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History Of The McCloud River And The Transportation Of The McCloud River Rainbow Worldwide. Tales Of A Wintu Who?
The History Of The McCloud River Rainbow World Transportation
The McCloud River is one of California’s most unique rivers. Not only is it unique in its turquoise color, but the McCloud River flows some 20 miles by underground lava tubes referred to as “aquifers” fed from glaciers inside Mount Shasta, the tallest profile in North America. The towns of Mount Shasta, Weed, Dunsmuir & McCloud all get their water from tubes that run into the towns and drawn into the homes. No treatment, no need, it’s pure water that never sees the light of day until it comes out of your faucet.
That’s why we live here! Clean air, clean water, we are at the top of the food chain for water in California, that’s Mount Shasta!
My favorite ice cube on Earth.
(Base elevation of 3000+ to 14,162 feet – 11,000 vertical feet.)
Sacred to anyone who lays eyes on her stunning beauty, she feeds more, and has given more, than anyone who has ever set foot in California.
Lower Falls On The McCloud Rivers is a special place as the McCloud drainage starts out as balsalt bedrock but as the river winds down into the Nature Conservancy waters, it changes to a bedrock base of Serpentine (California State Rock.)
The Big Springs on the Upper McCloud River is where the McCloud River gains 1/3 of its total flows before emptying out into the McCloud Reservoir. That’s pure water folks, at its finest, coming out of those lava tubes, this is how the now extinct Bull Trout were able to survive in their day on the McCloud River.
The coveted McCloud River Rainbow, the most celebrated trout on Earth and a trout that carries several passport stamps as the countries of Chile, Argentina, New Zealand & Australia as well as every continent on our wonderful planet had McCloud River Rainbows transported to their rivers one time or another. Even my old pal Pete Gordon from Cornwall England commented as a former retired game warden on our last trip together in Chile that he knew McCloud River Rainbows from Northern California were stocked in rivers throughout England and the British Isles.
Middle Falls On the Upper McCloud found near Fowlers Campground is a very dramatic waterfall that is only rivaled by Burney Falls in our local area.
Actor Pete Cambor, out on the McCloud River in August of 2016 enjoying the amazing scenes and the turquoise water colors with wife Erin, he commented that this could be one of the most beautiful rivers in the world as he landed another trout on a dry fly.
President Ulysses S. Grant 1871, signing into legislation the United States 1st Fish Commission. After the Civil War many rivers and streams on the East Coast were being over harvested of the Atlantic Salmon. Many canneries over harvested as land owners were damming for lumber or netting up most of the New England rivers and the salmon numbers suffered. So Grant hired the 1st Fish Commissioner of The United States Spencer Baird to address these issues. Spencer Baird was a very intelligent man he knew the Industrial Revolution had just began in the US and knew if he didn’t do something to help these rivers the salmon were in grave danger. The East Coast was exploding in population. Baird grew up best buddies with Jon Audubon and together as kids, encouraged by Spencer Baird’s father, collected specimens of amphibians, insects, birds, snakes and fish. Spencer Baird was the “Father of Fishing Regulations in The United States.” He helped enact a law that prohibited fishing on New England rivers that were being affected by the shortage of salmon. Under his orders, there was no fishing from Friday at noon until Monday at noon. At the time we were buying eggs from New Bruswick, for trade in $40 gold for 1000 eggs which was ridiculous to pay at the time, what added to the problem was the residents of New Brunswick, didn’t want their original brood stock of Atlantic salmon to be sold to those Crazy Yanks! So the 2nd year the Hatch House was closed down by the residents and then the final decision was made to go out west and find those Pacific salmon.
Spencer Baird went on to become the first curator at the Smithsonian Institute as he was an expert ornithologist, ichthyologist, herpetologist, and museum curator. His incredible contributions adding from 6000 specimens when he started, to over 2 million named and identified species when he left the Smithsonian. He also helped with over harvesting of canneries on the Columbia River as well as visiting many locations and enacting regulations there too. Both Ulysses and Spencer had read in the New York papers about this Presbyterian Minister by the name of Livingston Stone, who was writing about trout propagation (Brook Trout) up on his farm in New Hampshire, when Grant called on Baird to hire Livingston Stone to help with the depleting salmon population. Rumor had it on the East Coast that salmon on the Pacific Coast were in large numbers and could be possible transported back East.
Now that the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, many new projects could be done on the West Coast, like building the Carson City Mint as to cut down on the many stage coach robberies that were occurring between Virginia City and the San Francisco Mint (Old Granite Lady.) The Carson City Mint was constructed in 1870. Another idea Grant wanted to push through, was a United States National Hatchery on the West Coast that could transport salmon to all places in the US that needed those fish.
