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California fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) online

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stocked with 18,000,000 fingerling salmon and trout,
and 7,500,000 catchable trout having a total \\eight of
1,333,000 pounds. This compares with a total weight
of 530,000 pounds planted just five years ago before
the new hatchery program was started.

During 1955, the average size of catchable trout
stocked was increased from six to eight fish per pound
to four to six fish per pound under provisions of a
new commission policy.

Fingerlings planted during the biennium represented
65 percent of the total trout and salmon plant by num-
bers. By weight catchables made up 94.8 percent of
the total.

From July 1, 1954, through June 30, 1956, the de-
partment planted 43,685,140 trout and salmon with a
total weight of 2,573,701 pounds.


Aloccasin Creek Hatchery was enlarged, and the Los
Serranos W'armwater Fisheries Base was constructed.
San Joaquin, Cedar Creek and Nimbus Hatcheries
\\ere constructed during the biennium.

The new San Joaquin Hatchery is located below
Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River and, through an
agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, water for
its operation is obtained from Lake Alillerton. The

S^**t<!l^ed ^iltcAc^

Leading Inland Sport Fishes in 1964*



Mean catch



Striped bass








9 3

Salmon (Inland) .. _

Steelhead . _ .

Trout. ..

Catfish . .

Black bass

Panfisht - - . .

* Based on a postal card sur\'ey.
t Mostly crappie and sunfish.


Producing trout for summertime recreo/ion is a year-around job. Here, a

worker feeds growing trout at (he deportment's Hot Creek Hotcliery in

Mono County.

(Fish and Game Photo)

hatcherx consists of 36 rearing ponds, 12 circular
tanks, a hatchery building with 104 troughs, a food
preparation room, adequate refrigeration storage, a
shop and truck garage, 10 houses for employees, and
four ponds for warmwater fish. The warmwater fish
ponds are used principally for redistribution of res-
cued fish and for raising forage minnows.

The new Cedar Creek Experimental Station, Men-
docino Count\ , was completed but suffered extensive
damage b\ flood waters in December, 1955. Repair
work at this location has been completed and the sta-
tion, with eight rearing ponds, is being operated at
full capacity . This hatcherx- is rearing \earling steel-
head trout for stocking experiments.

Nimbus Hatchery was constructed b\- the U. S.
Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Central \'alleys
Project to compensate for lost spaw ning beds and to
aid in the maintenance of salmon and steelhead runs
in the American River. It is operated bv the depart-
ment under contract with the Federal Government.

Moccasin Creek Hatchery, which was constructed
during the last biennium, has been increased in size
b\- the addition of 1 2 rearing ponds, an addition to the
truck garage, and two additional houses for em-
plovees. This hatchery is now capable of raising
800,000 catchable trout and 1,500,000 fingerlings for
a total weight of 160,000 pounds annuall\ .




With the completion of the hatchery expansion
program, three of the older, outmoded hatcheries were
abandoned. The abandoned installations are Prairie
Creek Hatcher\', Humboldt County; Kings River
Hatchery, Fresno Count); and Madera Hatcher\',
Madera County. This brought to 10 the total of out-
moded hatcheries that have been closed during the
modernization period.

All new hatcheries constructed during the past five-
\ear period have been as functional in design as pos-
sible, with low future upkeep costs in mind and labor-
saving devices stressed wherever possible.

As a result, the average cost of raising and distribut-
ing trout dropped from $1.07 a pound in the previous
biennium to 89 cents in 1954-55, and 93 cents in
1955-56. This is particularly noteworthy in view of
the general increase in material and labor costs which
occurred during the biennium.


The major improvement in handling catchable trout
at hatcheries resulted from the development of the
fish "escaweigher" by department personnel. This
device consists of a cleated rubber belt conveyor de-
signed like a grain products conveyor. The fish are
delivered to the top of the planting tank in a compara-
ti\ely dry state and the displacement method is then
used in determining the number of fish added to the
tank. Sight gauges mounted on the tank, indicate the
amount of water being displaced.

This method has been found more accurate than
previous methods used, and the "escaweigher" reduces

Two time-consuming jobs— loading and weighing of hatchery produced

trout for planting — ore combined info one by the "escaweigher," which

cuts time taken by previous operations by two-thirds. Inset shows cleated

rubber conveyor belt.

