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Please Don’t Disturb or Poach the Salmon

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Please Don’t Disturb or Poach the Salmon

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Please Don’t Disturb or Poach the Salmon

The amazing Chinook salmon run in Putah Creek this year caught by surprise! We are elated that an estimated 400 salmon have made it through the Yolo Bypass and up the creek to spawn over the past two weeks. We are even more thrilled that about 40 salmon have decided to build “nests” (called redds) in the gravels and riffles of Winters Putah Creek Park.

What we aren’t thrilled about is that folks have been observed trying to poach the salmon in recent days. It is illegal to fish for salmon in Putah Creek. This time of year, salmon aren’t eating so poachers try to snag them with a hook. Not only is it illegal, it’s unethical. The fish are trying to reproduce. California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens have already been alerted, but if you observe people poaching salmon in the park or along the creek, please call CalTIP at 1-888-334-2258 to report it.

The best way to observe the salmon in Winters Putah Creek Park is from a distance through polarized sunglasses. Slowly approach the creek so that your shadow does not cross the water surface and be as still as possible. If the fish swim away to hide under the banks, they have seen you and been disturbed. They will return, but you should move away and let them use their limited energy to spawn.

This is a very sensitive time for these fish as they are expending much energy to dig redds and spawn. And once the eggs are laid and fertilized it is very important for people and dogs to stay out of the gravel beds and riffles so that the eggs and hatched fish don’t get trampled.

The City of Winters, in cooperation with the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee, is putting up temporary fencing and informational signs to help protect the spawning salmon and educate park visitors. Thank you for helping to protect and enhance this wonderful salmon run in Putah Creek.

Carrie Shaw
Putah Creek Council Executive Director