policy of the Department of Fish
and Game to supply an initial stock of fish of warm-
water fishes to private ponds too small to support pub-
lic fishing and which meet certain other requirements.
Trout for such ponds must be purchased from a
licensed domestic fish breeder.

Largemouth black bass and bluegill have been the
usu^l species stocked. The department has been par-
ticularly anxious to find species of fish which will
reproduce in the colder waters of coastal and North-



em California ponds. A few experimental plants of
yellow perch and Sacramento perch were made with
this in mind.


The Department of Fish and Game has continued
its work of introducing species whose establishment
in fresh waters may be beneficial.

In 1953 the fathead minnow was imported from
New Mexico and it spawned successfully in hatchery
ponds during the same year. Experimental planting
has been carried out in several lakes in the hope that
it will be a useful forage fish..

In the spring of 1954 another forage minnow, the
plains red shiner, was brought to northern California
and is now being propagated at Cehtral Valleys
Hatchery. It spawned successfully there in June, 1954.

Outstanding introductions of the biennium con-
sisted of the importation of the threadfin shad and the
redeye black bass, also known as the Coosa bass, into
California. The threadfin is being introduced in the
hope that it will provide hitherto lacking forage for
black bass and other game fish in large reservoirs,
while the redeye is expected to provide fishing in
lowland foothill streams, too warm for trout and too
small for other kinds of black bass.

Following extensive negotiations and experiments
with transportation equipment, the shad were seined
from the Tennessee River in Tennessee and flown to
California. Despite adverse weather conditions, 357 of
the delicate shad survived and were introduced into
brood ponds in San Diego County in November, 1953.
In Mav of 1954 they spawned prolifically. The first
experimental plant from this spawning was made in
San V^icente Reservoir, San Diego County, in June,

Redeye Bass Imported

Forty adult redeye bass were brought out from
their native waters in Tennessee by the department's
airplane in 1953 and all but one survived the trip.
These fish were settled in a pond at Central Valleys
Hatchery, where some of them spawned in the spring
of 1954.'

Additional plants and checkups were made of sev-
eral other non-native species which have been resident
in the State for some time. Since 1950 there has been
a concerted effort to establish the golden shiner as a
forage fish in reservoirs throughout central and north-
ern California. It has been found to have spawned
successfully in some of them, and evaluation of its
effect now is being carried out.

Smallmouth bass were first recorded in the Colo-
rado River below Parker Dam in 1952 from a plant
made three years before, and a booster plant was
made in 1953. The fish were taken by air from Cen-
tral Valleys Hatchery to Blythe.

White crappie which were brought from San Diego
County lakes to Coyote Reservoir, Santa Clara County,
and East Park Reservoir, Colusa County, in 1950, were
found to be producing excellent fishing in 1954.

Good Kokanee Spawns

Spawning runs of Kokanee salmon, first introduced
into California in 1941, were observed in tributaries
of Lake Tahoe, Shasta Lake, and Lake Almanor. The
1952 spawning runs in Tahoe were particularly grati-
fying. They represented the first adults from the first
major planting of fingerlings in 1949. Runs in the
tributaries of Shasta Lake were exceptional, since they
occurred during the summer instead of during the
winter as expected.

In addition to the new introductions and checkups
on older ones, the department tried out several species
of native fishes in waters where they were not

Two native species of freshwater smelt found in the
lower Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers showed promise
as a forage fish for cooler reservoirs. Early in 1954,
these fish, the Sacramento smelt and freshwater smelt,
were introduced into three Central California Reser-

The native California killifish was introduced into
Lake Elsinore, Riverside County, in April, 1954, in an
attempt to establish a forage fish in this alkaline and
unstable lake.

In an attempt to build up a run of steelhead in the
Mokelumne River, steelhead from coastal streams were
planted there in 1953.

The fhreadfin shad, a forage fish being introduced info warmwater
reservoirs for forage tor game fish. It was brought from Tennessee.






