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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 2:26 pm | A Few Clouds 63º


State Approves Trout-Stocking in Lake Cachuma

Lake Cachuma will once again be stocked fresh with rainbow trout after the state approved the practice this month.

The fish hadn’t been planted in the Santa Ynez Valley lake since March 2014, when California Department of Fish & Wildlife officials found out the county was planting the fish without documented permission and made them half the practice.

On Thursday, Santa Barbara County deputy parks director Paddy Langlands announced the state agency had completed its review process and accompanying yearlong ban — not only agreeing to issue the proper permits but offering to also help stock fish.

The state had been evaluating whether stocking the manmade lake could negatively impact federally endangered species such as the Southern California steelhead trout.

Up to 10,000 pounds of triploid (sterile) rainbow trout are scheduled to be delivered next month by both the state agency and the county, just in time for the annual Neal Taylor Nature Center Fish Derby on April 18.

The nonprofit typically raises about $50,000 over the two-day weekend event, which had been called a Trout Derby the previous 19 years.

“I am so pleased that trout stocking will continue at Lake Cachuma,” Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said in a statement. “Assuring that stocking continued was a priority for my office as Lake Cachuma serves as both an important economic driver for our local economy and as a recreational venue for both county and non-county residents.”

The agreement came after months of meetings between the county and state agency, which was forced to reevaluate its hatchery operations because of a lawsuit filed in 2006.

Fish & Wildlife stopped stocking Lake Cachuma in 2010 in anticipation of a review, but Langlands said nobody told the county to stop, so officials didn’t.

Langlands said the county ordered fish of varying sizes, ranging from half a pound to eight and a half pounds. 

Trout stocking won’t change the fact that Lake Cachuma still has a 30-day quarantine rule because of quagga mussels restrictions, he said, adding that water temperatures were favorable for trout.  

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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