Fly Fishers for Conservation started in 1961. There were a few people with the vision to form a club that would include fishing, fun and conservation of the local waters. It was originally called Fly Fishermen for Conservation but was changed to Fly Fishers for Conservation in later years. The following is taken from the original formation documents. It is interesting to note that all work on this endeavor was done on a standard typewriter and the copies were made on a mimeograph machine. Things have changed!
The purposes for which this organization was formed are as follows:
1. To encourage angling with artificial flies (fly fishing) in this area and in the State of California;
2. To encourage the conservation of the wild trout and warm water fish populations in the State of California;
3. To disseminate to the public the results of these efforts;
4. To encourage the youth of the State of California to follow sound conservation practices;
5. To buy, contract for, lease, use, sell, improve or exchange real estate;
6. To rent or lease offices or buildings;
7. To elect officers and directors, and to hire employees and to allow appropriate compensation for services performed;
8. To do any and all suitable, proper, and lawful acts for the accomplishment of any of the
purposes or objectives of this organization.
There were seven names listed as the original incorporators of the club. They were:
Stuart L. MacChesney, Barney Barnett, C. Neil Clark, J.E. Williams, H.L. Horen, Ira Lindgren and Thomas Sovulewski.
The first board of directors was installed at the January 15, 1962 meeting. They were: President, C. Neil Clark; Vice President, Ralph King; Secretary, Ed Strickland; Treasurer, Herb Horen; Directors, “Buz” Buszek, Ira Lindgren and Stuart MacChesney.
The annual dues at the onset of the club were $5.00 per year. The Life Membership fee was $100.00 and a paid member of the club for 20 consecutive years automatically became a life member.
One of the first projects of the club was to establish a winter fly fishing season on the Kings River below Pine Flat Dam. The proposal was to use flies only with single barbless hooks, and with a ZERO limit. All trout caught were to be released. During the regular open trout season there would be no special regulations. This was an important issue of the club in their effort to promote recreational angling; to make more use of the trout and still conserve them. The original proposal was turned down by Fish and Game but in later years it was instituted.
In 1961, in California, the only club for fly fishing was ours. Members were from all parts, north to south. As a result, fishing reports came from all over the state. You can imagine what the fishing was like in California fifty years ago. You would not have encountered the numbers of flyfishers on your favorite stream as you do today. And there would not have been big, very fast speedboats on the lakes. We would all like to revisit those waters. But all was not well in some of the waters.
The Fly Dope in July of 1962 had a small report on fishing the Nelson and North Forks of the Tule River in Tulare County. However, fishing was “fair to poor.” One year later in July of 1963 the Fly Dope reported that Northern California waters were experiencing large amounts of fish kills due to pesticide abuse. In the Food for Thought section in the July 1963 Fly Dope, there is a paragraph that reads: “Recent heavy fish kills in Northern California have made us aware that we have knowingly been facing a similar condition [to Maine and Canada] for a long time. A condition affecting not only our fisheries, but also wildlife generally – there must be a solution of this problem that will please all concerned, but what is it? Let us all give thought and energy toward action that will eventually solve this problem.” The club member- ship was very concerned about this conservation issue.
As the club flourished, other fly fishing clubs started to organize with the help of our members. In June of 1962, Stu MacChesney helped organize a new club of fly fishermen in Sacramento. Moving forward, the Fly Dope, June 1965, stated, “We welcome to the ranks of organized fly fishermen a newly organized group in the Santa Monica-West Los Angeles-Beverly Hills area, Wilderness Flyfishers….Our valued friend, Cliff Wyatt, and several other of our Southern California members are actively interested in the new club. We have offered all possible help and our very best wishes for their success.” Recently you received a copy of their January news- letter so, obviously, they have been successful.
There are now many more fly fishing clubs in California. Fly Fishers for Con- servation can be proud of their part in starting this trend.
There were people, like our Stephen Neal, who wrote articles every month for their respective clubs. The article on the next page was written by Ira Lindgren who was one of the original directors of our club.
