Our Start

Concerned about deteriorating fishing conditions throughout the state, a passionate group of anglers founded California Trout in 1971. CalTrout was the nation’s first statewide conservation group supported by trout and steelhead fishermen. They had a simple mission: to protect and restore wild trout and steelhead waters throughout California.

By 1972, the organization had acquired a few hundred members and delivered two landmark victories:

The California Wild Trout Program
This program was established in partnership with the California Fish and Game Commission (now the California Department of Fish and Game) to protect and enhance quality trout fisheries sustained by natural reproduction. The Program now protects over 1,000 miles of wild trout streams.

The California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
This act was formed to preserve designated rivers possessing extraordinary scenic, recreation, fishery or wildlife values. Today it permanently protects 1,800 miles of free-flowing streams.

These early successes helped Cal Trout gain public recognition and the organization began to grow. With growth came professionalism, a full-time staff, field managers, increased membership, and of course, ongoing accomplishments. But, one thing remained the same – our mission – to protect and restore California’s wild trout, steelhead, salmon and their waters.

Click for a timeline of our Steelhead & Salmon accomplishments.
Click for a timeline of our Imperiled Native Trout accomplishments.
Click for a timeline of our Blue Ribbon Waters accomplishments.