REDDING — Aerial trout planting has begun in some remote areas of Northern California, despite concerns the trout might be eating the tadpoles of a rare amphibian.
Original plans called for up to three years of study before stocking was resumed, a decision that angered some anglers. They feared fishing would be seriously hampered if the plantings stopped.
The state Department of Fish and Game reconsidered after a preliminary review of the Cascade frog population.
“On first blush, it looked like the Cascade frog was doing pretty well,” said department spokesman Paul Wertz.
Now the study will proceed simultaneously, as three-member crews begin surveying wilderness lakes next week looking for the frog, he said.
The department began dropping trout by airplane Monday into the Coast Range, Siskiyou Mountains, Trinity Alps and Trinity Divide regions, and the Caribou, Marble Mountains, Salmon-Scott Mountains, Thousand Lakes Trinity Divide, Golden Russian and Yolla Bolly wilderness areas.
By contrast, the department will take several more weeks to decide which lakes to stock in the Sierra Nevada, home of the yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad. Both amphibians are candidates for the endangered species list.
“I would guess a large portion will be delayed and not planted this year,” said department spokesman Jack Edwards.
Dry, hot conditions in Northern California also have prompted the department to halt trout releases at some regularly stocked lakes and waterways.