Fly Fishers for Conservation is just that—a group dedicated to conserving our fishing waters and the fish within. One of the concerns in 1967 was the daily creel limit. There was a bill before the Senate which would allow possession of an extra limit of trout with the purchase of a special license tag for the sum of $1.00. It was argued that the bill was designed to increase the harvest of planted catchable trout, but the club felt the impact would fall mainly on the wild trout. The members were highly opposed to the bill. Letters were sent to the Legislature, including Assemblywoman Pauline L. Davis, and to Fish and Game. A letter was also sent to all members of FFFC by E.J. Strickland, who was president at the time. In part it stated:
With an ever-increasing population and a steadily-shrinking total of trout water – wild trout water – we can foresee the possibility of little or no true trout fishing in California in the future except by an extended and expensive
trip into the wilderness hinterland.
For several years our club has been suggesting to State authorities that
a sharp reduction in the daily creel limit is one measure which might well be undertaken to help avoid this. Such a reduction is, however, a complex problem, and while we will continue to repeat and renew our suggestion at appropriate times, there appears little likelihood that it will be done at an early or timely date.
Many of us now voluntarily release substantially all trout that we take, and we are asking each member to take a voluntary pledge to do this – to take, take and kill, only as many trout as can be immediately and properly used, and, in no event, more than five trout a day…
To make your pledge a matter of record, for such use as the Board may see fit, we are enclosing a postcard form which we ask you to sign and re- turn at once. The Board’s present plan is to file these postcards with the Fish and Game Commission, State of California, as an indication of our ear- nest belief that something must be done about this problem as soon as possible.”
Eventually both creel limits and catch and release were implemented in California. We now have sections of our rivers that are only catch and release, and the creel limit for trout, unless otherwise specified, is five. We like to think our club had a big part in the adoption of these new regulations.
In Memory of Stuart MacChesney
The following was written and sent to the Fly Dope by Stuart’s son Michael.
Stuart MacChesney was born in Hollywood, California, in 1924 and died Feb- ruary 27, 2011. A U.S. Marine who fought at Peleliu during World War II, a high school teacher, and lifetime fisherman, he was one of the earliest conservationists to want to further the cause of preserving streams for future generations to enjoy. With that in mind, he and two of his fishing partners, Neil Clark and Bob Eymann, and with the help of Ed Strickland, founded the Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation. He was the club’s first president, and the first contributor to the newsletter Fly Dope. He was issued and proudly held the first membership card for his entire life. That card had as its number, 001. He enlisted the help of local congressmen and state senators to establish the Kings River as a wild and scenic river. George Zenovich and Rick Leh- man were instrumental in helping with the governmental bureaucracies and getting the appropriate legislation accomplished. During the battles with water interests he realized that a local organization wasn’t enough because consistent water flows were under assault nationwide.
After establishing the local club, he contacted respected fishermen nation- wide with the idea that a Federation of Fly Fishing Clubs would be able to coordinate efforts, raise money, and contact politicians and decision makers to promote and preserve fishing nationwide. Among those with whom he was in contact were Ted Trueblood, Lee Wulff, Polly Rosborough, Ed Zern, Lew Bell, and Pete Hidy. His ef- forts in California as well as the efforts of many others throughout the nation resulted in the first Conclave held in 1965 in Eugene, Oregon. He was there and working with his more famous brethren to establish a constitution and pave the way for a parent organization to all fly fishing clubs. That led to the establishment of the Federation of Fly Fishers.
Organization of clubs really wasn’t his first love. Although he spent countless days, hours, and years with such efforts, he was more likely to be found on local streams. He convinced the Department of Fish and Game, with the help of a DFG biologist, that rough fish running out of Pine Flat Lake were a detriment to the local fishery and he and about 30 others schlepped concrete down into river beds and built dams on two feeder creeks into the lake to stop the spawning run of the rough fish. While flood years eventually washed away those make-shift dams, remnants of them can still be seen in the creek beds. He also organized and worked to put in fish traps to help do a census on rough fish during their spawning runs.
On the upper Kings, he organized and participated in revamping the end of the road campground which included digging the holes for an outhouse. Because this was done in the dead of winter, he and several others cleared dead brush out of the campground by hand. That they were removing poison oak didn’t become clear for several hours, but the price was paid by all.