- ■'





How many did they catch? Parfial answers come from post card surveys
and creel checks.


There is a serious need for more information about
California's inland fisheries. Only wise regulations
based on facts, not opinions, are going to protect them
from skyrocketing angling pressures and the other
effects of the state's growth, such as pollution and in-
creasing water use.

Knowledge of practical ways to increase angling
by improvement of natural habitats also is in short
supply. It offers the only hope for meeting ever-
increasing demands for good angling recreation.

\\'ithout exception, the department's inland fish-
eries investigations are aimed at learning how to im-
prove and regulate important sport fisheries. They are
therefore among the branch's most practical, down-to-
earth activities.

Generally speaking, they fall into two groups: rou-
tine surveys or inventories of transient or local im-
portance; and basic or long-range research projects
whose results have a more far-reaching use.

Under the reorganization plan, data for the first
type usually is gathered by regional personnel while
the more basic work is performed by the staff. As
the biennium progressed, more and more of the long-
range studies were funnelled into the Federal Aid pro-

Sfate-wide Angling Surveys

Intensive analyses of state-wide sport catch and
angling trends have been made periodically since 1936
on the basis of postal-card surveys. The number of
sports anglers in California continues to skyrocket, and
in 1953 license sales established an all-time high to lead
the nation. The 1,187,357 licenses sold represented an
8 percent increase over 1952 and a 17 percent increase
over 1951 when the last state-wide angling survey was

On the basis of answers received from a random
sample of license holders, California anglers in 1953
had the greatest year in history. The increase in an-
glers was reflected in almost all phases of sport fishing.
See Table 22, Appendix.

Some 530,000 anglers caught trout, a gain of 24 per-
cent over the 1951 survey. Successful salmon anglers
increased 40 percent; black bass, 50 percent; striped
bass, 15 percent; catfish, 32 percent; sunfish, 30 per-
cent; and crappie, 76 percent; as compared to the 1951
survey. These estimates do not include those anglers
who fished unsuccessfully.

The 1953 survey catch-estimates were up for all
species, surpassing previous records for all freshwater
and anadromous fish, except striped bass and catfish.
The black bass catch was 84 percent greater than 1951;
catfish, 59 percent; crappie, 50 percent; and sunfish,
29 percent greater. Major increases were in the warm-
water catch, and reflect the additional angling pres-
sure and improved water conditions.

Ocean Fishing Second

The survey indicates ocean fishing was second to
trout in popularity. An estimated 340,000 people fished
in the ocean or gathered shellfish.

Trout anglers reported they averaged 42 fish last
year for a record total of 22^ million, an increase of
20 percent over the 1951 survey estimate of 18^ mil-
lion. Salmon anglers reported a catch of 640,000 fish
for an all-time high as this sport continues a deserving
increase in popularity. For the first time information
was gathered separately on steelhead trout. An esti-
mated 310,000 were caught by 56,000 anglers.

Questionnaires further showed that 1,590,000 striped
bass were taken by 166,000 anglers. The striper catch
has remained fairly constant in recent years but the
number of anglers catching these fish has increased 15
percent in the last two years. All warmwater species
showed considerable increases as compared to the 1951
survey. Most notable was the reported catfish take of
7,470,000 and the black bass catch of 2,300,000.

California anglers spent an estimated 15/4 million
days fishing last year, almost a third of which were for
trout. Black bass and other warmwater fish accounted
for 3,700,000 days or 24 percent and striped bass an-
glers 2,000,000 days or 13 percent. Ocean fishing
enthusiasts spent 3| million days angling or 22 percent
of the total days reported by respondents. The aver-
age angler spent about 14 days in pursuit of his sport.