(Fish and Game Photos)


the time in loading 2,000 pounds of fish from about
90 minutes to less than 30 minutes.

With larger loads of fish being hauled and greater
distances involved in distribution, improvements also
have been made to the large fish planting equipment.
The newest fish planting trucks, capable of hauling
2,000 pounds, are equipped with electric refrigeration.
Elimination of the use of ice increases the over-all
load capacity of the truck and eliminates time lost on
the road for re-icing.

The transferring of large numbers of catchable
sized trout from distant hatcheries to areas without
hatcheries has been facilitated by the construction of
temporary fish planting bases. Here, the fish are placed
in large holding tanks, and are later reloaded into
smaller trucks for planting into streams and lakes. The
tanks used at these bases were designed by the depart-
ment's engineering section, and consist of a half-round,
aluminized steel flume with end plates, screens, and
w ater intake and outlet facilities.


The construction of the following fish planting
bases w as completed during the biennium:

AincriCiVi River Base— On the South Fork American
River near Kyburz in El Dorado County, three tanks.
Capacity: 45,000 catchable trout.

Greenhorn Base— On Greenhorn Creek near Quincy
in Plumas County, seven tanks. Capacity: 45,000 catch-
ables and 50,000 fingerlings.

Bear River Base— On Bear River near Emigrant Gap in
Placer County, two tanks. Capacity: 39,000 catchables.

Fiddle Creek Base-On Fiddle Creek near Downie-
ville in Sierra County, one tank. Capacity: 15,000

San Lorenzo Base— On tributary to San Lorenzo
River in Santa Cruz County, one tank. Capacity: 15,000


The department experimented with dry feeds for
trout at hatcheries in place of the conventional "wet"
diets, such as frozen liver and ocean fish. While much
remains to be done to develop a complete trout and
salmon diet, experiments carried on so far indicate that
dr\- feeds may be fed satisfactorily at many hatcheries
and produce good fish with less handling of foods.

A complete summation of fish production and dis-
tribution will be found in Tables 16 and 18, Appendix.


Work performed in this program included the cap-
ture and transplanting of various species of game fish
from areas of abundance to areas of need, as well as
the rescue of game fish from lakes and streams that
became uninhabitable due to lack of water.

Central Valleys Hatchery near Elk Grove continued
its role as the center for warmwater fish salvage and
transplanting for the State.

Barrels of unwanted carp, a portion of 109 tons removed from City of

Son Diego's Lake Hodges by chemical treatment prior to restocking with

game fishes.

(Fish and Game Photo)

Near the close of the biennium a fisheries field
operating station, including warmwater fish holding
ponds, was completed at the Los Serranos Game Farm,
Chino, by use of funds provided by the Wildlife Con-
servation Board. This will facilitate the warmwater fish
salvage and distribution program and permit greater
emphasis to be placed on this important function in
the southern part of the State.

Fish Rescue Work

Salmon and trout (principally steelhead) rescue
work is done primarily in the coastal stream basins
from San Luis Obispo County to the Oregon border.
Several temporary fish rescue crews operated from
strategic locations during the biennium. These crews
saved large numbers of salmon and steelhead from
dr\ing streams.

The rescued fish were released in waters having a
permanent flow, preferably in the same drainage sys-
tem, where they could continue their natural life cvcle.

Total fish salvaged and transplanted during the
period from July 1, 1954, through June 30, 1956,
amounted to 2,122,468 warmwater fish, 194,915 salmon,
I,3.?9,756 trout (principally steelhead) and 7,150 mis-
cellaneous saltwater fishes.

A tabulation of fish salvaged by individual species
is found in Table 7, Appendix.


The biennium saw a great deal of progress in stream
and lake restoration and improvement of environment.
Activities of this nature were increased in nearly all
areas of the State. Certain types of habitat improve-

ment work took place in all of the regions, while other
types of i'.iiprovements were confined to onU' one or
two regions.

Fish screens and ladders were emphasized where
there are migrations of salmon and steelhead, while
pool building devices were emphasized on Southern
California trout streams where there is a shortage of
natural pool areas for carrying trout.