Under the auspices of the local club, he taught hundreds of people to fly cast each year and introduced them to his favorite hobby, sometimes taking them on guided fishing trips on local streams. He never charged for these trips, it was just his way of sharing what he enjoyed with others. He also taught fly tying but deep down felt that his skills at tying were mediocre compared to his peers. He preferred the tying of his friends Dennis Black, Darwin Atkin and Doug McKinsey.
But mostly he loved to fish. The Kings River was his home stream and he fished its entire length. In the canyons of the south fork of the Kings above the lake he took and released literally thousands of rain- bows to 24 inches. In the upper reaches of the river at Cedar Grove where the river was more of a little creek, he took and released a 29-inch brown. His fishing style with other people was to take turns, watch an- other fish, and then fish while the other watched. It was a style that was relaxed and led to great camaraderie between fishing partners (and his children and grandchildren). His greatest joy was fishing with his son Michael, his grandson Christopher, and his best friend Bob Eymann.
He also made annual trips to fish Hot Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and did so until his health no longer allowed it. When he retired from teaching, his wife Audrey surprised him with money that she had saved to travel to fish in New Zealand. He did this twice, once with his wife and once with his fishing partner Bob Eymann.
Stuart lived and breathed fishing. He was one of the old breed of fishermen during the glory years of establishing fly fishing as the premiere method of angling in this country. We miss him, we miss them all.— Dr. Michael MacChesney
In another email to the Fly Dope, Marty Seldon remembers Stuart MacChesney.
After I did a paper for the Federation in 1971 about the then critically declining level of Pyramid Lake, Nevada, Federation of Fly Fishers V.P. Conservation, Ray Fisher, next drafted me to testify before the Cali- fornia Senate Finance Committee against a dam on the Lower Kings River along with FFF founding member Stuart MacChesney of Fresno . The trip was a memorable introduction to Sacramento politics because Sena- tor Zenovich, who was chairman of the committee, gave up his gavel, after we spoke, to support the dam and against our position.
Roger Miller just told me that the dynamic Stuart Lachlan MacChesney, passed away on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at age 87. He was a retired teacher for the Fresno Unified School District at Roosevelt High School who was a passionate fly fisher and fishery conservationist. I assume he was a founding mem- ber of Fly Fishers for Conservation, our Fresno, California, fly fishing club.
Stu was a participating founding member of the Federation of Fly Fishers. In a photo of the first Founding Steering Committee meetings, where the framework for the Federation was hammered out, Stu was seated next to Ed Zern and Ted Trueblood along with Ed Strickland, Lee Wulff and Stan Walters and many other friends. He remained a director of the Federation into the 1970’s.
Steve Raymond pointed out in Flyfisher Magazine that Stuart was the auctioneer at the first FFF Con- clave June 18-20, 1965 in Eugene, Oregon, and raised $800, much of it from the sale of Tommy Brayshaw paintings. That $800 along with the $172 profit from the Conclave became the original $972 bankroll with which the Federation was launched.
Every time I spoke to him, Stu was as excited about his love of the Kings River as he was at the start. Never giving up and always ready to fight on, Stuart Lachlan MacChesney was a true friend and we will miss him.—Marty Seldon
The Fly Fishers for Conservation Founders Award
was so named for Stu MacChesney and the other three original founders of the club.
Saving The Kings River
Almost from the beginning of Fly Fishers for Conservation, the effort to save the Kings River has been a big part of the agenda. One of the issues was to have the river declared as wild and scenic and to stop the building of a dam on the upper Kings River.
In early 1972, then State Senator George N. Zenovich introduced legislation to de- clare the Kings River a wild river and to make it off limits to dams and hydroelectric projects. The measure would include the Kings in any wild river system established in California. There were two such bills pending before the State Legislature. One bill was SB107 authored by Senator Peter Behr.
As introduced, the measure by Zenovich talked solely about the “Kings River.” A Zenovich spokesman said it would be amended to include only the Middle and South Forks. The North Fork was already heavily dammed for power by PG&E.
