Welcome to Trout Unlimited of California, the California State Council.

Our mission is to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain California's salmonid fisheries, their watersheds and the diversity of their populations.
In pursuit of this mission, all native plants and animals will benefit, providing a clean and sustainable environment for future generations.


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.

A California Coastal Commission grant of $800,000 was allocated to TU in 2005 over 5 years to restoring San Mateo Creek for the purpose of increasing the chances of significant population return.

The South Coast Chapter in Orange County has been heavily involved in
the volunteer and outreach work associated with this project.

Paiute Cutthroat Trout - Oncorhynchus clarki seleniris

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.

Historic and Current Range

Lahontan Cutthroat trout are native to lakes and streams throughout the physiographic Lahontan basin of northern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Oregon [MAP]. Historically, it is estimated that millions of these fish inhabited 334,000 acres of lakes and 3,600 miles of streams. Prior to the 1900s, there were 11 lacustrine (lake-dwelling) populations. Today, Lahontan cutthroat trout exist in only a fraction of their historic range in Nevada and California, Oregon, and Utah [CHARTS].

Fossil evidence suggests that the Lahontan’s originated in the Columbia River basin of internal Washington and Oregon. Their movement to the south was facilitated by glacial lakes as the great western glaciers melted.

They fed upon native minnows and grew to large sizes. The record fish was caught in Pyramid Lake, Nevada and weighed 41 pounds!

Coho Salmon - Oncorhynchus kisutch

California Overview

Coho salmon were once prevalent in coastal streams from Monterey Bay to Alaska. In the 1940s, California had an estimated 500,000 Coho salmon, a number which has plummeted to one percent or about 5,000 fish today.

Californias Native Wild Trout and Salmon

Trout Unlimited is a national leader in cold-water fishery and watershed protection and restoration. We work with our partners to preserve and protect threatened and endangered fish found in California. Use the links above to learn more about the fish or determine their listing status.

We appreciate the fine pictures that several photographers have made available to us. We are also grateful to Joseph Tomelleri, who has graciously permitted TU to use his beautiful artwork. Please visit his website www.americanfishes.com to learn more about his books and artwork.

San Mateo Creek Survey More Reading San Mateo Creek Survey Date: December 4th, 2003 Participants: Tim Hovey CDFG Biologist Walt Wilson MBCP Biologist Jenny O’Brien CDFG Scientific Aide Purpose: During the spring of 2003, heavy winter storms provided enough rain to open the sand berm at the mouth of San Mateo Creek (SMC). This allowed immigration and emigration opportunities to southern steelhead trout. The prolonged period in which the creek was accessible and the time of year, also created speculation that the opportunity for anadromous upstream migration was promising. Summer snorkel surveys revealed no trout in the larger pools of SMC. Since it has been determined that the original anadromous adults that entered in 1997, spawned in DCC, a survey to determine trout presence was scheduled for this tributary. We decided to wait for a low water period in late fall to survey to allow the fish to obtain a detectable size. Our objective on this survey was to electroshock as much available water on DCC, to determine if adult, anadromous southern steelhead trout entered DCC to spawn. Towards the end of the year, the water level would allow us to shock most of the lower portion of DCC and if spawning occurred, the juveniles would be at an easily detectable size.

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