The most common methods used to improve lakes
and streams so as to increase the production and uti-
lization of game fish are:

1. The elimination or control of unbalanced popu-
lations of fish through chemical treatment or other
methods designed to achieve a material reduction in
numbers of nonsport fish.

2. The construction and maintenance of fishways
over barriers or the removal of barriers, both natural
and man-made, so that adult migratory fish may reach
additional spawning areas.

3. The construction of stream flow maintenance
dams which improve stream flows to aid natural trout
propagation and survival.

4. The construction of fish screens or barriers to
confine fish to safe waters, or to public waters, or
to waters w here they may be utilized by the public.

5. The construction of stream deflectors, pool-cre-
ating devices, and other structures which increase the
fish-carr\'ing capacity and angler harvest from fishing

fish Population Control

The chemical treatment of waters to remove un-
desirable fish and to rehabilitate the sport fisheries was
nearl\- three times as great during the past two years
as in any previous biennium. This increase may be at-
tributed to the success of past work of this type, as
well as a great improvement in the chemical com-
pounds and methods of application.

Stunted adult crappie from Hansen Park Reservoir, Los Angeles County,

were removed by chemical treatment prior to restocking with bass and

forage minnows.

(Fish and Game Photo)

Treating the Russian River to remove unwanted rough fish.

(Fish and Game Photo)

A new type of lightweight paddle wheel chemical
mixer was developed and was instrumental in the dis-
tribution of powdered chemical from boats. The two
chief manufacturers of fish toxicants have succeeded
in developing highly effective emulsions. These emul-
sions are somewhat more expensive than the powdered
form, but the savings in equipment and labor used in
their application compensates for the additional cost.

Aircraft Used

The use of aircraft to spread the chemicals in re-
mote mountain lakes was tested and found quite prom-
ising. Once developed, this should greatly reduce
costs for treatment of certain lakes.

A total of 58 lakes was chemicall)- treated during
the period from July 1, 1954, through June 30, 1956.
This treatment will create improved fishing in approx-
imately 11,450 surface acres of water. In several in-
stances advantage was taken of seasonal drawdowns
of reservoirs. Scheduling the treatment when the res-
ervoir pool is at a minimum reduces the cost of the
job many fold and assures a more successful control.

An outstanding example of this type of operation
took place on the Dallas-Warner Reservoir in Stanis-
laus County. This 3,800-acre lake was chemically
treated when drawn down to 280 surface acres.

Air Boat Used

An air boat (a shallow draft boat powered by an
airplane propeller) was used successfully to spread
the rotenone over the man\' shallow areas which oth-
erw ise would have been difficult to treat. The lake was
restocked with suitable varieties of warmwater fish,
and thev have produced good fishing.

San Diego Story

For the first time in California a municipal water
supply impoundment was chemically treated to re-
move rough fish. The date was January 31, 1956. The
place was Hodges Reservoir of the City of San Diego.
Fish toxicant was used to treat this body of water
and the fish kill was believed complete. More than 100
tons of carp were removed.

State and local health departments followed the op-
eration with considerable interest; no similar project,
involving a large supply of domestic water, had ever
been attempted heretofore in California.

The project succeeded in improving both water
quality and conditions for a sport fishery. San Diego
is one of the few cities that permit fishing in its domes-
tic w ater supply; consequently, the success of the fish-
killing program is of far reaching importance to
anglers all over the State.

Many Streams Treated

In addition to the lakes, 25 streams with a total
length of approximately 245 miles were treated. Sev-
eral streams in the Russian River drainage were
treated, completing a job (286 miles) started in the
1952-54 Biennium. It was the largest chemical treat-
ment program ever undertaken on a river system. The
stream was treated to reduce the population of squaw-
fish, suckers, roach and carp and improve conditions
for natural reproduction of steelhead.

At the end of the biennium, the rough fish appeared
to be making a comeback, but were still not up to
their former numbers.

Aleanwhile summer trout fishing had greatly im-
proved. Eff^ects on the winter steelhead fishing will
not be felt until the large crops of fish spawned after
treatment reach maturity and come back into the
riser from the ocean.

