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  1. #5
    Senior Member Double Haul's Avatar
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    Re: Walnut Creek back in the day ??

    I started fishing the creek in the early 80’s when I saw twokids walking down Monument Blvd with two 12# salmon and they told me theycaught them in the creek. When I walked down there with rod and some wormsthere were about 15 guys below the drop structure. I threw my worm in andwatched a salmon being caught. Finally a guy felt sorry for me and gave me apiece of yarn. Tie this on and let it sit, he said. Within 10 min I had one on.Fished it for about 25 years. Seen a lot of weird things. Snaggers, the nightsquad with pitch forks. It has always been dirty, trashy and you had to dealwith the homeless.
    There has always been a salmon run in the creek. They usuallyarrive around the first good rain and last to about Dec 1. Most are hatcheryfish strays that follow the fresh water scent. The FG biologist claim they donot spawn, that the temperatures are too high in the summer to support smoltsand that there is no gravel. There is gravel there and they do spawn. Eggshatch within the cool months and the big storms raise they creek and flush outthe smolts.
    Steelhead were lessknown and I had most of the creek to myself, except for a few locals. I’vecaught steelies to 16# on salmon eggs, worms, grass shrimp and later flies.

    There has been talk of restoring the creek and planting vegetationbut flood control only thought of it as a flood control ditch. TerryWilliamson, ex-mayor of Pleasant Hill was very involved. One of the locals namedBryan was conducting experiments through a FG permit spawning salmon in hatching boxes to determineif they could survive. I felt bad because I called CALTIPon him not knowing it was him with a net in the Creek. He later said Concord,Sheriff and a Warden responded and he had a lot of explaining to do. Byran waskilled in a head-on collision about a month later.

    In the 90’s they dredged the lower section of the creek downpast the thread depth and wiped out the thread of the creek. This decimated theruns, especially the steelhead. I was driving past on Willow Pass Rd about two years later andnoticed they were dredging the upper section and digging way too low. I drove downthe road and gave the inspector and grade checker a hard time and demanded tosee the plans. The plans said to grade to 2’ above the water, which they werenot doing. I called Fish and game and had a warden meet me there. He convinced themto leave the grade high enough. Later a County inspector friend became theDirector of Flood Control. I bent his ear quite a bit and educated him on thewildlife and fish that occupy the creek area and he changed the policies tomake the work within the creek more habitat friendly.
    I haven’t been down there in years but heard there are stillsome steelhead returning.

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  3. #4
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    Re: Walnut Creek back in the day ??

    They are still there, at least the steelhead, but in extremely low numbers. I know this because I have seen pictures on the wall of fish at Creative sports fly fishing shop in Pleasant Hill. Can you imagine what the run would have been like up the river before humans settled here. It must have been epic. The story goes that people settled in the Diablo valley area because the salmon fishing was so good as well as the grizzly bear hunting. What a site that must have been.
    D

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  5. #3
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    Re: Walnut Creek back in the day ??

    Quote Originally Posted by wckid View Post
    You did see salmon back then—I saw them also—and I also saw a few snaggers during that time. That area is now mostly a large concrete drainage ditch—and I haven't seen any salmon in the 'ditch' for quite a few years—that doesn't mean a few might 'stray' when there's a good flow of water running in the ditch out to the bay—but there's definitely no 'established' run---as there is no place for them to spawn.
    Bummer. Thanks for the reply. That's what I was afraid of but does not surprise me.

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    Re: Walnut Creek back in the day ??

    You did see salmon back then—I saw them also—and I also saw a few snaggers during that time. That area is now mostly a large concrete drainage ditch—and I haven't seen any salmon in the 'ditch' for quite a few years—that doesn't mean a few might 'stray' when there's a good flow of water running in the ditch out to the bay—but there's definitely no 'established' run---as there is no place for them to spawn.

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  9. #1
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    Walnut Creek back in the day ??

    Hello,

    New to the site.

    Had a little memory flashback, and I got to searching for an answer and came across this webpage.

    I lived in Concord as a kid(1976 to 92), and I use to fish, explore screw around in Walnut Creek near Tower Records. Certain times of the year, I would always see a few, what I think were Steelhead swimming up the stream toward the flood wall/damn. Never caught any, as they were in spawn mode, but did watch a few guys snag them.

    The river wasn't that dirty back then, late 70's and early 80's. I have not been back to the Bay Area in over 25 years, but I can only imagine how dirty the creek is these days, with the huge increase in street runoff, and most likely full of homeless encampments litter and waste.

    Just curious, do the salmon still take the wrong turn, and make it that far? Do you ever see the fish?
    Last edited by Blackfish; 12-05-2018 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Typo

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