The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the Angler’s Guide to the California Heritage Trout Challenge, a new online tool for those interested in fishing for California’s heritage trout. The guide provides anglers with detailed information on how to complete the Heritage Trout Challenge, including information about where to catch native trout, identification tips and a history of habitat restoration efforts.
Created in 2003, the Heritage Trout Challenge promotes California’s unique opportunity to pursue one of the most diverse assemblages of native trout found in the United States. Over the millennia, 12 unique trout types evolved to inhabit California.
Over the past 14 years, CDFW has provided customized certificates to anglers who successfully caught and photographed at least six different California native trout from their historic drainages.
The program recently hit a milestone as Christy Seifert of Citrus Heights became the 300th angler to complete the Heritage Trout Challenge.
“This experience has turned me and my fishing group into trout nerds,” Seifert said. “Now we can’t stop trying to catch more and more different species of wild trout in new places.”
Some anglers take the challenge even further by catching all of the recognized native trout in California and earning the title of Master Angler.
“Being associated with the challenge and the anglers that have completed it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” said Roger Bloom, CDFW environmental program manager and creator of the Heritage Trout Challenge. “Hopefully this guide will provide inspiration, along with information, to help anglers complete the challenge and create their own native trout angling memories.”
CDFW invites anglers, families and friends to take the challenge. Through the process, anglers will hopefully explore new waters and enjoy the diverse fishing opportunities in California. Anglers are encouraged to research and explore the waterways where these trout live, as the learning process is key to the challenge. CDFW Heritage and Wild Trout Program staff is available to answer questions and offer tips. Most are anglers themselves and enjoy assisting others in their pursuit of the challenge.