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Steve Schalla

Cottonwood Lakes and the Golden Trout

Presentation Date:  December 5th, 2018

 Cottonwood Lakes

If you live in California, you probably have explored the Sierra Nevada Mountains
numerous times. It's a formidable range rising to over 14,000 feet with numerous streams flowing towards the east or the west from the Sierra Crest. An exception to this flow is the Kern River which flows in a southerly direction along a fault line within the midst of these mountains. This exception allowed the possibility of a new species of trout to develop within this mountain range, our California Golden Trout. 

There are actually three subspecies of the Golden Trout, all within the Kern River
watershed. The trout developed over a 70,000 year period yet were almost decimated by the late 1980's through our fish introduction practices. Cottonwood Lakes played a major role in providing Golden Trout throughout the region and the world. Within this program, we will look at the region from a historical view and discuss how Cottonwood Lakes has impacted our freshwater fisheries. This region was also instrumental in how we perceive our natural resources. This is the region that helped to bring the Wilderness Act into effect and allowed us to re-examine how we approach some of our natural resource areas.
Our guest speaker for December is Steve Schalla. Steve is originally from Santa Barbara, where he attended UC Santa Barbara and then transferred to UC Berkeley to study forestry.  After leaving UC Berkeley Steve started several reforestation nurseries that provided tree seedlings to Oregon, Washington and the northwest. 

While in the Northwest he spent many hours fly fishing the Umpqua and Lewis rivers.  He returned to Santa Barbara, where his passion for fly fishing became more serious, and he started a website called ‘Fly Fishing the Sierra’ ( in 2002.  Currently he is developing fishing maps to cover the Sierra Nevada. 

Steve’s program will cover not only the Cottonwood Lakes, but all of the Kern River watershed from which the Golden Trout developed.  His presentation takes a naturalist view of fly fishing with geologic and hydrology aspects thrown in.  There will also be a special holiday raffle that you do not want to miss.

Please join Steve Schalla as he takes us to Cottonwood Lakes and the Golden Trout. See you there… and remember to pursue your fly fishing dreams.

Andy Frumento