Working to protect and improve the wild trout fishery in Putah Creek
Dan Brugger, MD
City you live in now
Year you joined PCT board
I’m the “noobie” – I was invited to join May 2016
Occupation/ place of employment
I am a pediatric hospitalist at South Sacramento Kaiser Medical Center. As a hospitalist, I take care of everything from normal newborns to very sick teenagers.
I grew up fishing with my grandparents dunking worms on the Klamath for the half-pounder runs each September. My father got me into fly-fishing in the early 80’s (before indicators were the rage). After a long hiatus through college (at UC Davis) and medical school, I returned to Davis to start my family. While I can’t say I have special knowledge or experience with conservation, I bring a wealth of program management and leadership I have developed through my training.
Position/ special interest/ emphasis on the board
I guess I’m trying to do a little of everything at this point and learning from the other board members. I’m enjoying soliciting content for this website and reaching out to the community to solidify synergistic partnerships. I’ll do anything I can, time allowing, to help enrich and sustain our local fishery that I have come to enjoy.
Challenges to the trout
My experience with Putah Creek started just after stocking stopped but before the 2009 zero limit regulation went into effect. Those first few years were frustrating but I had never known the earlier “glory days”. Now the WILD TROUT fishery has really bounced back due to a lot of effort from Putah Creek Trout and many others who care about the fishery.
Now, I think good spawning habitat is the main limiting factor for the fishery. Siltation is a big problem. A lack of scouring flows (last was 2006) and multiple recent fires in the headwater drainage of Cold Creek has allowed silt to settle in many prime spawning areas. That and little new gravel recruitment is a 1 – 2 punch.
We must also develop new generations to appreciate these natural gems. They are the future men and women who will not only inherit but hopefully continue the work to enhance the fishery for their children. If they don’t care, the resource will not have future stewards.
Success story (how you were involved in doing something that benefitted the PC)
Personally, I have been involved in multiple volunteer events such as trash removal, telemetry studies, and spawning bed improvement. I am just getting going on more.
Tell a short story (first time you fished IDR PC, special day on the PC, volunteer event, funny anecdote)
In 2012, I was becoming passionate about tight line nymphing (aka Czech nymphing). I picked up a book that was getting a lot of praise at the time – Dynamic Nymphing by George Daniel. The following year, George came out to conduct a tight-line clinic organized by Kiene’s and Orvis and I signed up as soon as I could. After the clinic, George had planned to fish Pyramid Lake but it wasn’t fishing well enough to justify the travel. In a moment of inspiration, I invited George to the Putah so that I could show him my home waters and he graciously accepted.
I learned so much from George the following day on the Putah. It was like a personal tight line seminar. He showed me where the fish live and shared his flies. I recall George taking fish after fish in one small stretch that I had never thought held life. What a day!