December 1, 2008

DFG Releases List of 2009 Stocking Locations

In response to the recently-finalized interim stocking court order (see 11/21/08 post), on November 24 the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) released lists of California water bodies that either will or will not be stocked between now and the January 11, 2010 release of CDFGs draft fish stocking EIR/EIS. What struck me when I looked over the lists is how few waters state-wide will have their stocking allotments temporarily suspended. Of the 838 waters on the lists, stocking will continue in 91% during the interim period (761 waters will continue to be stocked, stocking in 77 waters is temporarily suspended). This hardly seems cause for alarm.

And yet, as seems always to be the case, several individuals have done their best to inflame the angling community. A
November 30, 2008 story by Tom Stienstra, the outdoor writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, tops the list of irresponsible reporting on this issue. Given Tom's consistent "damn the native species - stock the fish" perspectives (see my 10/17/08 post for one example), I'm hardly surprised. In his recent article, Tom blasts the interim stocking agreement as heralding the end of fishing in many of California's best angling destinations. His article repeatedly asserts that fish stocking at these sites is gone forever, conveniently failing to acknowledge that the stocking moratorium will affect only 77 waters across all of California and only in 2009. Furthermore, given that many of the waters affected by the moratorium are backcountry lakes stocked with fingerling trout, a one year stocking moratorium will have no adverse impacts on these fisheries. This kind of reporting is simply irresponsible and does California's angling community a grave disservice.

Of course, after years of involvement with fish stocking issues I'm used to this sort of junk reporting. About 10 years ago the CDFG proposed removing trout from two lakes in the Eastern Sierra's Big Pine drainage to facilitate the recovery of mountain yellow-legged frogs. Despite the fact that trout fisheries in the majority of the lakes in this drainage were not affected, stories in local and regional newspapers screamed for months about how the removal of trout from these two lakes would have serious negative effects on the area's fisheries and on local economies. Those fish removals are long since complete, and I've seen nary a report of any negative impact whatsoever. And the frogs are thriving. Go figure....

Back to The Mountain Yellow-legged Frog Site.


  1. Hi Roland,

    I pretty much agree that stocking should be stopped in the backcountry. Most of us who go there, go because we know where the big fish are. Urban stocking should probably continue, as most don't practice catch and release in that venue.

    What I'd like to see is where the best habitat restoration choices are, and then to open public review on those. There has to be a balance between both factions.

    For me, it's not obvious where good Frog habitat is, nor the process for announcing trout removal in an orderly process before it actually happens. I've experienced this first hand in Yosemite at Virginia and Upper Mattie Lakes. There was no prior public comment.



  2. Hi Russ. Thanks for your thoughts. I can't speak for Yosemite National Park in regards to their lack of a public process for past fish removal efforts. However, my understanding is that because these projects affected only a few lakes and were conducted as scientific research to see whether fish removal was a viable lake restoration strategy, it was decided that no formal public process was necessary. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park and the California Dept. of Fish and Game took a similar tack with their early fish removal projects. Future fish removal proposals in Sierra Nevada national parks will likely be proposed in formal park-wide planning processes that are open to the public for comment and discussion. I hope that this will provide the increased transparency and public input that can only benefit these efforts.

  3. Hi Roland,

    I'll understand if you choose this not get posted, but i'd like to know which basins are best suited for frog placements. Honestly, since my experience at Virginia and Upper Mattie, and the research i've done on the topic, I'm at a loss on the strategy behind where frog populations should be reintroduced. I would like to understand better. I'm sure you've seen the Animal Planet's "Vanishing Frog" episode. Although they talked about the cleansing protocol, that doesnt cover other hikers who walk through and maybe spread the fungus. I think you posted earlier about how the researchers weren't spreading, but maybe others do.

    I'd like you to publish where the MYLF has the best chance to be revived, so the anglers can vent for a bit. I'm thinking they wont, unless they have a special lake like i did with Virginia in Yosemite.

    Just a Thought,


  4. Identifying the best places for frog restoration is a challenging proposition because there is still so much we don't know about the amphibian chytrid fungus. Instead of leaving a detailed response here, I'll make this the topic of my blog post later this week.