Zenovich said the measure was introduced in response to requests from Fly Fisher- men (the early designation of the club) for Conservation. He stated that the club feared a second dam east of Pine Flat Dam would destroy the river’s scenic and recreational use. At that time, the US Army Corps of Engineers was studying the possibility of building a flood control dam either at Rodgers Crossing or Mill Creek.
All club members were urged to write letters of support to Senator Zenovich.
Flash forward to January of 1973. Governor Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law which afforded real protection to the river. But the battle had just begun. I am assuming the bill did not contain protection from building dams, even though that was the intent, because the Kings River Water Association was then negotiating an agreement with Southern California Edison to build a power dam at Rodgers Crossing on the Kings River. It would have a 900,000 acre feet capacity (up considerably from the 600,000 a.f. previously projected). The guess was that it would be 700 feet high and would completely destroy the river above Pine Flat.
After rounds of hearings, things were looking pretty grim. Zenovich then countered with a proposal of a five-year moratorium on dam construction. The revised bill, SB623, was the result. I have perused the Fly Dopes about the outcome but cannot find anything. And then in the October 1973 issue there is a small sentence in the President’s Message that states, “The moratorium of Kings River dam building was signed last week.”
The President’s Message in January 1975 (over a year later) stated, “Last Thursday, (December 12) the headline was: ‘New Kings River Dam Is Killed.’ The article went on to ex- plain that the Kings River Conservation District has ‘for the present dropped a controversial plan to build a dam on the upper reaches of the Kings River.’ The article further explains that as a result of a study conducted on the river that a dam at the Rodgers Crossing site would be economically unfeasible. The headline was a source of joy for your club.”
Current members of our club can thank the early members for the fine fishing they now experience on the upper Kings River. Without those efforts, there could now be a giant reservoir where the beautiful Kings runs through the mountains east of Pine Flat
The following appeared in the April 1974 issue of the Fly Dope.
Don’t Be A Fly Fishing Shadow
by Ruth E. Strickland
“A new flexibility is being added to the role that women play in our modern society, and this should include more participation in the sport of fly fishing. Some women have been so fortunate as to have been exposed to and taught proper appreciation of the world of out- doors, its creatures and its values, and this has led them into the enjoyment of outdoor sports, especially fly fishing, but in comparison to the legions of men who pursue the sport, women lag far behind, and when their husbands, relatives, or friends go fishing they stay be- hind. They think it’s a sport for men!
In today’s world that need no longer be true. Modern travel methods, and improved campsites, plenty of motels and resorts that cater to fishermen, have changed that. Outdoor equipment, including clothing, utensils, and foodstuffs, has been revolutionized. But far too many women still cling to old ideas, and while they may go along on a fishing trip, simply for a change of scenery or to enjoy a vacation stay at a resort or lodge, they do not participate in the fishing. All too often when they tell their friends about it they will say ‘I was bored.’ Very pathetic!
Solution? Venture into the fly fishing world! There are many reasons why they should do so. It will open doors that have been previously closed, and they will find that they have a new dimension of common interest with family and friends. Don’t be just a shadow who en- dures a fishing trip! Active participation will bring to you an indelible love for the outdoors which you, in turn, can pass on to your children, and remember that our children are the fu- ture custodians of our environment and our wildlife.
Fly fishing can be a powerful tranquilizer. It offers those vistas of our world which only Nature, our greatest artist, can produce. To walk along the bank of a stream or lake is to see the subtle skill with which she blends color and form. Casting a fly over the water at sun- rise or sunset, when the moving shadows are playing their part, is a memorable experience. As you pause to rest, or to tie on a new fly, you may find yourself catching glimpses of wild creatures at work. Seeing at close range the protective manner in which a mother quail di- rects her flock will be something you will never forget. To see a deer guiding her fawn to the water for a drink is beautiful. Fly fishing is a visual art, and the aesthetic possibilities are end- less.
Don’t let anyone tell you that there are hidden mysteries about casting a fly. Com- pared to your intricate role as a wife or mother it is merely pleasant exercise. Fly fishing equipment is light, easily handled by a woman. Almost any experienced fly fisherman can teach you the simple basic techniques in a few minutes. Many fly fishing clubs offer free classes for beginners, members or not, and they welcome women. You are not setting out to become an expert! All you want to do is learn enough to enjoy the sport, and it’s easy, ridiculously easy.
