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Millions of fish are nurtured at this Ventura County hatchery every year

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Caroline Feraday
/
KCLU
The Fillmore Hatchery supplies around a million fish a year

We have dozens of places to go freshwater fishing on the Central and South Coasts.

Andy and Isela Murillo hope their two sons will grow up with a love for fishing. Max is 5 and Jeremy is 4-years-old, and they’ve brought them here, to Fillmore fish hatchery, to inspire them by seeing where many of the fish in our lakes start life.

Max has an opportunity to feed the fish, and estimates there to be "a hundred thousand" fish in the man-made streams.

In fact, there are many more, Shawn Fedrow - the manager of the hatchery - told KCLU. There are around one and a half million, ranging in size from 1 inch to 14 or 15 inches.

The hatchery is open to the public, and was one of the first warm water hatcheries constructed in California to produce catchable sized trout.

It’s grown since opening in 1942, when it started with 30 ponds – to now having four 1,000 foot concrete raceways.

Above the concrete raceways is a large net cage - and on the outside is a curious and hungry heron, looking for a gap.

"Without that net we'd probably lose about 200,000 fish a year just to birds at night," Fedrow told KCLU. "It's a big buffet for predators."

The Fillmore Hatchery stocks fish in 10 counties, from Kern to Orange, San Luis Obispo and Ventura for recreational fishing.

"We raise these fish for recreational opportunities, for the public to catch when they are out fishing. A lot of people keep them and cook them up for dinner," said Fedrow.

Climate impacts, coupled with human water demand and management and legacy land use practices, have devastated California’s salmon and steelhead populations in recent years.

Many of these populations are listed under the California and federal Endangered Species Acts due to drastic declines in recent decades.

California Governor Newsom released his Water Supply Strategy on Thursday, which is intended to guide and improve the state’s ability to adapt to a hotter, drier future, but some Fish Conservation Groups say the new Water Supply Strategy for California doesn’t do enough to help vanishing salmon, steelhead, and other cold-water species.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.