These 3 men from different areas of the United States Livingston Stone from New Hampshire, Myron Green from the United States Northville Hatchery in Michigan and Bill Perrin from the United States NY, Caledonia Hatchery were all paid $250 per month and were sent out on a train to San Francisco in search of the Pacific Salmon and the possible transportation back to the East Coast rivers for re-propagation.
Heading out in a special train designed for transporting fish, the Aqua Train” was built for $15,000 in 1872 for it’s first transportation of species of amphibians, birds and fish that included brook trout, stripers and shad to be transported and delivered into Northern California streams for experiment. Unfortunately the 1st train derailed into the Elkhorn River in Omaha, Nebraska and everything was lost. (Though I heard the trout did survive.) The 3 men still made it out to California and were walking into pubs in San Francisco trying to find out if anyone knew where the Pacific salmon spawned in rivers and creeks. (That must of been hilarious.) Some of the people sent the men out to Rio Vista, California but Stone having some in-depth knowledge in artificial fish propagation knew he couldn’t raise trout, let alone salmon in that area or part of the river. The men luckily ran into BB Redding, who was surveying the tracks for the Siskiyou Mountains through Poverty Flats (Later became Redding 1880.) and up into Sisson (Mt Shasta 1924) Montague and Ashland. He told them of how he saw the Wintu Indians drying their salmon on sticks where the confluence of the McCloud River and the Pit River. He agreed on taking them up to the location and they climbed the west bank of the Pit River until they reached the location Redding described. It was mid summer, perfect timing for the winter runs of the spring and summer salmon in the McCloud River. Back then the McCloud, Sacramento & Pit Rivers all had the same salmon species Alaska has now, plus Grizzly Bears, Pronghorn Sheep, Bull Trout and others that have disappeared. There was always a salmon run, every month of the year. Livingston Stone looked at the Indians at work, smoking fresh salmon on stakes, with runs of so many salmon he described it as not being too much work for the tribe. He was relieved he finally found the right place to set up shop for the American Government and build the 1st United States National Hatchery on the Pacific.
The 2nd year in 1874 Baird came out to California with 40,000 Shad to be dumped into the Lower Sacramento River in Tehama County.
They didn’t have the Aqua Train so they made each passenger sign an agreement that if they rode on this train they agreed to working 2 hours per day to help keep these shad alive. So passengers were on duty 24 hours a day as they were told to shake their hands in the eight, 10 gallon milk jugs used to hold the 40, 000 shad to aerate the water, they were creating oxygen for the fish. Next, since they did contaminate the water with their hands, they would pour out the water every few hours in between and refill the jugs, thus creating new oxygen and they had to maintain a constant temperature of 65 to 72 degrees for 2900 miles until a few shad that were left were poured into the Lower Sac. I really enjoyed how Baird mentioned in some of his notes that the shad were saved by the water that was collected in the Elkhorn River in Nebraska, the same river that took our Aqua Train the previous year. Spencer Baird was a great man, with many great ideas and had a huge heart. He brought back medicines for the Wintu Indians that lived on the lands where the Baird Hatchery was first built. He gave them jobs working at the hatchery, and I would imagine these were their first jobs ever in the tribes history. The Wintu were lucky, unlike all the other rivers in Northern California that were completely gutted, moved and violated by the means of gold seekers, the McCloud River and its inhabitants were not really affected by the gold rush, because the bedrocks underlying the McCloud River was serpentine and they do not hold much of any gold.
So the Wintu on the southern portion of the river for the time were ok and under the watchful eyes of Livingston Stone and his crew of culturalist from the United States Government, the Wintu helped Stone build the facility and set up the lines for paddle wheel in the McCloud River that would send oxygen into the salmon hatchery to help propagate the new generation of fish that were destined for the East. (This is where present day Shasta Lake is.)
Notes On The McCloud River Wintu – Selected Excerpts From Alexander S. Taylor’s INDIANOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA, 1874
Page 3 – The Indians who advocated an uprising last year were silent on that subject this year, and the air of insolence among the more lawless ones last season had entirely disappeared this year. Indeed, the Indians were never better behaved or more manageable than they were last year; and it is only justice to them to say that much of the success of our work here is due to their assistance. A large number (Between 20 and 30) of them are employed at the fishery every year, they are very efficient and valuable assistants, particularly handling the fish, drawing the seine, picking over the eggs, and similar work. If we could not have the Indians to help us, it would be very difficult to supply their peace.
By taking the flows of the river and converting it by paddle to air that is then flushed into the tubes that were extended into the facility, the men could use that to aerate the eggs that they had artificially propagated from the salmon they caught.
Water was then carried in from nearby creeks from up top down hill to flush clean water into the facility and was probably used for sanitation of eggs as well as for their restroom facilities.