A word of advice as to your equipment. Don’t handicap yourself by trying to start with discarded equipment of your husband or a friend. Experiment with it, of course, but you are likely to find that it is wrong for your needs; too long or too short, too heavy or too light. Don’t buy the first fly rod offered to you in some sporting goods store, or you may find yourself owning something which is only a clumsy stick to you. Try to find reliable assistance or advice. Insist on casting with the suggested outfit, and accept it only if it feels to you like a smooth-acting rod, with a line of proper weight. Your outfit must be responsive; it must do what you tell it to do. You want to be able to enjoy your fishing, and not have to spend your time fighting a balky piece of equipment.
Suitable fly fishing equipment need not be immoderately expensive. Of course top-grade fishing gear comes
relatively high, but you don’t need that, at least not to begin with. A good ensemble, rod, reel, and line, wholly satisfac- tory for your needs can be had for a modest price. One does not begin to learn to play the violin by first buying a Stradi- varius. It’s like shopping for a dress or a pair of shoes. You try to find something that seems comfortable to you, and ap- propriate for the use you plan to make of it. You’ll make some mistakes, of course, but don’t let them worry you. Finally, take good care of your fishing equipment as you would a fine piece of furniture or equipment in your home. Keep it clean and in good working order. You will be well rewarded.
From the very beginning, start to master the simple little mechanics involved. Learn the knots for tying on your leader or fly. They are easy; much less complicated than baking a cake. Your husband or friends will be delighted by your budding interest in the sport and will probably part with a few of their flies to keep you going until you can select or tie your own. Learn to recognize the more common patterns of flies.
When you approach the water to make your first fishing cast, the moment of truth has arrived. What first? It is suggested that you first study the situation. Take a little time to examine the water as you would a road map. Note how the currents flow and the paths which foam and free-flowing objects take. Look for activities of natural insects. You may catch a glimpse of a trout rising to feed, a valuable clue as to where to cast your fly, in order that it may float down to where the fish is feeding.
Plan your cast so your fly will drift, as naturally as possible, along the currents, beginning at the bottom of the pool, and then gradually work up to its head. Cover one section of the run several times before moving on upstream; it may take a little time to get the fish interested in your offering. But don’t stay at one spot and beat that piece of water to death. If there is a fish there you have probably alarmed him. Then, move on a little and do it again. Concentrate on deeper runs and the areas around any boulders, submerged or partially protruding. These are shelter and rest stations for fish, and should be covered thoroughly. Fisherman call this detailed examination process, ‘reading the stream’, and the better you learn to read the stream the better fisherman you will be. Make every cast with a definite purpose, and don’t just throw your fly out at random. Have some definite plan in mind every cast. Be sure also to observe your shore background as well as the water foreground before you. Casting is usually a matter of first-backward and then-forward! If you don’t remember this you are likely to find your fly hopelessly entangled in the very highest branches behind you.
Don’t be discouraged if you fail to take a fish on your first trip; you may go on a dozen trips before you capture your first fish. Old-time fishermen will tell you that it is a ‘humbling’ sport, requiring great patience. It is a game between you and your equipment and the fish. But equipment alone will never take a fish. You yourself are the most important element. Your first fish, when it comes, will be an unforgettable event. It is suggested that you take the position that you are fishing for fun—and for fun only. Carefully unhook your fish and release him gently back into the water, so that he will be there for you or someone else later.
Some women may not be able to take up fishing actively for various reasons but they can and should inform themselves on the sport. Learn the language! Read the outdoor magazines and books. If anyone raises an eyebrow, remind him that the oldest preserved book in all angling literature was written by a woman, Dame Juliana Berners, an English nun, in the 15th century. What may be a definitive book on modern fly tying was written by a woman, Helen Shaw, a few years ago. The day may come when you are an enthusiastic participating angler, and not just a fly fishing shadow.”
