Volunteers from fly-fishing clubs, the International Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited in cooperation with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife will attempt to restore native Lahonton cutthroat trout in an Eastern Sierra stream.
The native California Lahontan trout were all but eliminated from their native Sierra habitat by illegally planted brook trout, according to Gary Applebee, Redlands, representing the Deep Creek Fly Fishers. Target area is Silver Creek in the West Walker River watershed near Bridgeport.
Project volunteers are needed for Aug. 13-20; Aug. 25-28; and Sept. 3-10,
A base camp will be established at the headwaters of Silver Creek and a team of 4-5 people will assist the CDFW with electro-fishing.
The goal of this multi-year event is to eradicate the non-native brook trout so the stream can sustain a currently imperiled population of Lahontan cutthroat trout. Upon competition, Silver Creek will be opened to angling.
The project is being spearheaded by contributions from Golden State Flycasters through a Trout Unlimited grant of $10,000; Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers, $5,000 and the Deep Creek Fly Fishers of $1,500. Removal of the predatory brook trout will be accomplished with the introduction of an Alaskan weir, modified to fit the stream, within one mile from the headwaters of Silver Creek. Immediately downstream of the headwaters, block nets with approximately 1/4-inch mesh will be placed within the channel, where brook trout removal will occur incrementally within block netted sections, working downstream to the weir.
Information for older teens and adults wishing to volunteer on the Lahontan restoration project is available at http://southwestcouncilfff.org/Conservation/swc-ifff-conservation
Silver Creek, a tributary to the West Walker River in Mono County, is Lahontan cutthroat trout recovery water that was illegally stocked with brook trout.
Brook trout were discovered in Silver Creek in 2004 during a survey intended to collect baseline population information to support opening the stream to regulated angling. Lack of ability to utilize efficient methods of brook trout removal that could be completed within two or three seasons has resulted in the lost opportunity of angling for a native Walker Basin cutthroat trout in this mountain meadow stream.