This is where the McCloud River emptied out into the Pit River. Wintu Indians taking the crew from the Baird Hatchery over to Campbell’s trail and on into Poverty City that was shortly named Reading (Major Pierce Reading.) Then later changed to Redding after the railroad made their final schedule across the United States in the late 1870′s and what ever they changed a towns name to on their continental route was final. If you look at this photo has to be around 1875, way before the mountains were cut, survey’s lines, train tracks and trestle were laid on the opposite banks. (A very important historical photo showing that the US Government & Stone and his crew wouldn’t of been able to pull this off without the help of the Wintu Indians and their local knowledge when they first arrived.)
Once the operation and the Hatch House were built, some of the eggs and minnows were shipped in 1875 to New Zealand & Australia, the salmon & trout have done well. Meanwhile, all the shipments of Pacific Salmon on the East Coast that were dumped in East Coast Rivers were not returning and in fact were never seen again. The crew, Spencer Baird and Grant all then realized that Pacific Salmon probably couldn’t survive in East Coast waters. The Pacific Coast Baird Hatchery then changed to primarily a trout spawning operation of the McCloud River Rainbow, which they found out from experience was a hearty trout that could survive long journey’s in spite of all their losses with the Quinnat/ Pacific salmon. Most of the fish were transported in thermoses and milk jugs in the beginning, most of the ones with eggs died as some of the eye eggs and minnows would live and be stocked in other rivers & lakes in the early days.
A year later, Seth Green the head culturalist transferred eyed eggs in 1874 from the McCloud River in northern California, to his private hatchery project at Caledonia, New York.
They called them back East, “California Mountain Trout.”
In 1875 Stone and his crew had American Striper Bass brought out from Caledonia, NY and stocked them in the Delta Of California.
The Wintu Winnemem Indians were the backbone of the operation, without the help of the Wintu the first few years, for sure the operation would of been much more challenging or maybe impossible. Baird and Alexander both commented in their notes about how the local Indians handled the fish better than anyone else. Alexander talked about how the Indians wouldn’t built dams or weirs to trap salmon. They would build V Traps that allowed the salmon the ability to get up the river to spawn, then when they started to die after spawning, the Indians would lay out V Traps made of wood and sticks, the salmon would then float back down river and be caught up in all the V traps laid out strategically in different locations. Alexander also talked about how the Wintu took fish by club, V Trap, spear and fly. The Indians back then used deer hair for line and Yew Trees and Bollibokka (Manzanita that grows like a tree.) for their cane rods as well as bows and caught fish using carved fish hooks made of obsidian that was traded for and brought down from Medicine Mountain near Lava Beds National Park. (Tule Lake.)
Notes On The McCloud River Wintu – Selected Excerpts From Alexander S. Taylor’s INDIANOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA 1874
Page 17, Capture
Question 71. How is this fish caught; if with a hook, what are the different kinds of bait used, and which are preferred?
Answer: The Sacramento salmon is caught with nets, spears, Indian traps, and with the hook. In the smaller tributaries of the main river, as at Tehema, they are killed with shovels, pictch forks, clubs, and every available weapon. In the upper tributaries, as the McCloud, the Indians catch them in traps, arranged to capture the fish going down river exhausted. but not those ascending the river. At the sources of the river, near Mt Shasta, they are caught by legitimate angling with hook. Salmon roe is almost exclusively used for bait. Some have been taken by artificial fly.
I imagine when those salmon came rolling in it would look a lot like this for the most part.
These are some of the reports that I have read and that are very interesting to read. All the salmon that were shipped back East were not returning as planned, So the salmon operation was scrubbed somewhat in lieu of distributing trout all over the United States and then in 1875, we shipped the first McCloud River Rainbows down to New Zealand and Australia. Salmon from the McCloud River did survive in the Great Lakes and are still doing well today, but on the East Coast they couldn’t survive.
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 212
It was this year (December 9th, 1875.) that 280 acres of land on the McCloud River, including the station of the United States Fish Commission, were set aside by President Grant as a Government reservation. The first consignment of salmon eggs was sent across the equator to Australia and New Zealand in the same year. This was a trying trip for salmon eggs which cannot survive a temperature of over 70 to 75 degrees F., and which would hatch out in 10 days journey at 60 F. The journey to Australia how ever was very successful, and, consent having been obtained to place the eggs in the ship’s ice room during the voyage from San Francisco to Auckland, the eggs arrived in fine order. Some salmon eggs hatched were hatched at the station this year and the young fish planted in tributaries of the Sacramento.
Soon the federal government built more aqua trains and were shipping trout out in every direction possible throughout the United States. Eventually the US Government built 10 Aqua Trains to transport trout and salmon all over the US.
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 213
The foreign demand for ova had increased to such an extent by 1877 that during that year salmon eggs were sent from the McCloud to Prussia, Germany, the Netherlands, England, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The experience aquired in packing and shipping eggs enabled us this year to get them to their destinations with very slight loss in transit.
