The Sacramento River flows from its headwaters above Shasta Dam to the Pacific Ocean through the Delta and out the Golden Gate. It is one of the most diverse and productive fisheries in the world. In this episode we examine the anadromous fishery in particular. Anadromous fish are those that spawn in fresh water but spend most of their lives in the ocean like the imperiled Chinook salmon. But we also check out other species of game fish that live in the river like green sturgeon, striped bass and rainbow trout.
We examine the fishery through the lens of a fish and game biologist and a fishing guide. Jim Smith is the Project Leader for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Bluff office which studies the fishery and manages the fish traps at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam. He's studied the fishery for decades and seen many changes both environmental and political. Mike Rasmussen is a Sacramento River Fishing Guide who has fished the river for decades taking clients out for what is often for them, the experience of a lifetime. Rasmussen has also seen many changes, most of them not for the better, to the river's diverse populations of fish.