RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — California’s drought means an important species is missing from area rivers and streams.
While rainbow trout fill the hatchery in Rancho Cordova, it’s not the kind of trout state fish and wildlife officials had hoped for.
“Normally we have a run of steelhead trout that come up in the winter,” said Laura Drath.
Steelhead trout are missing from the hatchery. Normally during the winter months, schoolkids feed them here, and in the nearby American River, fishermen hope to hook them.
“They love cold water so they’re usually here laying their eggs in the river and hatchery in January, February and sometimes into early March,” Drath said.
But so far, nothing.
Wildlife experts say despite last month’s record storms, river and stream levels are still too low and not cold enough. State officials say our reservoirs have benefitted and believe it would help the steelhead population if some of that cold water was released.
But because of California’s drought, releasing precious reservoir water could hurt humans in the long run.
“It’s a balancing act, because we don’t want to let too much water out from the reservoirs now and not have it in the summer months and the fall when we need it for other purposes,” Drath said.