Putah Creek Project

A second major rough fish control project involv-
ing a stream drainage was conducted in Putah Creek,
in Napa and Lake Counties. There 45 miles of stream
w as treated in an effort to control carp in the drain-
age area above the Berr\'essa Reservoir to be created
by iMonticello Dam.

Table 23, Appendix, contains a tabulation of the
waters which received complete chemical treatment,
and also lists the fish species restocked.

It does not, however, list the waters which received
partial chemical treatment to reduce heavy concentra-
tions of undesirable fishes in shallow inlets or shoreline

Partial controls of this type were undertaken at
Cachuma Reservoir, Santa Barbara County, and at El
Capitan Reservoir, San Diego County.

Flow Maintenance Dams

The construction of new stream flow maintenance
dams was stepped up somewhat during the biennium.
The Wildlife Conservation Board provided funds to
finance the major portion of this work.

Nearly all of the new dams were constructed in two
of the State's most popular trout angling counties. El
Dorado and Tuolumne, where 20 were constructed
or enlarged during the two-year period. Table 47,
Appendix, lists the streams benefited by this work.

In addition to the actual dam construction, consid-
erable effort was expended in removing dead trees
and debris from the impoundment areas of other
stream flow maintenance dams constructed in the pre-
vious biennium.

The operation of a large number of these dams and
recording of water flows relating to the operation
\\ as turned over to Wildlife Protection personnel, and
the wardens who were assigned this added responsi-
bility have done an excellent job. Generally, the dams
are receiving far better and more frequent attention
than they had received.

The problem of measuring water flows below many
dams in El Dorado County was largely alleviated by
the Mount Ralston Fish Planting Club of Sacramento.
This club constructed flow measuring weirs below 12
existing dams, thus making it possible to measure,
record, and change water flows quickly and easily.

Lake Improvement

Flow maintenance dams frequently benefit a lake
through enlarging it as well as benefiting the stream
below. However, a number of projects were planned
specifically to create or improve lakes. Some of these
projects are listed below.

In order to stabilize the water level of Chiquito
Lake, Madera County, a rock-masonry main dam and
saddle dam were constructed. The main dam is 27 feet
long and raises the lake about two feet. A 43-foot
saddle dam was also necessary to contain the lake. This
work has resulted in an increase in surface area from
seven acres to a constant high of 20 acres.

A small dam was constructed on Little Kern Creek
with a cement-lined diversion ditch to Little Kern
Lake. The purpose of this project was to supply Lit-
tle Kern Lake with a constant flow of fresh water,
thereby creating improved fish habitat.

Experimental work was carried on to open public
access through dense cattails and tuie growth around
Lost Lake, Fresno County, and ponds on the Los
Banos Waterfowl Management Area, Merced County.
Explosives were used to blow out masses of vegetation.
Experiments were also conducted with the use of
chemicals to remove the emergent plants. Although
results were inconclusive at the end of the biennium,
it now appears that cattails and tule growth may be
effectively controlled w ithout harm to fish life or sur-
rounding agricultural land.

Hume Lake Dam Repair

The dam creating Hume Lake, Fresno County, was
repaired with Wildlife Conservation Board funds at
a cost of 164,905. Before refilling, the pools and tribu-
tary streams were treated with chemical to remove
warm-water fish. Rainbow trout were stocked and
have provided excellent fishing.


'^•'- ■■■,.,c

Hume Lake Dam,

(Fish and Game Photo)

Serious leakage of the dam creating McClure Lake
in Madera County was repaired. Forty percent of the
dam face was sealed with watertight compounds after
removing loose rock and mortar. Additional repairs
were made to the footing of the dam by the Forest

Lake level maintenance dams were constructed at
the outlets of Maria, Upper West and Lower West
Lakes, Nevada County, to increase their depth and
pre\ent seepage losses. In cooperation with the Truc-
kee Outdoor Sportsmen's Club, sloping screens were
installed at the outlets to prevent downstream migra-
tions of fish from the lake. Many fish formerly per-
ished each year when the outlet stream went dry.

winter Carryover Experiment

Dry Lake, San Bernardino County, at 9, 100- feet al-
titude, averages about five feet deep. Due to heavy
winter ice formation, the carryover of trout in this
lake is virtually nonexistent.