Fisheries management personnel spent considerable
time gathering and interpreting information about the
various waters of the State and their fisheries resources
as a basis for management plans and regulations. Subse-
quently, they followed developments in the various




Klamathon Racks

Shasta Racks

Sweasey Dam

Benbow Dam


Klamath River

Shasta River

Mad River

Eel River, Soutli F(


South Fork of the Eel River
Year (Benboiv Da?n)

King Silver Steel -

salmon salmon head

1952-53 7,256 3,711 19,448

1953-54 ...._ 7,948 3,052 15,425


River systern


Klamath River


Klamath River


Mad River


Eel River

nons d

uring the biennium:





Mad River



(Siveasey Dam)























lakes and streams closely enough to know if the desired
results were being achieved, or, if not, to change the
management programs.

These routine surveys were carried on primarily
under regional supervision.

Initial surveys were made of 142 streams and 261
lakes. (See Table 23.) Rechecks were made of many
other waters.

Fish Counts and Inventories

For some years the Inland Fisheries Branch has
carried out counts of spawning runs of steelhead and
salmon at various stations. Such counts provide a basis
for management programs and for recommendations
in connection with proposed large dams. The follow-
ing stations were operated during the past biennium;

Population Studies

A knowledge of the sizes of fish populations has
become more and more essential in recent years for
a basic understanding of both theoretical and practical
fishery problems and their solutions. Particularly de-
sirable is comparative information on the status of fish
populations for both fished and unfished waters.

Warmwater impoundments in the Central Valley of
California might be expected to yield large numbers of
game fish. Yet data has been presented which indicates
that the Central Valley with its many impoundments
contributes rather small catches of warmwater fish
compared with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or
the San Diego region.

While it is true the impounded waters of the Central
Valley lie near the heavily fished Sierra and Delta
areas, which are presently preferred by many fisher-
men, there is little doubt that they would be much
more popular if they provided better fishing. Learning
why they are so unproductive is the first step toward
discovering how to improve them.

The problem is largely one of population size. Are
the reservoirs productive? Do they have large fish
populations? Is there competition between desirable

and trash species? Is there a sufficient forage popula-
tion to support desirable predatory species? A knowl-
edge of the numbers of the various fishes present will
obviously go a long way toward providing answers to
questions like these.

Determination of fish population estimates is by no
means a simple task. However, several well established
methods are available. Of these, the mark-and-recap-
ture technique presently seems to ofTer the greatest
possibilities. Following methods developed in 1951 and
1952, the technique has been extended to several
California reservoirs such as Dallas-Warner (Modesto)
in Stanislaus County.

Partial population-composition studies by the use of
rotenone have also been carried out throughout the

One of the most noteworthy developments during
the biennium was the increased use of electro-fishing
to make population inventories. Shockers which stun
the fish temporarily were used in the San Lorenzo
River, Santa Cruz County, to evaluate the steelhead
populations. They were used in the Pit River in con-
nection with cooperative studies with the Pacific Gas
and Electric Company on the effect of disminished
flows on the game fish population. Studies on the sur-
vival of catchable trout and the effects of stream
improvement were started in Southern California to-
wards the close of the biennium.

Creel Censuses

In addition to such long range inventories and popu-
lation studies, the department conducted creel censuses
on 118 lakes and streams.

A few of these, such as Castle Lake, Siskiyou
County, and Rush Creek, Mono County, were special
test waters where the results of study can be applied
to like waters. However, the majority of the counts
were aimed at obtaining information which will be of
direct application to the censused waters.

The principal creel censuses carried out during the
biennium are tabulated in Table 10, Appendix.



In addition to tliesc, spot censuses \\ere made of
many individual waters.

Inland Trout Studies
W'itli the advent of reorganization, most of the
previous trout investigations \\ere shifted to a new
Dingeii-Johnson project, F-8-R, "Trout Management
Study." Bv the start of the IQ.H fishing season, this
project \\as well under way with six principal jobs or

(T) Casfle Lake, Siskiyou County

The rainbow trout phase of the Castle Lake investi-
gation was begun in 1952, and since then only this
species has been planted. Brook trout continue to
maintain themselves without further stocking. Pre-
viously brook trout had been planted, and it was found
that \\ hen they alone were present the return to the
angler of planted fingerlings was 3.'i percent. Return
of catchable brooks was 43 percent. Prior to chemical
treatment of the lake in 1946, the brook trout were
pre\ed upon by browns and lake trout (mackinaw)
and never attained the age of more then three years. In
addition, the natural reproduction of the brooks is sur-
prisingly successful.

