Thursday, April 23, 2009


UPDATE: Caltrout made it easy to contribute--CLICK HERE

I've had the pleasure of hiking into Silver King Creek at Llewelyn Falls on two occasions. The first was a solo trip that I wrote about here. The second occasion was a trip with Bernie Weston and DFG's Dave Lentz. On those trips I caught three native Paiute Trout that had come down over the falls from the pure population above.

I went back a second time because the three of us thought it would be the last chance to catch a Paiute in its native range for some time. The day after our trip Silver King was to be closed for rotenone treatment to remove the non-native rainbows to make way for the native fish. Unfortunatley, on the evening of the day before the restoration was to start, after the DFG had mobilized at the trailhead and organized supplies and volunteers, a last minute lawsuit and court order sidetracked the restoration efforts.

As part of the restoration plan and ongoing management effort, the regulations were changed effective the day the treatment was to take place. The fishing closure point on the creek was moved from the falls a ways downstream to Tamarack Creek. This new closure point has remained in effect since that day in August 2005 and has effectively wiped out any possibility of catching a Paiute in their native range. I do know of one person that went into Silver King below the new closure point and caught a Piaute at the conflunce of a tributary creek that holds Paiutes in its headwaters. To me this was remarkable. I've also spoken with a few folks that have caught Paiutes in legal waters outside of their native range. To do this requires some tough off-trail hiking, good navigation skills, and a lot of determination.

This is a Paiute that was caught just below the falls.

Four years later Dave the DFG is continuing in their efforts to restore the Paiute. They are obviously committed to doing everything they can to protect diversity and are in it for the long haul. My hat goes off to them and I stand committed to do whatever I can to help support the goal of restoring native species to their native ranges. Silver King is a beautiful creek in a spectacular high alpine setting and its beauty will only be enhanced if this rare trout is able to once again fin in the waters that drove its diversification.

Below is a letter from Dave Lentz of the DFG:

I would like to request that Sac-Sierra TU write a letter of support for the Paiute cutthroat restoration project on Silver King Creek. This would entail endorsing the alternative number 2, eradicating non-native trout below Llewellyn Falls using rotenone, from the draft EIS/EIR that is in comment period now.

Here are links to information about the restoration project. First, DFG's website which has the NEPA/CEQA documents(600+pgs, about 9MB). Comment letters can be snail mailed to DFG in Rancho Cordova or emailed, as well. Comment Deadline is May 4.--

Also, a link to Ted Williams, Conservation writer for Fly Rod and Reel Magazine that has a lot of background on the Paiute cutthroat project and other western native trout restoration issues:

Letters from individuals (in addition to a chapter letter) that support restoring the Paiute cutthroat would be greatly appreciated--this may turn out to be "numbers game", supporters v. opponents, in certain of the approval arenas that the project must pass. There are several permitting steps that are vulnerable to opposition. Supporters should favor Alternative 2 in the EIS/EIR and support returning the Paiute to its native home. So, this would be asking a favor of you individually, as well to write.

Letters to: Stafford Lehr, Calif. DFG, 1701 Nimbus Rd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

or email letters:

let me know if you need more info. Have a great board meeting and keep up the good work!!

thanks, Dave Lentz

David Lentz
Threatened Trout Coordinator

California Department of Fish and Game
Fisheries Branch
830 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811


  1. Steve Berg24 April, 2009

    Hi Dave – Great blog. Thank you for championing the cause of CA’s heritage trout. In my mind, this is a noble endeavor. I have already written my support of the 2009 treatment of SKC below Llewellyn Falls to Stafford Lehr, and am hopeful this year’s effort is allowed to proceed and succeed. I was one of the fortunate 8 who fished SKC above the falls in Upper Trout Meadow last August, as part of the DFG study. My short story of that adventure will appear in the upcoming July or August issue of Sierra Heritage Magazine. I am very interested in your activities as Threatened Trout Coordinator for DFG, and I ask you to keep me posted. Is there a way I can automatically receive your posts to my email? Steve Berg: Best wishes and thanks again for your efforts.

  2. Dave B.,

    Shoot me an email if you could, I have a question about the "other" locations. Thanks!

    cutthroat_stalker [at]

    -scott c

  3. Steve - I am not the Threatened Trout Coordinator. Dave Lentz (whom I was fishing with) is. You can reach him at the DFG.


    Dave B

  4. I agree totally with you as far as heritage trout are concerned. I have recently (2 years now) started filling out the DFG passport program and heritage trout program and even though I have always been intrigued and bewildered by trout, I now realize how truly amazing creatures they are! I mean, not only are there different types of trout, but there are different variations and morphologies of the same species! I have had the pleasure of fishing in a lot of different places throughout california in the last ten years, and have a few favorites that I could probably write a book about. The way they can physically change to blend in and compliment their environment is crazy. Totally insane. Really, there are no words to describe it that can honestly explain it to people until they experience it themselves. Some of my friends have criticized me about the size of some of the stream trout that I have pictures of in some of my backpacking photos and then I take them out to catch them and they flip! They become the ones who get that buzz going and can't shut up about the vivid coloration or how hard they fought for such a small guy! haha. Gotta love it. These fish need to be protected and cherished like any other resource, like gold!! Or else, our children may lose them in translation and never get that chance to "see for themselves". If that happens then, well, I guess that's one less miracle of the earth for everyone. There will always be something special shared between you and that fish as you release the hook and watch him swim away. As you look around at its world you think to yourself how lucky you are to be there in that moment of time as we all spin through space. So, ya I agree. Let's do something now to save it for later!!!!
    ps. sorry for rambling, i could talk for hours about fishing.
    Josh Watson