Listen to California Trout's Fish Water People Podcast!

At CalTrout, we work hard every day to restore California’s freshwater ecosystems and to keep them healthy for years to come, but we don’t do it alone. Fish Water People highlights the individuals who make our work possible, at CalTrout and beyond. We talk about the science, policy, restoration, community engagement, and more that goes into making the changes we want to see in the world, and of course, the occasional fish story.


You can find our podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever else you listen to podcasts.

Your Host: CalTrout Executive Director Curtis Knight

I’m Curtis Knight, Executive Director of California Trout, and your host on our new podcast, Fish Water People. You may know about our work to ensure healthy waters and resilient wild fish for a better California, but there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes and we want to talk about it! From science to legislation, large scale restoration to fostering equity within conservation, CalTrout does a lot - but we don’t do it alone!  I can’t wait to sit down and talk with the folks who share CalTrout’s vision for healthy fish, waters, and people. Join us wherever you listen to podcasts!


Cover photo: Patrick Sheehan


Latest Episode:

A Historic Win for Southern Steelhead: Understanding the Endangered Listing, with Dr. Sandra Jacobson and Redgie Collins

Step into the spotlight with Southern steelhead! These iconic fish are making headlines from Politico to the LA Times, but what’s behind the buzz? Dive into the latest episode of the Fish Water People podcast, where Dr. Sandra Jacobson, CalTrout’s South Coast and Sierra Headwaters Regional Director, and Redgie Collins, CalTrout’s Legal and Policy Director, explore the landmark decision to list Southern steelhead as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act.


Journey from CalTrout’s role in spearheading the petition to the unanimous Fish and Game Commission vote, unraveling the critical role of science, policy, and community support in securing protections for these iconic fish. Together, we’ll uncover the decision’s significance, its impact on California’s waterways, and the challenges posed by fish passage barriers. Our collective efforts in habitat restoration, dam removal, and legislative action culminated in this groundbreaking milestone. Join us in celebrating this triumph and charting the path forward for conservation efforts, while uncovering fun Southern steelhead facts along the way! Hint: steelhead are one of the only living organisms to change their gene expression to tolerate both salt water and freshwater environments!


Season 2

Explore more episodes from Season 2 of the Fish Water People podcast.


Episode 4:

Breaking Barriers: Inside the Klamath Dam Removal Project, with Mark Bransom

Ever wondered what it takes to orchestrate a river’s rebirth? Join Fish Water People podcast host and CalTrout Executive Director, Curtis Knight, as he dives into the latest updates on the monumental Klamath River dam removal and restoration project. In this special short-tape episode, Curtis welcomes Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, back to the show to discuss recent developments in the removal of dams along the Klamath River. From breaching dams to managing sediment flow, Mark provides an insider’s perspective on the challenges and triumphs of this once-in-a-lifetime restoration endeavor. Don’t miss out on this riveting journey of resilience and renewal of one of California’s most iconic rivers!





Episode 3: Win-Wins for Rivers and Ranches, with Mike Belchik and Gareth Plank

How can conservation groups, Tribes, and ranchers come together to create healthier watersheds? Hear from CalTrout Mt. Shasta/Klamath Regional Director Damon Goodman, Yurok Tribe Senior Fisheries Biologist Mike Belchik, and Farmers Ditch Company member Gareth Plank on how the three groups work together to realize a better future for the Scott River Valley. The Scott River, one of the largest Klamath River tributaries, is a crucial source of water for farms and ranches. The river also provides unique and highly productive habitat for fish including Chinook salmon, federally threatened coho salmon, steelhead, and Pacific lamprey, all of which the Yurok Tribe depends on for sustenance and ceremony. In recent years, fish numbers have declined on the Scott, due in large part to the extended drought, legacy environmental damage from the gold mining era, and disease outbreaks in the main-stem Klamath. In 2023, CalTrout, the Yurok Tribe, and Farmers Ditch Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding for collaborative work that envisions a future where salmon populations and family farms both flourish. The primary objectives of the partnership are to restore salmon habitat and improve on-farm water use efficiency on the main-stem Scott River.



Episode 2: Science's Role in the Story of Recovery, with Stephanie Carlson and Gabe Rossi

Life history diversity in salmon and trout populations is crucial to building resilience - especially in a rapidly changing environment. But what is life history diversity all about? And how can scientific research leave the lab and inform actual on-the-ground recovery actions? We talk with UC Berkeley and CalTrout collaborators Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., and Gabe Rossi about science's role in the story of recovery and restoration as an action to unlock life history diversities for fish. We zoom in to the Eel River where salmon have faced incredible adversity and yet are still showing up, and we explore applied science, CalTrout and UC Berkeley's collaboration in the watershed, and optimism for a return to abundance. Darren Mierau, CalTrout's North Coast Regional Director, also joins the conversation to discuss his team's work in the Eel River watershed with Cal Poly Humboldt to understand non-native pikeminnow as a threat to salmonids and the team's efforts to suppress this non-native predator population.



