In the 70s and 80s, California's Hat Creek supported upwards of 5,000 trout per mile. Since then, it has since suffered badly at the hands of muskrats, vegetation loss, and a giant sediment plug, but help is on the way.
CalTrout just received a $650,000 California Natural Resources Agency grant to help restore Hat Creek's exceptional fishery.
While some of the funds will be used to improve access, the grant is aimed at improving Hat Creek's habitat and restoring its once-sizable native fish populations.
"The slow deterioration of conditions in Hat Creek brought on by a combination of unrelated issues, including cattle grazing and burrowing by non-native muskrats, have created crisis conditions for trout," said Drew Braugh, Conservation Manager of California Trout's Mt. Shasta Regional Office. "The funds secured today will go a long way toward creating habitat in which these native fish can thrive."
Recent studies suggest Hat Creek still has the ability to produce big trout, but the lack of cover and habitat makes those populations vulnerable.
For more details on the plan, visit caltrout.org or watch the video below to hear and see Andrew Braugh explain why the project is so important and what needs to be done to bring back Hat Creek.