Teaching kids about the importance of the ecosystems in Northern California waterways has become an important initiative, with one school even offering a fishing class. Now, the Coleman National Fish Hatchery and the Tehama County Fish and Game Commission is bringing a successful “Trout in the Classroom” program in NorCal schools.
In November, four Tehama County schools were trained and handed aquariums to hatch steelhead eggs and watch them grow to infancy. On Thursday, the Tehama County Fish and Game Commission held a day at the Red Bluff Recreation Area where the students released those steelhead into the Sacramento River.
Each class was handed 150-200 eggs and in one classroom, 95 survived. Now, after the fish were released into the Sacramento River, the steelhead will make their long and arduous journey to the ocean and will return in a few years to spawn. Throughout the process, under the supervision of the Tehama County Fish and Game Commission, kids were taught the path of steelhead as they circumnavigate the NorCal waterways to the Pacific Ocean.
Like salmon, steelhead possess the extraordinary ability to sense their native rivers from more than a thousand miles away in the open ocean. When it is time to spawn, they need no directions. Humans have tried and failed to understand this without success, and even the best GPS units cannot compare with a steelhead’s innate ability to find home. Every steelhead knows where home is.
With the success of the Trout in the Classroom at Kirkwood, Evergreen, Antelope and Lassen View elementary schools, officials hope to expand the program, depending on budgets. Those interested in donating to the program or getting more information can call the Redding Fish and Wildlife Field Office at 225-2300.