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Post Info TOPIC: Spawning Season is upon us and PC fishery update

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Spawning Season is upon us and PC fishery update

Originally posted November 12, 2014-

It's that time of year again: big fish are starting to move around in preparation for their annual ritual. Some sites already have fish and redds. Winter flows appear in place at 135 CFS already because of the drought. Hopefully, they will not drop below 100 CFS over the next four months.

Let's all resolve to set a positive example by gently educating those that are fishing the spawning fish about both what they're doing and what potential detriment it has to our fishery. Let all resolve to be non-confrontational, hard as that may be. And if someone says they didn't know the fish they are bug-eyed over are spawning, let it go at that. The past five years have shown that many can be converted and a few can't (won't).

The work to achieve wild trout status is still ongoing. Starting December 1 DFW will be conducting a spawning fish survey targeting those that were implanted with radio transmitters last spring. Spawning fish will be followed at several of the sites PCT and DFW surveyed between 2010 and 2013. A dozen individuals have signed up to do the surveys once a week for 12 weeks. This year the spawning beds will not be modified by silt and weed removal to see how they cope with the "natural" condition of the streambed. Signage on posts will be put in place at the major spawning areas, including those that are being surveyed.

DFW is summarizing results from the four years of fishery study between 2009 and 2013. Us old-timers know that the work included the online and box surveys, several E fishing surveys, spawning surveys, and habitat review. I have seen draft reports of some of the information and can provide a draft summary of several of those results.

During the three years of the spawning survey carried out by PCT volunteers, the number of spawning fish increased yearly from 89 in 2010 to approximately 150 in 2011 and to approximately 400 in 2012. Assuredly, many of the counts were of the same fish over several weeks, but the result is still a good sign that the fishery is improving.

E fishing surveys showed a steady increase in the number of fish surveyed between 2009 and 2013. The average per mile count in 2009 was 800 fish per mile. In 2013 that had increased to approximately 3000 fish per mile. Many of the survey fish were young, under 12 inches, another good sign of a reproducing adult population. Those of you that fish the Creek know there are an awful lot of small fish caught and  you are reporting that in your surveys. Recently you are reporting more fish in the 12 inch and larger sizes. All good indications of a healthy fishery. Please try to remember to report your catches either online or at the survey boxes every time you visit the Creek. DFW will need several more years of survey data to monitor the health of the fishery.

It's encouraging to see the help provided to newcomers fishing the Creek. I would agree with the advice provided by many: get out and fish the Creek at every opportunity because it takes that to figure out this fishery. Be courteous and share the water because there aren't that many easily accessible areas. Let areas rest for at least 15 minutes while you change up your rig and flies. I agree with what was said recently, think outside the box on flies and techniques. Stay out of the water as much as possible to keep from spooking fish at your feet who then spook every fish in the area. Keep a low profile in these low-water situations, wear colors that blend in with the background and look at the brush and trees before you make your first cast. Much easier on the fly box that way.

And most importantly, if you fish now to March, don't fish the well signed spawning areas and no closer than 150 feet above and below the beds.



PCT Contact Info:,

Address: Putah Creek Trout, 1520 East  Covell Blvd, Suite 5, #331, Davis CA 95616

Visit our website at

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