Working to protect and improve the wild trout fishery in Putah Creek
Chris Yarnes, Ph.D.
City you live in now
Year you joined PCT board
Occupation/ place of employment
Biogeochemist at Univ. of Calif, Davis
I’ve been a fly-fisherman since age seven – does that count? I also have a Ph.D. in Ecology and have volunteered on Boards of several non-profits focused on aquatic resources, including Trout Unlimited.
Position/ special interest/ emphasis on the board
I currently serve as Secretary for Putah Creek Trout. I provide support, but primarily focus on devloping connections and finding funds to support restoration projects and improvement that will improve and sustain the fishery in Putah Creek. I also coordinate the Putah Creek Interdam Reach Working Group. The IDR-WG consists of non-profits and government agencies focused on developing collaborative restoration,education, and outreach activities on Putah Creek’s IDR, including Lake Solano.
Challenges to the trout
The primary issue facing Putah Creek is sediment. Sediment reduces both spawning and rearing habitat and aids in the expansion of aquatic vegetation. With increasing fire frequency and lack of water to provide scouring flows from Lake Berryessa, finding in-stream strategies to manage sedimentation is key to the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Secondarily, regulations enforcement and angler education, including youth education, are critical to protecting this unique resource and increasing the number of people who feel connected to Putah Creek and its inhabitants.
Success story (how you were involved in doing something that benefitted the PC)
I assisted in many of the projects and discussions leading to the designation of Putah Creek as a Wild Trout Water by the Heritage and Wild Trout Program.
Tell a short story (first time you fished IDR PC, special day on the PC, volunteer event, funny anecdote)
I moved to California in 2009, the same year the regulations were changed to catch-and-release, and my first year fishing Putah Creek was more than disappointing. A few small fish caught and very few large fish sighted during the spawn. It is remarkable how far the Creek has improved in such a short period of time. While there is still much work to do, watching the transformation of Putah Creek has been amazing.