Salmonid Fishery Resources

The Van Duzen River supports important populations Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho salmon (O. kisutch), winter run and summer run steelhead, and resident rainbow trout (O. mykiss) and coastal cutthroat trout (O. clarkii). Streams in the Lower and Yager Creek subbasins provide the largest amount of Chinook and coho salmon habitat of all the subbasins. Steelhead are the most widely distributed anadromous salmonid in the basin. Table 1 lists streams in the Van Duzen Basin that support salmonids.

Salmon Falls, located approximately at River Mile (RM) 38 and approximately 7.5 miles below the confluence of the South Fork and Mainstem Van Duzen is a natural barrier to upstream passage of Chinook and coho. Adult steelhead are the only anadromous salmonid that consistently migrate above Salmon Falls to populate the South Fork Van Duzen River. Steelhead migration on the Mainstem Van Duzen River is blocked at a Eaton Falls located (~RM 46) and just above the confluence with the S.F Van Duzen.

A resident trout population exists above Eaton Falls on the upper Van Duzen mainstem and its tributaries as well as other streams of the basin. Prior to 1964 the resident rainbow trout fishery in the upper mainstem was very popular with sportfishers.

Coastal Cutthroat are known to occur in only a few streams located in the Yager and Lower subbasins. Very few coastal cutthroats have been observed in recent fish sampling efforts. These data suggest that coastal Cutthroats may be the least abundant salmonid species in the Van Duzen Basin.

Anadromous salmonid populations have declined in numbers and distribution throughout the Van Duzen Basin. A similar decline has been observed in most of California’s streams, prompting coho, Chinook and steelhead of the Van Duzen Basin to be listed as “threatened” under the state and federal endangered species acts. A number of factors have been noted as contributors to the decline in salmonids, but degradation of freshwater habitat needed for adult spawning and juvenile rearing is considered a leading cause for declining populations.

Anadromous salmonid distribution in the Van Duzen Basin

Yager Subbasin Streams


P = Present   H = Historically Present   RT = Rainbow Trout
Subbasin and Streams Steelhead Cutthroat Chinook Coho
Bell Creek P      
Blanton Creek P      
Booths Run Creek        
Cooper Mill P   P  
Corner Creek P     H
Dairy Creek P     H?
Fish Creek P   P  
Grouse Creek        
Lawrence Creek P P   P
Lone Star Creek P      
Shaw Creek P   P P
Strawberry Creek P     P
Yager Main Stem P P P P
Yager Middle Fork P   P  
Yager North Fork P   P  
Yager South Fork P   P  

Lower Subbasin Streams


P = Present   H = Historically Present   RT = Rainbow Trout
Subbasin and Streams Steelhead Cutthroat Chinook Coho
Barber Creek P     H?
Cuddeback Creek P   P  
Cummings Creek P   P P
Fielder Creek     P  
Fox Creek RT P    
Flanigan Creek        
Grizzly Creek P   P P
Heley Creek P P P P
Jordan Creek P      
Root Creek P   P H
Stevens Creek P      
Wilson Creek P   P H
Wolverton Gulch ?     H

Middle Subbasin Streams


P = Present   H = Historically Present   RT = Rainbow Trout
Subbasin and Streams Steelhead Cutthroat Chinook Coho
Brown Creek P     H?
Cashlapooda No Fish      
Fish Creek P      
Hoagland Creek P,RT      
Little Larabee Creek P   H  
Rutledge Creek RT      
Van Duzen Mainstem P   H P

Upper Subbasin Streams


P = Present   H = Historically Present   RT = Rainbow Trout
Subbasin and Streams Steelhead Cutthroat Chinook Coho
Bear Creek P      
Big Meadow RT      
Black Lassic Creek No Fish      
Blanket Creek P      
Brown’s Canyon Creek RT      
Burr Creek ?      
Butte Creek P      
Butte Creek trib        
Crook’s Creek RT      
Dolores Creek        
Horse Creek P,RT      
Lost Canyon Creek        
Mill Creek RT      
Panther Creek P      
Swift Creek        
Thompson Creek RT      
Van Duzen Main Stem P P P P
Van Duzen South Fork P,RT