California. Dept. of Fish and Game.

California fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) online

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will not be completed for perhaps five years, it will be
necessarx' to have the fish salvage and hatchery facili-
ties completed by I960. The department is now draw-
ing plans for these facilities. The fish will be trapped
and transported to spawning areas up river beyond
the construction sites in the meanwhile.


Most of the major water use projects affecting im-
portant sport and commercial fisheries were being
processed in Sacramento, Region II, through the steps
of obtaining water rights from the State Water Rights
Board, Federal Power Commission licenses, congres-
sional authorization, or other types of approval.

iMore than 1,000 applications for water permits on
waters within the State were filed during the bien-
nium. Nineteen applications went to the Federal
Power Commission for preliminary permits or licenses
for power projects. Over 50 applications were made

Department personnel take salmon and steelhead census of Trinity River to determine spawning potential of )he stream in order to estimate hatchery needsi

when Trinity River Protect is completed.

CF ish and Game

for permits from the Division of Water Resources to
construct dams and 35 reports were received on pro-
posed water development plans by state and federal
agencies. All of these were reviewed and their prob-
able effects on fish, wildlife and recreational resources
analyzed. In most cases recommendations for protec-
tion of these resources were compiled and submitted
to the construction agencies.

A total of 167 separate field investigations of water
applications were made and 92 were protested by the
department. Efforts to obtain data on angler use on
streams involved in proposed use projects were in-
tensified by conducting creel checks, ground and
aerial car counts and by use of written questionnaires.

Throughout the biennium, close cooperation has
prevailed with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
U. S. Forest Service on water projects work. Depart-
ment efforts have been coordinated \\ith these con-
servation agencies in a mutually beneficial manner.

The following were the water hearings and projects
in which department personnel were involved during
the biennium.


This water rights hearing was conducted by the
Division of Water Resources for the purpose of ruling
on applications of water from the IMokelumne River
by the East Bay iMunicipal Utilities District, North
San Joaquin Irrigation District, and the Calaveras
Count) Water District. The hearings started in Octo-
ber, 1955, and terminated iMay 2, 1956, with several
recesses during the period.

The extensive and valuable salmon spawning beds of
the iNlokelumne River, as well as several good trout
streams, were at stake in the proceedings. The plans
of E. B. M. U. D. and N. S. J. I. D. included dams
which would inundate and make inaccessible 80 per-
cent of the salmon spawning beds. Department per-
sonnel presented oral testimony and written evidence
at the hearing in support of its protests to the water
applications as filed.

A comprehensive report analyzing the applicants'
proposed projects and their effects on the fisheries was
compiled and two supplementary written statements
were prepared with the aid of the Attorney General's

Re/eases Required
The decision on the water applications rendered by
the State Engineer granted water permits to the East
Bay Municipal Utility District. These permits con-
tained clauses requiring releases of water for fish from
one point of diversion and called for the district and
the department to reach agreement on measures to
protect the salmon and steelhead resources prior to
construction of any dams. The clauses further provide
for future determination if agreement cannot be

Experimental stream improvement structure constructed on the South Forfc
Mokelumne River,

(Fish and Game Photo by John Westgate)

Sportsmen and commercial fishing interests made
presentations in support of the department at the


Reviewing changing plans for this Bureau of Recla-
mation project on the Truckee River and Carson
River drainages in California has been a continuing
activity' since 1949.

Authorizing legislation was submitted in both the
House and Senate in 1955. Senate and House subcom-
mittee hearings on the bills were held in Reno. De-
partment personnel prepared, or participated in prep-
aration of, statements presented at both hearings. Nu-
merous meetings were held with representatives of the
bureau, Nevada Fish and Game Commission, U. S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and water use agencies in
Nevada in the department's efforts to achieve protec-
tion and, wherever possible, improvement of the fish-
eries resources.

