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Post Info TOPIC: Request for Your Opinon: Regulation Change to Protect Spawning Trout Survey


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Request for Your Opinon: Regulation Change to Protect Spawning Trout Survey
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URGENT! PCT would like your opinion regarding potential fishing regulation changes to protect spawning trout.

Putah Creek is a designated Wild Trout Water, well known for its trophy rainbow trout population. Traditionally, Putah Creek had been governed by general trout regulations, including harvest, during the regular trout season (April-November), with catch-and-release with artificial lure angling allowed for the remainder of the year. However, with the cessation of supplemental stocking of the fishery in 2008, concern over the impact of angling pressure on the wild trout population became critical. In 2009, Putah Creek Trout petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to change the regulations for year-round zero harvest, artificial lure angling to reduce the impact of harvest on the wild trout fishery. The regulation change was granted and instituted beginning with the 2010 fishing season.

Putah Creek harbors a unique winter-spawning strain of native coastal rainbow trout, with spawning activity documented from early-November through early-February coincident with the reduction of summer to winter flows. While the 2010 regulation change eliminated legal harvest, it did not reduce the impact of angling during spawning season. With reduced flows and limited spawning habitat, large spawning trout are highly visible and concentrated in a few select locations within the Creek. Angling over redds risks physiological stress to spawning trout during a critical portion of their lifecycle, as well as damage to eggs in redds by wading anglers for several weeks after redd construction. Anglers and advocates have long been aware of the significant angling pressure in the winter, which has also been documented by CDFW. This has resulted in many members of the fishing community observing a “voluntary” closure” in not fishing Putah Creek from December 1 to March 1. While the goals of this voluntary closure are laudable, it has also resulted in uncertainty among some users of the Creek regarding the ethics of any angling during this time and has led to “shaming” and confrontations both on the Creek and in online venues.

Angler survey data and CDFW electrofishing surveys since 2016 have indicated a dramatic decline in young-of-the-year (YOY) rainbow trout, indicating very poor recruitment of the wild trout population. While an abundance of large size fish and older age classes are outstanding from an angling perspective, the relative lack of smaller and younger age classes is indicative of an unhealthy population and poses a real, immediate concern for the future of the fishery. While actions toward the improvement of spawning habitat are being actively pursued, a reduction of angling impacts during the spawning period should also be considered by the angling community.

Over many years, Putah Creek Trout has had numerous conversations with CDFW and stakeholders regarding the possibility of a seasonal or partial closure to angling during the winter. A partial angling closure, by geography (e.g. Monticello Dam to FA #3), is not a feasible option within the CDFW regulatory framework for trout waters. Further, with the simplification of CDFW regulations for trout waters in 2019, only a limited set of options are available for seasonal closure. A seasonal closure outside of the listed options is not impossible but would require the initiation of a lengthy review process and has a low probability to be ultimately successful without intervening changes to the fishery classification of the IDR. The option for seasonal closure that best matches the December 1 – March 1 voluntary closure would be to close Putah Creek to all angling from November 15 to the last Saturday in April.

While a winter closure of Putah Creek would protect spawning trout, a seasonal closure would bring some negative outcomes for the angling community. First, a closure from November 15 to late-April would result in an overall loss of angling opportunity, particularly when flows are more moderate (March 1 – late-April). Second, the potential reduced surveillance by law enforcement and community policing of seasonally closed waters may pose an increased opportunity for poachers. Additionally, there will be some measurable economic impacts for the local community, including fishing guides.

Putah Creek Trout is soliciting advice on (1) whether to pursue a seasonal closure of angling on Putah Creek and, if so, (2) under what conditions. We highly value your input and will appreciate your responses to a short survey available at the following link or on our website homepage (click on red reg signs).

Link: https://putahcreektrout.survey.fm/putah-creek-spawning-season-closure-survey

THANK YOU!

PCT board of Directors



-- Edited by keith bigelow on Friday 5th of June 2020 09:17:21 AM

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PCT Contact Info: putahcreektrout@gmail.com, SK60@putahcreektrout.org

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

Visit our website at www.putahcreektrout.org



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I fully support and have been in favor of the creek only being open in general trout season for many years. It just makes sense now to extend the friendly optional closure from December thru March, to make it an official closure. There is nothing wrong with general trout season. Some of the most famous wild trout waters in California have been that way for decades, McClouid, Hat and the Fall for example. To oppose this change would only be selfish. It needs to be done to protect the future of the creek. Lets go!

 

- Nic



-- Edited by Xnjb707X on Sunday 7th of June 2020 10:02:10 AM

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I did the survey, hope the signage for redds is impossible to destroy so you cant say you didnt know where not to step.

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I'm against this. Period. It's a blue ribbon stream and one of the few outlets for fishing for a hundred miles around. And frankly, it is policed better than almost any other stream in California. Nor is it the only place that has suffered a loss from a cycle of drought and flood. A closure from November to the end of April will provide MAYBE three weeks in October and three weeks in May before the flow is raised to a level that makes it better for spinning gear than fly fishing.

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The whole point is to keep the season closed "officially" during the spawn. Keeping it a voluntary closure just isn't good enough to keep the stream healthy and spawning fish protected. In the age of social media the creek gets blasted IE Instagram. The pressure is only going to get worse, and the pressure/stress in the winter is only going to get worse. So why not change it to preserve this fishery for the future generations. Give up a few months of fishing to get a better fishery seems like a good deal to me. IMO it's completely selfish to NOT want to better the overall fishery. It's about the future of the creek, not the now. Also what's wrong with fishing the high flows? I prefer the high flows, I am not the only one either. I personally rather fish in pools of water not puddles but to each their own. With 20 plus years on this fishery I have never found it anymore difficult to fish the creek in the high flows vs low flows. 



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Xnjb707X wrote:

The whole point is to keep the season closed "officially" during the spawn. Keeping it a voluntary closure just isn't good enough to keep the stream healthy and spawning fish protected. In the age of social media the creek gets blasted IE Instagram. The pressure is only going to get worse, and the pressure/stress in the winter is only going to get worse. So why not change it to preserve this fishery for the future generations. Give up a few months of fishing to get a better fishery seems like a good deal to me. IMO it's completely selfish to NOT want to better the overall fishery. It's about the future of the creek, not the now. Also what's wrong with fishing the high flows? I prefer the high flows, I am not the only one either. I personally rather fish in pools of water not puddles but to each their own. With 20 plus years on this fishery I have never found it anymore difficult to fish the creek in the high flows vs low flows. 


 Don’t worry about Mudhen. He means well. He’s just an old southerner with bad knees. 



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I support this move to close the creek during spawning. I do wonder how effective it will be however, I still see lots of bait fishermen and harvesting on a regular basis. I think efforts would be better served in enforcing current regulation. Also, the parking fees seem "voluntary" at this point with most people I see at the creek either not paying or parking just off road to avoid the fee. Just my two cents.

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nclay wrote:

I support this move to close the creek during spawning. I do wonder how effective it will be however, I still see lots of bait fishermen and harvesting on a regular basis. I think efforts would be better served in enforcing current regulation. Also, the parking fees seem "voluntary" at this point with most people I see at the creek either not paying or parking just off road to avoid the fee. Just my two cents.


 I hope youre calling DFG when you see someone harvesting fish there 



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Yes, of course.



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