The Mt. Shasta Rotary continued its highly-successful program of growing trout in pens on Lake Siskiyou recently as 30 volunteers filled the pens for the season with roughly 1,000 rainbow trout. The program has helped populate the lake with trophy-sized fish to â€œinspire increased outdoor participation with parents and their children.â€
The “bucket brigade” included volunteers from all over Northern California and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as they released the hatchery fish into the lake on October 16. The trout were selected by scientists from the CDFW and transported from the Crystal Lake Hatchery near Baum Lake in Shasta County.
The program, which began with the construction of the pens in 2018, culminates each year with a Lake Siskiyou Kidâ€™s Fishing Day in the spring (cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19).
The trout pens on Lake Siskiyou have become a template for providing and growing big fish in cold water around the nation. Each fall, when water temperatures cool, the CDFW will stock the pens with rainbow trout. Over winter, solar-charged, battery-powered feeders will automatically feed the fish, which can grow an inch per month. In spring, the large fish are released and quickly become naturalized to their habitat and then take on the characteristics of wild fish. The trout are â€œtriploids,â€ that is, they cannot breed, and in turn, grow faster and fight harder.
When the fish are released next April, they are expected to range from 16 to 23 inches and weigh 3 to 7 pounds, keeping trophy fishing alive and well in Lake Siskiyou. This year’s strain of fish chosen was the Eagle Lake Trout, which is known for its bright, black spots and big size.
Congrats to everyone involved for this breakthrough project in Mount Shasta!