As a result of the combined efforts of the conserva-
tion agencies, sportsmen's groups and interested civic
groups, the authorizing legislation for the Washoe
Project included provisions for $1,200,000 expressly
for the enhancement of fisheries resources through
construction of a dam on Prosser Creek (to facilitate
constant and increased flow releases from the Lake
Tahoe Dam into the Truckee River) and also for the
construction of a fish hatchery to supply additional
fish to the project area.


Following several meetings, review of Sacramento
Municipal Utility District project plans and field work,
substantial agreement was reached with S. M. U. D. on
provisions for protection of fish and wildlife resources
in connection with the district's Upper American
River Project.

Recommendations submitted to the Federal Power
Commission by both the department and U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service were subsequently accepted by
S. M. U. D. for inclusion in any permit issued to them
bv the Federal Power Commission.

Throughout the negotiations, S. M. U. D. repre-
sentatives were very cooperative and the resulting
agreement is a big step toward assuring future fish
populations and recreation in the project area.



Various plans of the bureau for water development
in the upper American River drainage were reviewed
and recommendations for protection of fish and wild-
life compiled in cooperation with the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.


Following destruction of their American River
Head Dam (Chute Camp Dam) by the floods of
November, 1950, the Pacific Gas and Electric Com-
pany applied for an amendment to its Federal Power
Commission license to cover reconstruction of the
dam at a slightly different location on the South Fork
of the American River in El Dorado County.

No specific flows for maintenance of fish life had
ever been established for release below the old dam
and the department and the Fish and Wildlife Service
recommended that such releases be made.

Negotiations followed field studies made in coopera-
tion with P. G. & E. and a compromise settlement
was made.

The company agreed to release a minimum of 10
cubic second feet in the summer and 5 c.f.s. in the
winter. An additional clause calling for reconsideration
of these flows upon development of upstream water
storage was also included in the amended license.


A 70-page report was prepared for the State Engi-
neer on the fish, wildlife and recreational resources in
relation to the reservoir to be created by construction
of the Oroville Dam in order to have plans for recre-
ational development ready when work starts.

The report covered fisheries and \\ ildlife aspects of
the reservoir on preproject and postproject bases and
contained recommendations for fish and wildlife man-
agement and recreational use of the reservoir area,
including potential access, camping, boat launching
and picnicking areas.

Flycasters on South Fork American River, a heavily fished and popular

(Fish and Game Photo)

The Division of Water Resources indicated its will-
ingness to construct a salmon hatchery below Oroville
Reservoir as a means of maintaining those portions of
salmon runs which normally spawn in or above the
project area. Negotiations and preliminary work were
carried on to facilitate this plan, but selection of a
site and detailed planning had not started during the


Over the years, the department's efforts to preserve
conditions for fish and wildlife has resulted in the
establishment of minimum flow releases below many
dams and diversions, but little or no effort has been
made to assure that these releases were actually being
made in the operation of the projects.

A complete record of such releases was compiled
and a system of field checking was inaugurated in
1956. Time did not permit complete coverage, but as
the system is perfected the department should be able
to check out most diversions each year.

In the case of X'ermillion Reservoir (Edison Lake),
Fresno County, the Southern California Edison Com-
pan\- agreed to a suitable release schedule for Mono
Creek. This was incorporated in the license and re-
leases were started by the company. The agreement
also provided a 10-cubic-foot-second release in the
South Fork of the San Joaquin River below Florence
Lake— a stream that had virtuall\' dried up for 30
years. More than 10 miles of an important, heavily-
used fishing stream benefit from the release.


Studies were made on the proposed Terminus and
Success Reservoirs, w hich are flood control and irriga-
tion storage projects in Tulare County. Recommen-
dations are being made for minimum pools which will
support fish and wildlife and develop the recreational
potential of the reservoirs.


