Test run of Sacramento perch dropped into San Diego County lake by DFW

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THIS SACRAMENTO PERCH was caught by WON Managing Editor, Mike Stevens, in the East Walker River just below Bridgeport Reservoir.
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BY MIKE STEVENS

SAN DIEGO – A batch of 37 juvenile Sacramento perch was released in Lindo Lake in eastern San Diego County by Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists in an effort to beef up the numbers of the native species, broaden their range and ultimately, provide a sustainable target for anglers.

Sacramento perch are not a true perch, but the only sunfish native to California, and they are currently listed as endangered. They used to be found all over the Central Valley in relatively low elevations, and they were popular gamefish in that area for a long time. They have since been eliminated from an estimated 90 percent of their native range due to habitat degradation and competition with non-native panfish like bluegill. While few of them exist in their native zone, they can and do thrive in many places they were introduced.

California anglers are familiar with their solid population in Crowley Lake near Mammoth Lakes, and they also inhabit Bridgeport Reservoir with some escapees winding up below the dam in the East Walker River.

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According to the Sac perch intel compiled by the DFW, they are “translocating Sacramento Perch annually between existing populations. The goals of these translocations are to create gene-flow between isolated populations and reduce the risk of inbreeding depression. In coordination with these translocation activities, CDFW is establishing populations in additional waters which can be easily accessed and managed and where fish can be collected for potential use as broodstock (breeding populations). Having reliable access to genetically diverse broodstock will improve species resiliency by allowing CDFW to expand the current range and create new angler opportunities.”

Lindo Lake in Lakeside is the only natural lake in San Diego County, and the DFW will be monitoring and evaluating this first batch of Sac perch with hopes they will prove worthy and able to plant in warmwater locations where trout cannot be stocked.

Once established, Sacramento perch can be caught with the same tactics used for crappie and other panfish.

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