The Chinook salmon of Butte Creek are one of the largest population of spring run salmon left in Northern California. They are listed as “threatened” under federal regulations and fishing on the waterway has been banned for many years now.
That’s why it was so frustrating to see these big salmon dying in hoards along the bank of Butte Creek this week, a shocking development for the already struggling salmon populations across NorCal.
The above video filmed by Christopher Tockatlian and shared to YouTube by fishing guide Mike Rassumssen shows these beautiful fish lying dead in what appears to be a catastrophic oversight by water management officials. This area of Butte Creek is what is known as Butte Sink, a complicated series of water diversions that points water to different areas. When one are of water is shut down at the wrong time, it can be a lethal action for spawning Chinook salmon.
It’s a complete waste of all the money we throw at attempting to revive salmon populations if actions like this just kill them when they attempt to navigate their historic spawning grounds. Not only is this scene sad, it’s also likely illegal.