Mad River Steelhead Stewards

Who are the Mad River Steelhead Stewards Volunteer Anglers? Founded in 2015, the Mad River Steelhead Stewards is a volunteer angler program that assists in catching and providing natural broodstock steelhead to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) Mad River Hatchery in Blue Lake.  The Stewards under the guidance and supervision of the CDFW and Mad River Hatchery operate from December 15 until March. Under the conditions of the hatchery’s Genetic Management Plan (GMP), the conservation goal is to incorporate natural fish into the hatchery’s breeding program to increase genetic diversity. The Stewards were successful in tubing 152 steelhead. 98 of those tubed fish with adipose fins were determined to be Natural-Origin Returners or (NOR) steelhead.

With the help of the Stewards, CDFW was able to release 150,000 smolts into the river in March, 2020. If you would like to help the Mad River Steelhead Stewards, please contact the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife office at 50 Ericson Court, Arcata, CA 95521 or (707) 825-4859 to find out how you can become a Steward. You can also reach out to Steward liaison and North Coast Region Rep, Kenny Priest for more information at seven-o-seven 496-8671.

The Mad River Steelhead Derby donates a portion of the proceeds to the Stewards program in the form of fish holding tubes, fish water bags, landing nets and more. If you would like to donate items to help the Stewards, contact the Steward liaison and North Coast Region Rep, Kenny Priest for more information at seven-o-seven 496-8671.

Note: Anglers who catch a steelhead with an intact adipose fin may donate their fish to a Steward on the river if a holding tube is nearby.

Read an article about the Stewards in Outdoor California Magazine, click here for PDF.

The MRSStewards would like to thank NCGASA’s Mad River Steelhead Derby for purchasing the fish holding tubes from Hilfiker Pipe Co., in Eureka. These lightweight, black, plastic, tubes are easy to haul down to the river bar. If you would like to donate some tube materials to the Stewards broodstock program, give Hilfiker Pipe a call at (707) 443-5091.

The Mad River Hatchery is located at 1660 Hatchery Road, Arcata, CA 95521. Phone (707) 822-0592 or email Visiting Hours are 7am to 3pm, but subject to change due to Covid-19 restrictions. For a MAP of the Mad River, click here and search for the town of Blue Lake, CA.

Part of the Mad River Steelhead Derby proceeds helped purchase new fish tube materials for the Mad River Steelhead Stewards in 2020.

Published by Mad River Steelhead Derby

A hatchery steelhead fishing derby on the Mad River in Blue Lake, CA