CDFW Inland Trout Angling Regulation Simplification | Jon Hart

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Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers (SPFF)
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CDFW Inland Trout Angling Regulation Simplification
Jon Hart | Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers
Apr 10, 2019, 11:48 PM


Hello Fellow club members (Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers)

My apologies for the lengthy and late email, but I thank you in advance for reading it and assisting in this effort!

As we discussed at the last meeting, the CDFW is proposing a series of updates to the regulations that govern inland trout angling. Everything is listed in https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan/Regulation-Simplification, which includes the specific changes to specific waters and a description of the process for counter proposals.

The bad news is that many of our favorite waters for trout fishing are having their protections reduced or in some cases dropped to the lowest level. https://www.redwoodempire-tu.org/cdfw-inland-trout-regulation-changes is a helpful link that shows the current and proposed regulations for most waters side by side for easier understanding. The good news is that the CDFW is working with the public and have already amended their proposal towards regulations that are more agreeable.

It is critical that our members take the time to read and understand the new regulations and propose reasonable counter regulations using the CDFW comment form: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan/Regulation-Simplification/comments BY MAY 3, 2019, which is just a few weeks away.

Your suggestions must be clear, professional, justified and use options from the CDFW provided “menu” of 6 possible seasons and 6 gear/take restrictions. While we encourage you to do this for any and all waters, specifically listed or otherwise, our primary focus is on three areas:

* The Golden Trout Wilderness (excluding the Kern River)
— the proposal removes the gear restrictions entirely and extends the season until February. In combination with the 5 fish limit, it is likely that the few fish that remain here will suffer even more.

* Tributaries of the Kern River (Kern and Tulare Counties)
— these waters were previously somewhat protected by the “Sierra District” regulations which had them closed during a portion of the year (Tulare only), but under the CDFW proposal they will have no specific protection and will fall under the generic “7.0 statewide” regulations 5 fish bag, no gear restrictions, open year round.

* The Kern River from the Fairview dam up to Johnsondale bridge
— this stretch of water has never had any particular protections and had the same restrictions as the rest of the 20 mile section of the Kern (5 fish, no gear restrictions). We know this stretch to be the home and spawning grounds of the Kern River Rainbow, a fish that the CDFW is working to reintroduce to the Kern River. By extending the same regulations that are proposed for above the Johnsondale bridge we have the opportunity to preserve and extend the home to these truly special fish

(Note that the CDFW has already updated the proposed regulations for both of the stretches of the Kern River ABOVE the Johnsondale bridge to Saturday preceding Memorial Day through the last day in February 2 fish bag, artificial lures, which is very close to our proposal, and currently we intend to either agree with their proposal for these sections or perhaps suggest that the season end September 30)


To assist in this effort we are providing some text you can use as the basis for your counter proposals for each water (limited to 250 words). These are a work in progress but are likely nearly final.

(71) Golden Trout Wilderness Area (Tulare Co.), excluding the main stem Kern River (see subsection 7.50(b)(86), and the Tule River drainage (See subsection 7.50(b)(197)).

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30, 0 fish bag, artificial lures with barbless hooks. The Golden Trout Wilderness (GTW) is the only home to a variety of small but beautiful native fish found nowhere else in the world. This includes the Little Kern Golden Trout and the Volcano Creek Golden Trout, both subspecies of the state fish of California — the Golden Trout. These picturesque areas have suffered in the past due to drought, global warming, fires and cattle grazing, and the small fish that inhabit these waters are already few enough. The CDFW proposed regulations remove all restrictions and keep this area open year round which would almost certainly lower the fish populations even lower than they already are. This area is truly unique and an absolute gem that California should protect — people travel from around the world to visit and fish this area.

All tributaries of the (North Fork) Kern River in Kern and Tulare counties, excluding those in GTW.Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30, 0 fish bag, artificial lures with barbless hooks. These creeks — Salmon, Brush, Bull Run, Clicks, Fish and Alder creeks to name just a few — are home to the Kern River Rainbow Trout, a subspecies of the Golden Trout and a fish that the CDFW is actively working to help reintroduce into the Kern River by taking brood stock from waters much like these. Peppermint creek is the only creek known to be stocked and precious few of the native fish are left in many parts of this creek, outcompeted or otherwise forced out by the truck fulls of fish that are dumped here or taken by catch and keep anglers looking to fill their limit of 5 fish. The CDFW proposed regulations provide no protections for these waters which were previously covered in part by regulations under the Sierra District and it is feared that without protections many of the creeks will suffer similar fates — fewer fish and the cascading effect this could have.

(86) Kern River (Kern and Tulare Cos.) (D) from the Fairview dam upstream to the Johnsondale Bridge

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30, 2 fish bag, artificial lures. The goal here is to extend the regulations that currently exist or will exist after the updates to the section above the Johnsondale Bridge (aka “(86) Kern River (Kern and Tulare Cos.) (B) From Johnsondale bridge upstream to the point where U.S. Forest Service Trail 33E30 heads east to joint the Rincon Trail”) ~2 miles down to the Fairview dam which provides a natural barrier. This stretch and the waters above are the prime home of the Kern River Rainbow trout and is an area frequented by spawners. By extending these protections we will help protect a fish that is already threatened and that the CDFW is working to help restore. Additionally, because the Kern River is part of the national Wild and Scenic Rivers act, by extending these regulations we will be able to provide additional protected waters that represent a particularly vital and highly visited/fished section.


Once these proposals are final, members can copy and paste the text above into the previously mentioned form, once for each water in question. These comments truly matter and if we don’t comment now we run the risk of having protections stripped bare.

If you have questions, feel free to ask here and we can do our best to answer.

Additionally, please either agree or disagree with our counter proposals, and if you disagree please explain why and what your counter counter proposal is.

Please keep a lookout here in this forum for any additional updates on this.

Thank you again for your assistance with this! The time to act is NOW!