Prior to chemical treatment, the catch of naturally
spawned brooks \\"as insignificant, while now the wild
fish dominate the catch. The carryover of fall-spawn-
ing rainbow catchables is reasonably good. A compari-
son was made between rainbow fingerlings planted bv
air and by truck. To date the angler catch of truck-
planted fish from Castle Lake is rvvice that of the
plane-planted ones.

(2) Rush Creek, Mono County

Prior to 1953 only rainbow had been planted in this
test stream. Most of these were fall-spawning catch-

jT- l ^^4i



ables and the plant was characterized by a very high
return to the angler almost immediately after planting.
There was almost no carryover to the next year and
no natural propagation.

Beginning in 1953, only brown trout have been
planted. These were catchables, and it was found that
onh- 20 percent were caught in the first season. How-
ever, in the case of the browns, there is a very good
carryover and excellent natural reproduction. In 1954
the wild browns dominated the catch.

(3) Feather River

Proposed hydroelectric developments by the Pa-
cific Gas and Electric Company will divert most of
the water from the Caribou-Gansner Bar section of
the Feather River by 1956. By making a complete
creel census of this river section for three years prior
to the diversion and for about five years afterward,
it is expected that effects of such a diversion on the
fishery can be detected. This is one of the richest
sections of rainbow stream in California and is com-
pletely accessible by road. It contains an excellent
native rainbow population and the catch is high both
in numbers and pounds.

(4) Lakes Basin Recreation Area,
Sierra and Plumas Counties

Here, a^partial creel census is being made to test a
large number of management practices. Approxi-
mately 18 natural trout lakes can be checked by two
attendants, but it is not yet known how many of
these will be needed for experiments. Three lakes
have already been stocked with marked trout. Tests
will be made in the form of comparisons, and no at-
tempt will be made to determine total catches.

Adequate statistical samples will indicate which of
two or more contrasting methods is best. In one lake
four strains of rainbow were planted in 1953 to see
which is best for lakes of this type. In a second lake
both catchable and fingerling browns are being
planted to see which is better. In a third lake brook
fingerlings are being planted by air and by truck to
see which is better.

(5) State-wide Brown Trout Project

In addition to the Rush Creek project, information
on that somewhat controversial species, the brown
trout, is being gathered throughout the State. Part of
the program calls for population studies based on
electro-fishing or shocking. These will show the suc-
cess of various methods of brown trout management
and will indicate which types of streams are suitable
for browns and which are not. Test waters are scat-
tered throughout the State with both staff and re-
gional personnel participating in the work.

Checking station lor Rush Creek Test Stream m Mono County. Tests
determine relative merits ol brown and rainbow trout for this stream.



(6) Brood Stock Selecfion

The present strain of fall-spawning rainbow brood
stock used in the California hatcheries is known to
contain serious genetical \\'eaknesses, particularly
physical abnormalities. In order to rectify this condi-
tion a program of selection was begun in the fall of
1953 at the Alt. Shasta Hatchery. Some females were
taken at random from the stock, and in each case the
fish's eggs were divided into two parts; one part was
fertilized by one male and the other part by another
male. In turn each male was used to fertilize the eggs
of two females. These lots of eggs, 69 in all, were held
in separate trays until hatched.

Twenty-four of the best appearing lots were then
retained for future brood stock. Data on fertility,
viability, appearance, growth rate, etc., were kept on
each lot.

Several special studies were carried on in several
areas. Among these was a marked fish experiment on
Brush Creek, Tulare County, which showed the usual
small returns from stream-stocked rainbow fingerlings,
a large return to the angler from catchables, and an
even larger return from wild fish.

