Arroyo Seco hosts free trout workshop

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With proper care, this little guy will grow up to make us all proud. (Courtesy Steve Kuchenski)

Greetings Trout Scouts!

As a reminder, the Arroyo Seco Foundation will be hosting a free trout habitat survey workshop this Sunday.

The workshop will feature Ken Jarrett, a fisheries biologist with Stillwater Sciences, and cover key methods for professional stream assessment. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in river restoration and native fish!

There are still spots left. Please RSVP to me (scott@arroyoseco.org) if you can make it.
Date & Time
Sunday, May 20, 9AM – 2PM (includes a lunch break)

Location
Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery in Hahamongna Watershed Park (The nursery can be hard to find. Click here for directions.)

Parking and restrooms are available at the nursery. From there we will take a short walk over to the stream channel and learn stream surveying methods for the assessment of native trout habitat. Be prepared for insects and uneven/slippery terrain. Some activities (such are measuring the stream gradient) will be done in the water, and closed toe shoes are required.
What to Bring
• Water
• Sun protection
• Sack lunch
• Note-taking materials
• Closed toe shoes (ideally water shoes or rubber boots if you have them)
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you!
Scott David Cher

Rainbow Trout Restoration Project
 
Arroyo Seco Foundation
(323) 405-7326
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Dry year doesn’t stop another Trout Scout

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 5.46.57 PMBy Tim Brick
Managing Director
Arroyo Seco Foundation

Friends:

It’s time to head to the upper watershed in search of native trout. It has been another disappointingly dry year, but there is water in the stream, and some chance of spotting native fish. The flow in the upper Arroyo stream is now about 2 cubic feet per second, compared to the historic average of 5-6 cfs for this time of year, but 2 cfs is better than it’s been for a while.

WHERE TO LOOK: The most likely place to find native trout would be in the pools up around Switzer’s Falls and in nearby Bear Canyon, but trout sometimes go as far as the mouth of the Arroyo near Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Btw, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association has been doing monthly trail restoration work in the stretch of the Gabrielino Trail between Oakwilde and Switzer’s Camp.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 5.47.22 PM

No one that I know of has claimed to see any native trout since the Station Fire nine years ago. I recently went with Wendy Katagi of Stillwater Sciences to visit the Riverside Corona Resource Conservation District, which has an excellent native fish program. They are willing to help us restore native fish in the Arroyo Seco, but first we need to document their current status, so we need your help now.

Take a hike! It’s always enjoyable in the upper Arroyo, particularly this time of year. Let me know what you find, and thanks for caring!

Hi Tim
So does it have to be below Switzerland Falls or above or anything in that drainage?

Anything in the watershed would be great, Mark.

Arroyo Seco Foundation receives $50,000 for trout study

The first book published by Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach details the struggles of the endangered Southern California Steelhead. (Courtesy Aquarium of the Pacific)

The Arroyo Seco Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to determine the best stream conditions for introducing trout, according to the Pasadena Star-News. 

Tim Brick, the foundation’s managing director, adds:

“We’re still look for trout, but the stream is below 1 cubic feet per second again. We need to identify the pools and resting spots where the trout are hiding. Probably Bear Canyon is the most likely spot. Anyone care to go on a trout scout adventure?”

His email is tim@arroyoseco.org.

Finally, to get a taste of what fishing used to be like here, I’m rerunning my 2014 review of historian Tom Tomlinson’s excellent book, ““Against the Currents: The Unlikely Story of the Southern California Steelhead” below.

***

If you think you’ve finished your summer reading list, stop! Consider one more book, please.

“Against the Current, The Unlikely Story of the Southern California Steelhead” could not, in truth, be a more unlikely tale. Author Tom Tomlinson takes the reader on an environmental roller coaster ride that matches our region’s boom-or-bust water supply, and throws in plenty of human Greek drama.

Beautiful color on this trout, which was released, unharmed, back to the water. (Jim Burns)

What just over a 100 years ago was a region so pristine that Easterners came here to mend their health, through hunting, fishing and soaking up the sunshine, quickly turned into what we have today. As someone who has lived here for over 30 years with no plans of leaving, I’m not complaining, but when you read this book and realize what it once was — especially if you enjoy fly fishing the San Gabes — well, get our your handkerchief.

Sob.

One fact to prime the tears: In the early 1900s, the then-equivalent of the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife set the limit of fish taken at … 100. If you’ve ever put boots to dirt and fly to water in our mountains, this should give you a chill. Guests at the local fishing camps regularly hauled in lots of rainbows, and, yes, steelhead. And they hauled, and they hauled and they hauled. Think buffalo in the plains states.

How we got from those abundant fishy beginnings to where we are today is a story of good intentions gone to greed, it’s about that simple.

As for the steelhead once again taking center stage as we enter the Great Los Angeles River Rebuilding, well, this magnificent creature needs our help to get off the endangered species list.