Presidents Message from 1974
Well, Just about the time I thought I was about the worst weather forecaster in the world, the weatherman finally came through, so instead of apologizing, I can quote the last paragraph for march message, Namely:
“——Soon the weather should be warming, and it will once again be possible to enjoy our sport without first donning our long-johns. So tie up a few flies, dig out that tackle, call a buddy and plan a trip.”
Our club does have a serious side, but it is far from all serious. Basically, we are a club of fishermen, and fishermen like to fish. As I hear the news and read my paper tonight, the good news is that more gasoline is predicted to be available ty the time our “summer season” really gets in full swing, and we may shortly find gasoline available on Sunday again. Even if there is no appreciable let-up, most of us live where there is some good water wishing a “gas-tank” distance too home. For some, it may involve experimenting with taking of different species on a fly, but that too could be adventure in itself.
Having now put you at your ease, I’m going to ask youth do something (you knew there’d be a tact, didn’t you?) If you’ve never done so before, take a look at the publication that you are now reading. It’s great, but if you really look at it, you will realize that putting it together is one of the toughest jobs in the club. Our editor needs help, So when you develop that fantastic new fly pattern, when you find that great stretch of stream, when you discover the method of taking a new species on a fly, or even when you read something that you think would be of interest to your fellow fly fishermen, drop a line to our editor Peggy Nelson, at the address on the letterhead. She will appreciate it, and so will your fellow fly fishermen.
The Kings River has been the focus of the club since the club was formed in 1961. The following written by member Chuck Coleman appeared in the June 1970 edition of the Fly Dope.
The Kings River—Can It Be Rehabilitated?
Having fished the Kings River for the past 38 years, I can offer assurances that the Kings was, and could be again, one of the prime trout streams in California. At present, however, the Kings, over much of its length, is less than mediocre.
At the time this writer first fished this beautiful river, it flowed unfettered, ex- cept for an occasional low level, low elevation diversion structure, for its entire length. A rough, brawling stream with varying water flows and diverse types of stream bed, the Kings was home to a highly satisfactory number of trout. Predominately a rainbow fishery, the water in certain areas also supported a sizable number of brown trout. Smallmouth bass furnished some fantastic angling in the lower reaches of the river. Also present were trash fish, hardheads, squawfish, and suckers. The ratio of rough fish to desirable species was kept in balance, before man’s tampering, by natural factors, water temperatures, topography, and competition. Food was adequately abundant in the form of mayfly, caddis, stonefly, and a variety of midge species. Aquatic insect life found a favorable habitat on the long gravel and cobblestone riffles that are so much a part of this river.
All of these conditions suffered a massive setback with the building of Pine Flat Dam. The reservoir that formed behind the dam inundated all of the smallmouth water. Valuable low level spawning areas were silted up and ruined. The lake itself became an instant incubator for an exploding population of rough fish. Before a desirable fishery could be established the trash fish were well entrenched. No method has been found, at this writing, to correct this imbalance and eradicate these pests. The lake is too large and too deep to be chemically treated. The trash fish population is too well established to readily relinquish its domain to any planted game predator. The situation, consequently, continues to deteriorate.
One of the prime factors of this worsening condition is the unrestricted, annual spawning runs that this horde of pests subjects the river to. Each year, starting in February, the migration begins with the suckers. These aquatic vacuum cleaners literally sweep the stream bed clean of aquatic insect life. After their passage, the resident trout population must either leave or starve. Following the suckers come the hardheads and squawfish in that order. With the river almost devoid of insect life these cannibals of the minnow family turn to run-of-the-year trout for food. The small trout that have avoided starvation are soon gobbled up by the invaders.
For several weeks following the passage of the rough fish, large sections of the river lay barren. At about the time that some small recovery begins in the river the reverse run starts. The undesirables begin to drift downstream on their way back to the reservoir. The recovering insects and the newly hatched fingerling trout are again subjected to extreme pressure. Little, if any, desirable forms of life can survive these two onslaughts.
There is an answer but correction will take time, effort and money. Next month some of the possibilities will be explored in the Fly Dope.
The Kings River—Can It Be Rehabilitated? Pt. 2
The Kings River—Can It Be Rehabilitated? Part 2
In last months fly dope we talked of the Kings River and it’s ills. This month some of the possible solutions will be discussed.
