Endangered Steelhead Swim Up Casitas’ Fish La dder
Casitas Water District press release: February 1, 2008 Ron Merckling Public Information Officer
Endangered Steelhead Swim Up Casitas’ Fish Ladder
Oak View, California - Recent rains have enticed endangered steelhead trout to make a spawning run up the Ventura River. On Thursday January 31, 2008 the first adult steelhead of the year was detected by new camera’s installed at Casitas’ Robles Fish Passage Facility, a fish ladder completed in December of 2004 to allow steelhead to swim upstream on the Ventura River.
Scott Lewis, Casitas’ Fisheries Biologist, said, “Preliminary results indicate the first adult steelhead swam past our fish counter at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. The fish was estimated to be about 21 inches long.” Lewis determined that this fish is likely a steelhead by reviewing photos taken of the fish, as it passed through the Robles Fish Passage Facility, and comparing characteristics known to be associated with adult steelhead. “This is exciting news that we have been able to identify steelhead utilizing our fish ladder,” stated Lewis. A second adult steelhead was spotted at 2:45 a.m. this Friday and was estimated to be approximately 25 inches long. Casitas will continuously be monitoring the fish passage for any additional steelhead migration occurring on the Ventura River. A 13-inch rainbow trout was also recorded at about 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning.
Steelhead are rainbow trout that migrate to the ocean to grow much larger from abundant ocean food sources and return to freshwater to spawn. After spending one to two years in freshwater, the juvenile fish migrate downstream to the ocean were they spend 1-2 years growing to adults. The rainbow trout, on the other hand, will spend their entire lives in fresh water and spawn when they become adults.