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Trout, steelhead removed from Calif. hatcheries amid drought

| Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 7:45 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Workers evacuated rainbow trout on Tuesday from a hatchery on the American River as part of rescue efforts prompted by concerns that California's drought will increase water temperatures and kill the fish.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife was using tanker trucks to remove trout from the American River Hatchery and have been taking fingerling steelhead from an adjacent hatchery, spokesman Andrew Hughan said.

The hatcheries are located about 20 miles east of Sacramento. The fish will be released at a much younger age and smaller size than usual.

The operation, which has been going on for several weeks, will continue on Wednesday. In total, about 2 million fish, including 430,000 fingerling steelhead, are being released months before they normally would.

“The set of circumstances dictated that we take this fairly drastic action,” Hughan said.

The evacuation is the latest effort to save fish during the dry conditions.

Millions of young Chinook salmon have been trucked to the ocean to spare them the dangers of migrating through depleted rivers and streams. In addition, state regulators have shut down recreational angling on portions of the American and Russian rivers because of concerns about salmon and steelhead trout.

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