When Congress approves the billion bucks for a river makeover early next year (Update: As of this writing three years later, the federal money hasn’t arrived), I hope every politician, every engineer and every investor gets a copy of this book. They should look up the section on one Henry O’Melveny, lawyer, fishing advocate, Creel Club founder, ice plant owner and, sadly, leader of the pack that done the natural inhabitants of our erratic rivers and streams in. Indeed, he is a figure as defining of Greek tragedy as Oedipus or Agamemnon.

Fast forward to today, and a mayor who is bringing in major bucks from Washington for the river as well as public transportation. I hope that Mayor Eric Garcetti reads this slim volume. It is the most compelling work to date on why the natural habitat can’t take a backseat to our own urban comfort zone. That story already happened.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Calendar Item: Find out the latest ‘trout scout’ news on Wednesday

Update: The Arroyo Seco Foundation has recently received a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to determine the best stream conditions for introducing trout, according to the Pasadena Star-News . 

Tim Brick, the foundation’s managing director, adds:

“We’re still look for trout, but the stream is below 1 cubic feet per second again. We need to identify the pools and resting spots where the trout are hiding. Probably Bear Canyon is the most likely spot. Anyone care to go on a trout scout adventure?”

His email is tim@arroyoseco.org.

Finally, to get a taste of what fishing used to be like here, check out historian Tom Tomlinson’s excellent book, ““Against the Currents: The Unlikely Story of the Southern California Steelhead.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Did the trout survive the drought?
What is the history of fish in the Arroyo?
What is the potential for native fish restoration?
What is the current restoration program?
Fish or Concrete — What’s the Future?

Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m.

Donald Wright Auditorium
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena

Company volunteers for Native Trout Restoration Project

ASF_FEDBy John Goraj

Guest Contributor

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to touch base with you all and give you a quick update about what’s been going on the Native Trout Restoration Project.
Last week, we had a large event with the FedEx Cares volunteers, 48 people total doing a stream survey/invasive species mapping in the Gould Mesa and in Switzer Falls areas. We measured stream depth, stream temperature and measured invasive plant patches, in addition to doing habitat assessments.
It was a great success and I couldn’t help thinking of all of you and how great it would be if we all could accomplish something like this together?
So, anyway, I’m going to work on that and I will let you know some dates.
Below is some of the data we collected with the FedEx Cares group.
I encourage you all to go up to Arroyo Seco and look for trout in the meantime – there are several big pools in the Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon areas.
Thank you all for your time and commitment to conservation!
John Goraj is the Native Trout Program Manager  at the Arroyo Seco Foundation.

Second ‘Trout Scout’ update: Gabrielino Trail to Gould Mesa

NICE SECTION of the Arroyo near Gould Mesa with large in stream boulders that create pools. (Courtesy John Goraj)

By John Goraj

Guest Contributor

Myself, along with three other volunteers, began the scout at the Altadena Crest Trailhead in Altadena. We hiked for about two and a half miles on the Gabrieleno Trail along the Arroyo Seco to Gould Mesa Trail Camp, eventually turning around somewhere between Gould Mesa and Paul Little Picnic Area. The Arroyo is beautiful right now and as always, a very thriving ecosystem. We saw several California newts, who are mating right now and mountain yellow-legged frogs.

We stopped several times along the way making several notes about trout habitat and riverine conditions. We saw several things that made me confident of the existence of rainbow trout in the Arroyo. Here are some of the major habitat features that we discovered in several key habitat categories.

This central section of the stream currently possesses all of the necessary habitat requirements needed for native southern California trout to thrive; cool and clear water, stable undercut banks, clean gravel beds with little to no silt, overhanging vegetation, structural/habitat diversity and the food that trout eat.

‘TROUT SCOUT’ volunteers from left, Ren Vokes, Ryan Anglin and Roland Trevino. (Courtesy John Goraj)

The stream is flowing well about 5-10 cfs and the water temperature is cool. The banks along this section of the stream are undercut creating sufficient pool depth for trout to live in during the drier summer months.

Additionally, the roots of white alder trees which grow abundantly along the stream provide strong support along the banks. The gravel beds are clean and soft creating high quality habitat for trout to possibly spawn in the future. Canopy cover above the stream (overhanging vegetation) was almost always 50-to-75 percent, which keeps dissolved oxygen adequately high for native trout to thrive.

Lastly, many of the key components of trout dietary needs were present as well. These include terrestrial insects, spiders, midges, dragonflies and water boatman bugs.

Perhaps the most promising feature was the discovery of several two-to-four-foot-deep pools created by in-stream structural diversity, such as boulders and large woody debris. These pools are essential for trout survival and illustrate the important function that downed logs and boulders play in providing high quality for trout.

I will keep you all updated on the next “Trout Scout” and any possible trout sightings!

John Goraj is the Native Trout Program Manager  at the Arroyo Seco Foundation.