In attempting to improve the winter carryover of
trout b\- increasing the depth, one case of 40 percent
gelatin dynamite was detonated in five different loca-
tions. Holes ranging from four feet square and four
feet deep to holes 15 feet by 35 feet by 6 feet deep
were created. Future checks will determine whether
this work is effective.

In addition to the experimental control of cattails
and tules through the use of chemicals, a number of
tests were made with other chemicals to control sub-
merged aquatic weeds. This control of submergents
has proved more difficult than the control of emergent
plants. This is because the concentrations of certain
chemicals necessary to eliminate weed growth are fre-
quently lethal to fish or desirable terrestrial plants.



Miscellaneous Improvements

The Southern California stream improvement pro-
gram, made possible by Wildlife Conservation Board
allocations, continued through the biennium.

A new type rock-masonry, flow-accelerating struc-
ture was devised, which is a considerable improvement
over the log and rock dams and deflectors tried in
1953-54. The chief function of these structures is to
create additional pool areas in streams requiring them.
A total of 196 devices of this type was constructed
on Southern California streams.

Pool-forming devices were constructed with logs
in a one-third mile section in the headwaters of the
South Fork of the Mokelumne River, Calaveras
Count)', in 1955. Prior to construction, the fish popu-
lation was carefully censused with an electric fish
shocker. All fish were counted, weighed, and fin
clipped for future recognition. The plan is to recensus
the stream in future years to determine the influence
of these devices on the fish population.

Experimental Structure

An experimental structure consisting of two parallel
rows of sheet piling anchored to piles was constructed
at the outlet of Taylor Creek into Lake Tahoe, El
Dorado County, in the summer of 1955. The purpose
of the structure was to maintain an open channel for
fish migration through the sand bar that forms at the
mouth. The structure was a cooperative venture with
the County of El Dorado which contributed $660 to-
wards the total cost of $3,660. The structure func-
tioned perfectly in the fall of 1955 and fish had no
difficulty entering Taylor Creek, but the December,
1955, floods washed out the upper end of the struc-
ture. Efforts were being made at the end of the bien-
nium to obtain funds for reconstruction.


The need for more information about the State's
inland fisheries has become increasingly apparent as
more and more water use projects are planned and
angling pressures continue to mount.

As in the past biennium, the investigational work
generally fell into two groups. Surveys or inventories
of local importance, including many water projects
studies, were conducted by regional fisheries workers.
Basic or long-range research projects were conducted
by staff personnel. Close cooperation and frequent
contacts bet\\een staff and regional fisheries workers
made the work of each group more successful.

Stream and Lake Surveys

Initial biological surveys were made of 244 lakes and
107 streams. (See Table 11, Appendix.) Rechecks
were made of many other waters to determine the
success of existing management programs and regula-

All of the stream and lake improvement activities
listed in this report came about as results of stream
and lake surveys.

Creel Censuses

Creel census work was increased considerably.
Table 12, Appendix, lists the 145 streams and lakes
on which important information regarding angler use
and success were collected. In addition to these, spot
censuses were made of many individual waters.

This work is one of the most important activities
carried on by the department. It provides the basis for
fish planting allotments, the evaluation of regulations,
determining the economic importance of the fishery in
relation to other v\ ater uses, and it provides close con-
tact betw een the angling public and fisheries workers.

A few of the waters listed in Table 12 such as
Castle Lake in Siskiyou County, Rush Creek in Mono
County, and the Lakes Basin area of Plumas and
Sierra Counties w ere special test waters where the re-
sults of study can be applied to similar waters.


As fish production has increased, so have the de-
mands for fish disease services. During the biennium,
virtuall>- all of the eff^ort carried on in fish disease
work has been restricted to providing services at state

During the 1950-52 period the department's disease
control program investigated 1 16 cases of diseased fish.
Of this number, 51 involved fish at state installations.
The remainder of the work involved commercial
hatcheries (24 cases) and wild fish (41).

In 1952-54, the effects of the increased hatchery
program began to be felt and fewer fish disease serv-
ices were available for commercial and wild fish in-
vestigations. With the completion of the hatchery
expansion and modernization program in the recent
biennium, the pattern of fish disease services shifted

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