Studies were started in Region V in an attempt to
discover what happens to "catchable" trout which are
not caught by the angler. The same experiments are
designed to show the effect of stream improvement
on catchable trout fishing.

Trial plants of eastern brook fingerlings in Lake
Merced, San Francisco County, had only small returns
(although the fish grow well) by the close of the

Back-country Fish Management Study

A total of 247 lakes, all lying in back-countr\' areas
of the Sierra Nevada and Siskiyou Mountain Ranges,
were examined as part of a Dingell-Johnson project
(F-3-R). Principal objectives were to evaluate current
management practices, to work out rapid evaluation
systems, and to put new or modified procedures into
effect. Special efforts were made to obtain data on
fish populations, spawning success, and angling use.

The project crew made repeated eight- to ten-day
pack trips into back-country areas of the State, where
initial surveys and rechecks were made of lakes and
streams to develop sound management programs. The
problem of lake overpopulations by brook trout was
investigated, and routine equipment and methods were
retested. Results of work were observed, and several
chemical treatm.ent jobs were undertaken.

Findings were discussed with management person-
nel, and assistance was given them in revising man-
agement policies. Planting allotments for back-country
waters were submitted annually as a part of this
survey program.

Experimental improvement work was carried on
as a part of the field work wherever the crew was

This pond, which will support small trout, was created by a rock dam
on McGee Creek, Mono County.

able to handle the job with the tools at hand. Most
of the improvements consisted of consolidating stream
channels, removing rock or log barriers to spa\\ning
areas, digging out sod blocks in lake inlets, and con-
struction of rock dams.

While this type of work was incidental to the
regular field activities, considerable benefits to the
lakes and streams were realized by these improve-
ments. For example, the removal of a log barrier in
one lake inlet, which required two hours' work,
opened up 600 yards of spawning area to the lake
rainbow population. It is very likely that no further
planting will be needed to maintain a satisfactory
population in this lake.

On two occasions rotenone was used to treat back-
country lakes. One 10-acre lake was treated to re-
move eastern brook trout and rough fish preparatory
to rehabilitation with golden trout.

In order to determine effects and desirability of im-
provement devices for possible use in mountainous
areas, 41 improvement structures on the East Fork
Kaweah River, Tulare County, were observed and
evaluated. The structures were built in 1935 by the
U. S. Forest Service. Twelve, all of log construction,
remain in operation after 18 years. Those of earth,
rock, masonry, plank and crib construction had been
destroyed. An evaluation report was submitted for this

Losses Investigated

Reports of the loss of Piute cutthroat trout from
Cottonwood Creek, Mono County, due to floods were
investigated. It was found that the trout were not only
present, but they were well established as indicated by
size range and abundance.



An jrriga/jon (J/fc/i js being tested to determine how many fish ore being drawn through diversions and lost in fields.

Several cases of winter kills were investigated in
shallow high elevation waters. Losses were generally
attributed to shallowness, abundant aquatic plants or
lack of suitable inlets and outlets for circulation result-
ing in oxygen depletion.

Observations were made to determine the extent of
losses of golden trout over a falls in the outlet of Alger
Lakes, Alono County. Abundance of all sizes of golden
in the lake without having been stocked for many
years indicated that losses have not been excessive.

A study of the Shadow Creek, Madera County,
drainage, containing eight lakes, were made to deter-
mine the feasibility of reclaiming the basin for golden
trout. Due to a lack of spawning areas throughout the
region as a whole, it was considered impractical. One
isolated lake has been recommended for chemical
treatment and rehabilitation of golden trout.

The project was terminated in June, 1954, and as
an outgrowth of information gained a manual of back-
countr\' management covering all phases of the project
activities is being prepared.

Striped Bass

Scope of work on the striped bass fishery was tem-
porarily reduced during the biennium as a result of

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