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Sespe Fly Fishers

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Steelhead Habitat Restoration and Tree Planting!


This is an on going project by the Sespe Flyfishers in honor of club member Yvon Chouinard for his life long commitment to conservation.

Recent rains have created ideal conditions for planting. Randy Nelson, Sespe Flyfisher's Conservation Chairman, has contacted Jill Lashly at the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and she has confirmed two volunteer planting dates with OVLC field staff, Destinee and Caitlyn.

The TWO dates scheduled for planting are 9am to noon on:

        - Sunday, December 22, 2019
        - FRIDAY, January 10, 2020 <- click here for more info

NEED: 10 volunteers for each planting event.

     - We will plant a total of 20 five gallon live oaks and 134 one gallon native shrubs.
     - Bring Hat, boots, gloves and water.
     - Digging tools will be provided by OVLC.

Please RSVP to Randy Nelson at

This event was made possible by a grant from FLY FISHERS INTERNATIONAL and the Southwest Council FFI



The Sespe Fly Fishers are very pleased to be the recipients of a $1500 grant from Fly Fishers International this Spring. The multiple-page grant request was submitted by SFF Conservation Chair Randy Nelson who worked for the application for several days.

The funds will be used to help Sespe Fly Fishers, in partnership with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, to restore the habitat of the endangered Southern California Steelhead along several tributary streams of the Ventura River. Current restoration projects focus on re-vegetation of the active channels and floodplains and removal of invasive plant species. This is an ongoing project that was originated by the club to honor Yvon Chouinard's dedication to conservation everywhere.

Sespe Fly Fishers was awarded grants for habitat Restoration in Spring of 2012, Spring of 2013, Fall of 2014, and Spring of 2015. The drought caused a delay in reapplication.

Randy Nelson said that the planting schedule will be up to Mother Nature in 2019. “The ideal time to plant is after the rainy season starts so I wouldn’t expect to be working with OVLC until at the earliest in November 2019, possibly later. I hope we get a good volunteer turn when the time comes.”

  Chouinard Tree Planting Project | 2016

An Annual event that takes place in the Spring - Sespe Fly Fishers with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) - Chouinard grove tree planting is located at the OVLC Ventura Steelhead Preserve. Preserve is located 3/4 mile past Foster Park on Santa Ana Road towards Lake Casitas. This event is sponsored by a $1500 grant from the International Fly Fishing Federation.


 Tree Planting Crew | 2016


Gary Hibner, Debbie Sharpton, Paul Wilson, Bruce Hunter, and Gary Bulla
They were a little short handed at this year’s tree planting but still managed to get 105 plants in the ground. This year we got help from the Southwest Council FFF too. Debbie Sharpton with Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers and SWCFFF conservation Chairwoman drove up from LA to plant trees with us. 
February, 2016 Tree Planting
The 2016 tree planting at the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) Steelhead Preserve was a great day for those that attended.  The ground was moist and soft and the planting was done in less than two hours.  We planted 40 more Coastal Oaks (Quercus agrifola).  To our dismay, only one tree survived from last year due to the drought and gopher damage. Our focus this time was for better survival so we insisted on better watering follow-up, monitoring and protective cages.  Jill Lashley, the OVLC restoration coordinator was well prepared and worked with us. She and Bruce will follow up on the watering this year after the rainy season passes.  Our tree planters included: Bob Gallagher, Allen Krahenbuhl, Chris May, Carl Rhoads, Jeff Hereford, Steve Schalla and Bruce Hunter.  The plants and cage expenses were covered by the balance of a $1500 grant received in 2015 from the Fly Fishing Federation (FFF). Planting was postponed until we had some decent rain.

Now that we have another $900 grant from the FFF. There will be another planting this Fall, probably on the Rice creek preserve near Meiners Oaks.  OVLC has many volunteer events all year, so watch their calendar at and do what you can to help them with their work near the Ventura river and San Antonio creek.
The trees were planted inside a basket of light, ungalvanized chicken wire to protect the young roots.  A patch of foil was applied around the main stem just under the mulch to deter rodents from girding the plant.

Ventura River Ecosystem | March 2016
Matilija Dam stakeholders select local project

On March 17, 2016, the Matilija Dam "Design Oversight Group" met to determine consensus around one of the three alternatives in the AECOM/Stillwater reports and how to move the project forward. Following a long discussion, the issue was put to a vote. The result was almost unanimously (95%) in favor of Dam Removal Concept 2: 0 votes (3 backup) - DRC-1 Containment berm with high flow bypass = $40M 18 votes (1 backup) - DRC-2 Uncontrolled orifices with optional gates = $18.5/$20.4M 1 vote (1 backup) - DRC-3 Temporary upstream storage = $50M

This outcome was not unexpected, given the discussion during the previous meeting last September. However, this is a very significant decision in that marks a departure from almost 15 years of discussion in which sediment was seen as damaging to both local interests and the river, and in which the Corps of Engineers was perceived as the only path to funding the project. This vote included the local water districts, the City of Ventura, resource agencies including NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, State Dept of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, as well as Matilija Coalition member organizations. T

his method of releasing sediment through a low level outlet was demonstrated on Condit Dam in 2011. The project selected is by far the most cost effective means to remove Matilija Dam, and is free from congressional roadblocks. However, despite less than $20M cost for dam removal, the total price tag will likely include tens of millions more in downstream projects previously determined necessary to accommodate restored sediment flows down the river. The next step is to identify and secure funding to complete the necessary engineering and environmental permitting to get the project "shovel ready."

This work will likely take another couple of years. In the mean time, Patagonia has been appointed to lead a funding subcommittee to help secure funding for project implementation. more: Paul Jenkin Surfrider Foundation - Ventura Campaign Coordinator 805-205-4953 web:


Klamath Dam, Coming Down!


Opens 400+ miles of spawning and rearing habitat for fish

Klamath Dam
Klamath, Calif. – Today in this remote, rural community near the mouth of the Klamath River, representatives from the States of California and Oregon, the federal government and dam owner PacifiCorp signed an amendment to the historic Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Agreement.

The amended KHSA provides a path forward for the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River. At the same time, conservation and fishing groups and agricultural leaders also recommitted to a basin-wide solution for water sharing, water supply infrastructure, and habitat restoration with a new Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement.

Curtis Knight, CalTrout's Executive Director, issued the following statement, “Salmon and steelhead will finally have the chance to go home after decades of blocked passage caused by these aging dams. But what’s still unclear is what they will find when they get there. California Trout remains committed to working with all of the settlement parties to support both local economic activity and essential habitat restoration along streams and creeks throughout the Klamath Basin.”

 CDFW Measures for Fisheries at Risk Due to Drought Conditions is Now in Place


Debbie Sharpton | Conservation Chair | SWC-IFFF

The State Office of Administrative Law has posted this emergency rule making. It is effective as of July 2 and will expire on December 30, 2015. I called the hotline number and there are currently no closures, however I would advise checking it before going to questionable waters. Here is link to the full regulation:
The following is the excerpt on where to find a list of closed waters. The department shall maintain a list of closed waters of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1:00 pm. In the event that water conditions change later in the week, the fishing status for each specific water will not change until the day following the next Wednesday.

It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number provided below or go to the department’s website at:  to obtain the current status of any water. The number to call for information is (916) 445-7600.