Through the cooperation of the Los Angeles
Count)' Flood Control District and other water agen-
cies, two trout streams w ithin minutes of the metro-
politan area afforded excellent rainbow fishing this

Formerl\- the Big Tujunga and Cogswell Flood Con-
trol Reservoirs were drained rapidly after the last
spring rains, and the streams below the dams had
short-lived fisheries. Under the new plan, a gradual
but sustained release will be made, affording several
months of additional fishing and excellent stream


One of the major fisheries problems in California
is the difficult)' of producing satisfactory fishing in the
rapidl)' fluctuating reservoirs characteristic of Call-

Test seine haul shows bass and sunftsh growing rapidly in Puddingstone

Reservoir, Los Angeles County, after reservoir had been chemically treated

to remove overabundance of carp, then restocked with game fishes.

(Fish and Game Photo)

fornia. In many cases, reservoirs are completely emp-
tied each year— to the detriment of the fish population.

Puddingstone Reservoir in Los Angeles County posed
a typical problem, but the County of Los Angeles
amended its Flood Control Act to permit retention of
a larger minimum pool and arranged to purchase
water to maintain the larger pool for recreational use.

Following a chemical treatment to destroy rough
fish in October, 1954, the reservoir was stocked with
bass, bluegill, red-ear, channel catfish, and threadfin
shad. Excellent growth was made by all game fish and
it now appears that the threadfin are playing an im-
portant forage role. This concept of purchasing water
for recreational use is becoming more common in


The department has been concerned with the en-
forcement of pollution control laws for about 30
years, but, with the establishment of the regional water
pollution control boards in 1949, its program has
shifted from law enforcement to one with more
emphasis on the technical investigations of water pol-
lution. This shift has mainly occurred during the

During the same period most of the fresh water
problems have been solved, but salt water pollution
problems have become an increasingly important part
of the department's water pollution control program.

Sewage disposal to the ocean poses extremely com-
plex problems. The effects of salt water pollution are
insidious— there is no wide-scale fish mortality to
attract attention. Rather, the environment slowly
changes so that the important food and game fishes
gradually decrease in numbers until they are no longer
able to survive.

Ocean Studies

The department began ocean pollution studies off
Southern California during the biennium as a basis for
future measure of changing fish populations around
sewage outfalls in the Southern California area. The
Marine Fisheries Branch, in the spring of 1956, took
steps to record conditions as they exist today.

Sixty-nine survey stations were occupied, using otter
trawl gear at depths varying from 5 to 25 fathoms in
the area lying offshore from Redondo Beach to just
north of Point Dume. Each station covered approxi-
mately 30 minutes in time and two miles in space.

All fishes and invertebrates taken in this work were
examined at the California State Fisheries Laboratory.
A record was kept for each species, listing drag nurn-
ber and date, length, weight and sex. Notations were
made regarding state of maturity and particularly any
abnormalities that were observed.

When changing conditions around sewer outfalls
indicate fish life is endangered, the department will be
able to assess the amount of change and the degree
of danger by comparing these new conditions with
those which existed in the spring of 1956.

Double Transplant

To assess the effect of the White Point sewer out-
fall upon the abalones in the area, a double trans-
plant and tagging operation was carried out. Several
hundred black abalones were gathered at Bird Rock
and Catalina Harbor, Santa Catalina Island and trans-
ported to White Point where the\' were tagged,
weighed, measured and transplanted. A similar trans-
plant of White Point black abalones was made back
to Santa Catalina Island.

Evidence from these transplants will determine
whether or not the "sick" White Point abalones can
survive if removed to an unpolluted area and will
demonstrate what effect the waste discharge will have
upon healthy individuals from an unpolluted area.

Department studies have shown that a major portion
of San Diego Bay is seriously affected by sewage dis-
charges. Sludge deposits have covered a large portion
of the bay and aquatic life in these areas is missing.
In 1955, much of the bay was quarantined by the
State Health Department. Additional sewage treat-
ment is badly needed and the city is proceeding with
plans for new disposal facilities.


In the case of the City of Los Angeles, the State
Water Pollution Control Board has established require-
ments to protect the beneficial uses of the waters of
Santa Monica Bay. They have imposed a biological
monitoring program to continually test the toxicity of
the sewage in order to provide the necessary advance
warning in order that further corrective measures can
be taken long before conditions in the receiving waters
become critical.

