Sacramento Birch Credit: Travis VanZant/CDFW
September 11, 2023 – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in partnership with the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department introduced Sacramento perch to Lake Lindo in an effort to establish the first Sacramento perch population in Southern California and create a unique fishing opportunity in urban areas of the future.
Thirty-seven juvenile Sacramento perch collected from Bridgeport Reservoir in Mono County were transported to Lindo Lake Provincial Park and released August 10 into the recently restored and renovated East Basin of Lindo Lake. This is the second stocking of Sacramento perch in Lake Lindo as thousands of Sacramento perch larvae were released there last year. CDFW will conduct additional fish transfers from Bridgeport over the next two years to supplement the Lake Lindow fishery. Watch the process of collecting Sacramento perch from Bridgeport Reservoir (video).(Opens in a new tab)
The Sacramento perch is the only native sunfish species in California and the only native sunfish west of the Rocky Mountains. The Sacramento perch, found abundantly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Clear Lake in northern California, has been displaced from its historic range as a result of competition with non-native sunfish, including the greengill and green sunfish, which have been widely introduced to California. In the early twentieth century.
Today, the Sacramento perch is considered a “species of particular concern” in California, found in only about two dozen isolated waters mostly in remote parts of Northern California and along the Eastern Sierra. Where they occur in large numbers, particularly in Lake Crowley and Bridgeport Reservoir in Mono County, Sacramento perch support popular sport fisheries and are especially prized for their good table food. The record Sacramento perch was caught in Lake Crowley in 1979 and weighed 3 pounds, 10 ounces.
“We are grateful to San Diego County for welcoming this unique native species to Southern California and Lindow Lake County Park specifically.” said Max Fish, CDFW’s senior ecologist. “This is an exciting introduction and is part of a broader three-year effort. “We are working to ensure that our existing Sacramento perch populations continue to thrive, enhancing genetics where we can, and we are looking to expand the range in terms of conservation populations as well as establishing recreational fisheries New.”
Although the Sacramento perch struggles to coexist with non-native sunfish, this species can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and thrive where many other fish species cannot, including waters with high alkalinity, salinity, and temperatures. Cold and warm temperatures, making the Sacramento perch a fish. A good candidate for establishing sport fisheries in some urban park ponds and communities that are historically underserved by CDFW’s fish farming efforts.
Lake Lindo is currently closed to recreational fishing to give Sacramento perch time to establish a self-sustaining population and grow to a catchable size. Recreational fishing plans at Lake Lindo also include stocking rainbow trout in the winter and catfish in the summer.
Lake Lindo is the only natural lake in San Diego County. In the 1960s, a dam was built upstream to block fresh water from flowing into Lake Lindo from Quail Creek. For several decades, the lake’s primary water sources have been a combination of well water, urban runoff, and rainwater. Sedimentary deposits, pollution, and rising temperatures have significantly reduced water depth and water quality over time. A long-term revitalization project was launched in 2020 to improve Lake Lindo, starting with the 12-acre semi-arid eastern basin, where Sacramento perch were released.
Among other improvements to Lake Lindo, nearly 100,000 cubic yards of sediment were removed, deepening the lake bottom to 10 feet. 48-inch diameter culverts were constructed to connect the east and west basins for optimal water circulation, and 100 dedicated fish habitat structures such as tree shelters, gravel placement areas, rock reefs and spawning tubes were installed to support fish growth and population recovery.
The same week that Sacramento perch were added to Lake Lindo, CDFW executed a number of other transfers that included about 300 fish in total. Sacramento perch were collected from the Biscard Reservoir in Lassen County and transferred to the Bridgeport Reservoir while the Sacramento perch collected from the Bridgeport Reservoir were brought to the Biscard Reservoir to improve the genetic diversity of both populations. Forty-three fish from Biscar Reservoir and Bridgeport Reservoir were also transferred to a pond in Yolo County to help re-establish the species within its historic range in the Sacramento Valley. CDFW will supplement the Yolo County pond with additional fish over the coming years to ensure a diverse genetic basis.
Like most sunfish species, the Sacramento perch is incredibly fertile, and a female Sacramento perch can lay between 10,000 and 100,000 eggs from a single mating.