Over the years, as some of us have watched, the accelerating decline of this great river, many suggestions, for rehabilitation, have been offered. Some of these recommendations have seemed impractical, some have been attempted, none have shown the hoped for results.
In 1961 FFFC succeeded in an attempt to have a five mile section of the river (Garnet Dike campground upstream to Rough Creek) set aside for “fly fishing only” with a three fish limit. It was hoped that under a program of “catch and release” an- gling and reduced pressure the trout fishery could and would make a natural come- back. While a definite improvement has been noted, the results are less than ex- pected. Poaching, due to lack of enforcement, has siphoned off a great number of the spawning rainbow. Lack of aquatic insect life, caused by the fantastic runs of the rough fish, has caused grave food problems. Predaceous attacks by the adult pests have depleted the yearly hatch of trout fingerling. These and other factors have had a very adverse effect on the rebuilding of this trout fishery.
Chemical treatment has been considered as a solution but has been, for the most part, rejected. With no way of blocking the runs of the undesirable fish it is felt that the trash fish would re-infest the water before the trout fishery could be re- established. The inaccessibility of much of this water would preclude the possibility of immediate restocking. With chemical treatment the existing stock of wild rainbow trout would be wiped out. Any restocking would, of necessity, be from domestic strains. It is highly doubtful that this would be desirable.
Brown trout, in limited numbers, have been present in these waters for many, many years. The inclination or ability, of this stock, to establish a significant brown trout fishery, however, has been lacking. Even before the population explosion of the trash fish the browns were few and far between. There was a persistent belief on the part of some of the angling fraternity, however, that the browns would be better able to withstand the pressure from the pests than would the rainbows. As a result of this belief the DFG planted several thou- sand brown trout fingerlings in these waters in the late fall of 1968 and early 1969. It will be at least another year, and possibly two, before any in depth evaluation of this planting can be made.
It is pretty generally conceded that the only truly effective solution would be a permanent barrier and fishway. The advantages of a properly designed barrier would be numerous. If the river was closed to fish traffic at the proper time of the year, when all but a few resident undesirables had returned to the reservoir, no chemical treatment would be necessary. This would save and utilize the existing stock of wild rainbow. The ganging up of the trash fish immediately below the barrier, during the spawning runs, would make possible a program of rough fish eradication. Since the suckers, hardheads, and squawfish usually make their run ahead of any of the game fish chemical treatment barrier on year after year would make heavy inroads on the numbers of these pests. Another valuable asset of a barrier would be the chance to evaluate the results of the exotic types of rainbow plants now being made in Pine Flat reservoir. A fish ladder and trap, built as an integral part of the structure would be invaluable as a counting, tagging and stripping station. Information that could be used throughout the industry would be easily obtainable.
Recognition of the factors inherent in this problem is not difficult. The measures necessary for correct- ment are also obvious. Implementation of these measures, however, will not be easy. Time, effort and a considerable amount of money will be needed before progress can be made. The situation is not hopeless however. Money, from several sources, could be made available if need can be proven and enough pressure can be brought to bear.
Several solid rock ledges, spanning the entire width of the river, would simplify the engineering of such a structure. Much of the materials needed (sand, gravel and rock) are already on site. Access roads on both sides of the river would alleviate the transportation problem. From a physical stand point no great problems present themselves.
Financing should also be relatively easy but it won’t be. The fact remains, however, that even in the face of tight money $8 million will be spent for recreational facilities on and around the new Don Pedro reservoir. Six million dollars is currently allotted to the area around the new lake while $2 million will be spent along the first few miles of river below the dam. Keep in mind that this will, for the most part, be public money and compare it with the estimated $350,000 that would be needed to rehabilitate many, many miles of prime trout streams.
The cooperation of many agencies would be necessary in the planning of such a project. Many clubs and organizations would have to join forces to get the ball rolling. The entire public, anglers, conservationists, outdoorsmen, and business would reap the harvest.
This was the original purpose for which FFFC was formed. The goal should be kept in sight by the formation of a strong committee to investigate all aspects of the problem and the solution.