New disposal facilities are now under construction.
They will be a stride forward in preventing damage
to the fishery resources of Santa Monica Bay in the
vicinity of the sewage disposal facilities. The depart-
ment has recommended that planning not stop since
it will soon be feasible to highly treat and reuse much
of the waste water in this area, thus helping solve the
water supply problem while giving more protection
to coastal waters.

The department is extremely concerned about the
possible effects of other sewage and industrial waste



Dark pattern af pollution^ caused by pumping waste materials into stream,

dearly shows of this wood products plant on the Sacramento River near


(Fish and Game Photo)

discharges in Southern California and San Francisco
Bay. A4uch more worlv is needed to evaluate the
effects of these outfalls before a definite assessment
of damage to fisii and aquatic life can be made.

New Industries Cooperating

One bright spot has been the attitude of the new
industries moving into California. In general they rec-
ognize their responsibilities and it is much easier to
solve a pollution problem before it starts, than to
try to correct a condition that has existed for many

During this biennium two large industries have re-
tained consulting biologists to make a complete evalu-
ation of the conditions of the receiving waters before
new plants are constructed. In both cases— a Dupont
chemical plant at Antioch and a Diamond Match
wood products and molded pulp plant at Red Bluff-
waste disposal facilities were designed to eliminate any
possible hazard to fish and aquatic life before opera-
tions started.


One continuing problem that has come up again
in this biennium is the pollution of the upper Sacra-
mento River by copper and zinc during periods
when the Sacramento River flow below Shasta Dam
was too low to afford sufficient dilution for the toxic
water from Spring Creek during periods of high rain-
off. A4ost of the pollution comes from old abandoned
mines in the area northwest of Redding. A consider-
able number of salmon and steelhead fingerlings were
killed in the spring of 1955, marking the third time
in the department's knowledge this has happened
since Shasta Dam was constructed in 1940.

As a result, the Legislature appropriated f 20,000
to the Central Valley Regional Water Pollution Con-
trol Board for a study of the problem to determine
whether there is a feasible solution.

Biologists from the Philadelphia Academy of Sci-
ences were retained to study the problem. They found
that Spring Creek is the main source of pollution and
that conditions were w orse than had been suspected.

The Regional Pollution Control Board has retained
a consulting engineering firm to seek a feasible solu-
tion. One possibility is the construction of a dam
to hold back the waters of Spring Creek during the
period of greatest toxicity. The engineers' report has
not been completed as yet.


For some time the department and the State Water
Pollution Control Board have been interested in the
possibility of establishing a routine biological sampling
program to secure background data on streams that
may be affected by waste discharges.

Drs. Usinger and Needham of the University of
California headed a research project to estimate the
cost of a program which would produce significant
data. Their report showed that an excessive number
of samples would be required to provide significant
information on total number of bottom organisms. On
the basis of this study, it was concluded that costs
of the biological sampling programs that had been
proposed would be too high for the results that
would be obtained.

This was a case where an expenditure of S5,000
for a research project demonstrated that the pro-
gram, which would have cost perhaps $30,000 per
year, was not feasible.

It was always been difficult for the conservation
agencies to secure recognition of the importance of
fish and aquatic life particularly in those cases where
a relatively large expenditure is necessary to provide
the waste treatment facilities needed to protect rec-
reational uses.


A recurrent problem during this biennium has been
the desire to dedicate certain waters solely for the
disposal of sewage and industrial wastes. The depart-
ment has continually taken the position that a firm
dedication of waters for waste disposal is not realistic
in California. Future demands for fishing and recrea-
tion will make it necessary to use all the available
waters for these purposes.

It is unfortunate that the waters around populated
areas which are potentially the most valuable for rec-
reation are the ones most affected by sewage and
industrial waste discharges. It is extremely difficult if
not impossible to upgrade any area once it has been
dedicated for waste disposal.

