Take Action: Honor California's South Fork Smith River as Heritage Trout Waters!

Mark Sherwood

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently proposing to designate 25 miles of the upper South Fork Smith River as Heritage Trout Waters, and we hope that you join with us and show your support for this designation.

Supporting the upper South Fork Smith River, located above Black Hawk Bar including South Fork tributaries, as Heritage Trout Waters will help protect and sustain one of California’s best wild, native trout populations while allowing anglers to enjoy one of the state’s most prized wild trout fisheries. Already, the Smith River is highly regarded for its water quality, whitewater recreation and aesthetic beauty, making it one of the crown jewels of the national Wild and Scenic Rivers program.

To add to these accolades, the upper South Fork Smith River is a great choice for the next Heritage Trout Waters designation because it represents a quintessential wild, native population of Coastal Cutthroat Trout (CCT) in Northern California, which is one of the most unique native trout species along the Pacific Coast!

Extensive monitoring by CDFW and other local groups has already been undertaken on this river for years, and the CCT populations have the diversity, uniqueness and resiliency that represent the central mission of the Heritage Trout Waters designation. In addition, the upper South Fork Smith River and its Coastal Cutthroat Trout would be the first California North Coast waters with this prized designation! Follow the Take Action button below to show your support for CDFW to designate it as California’s next Heritage Trout Waters.

Comments can be submitted via our Action Alert until noon on October 14th, or you can attend the next California Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Thursday, October 20th in Eureka, CA to show your support in person during the public testimony.

More about the Heritage Trout Waters Designation:

  • When a river is designated as a Heritage Trout Water, it is recognized as an outstanding self-sustaining fishery, gives an extra layer of protection from future development, and encourages responsible stewardship from anglers to enjoy a prized California fishery.
  • The Heritage Trout Waters Program was started in the 1970s to increase the public's understanding and appreciation of self-sustaining wild fisheries.
  • Today, the program's goal is to build public support for collaborative efforts for native trout restoration and management, while providing anglers with an opportunity to catch wild, native trout is some of the California's best waters.
  • Qualifying criteria for a HTW designation, includes a self-sustaining trout population, that is publicly accessible, aesthetically pleasing, adequate catch rate and/or trophy size trout that provide good angling, no stocking of catchable trout, and have native trout in their historic range.
  • Read more on why the Smith River is a great choice by visiting our Smith River Page.
  • View the list of rivers already designated by CDFW as Heritage and Wild Trout Waters.
  • Visit the California Fish and Game Commission website for information on the next meeting Thursday, Oct. 20, in Eureka, CA.


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