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New Species of Nonproductive Fish Added to Lake Arrowhead

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:00 am

A single agenda item at the Arrowhead Lake Association’s Board of Directors meeting on March 23 — i.e., Fish Committee — brought a wealth of information to light, from albino to lightning trout and from steelhead to sterile trout.

Brian Hall, chair of the ALA Fish Committee announced that Lake Arrowhead was restocked from the Marina to the Village, through the center of the lake, on March 12. In addition to the excitement of introducing new species of fish, the restocking will help make the 2019 Junior Trout Rodeo on April 13 “the biggest and best yet,” Hall said. 

“We’ve been having a lot of meetings and event preparations,” Hall added.

ALA members with children or grandchildren 15 years and younger will flock to the Junior Rodeo, a popular event for youthful participants and adult spectators.

“A lot of kids will be there,” Hall said, “and they will be looking forward to catching new species such as albino, lightning and steelhead trout.”

Hall noted that there are a lot of steelhead trout in the lake. “It is a subspecies of rainbow trout. It is the same fish, it eats the same diet and has the same DNA,” said Hall, adding, “People who like to fish like the sound of the name ‘steelhead’ better than the name ‘trout.’”

Another new species is the albino, which is another version of rainbow trout. Yet another subspecies of rainbow trout is the lightning trout, a hybridized fish that looks like a rainbow trout. Its bright yellow color ranges to gold tones, and it has a dark pink stripe that runs horizontally along the body.

During the Question and Answer portion of the meeting, real estate agent Clark Haney asked why the lake is stocked with sterile fish. He said the association could save money by stocking fish that reproduce.

Hall explained that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has regulations regarding what fish may be stocked, and under certain conditions, sterile fish are required to ensure that native fish genotypes, as well as endangered or threatened species are protected.

Sterile fish are also known as triploid fish. They have three sets of chromosomes, unlike fertile fish, which have two sets of chromosomes (diploid fish).

According to the CDFW, a triploid fish is not considered to be a genetically modified organism. The genes have not been manipulated or changed, and do not result in the development of any foreign or novel proteins or tissues.

The CDFW produces triploid trout eggs that hatch into fish, are raised in hatcheries, and result in sterilized trout that are transported to freshwater lakes and released for recreational purposes.

The objective is to prevent the introduction or spread of undesirable kinds of fish, animals and plants that could have diseases or parasites. Those might be harmful to aquaculture and to the state’s aquatic resources.

To accomplish that goal, the CDFW code was recently revised to state: No person shall stock any species of fish in any water in which the stocking of such fish is contrary to the fisheries management programs of the department for that water or drainage, or in any water from which such fish might escape to other waters where such fish are not already present.

ALA’s website confirms the association’s compliance: “The fishing at our lake is great! ALA has been a careful steward of our fishery, which is home to our famous rainbow trout, large and small mouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish.” Now it’s time to add albino, lightning and steelhead trout to the list.

Heidi Fron can be reached at

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