During this biennium more than 500 applications
for waste discharge were filed with the Regional Pol-
lution Control Boards. All of these were investigated
by the department and recommendations submitted
for the protection of fish and wildlife to the regional
boards in all necessary cases. In virtually all cases the
regional boards accepted the recommendations of the


A king salmon posses up o fish /odder of ihe Anderson-Collonwood irrigation dam neor Redding. (Pholo by Mike Hayden)

The most important species affected by the many
water developments proposed or under way on the
State's streams are the salmon and the steelhead.

Many dam projects would block spawning, migra-
tions to the upper reaches of Northern California
streams, and would thus effectively cut the life line
that insures natural propagation of the species. Con-
tinued insistence by the department on construction
of fish ladders, fish hatcheries and other fish-saving
devices wherever needed is designed to help minimize
losses of these species, which are valuable parts of
the State's economic picture.


Sooner or later most of the State's 1,300,000 anglers
want to try their hand at catching the big ones. Both
the salmon and the steelhead are highly prized game
fish of outstanding sporting quality. Fishermen seek
salmon mainly in the ocean and in the lower reaches of
the State's rivers. Steelhead are taken almost exclusive-
ly in fresh \\ater and provide fishing thrills well worth
the seeking.

While it has not been possible to obtain precisely
the number or weight of salmon and steelhead caught
by sports fishermen, department postal card surveys
show that these species are caught in substantial num-
bers. These surveys, while not providing actual figures
in all instances, generally do indicate the trends from
year to year.

In 1954, a postal card survey provided an estimate
of 800,000 salmon taken by anglers in that year. Of
these, sportsmen caught approximately three in the
ocean to every one in a stream. The steelhead catch
in 1954 was estimated at 342,000.

Fishing resorts along the Smith, Klamath and Eel
Rivers and other northern streams cater almost exclu-
sively to salmon and steelhead fishermen, and a large
number of anglers who frequent resorts on the Sacra-
mento and San Joaquin Rivers also seek these species.

Sport fishing for salmon in the ocean has been grow-
ing rapidly for the past several years and there is
every indication that the number of anglers partici-
pating in the sport will continue to increase.


Sportsmen now take almost as many salmon as do
commercial fishermen. During the biennium, the com-
mercial ocean salmon catch off California was the
greatest on record. Commercial landings in 1954
reached a high of 8,600,000 pounds and were topped
in 1955 when 9,700,000 pounds of ocean-caught
salmon were landed. The two-year average (9,200,-
000 pounds) exceeded that of the previous two years
by 1,600,000 pounds and topped the previous 10-year
(1944-1953) average by 2,500,000 pounds.

Though total salmon landings in the ocean have
increased to record heights, landings of silver salmon
have continued to drop each year since 1952. Increased
landings of king salmon have supported the expanded
fishery. (Table 38.) For many years silver salmon con-
tributed about 10 percent by weight to ocean salmon
landings in California; in 1954 they contributed 5 per-
cent and in 1955 only 3.5 percent.

River Gill Netting

Commercial gill net salmon landings in the Sacra-
mento River skyrocketed from 900,000 pounds in 1954
to 2,300,000 pounds in 1955. This was 250,000 pounds




greater than the 38-year average of 2,050,000 pounds
and marked the first time landings passed the 1,000,000-
pound mark since the Legislature enacted restrictions
limiting the activity of the commercial river fishery
in 1952.

Increased gill net landings in 1955 were made pos-
sible by a major change in gear. Nylon webbing for
nets almost completely replaced linen webbing, with
a result that the nets were lighter, stronger and re-
quired much less care. Using nylon, commercial men
found they could fish deeper and during stronger tides
in Carquinez Straits than with linen nets.


The ever mounting pressure on salmon resources is
not limited to California waters, since the three Pacific
Coast States, Canada and Alaska are interested in the

The work of all five on king and silver salmon

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