Episode 1: Stories of Abundance, with Obi Kaufmann

What does art have to do with salmon? And how can we use art as a tool and practice to improve and better understand the natural world around us? We talk with renowned artist, writer, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann about how art as a form of storytelling can hold the key to a better future for all of us. We explore stories of abundance, myths, science, and history in our quest to unravel California's complex relationship with and reliance upon fresh water.


More episodes coming soon! 

Stay tuned as the Fish Water People podcast continues with more conversations with people from around the state and beyond.

The Fish Water People podcast is brought to you by California Trout and Bridget Shaw and Drew Alvarez at Pusher Media with music from Wilco.



Season 1

Explore more episodes from Season 1 of the Fish Water People podcast.


Episode 1: California's North Coast, with Congressman Huffman

Fish Water People podcast host and CalTrout Executive Director Curtis Knight sits down with Congressman Jared Huffman to talk Governor Newsom’s Executive Order in the delta, the Potter Valley hydroelectric project, restoration work at Redwood Creek, the Yurok Tribe, California condors, and so much more. How do all of these topics intertwine with CalTrout’s work? We journey through the redwoods to find out. CalTrout Regional Director Darren Mierau also joins.



Episode 2: Nature-Based Solutions, with Felicia Marcus

Our planet is changing drastically, but while nature is throwing a lot at us, it's also an amazing source of solutions if we take the time to learn how natural processes can aid in climate-change mitigation. Plus, nature-based solutions are often cheaper and come with a whole host of benefits that traditional infrastructure lacks. We talk with climate expert Felicia Marcus, an attorney, consultant, and founding member of the Water Policy Group, a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration, and the William C. Landreth visiting fellow at Stanford University's Water in the West Program. CalTrout Associate Director of Policy Analise Rivero also joins the conversation as we discuss California water rights, a topic that will impact us all.



Episode 3: A Year of Fishing in California, with George Revel

Fish Water People podcast host and CalTrout Executive Director Curtis Knight talks about all the great fishing to be had every month in California with George Revel, owner of Lost Coast Outfitters and long-time CalTrout Board of Directors member. George is a three-time National Fly Fishing Champion, rod designer, FFF Master Certified Fly Casting Instructor, and Past President of the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Company. Plus, Fly Fishing Ambassador and renown Trout Camp caretaker Craig Ballenger shares stories about CalTrout's Trout Camp from the very beginning to current day. Did you know there just might be buried treasure amidst the trees, beauty and fishing spots there? 



Episode 4: Undamming the Klamath: A Deep Dive, with Amy Cordalis and Mark Bransom

History is being made right now on the Klamath River. By the end of 2024, four Klamath River dams will be removed — the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. history. We talk with Amy Cordalis, a member of the Yurok tribe, about tribal empowerment, what a restored Klamath River means to native people, and her optimism for the future. Mark Bransom of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation also joins the conversation to walk us through the dam removal process, what we can expect from sediment release from the reservoirs, and post dam removal restoration activities. Join us for this deep dive into the Klamath with an extended episode of the Fish Water People podcast.



Episode 5:

What Water Wants, with Erica Gies and Nick Bouwes

How are people around the world interacting with water? We talk with award-winning journalist and National Geographic Explorer Erica Gies about her book “Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge”. In the Netherlands, we explore how the Dutch are helping to lead the way on progressive floodplain management techniques. In the Central Valley, we touch on how climate change is influencing groundwater supplies. We also bring beavers into the conversation! Nick Bouwes, an aquatic ecologist, shares his experiences at the forefront of efforts to re-introduce beavers back into watersheds here in the Western U.S.



Episode 6: Managing Natural Resources, with Wade Crowfoot and Jacob Katz

California is a national and global leader for environmental solutions. But how does resource management in California actually work? We talk with the person who leads it all, California's Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, to find out how California approaches resource management and how the state tackles key priority areas including water, climate change, and outdoor access for all. Beyond California, we explore international conservation initiatives including the 30x30 initiative which strives to conserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030. CalTrout Senior Scientist Jacob Katz also joins the conversation as we explore the Sacramento Valley floodplains and the important sources of fish food that these natural landscapes can provide when activated.


Share Your Voice

Water touches all of us in both practical and magical ways. What's your relationship with water? What makes California’s rivers and waterways special to you? Let us know! To have your voice featured on an upcoming episode of the show, record a voice memo and email it to

The Fish Water People podcast is brought to you by California Trout and Bridget Shaw and Drew Alvarez at Pusher Media with music from Wilco.


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