LAKE BERRYESSA – Rainbow Trout Release at Markley Cove Resort 

California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc., in partnership with California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, recently released this year’s rainbow trout from the Markley Cove pens.  The trout were in excellent condition, many had doubled their weight and some had even tripled their plant weight.  The fish were in the 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 pound range and were very healthy, feisty and colorful. Sample fish were netted, measured, weighed and released.  CDFW Biologist, Elliott Doss, commented that releasing the fish with cool water conditions, in the 58 degree range, had a positive role on how healthy and active the fish were.  CIFFI volunteers, under the direction of Project Supervisor, Stan Wong, were Brian Givens and John Dorenbecher.

This past January, CDFW delivered approximately 1,100 pounds of rainbow trout, averaging three fish to the pound, to the pens.  The fish live within the pens until they grow to a much larger size, are able to adjust to lake conditions and gradually learn to digest natural food, enabling them to survive on their own after release in the spring.  CIFFI provides the food for the trout during the winter months and the fish are fed by Markley Cove employees.

Lake Berryessa has become one of the finest fisheries in the State through the efforts of CIFFI, a 501-C3 non-profit, and the CDFW.  It began in 1999, when a CIFFI fish-enhancing program financed a four-pen trout rearing facility at the end of Markley Cove Resort.  CDFW also plants the very popular kokanee salmon plus substantial amounts of landlocked king salmon into the lake which in turn, has benefitted the tremendous bass fishery. 

This year drought conditions and hatchery water temperature fluctuations were responsible for the loss of about half of all eggs taken and as a result, just 25,000 kokanee, approximately one-half of the normal plants of recent years, were allocated and planted into Lake Berryessa.  The same difficulties affected chinook salmon and 32,450 have been released into the lake.  The plants of king salmon vary annually, based on quantities of fry in the hatcheries.  When there is an abundance of ocean-destined salmon, CDFW plants the excess in lakes and reservoirs. Rainbow trout plants are scheduled for Lake Berryessa as well as many other lakes in the State during the next few months.  Because of continued involvement and scrutiny by CDFW, Berryessa has become a go-to destination for anglers!

This year, the CIFFI Lake Berryessa fishing derby is slated for Saturday, June 6.  All festivities after the derby – fish weigh-in, prize presentations, huge CIFFI raffle, free kids raffle, food, vendors, beer, wine, boats and guides, music and more, will take place in downtown Winters at Rotary Park, starting at noon.  Put it on your calendar and plan to enjoy a fun “Salute to Summer” Park Party in Winters. This is a free fun event, open to everyone…you are invited!   For more, including derby applications, check or call 209.810.9603.