The North Coast’s love for steelhead fishing is a winter rite of passage from Crescent City south along the coastal river systems of Del Note and Humboldt Counties. Every January, Humboldt Steelhead Days opens up for a three-month-long festival and tribute to the iconic sea-run trout that head into rivers like the Mad and Eel in the heart of Humboldt County. Check out the above video preview of the event, and here’s a story running in our December issue and written by Mad River Alliance director Dave Feral, a tireless advocate for conservation and evironmental issues.
By Dave Feral
The North Coast is the birthplace of salmonid fisheries restoration, and Humboldt Steelhead Days, a three-month-long celebration of the iconic sea-run trout that returns to California streams, is proud to announce we will be hosting an array of restoration and spawning tours as an exciting new addition to this year’s events.
“In 1997, California Legislature SB 271 was a landmark bill that added new categories for funding under the California Department of Fish and Game’s Fisheries Restoration Grants Program (FRGP). Watershed planning, upslope erosion control, organizational support, and monitoring became new funding categories under the FRGP,” says Don Allen of the Salmonid Restoration Federation.
Over the past 20 years, multiple restoration projects have taken place across California with the intent of recovering steelhead and salmonid populations by reconnecting fish to streams once lost, improving upslope land management and enhancing spawning and rearing grounds.
A host of fisheries biologists, hydrologists, engineers and watershed experts have been restoring watersheds one project at a time and assessing project success over that period. In recent years, the importance of high-flow refugia, estuary habitat, floodplain development and the removal of fish barriers have been given the highest of priorities.
A short list of sites visited on the tours will include Morrison Gulch culvert replacement, Powers Creek fish passage barrier removal, Lindsay Creek spawning grounds and the Wood Creek restoration project. All tours will include instruction from local fisheries and restoration experts, plus a visit to one of the local breweries, including Mad River Brewery, Eel River Brewery, Redwood Curtain Brewery and other local favorites.
Registration is $55 per person, which includes transportation, instruction and a brewery stop. All net proceeds will benefit programs of nonprofit groups Mad River Alliance, California Trout and Mountain Community and Culture. To learn more and register, go to humboldtsteelheaddays.com. CS
Editor’s note: Dave Feral is the director of the Mad River Alliance. Check out madriveralliance.org for more.