Protect our pristine headwaters on public lands for wild and native fish


Reconnect the segmented, dammed, water diverted streams for cool, clean fish-friendly water flows.


Restore native habitat in cold-water fisheries with sound science-based practices, collaborating with others across our state.


Organizing, education and outreaching to our communities ensures that we will be able to sustain robust populations of native and wild coldwater salmonids, to once again thrive within their native California ranges.

logoTrout Unlimited’s Wild Steelhead Initiative and Wild Steelheaders United is an ambitious and hopeful effort to protect and restore the wild steelhead.

Today, 70 percent of the major steelhead populations in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California require federal protection and opportunities to catch wild steelhead have diminished dramatically in many rivers.
The Initiative and associated group, Wild Steelheaders United, is a new, organized way for anglers (regardless of whether a person fishes gear or fly, bait or lure) to become more informed about wild steelhead biology and ecology, keep abreast of the latest management and policy issues, to learn about wild steelhead fishing opportunities, and to become educated about


Above all, it is a home to anyone who believes in the quest to protect these fish.

Find out more, and sign the credo at Wild Steelheaders United.

The Paiute cutthroat trout is a member of the Salmonidae (trout and salmon) family. It is distinguishable from other cutthroat trout by the absence or near absence of body spots. Body spots are the diagnostic character that distinguishes the Paiute cutthroat from the Lahontan cutthroat. Paiute cutthroat trout rarely have more than five body spots; Lahontan cutthroat trout typically possess 50 to 100 body spots and may have more. A secondary distinguishing character is body color. Lahontans typically have a coppery to purplish-pink body color, whereas Paiutes from comparable streams are normally yellowish to light green.

Distribution: Paiutes are native to Silver King Creek in the East Fork-Carson River drainage of east-central California. The current distribution in the Silver King Creek watershed (Alpine County) consists of two small pure populations in Fly Valley Creek and Four-mile Canyon Creek and two probable pure populations in Corral Valley Creek and Coyote Valley Creek. Self-sustaining pure populations have also become established outside the native range in the North Fork of Cottonwood Creek (Mono County) and Stairway Creek (Madera County). Long-term restoration effort has re-established pure strain Paiute cutthroat in the mainstream of Silver King Creek above Llewellyn Falls; hybrids are found in mixed populations below. The extant pure populations all occur in headwater stream environments that are isolated from other fish species by barrier falls.

DESCRIPTION: The Lahontan cutthroat trout is a member of the Salmonidae (trout and salmon) family. Dark olive backs and reddish to yellowish sides frequently characterize the Lahontans found in stream. The sides of lake-dwelling Lahontans are often silvery. A broad, pinkish stripe may be present.
Body spots are the diagnostic character that distinguishes the Lahontan cutthroat subspecies from the Paiute cutthroat. Paiute cutthroat trout rarely have more than five body spots. Lahontans typically have 50 to 100 or more large, roundish-black spots that cover their bodies evenly and extend onto the head and often to the ventral surface (underside). A secondary distinguishing character is body color. Lahontans typically have a coppery to purplish-pink body color, whereas Paiutes from comparable streams are normally yellowish to light green.

Lahontans bodies are typically elongated, but not greatly flattened. Like other cutthroat trout, they have basibranchial teeth (on the base of the tongue), red slashes under the jaw (hence the name "cutthroat"), and smaller scales than rainbow trout. Lahontans have the highest number of gill rakers (small bony projections on the gills) found in any trout of the genus Oncorhynchus--21 to 28.

In 1998, the U.S. Forest Service recommended protection of seven miles of the Upper Truckee River in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. Today, a coalition of conservation, recreation, and business interests led by Trout Unlimited are proposing to permanently protect approximately 32 miles of the Upper Truckee River and its tributaries, including Meiss, Round, Dardanelles, Showers, and Four Lakes, and as a Wild River in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

On Wednesday, July 27th in Placerville, the El Dorado Fish and Game Commission unanimously supported this proposal after it was presented by Trout Unlimited staff. This proposal will establish a comprehensive river management plan to protect and enhance the habitat occupied by the Federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and will protect over 10,500 acres of critical summer mule deer habitat in the upper watershed. The El Dorado County Fish and Game Commissioner's found this proposal attractive because of its widespread public support, economic incentives and potential to increase fishing and hunting opportunities available in the County.

Trout Unlimited is bringing this proposal to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on August 2nd at 2pm in Placerville to ask for a County resolution of support for this important campaign.

On Monday, Sept. 19, at the California state capitol in Sacramento, TU California Field Director Sam Davidson testified before the Congressional House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Below is a copy of his testimony. The hearing was also covered by the Sacramento Bee:

Sam Davidson, California Field Director, Trout Unlimited
Testimony for Hearing on “Restoring Public Access to the Public’s Lands:  Issues Impacting Multiple-Use on Our National Forests”
House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
September 19, 2011
State Capital Building, Sacramento, California

My name is Sam Davidson. I was born and raised in California, although I have lived and worked all over the American West. I am a life-long angler and hunter and have spent much of my life in the outdoors. Over my career I have been a fishing guide, an outfitter, a wilderness skills instructor, a high school teacher, and executive director of a national outdoor recreation advocacy group called The Access Fund.

Currently I am the Field Director for Trout Unlimited (TU) in California. TU is the largest and oldest coldwater fish conservation group in the country, dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring trout and salmon in their native watersheds. In this capacity I work with sportsmen and women around the state to identify and conserve areas of high value fish and game habitat.

As part of the North Coast Coho Project, Trout Unlimited (TU) has teamed up with California State Parks and a private landowner to install large woody material along 2.1 miles of the South Fork Big River, in Mendocino County, to enhance habitat for endangered coho salmon. The partners received funding from the California Department of Fish and Game's Fisheries Restoration Grant Program and FishAmerica Foundation to carry out the work.

TU Project Coordinator, Lisa Bolton, visited the site on July, 27th and watched the project in action on the private land. Using a rubber-tired grapple tractor, the talented subcontractor and Licensed Timber Operator, Ken Smith, threaded two pieces of large woody material through a redwood clump and down into the stream channel with the guidance of Christopher Blencowe, subcontractor and Registered Professional Forester. Threading the logs through the redwood clump serves as a natural anchor point so logs are more likely to stay in place in order to scour out pools, sort spawning gravel and provide cover for coho. Christopher and Ken were on their sixth day of operations and had already installed 40 pieces of wood at 15 sites, some of which were felled directly into the stream channel. They expect to install an additional 40 to 50 pieces on the private property. Implementation of the wood installation on California State Parks property (near Montgomery Woods State Reserve) is slated for summer 2012.

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