The Lyttleton Times, Christ Church, New Zealand, of November 14, 1877 says:
The splendid condition in which the Wellington consignment of American salmon ova has arrived reflects great credit on those in America who had charge of collecting and packing, which in several respects is an improvement on the English method.
They put McCloud Rainbows in Texas and most didn’t survive, but the transport that made it into the White River in Arkansas has done very well, now being the 2nd largest trout count per mile nationally (12, 000 trout per mile.) next to the Green River in Utah. (17,000 trout per mile.)
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 213 -
The hatching of a large portion of the salmon eggs for the State of California continued during this year and subsequent years until 1884. The year 1878 was the year of immense gathering of salmon in the McCloud. Stone goes on to say:
I have never seen anything like it any where, not even on the tributaries of the Columbia. On the afternoon of the 15th of August there was a space below the rack about 50 feet wide and 80 feet long , where, if a person could of balanced himself, he could actually have walked any where on the backs of the salmon, they were so thick. I have often heard travelers make this remark about salmon in small streams, so I know this is not a common thing in streams below a certain size, but to see salmon like this in a river so great of volume as the McCloud must, I think, be a rare sight.
Livingston Stone - Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission.
Page 218 & 219
The question now naturally arises, What are the results of all this great labor and expenditure extended over so many years! Allow me to reply as follows: When the work of the The United States Fish Commission in salmon breeding was begun on the Pacific Coast, it was supposed that that coast had enough salmon to spare, and it was the intention of the Commission to increase the salmon on the Atlantic Coast by restocking its depleted salmon rivers. The highest hopes were entertained of doing this. After it had become an accomplished fact that millions of salmon eggs had been procured on this coast, and that they had been safely transported across the continent to the Atlantic rivers, I doubt if there was one person who had heard about it in America, whether interested in fish-culture or not, who did not believe that salmon were going to become abundant again in the Atlantic rivers on account of the introduction of the Pacific Coast fish; and not only this, but many persons believed that several southern rivers that had never had salmon in them before, would now become prolific salmon streams, when they were well stocked this new California salmon that abounded in warm latitudes on the Pacific Coast. That this did not prove to be the result was a stupendous surprise and disappointment. The eggs hatched out beautifully. The young fry, when deposited in the fresh-water streams seemed to thrive especially well. They grew rapidly and when the proper time came were observed to go down in vast numbers to the sea. What afterwards became of them will remain forever an unfathomable mystery. Except in very rare isolated instances, these millions of young salmon were never seen again. What became of them? Where did they go? Are any of them still alive anywhere in the boundless ocean? Or are they all dead? And if they are dead, what killed them? Much as this information has been desired, there lives no one who can answer these questions. Some have thought that they wandered off to the far north, and so became lost to the civilized world. Others thought that they strayed out into the ocean and were devoured by marine animals and larger fish. Professor Baird once jokingly remarked to the writer that he thought they had found an underground passage beneath the continent, and had returned by it to the Pacific. One thing is certain, and that is that these millions of salmon have disappeared as completely from the Atlantic Ocean’ and its tributaries as if they had all been devoured years ago by the monsters of the deep.
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 213
The war department furnished the station a military guard this year, which proved to be a valuable acquisition. (1878)
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 215
No trouble will ever be experienced again from the Indians as a body. The gradual disappearance of the natives has contributed to this result, and railroads and white settlements have done the rest.
That year 13 states also received McCloud River Rainbows in their rivers. jt
Commissions Report 1878 – This year, in packing eggs, we averaged 500,000 an hour.
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 215
Nothing of special interest occurred in 1880, but the next year, 1881, was made memorable by the extraordinary rise of the McCloud River, which carried away most of the station in one night.
The month of January was attended by a rainfall wholly unprecedented’ in northern California since its settlement by white men. Forty-seven inches of water fell in Shasta during this month, and in the mountains where the fishery is situated the fall must have been much greater. On the 27th of January the McCloud had risen 121 feet, but the water had been higher than that in previous years, and still no one supposed that the buildings were in danger. Again the river fell, but this time the fall was succeeded by the greatest rise of water ever known in this river before, either by white men or Indians now living. During the first days of February the rain poured down in torrents. It is said by those who saw it that it did not fall as rain usually falls, but it fell as if thousands of tons of water were dropped in a body from the sky at once. Mr. J B Campbell relates that near his house, in a canyon which is dry in summer, the water in not many minutes became 30 feet deep, and the violence of the current was so great that trees 100 feet long were swept down, trunk, branches, and all, into the river. On the 2nd of February McCloud River began to rise at the rate of a foot an hour. 9 o’clock in the evening it was 16 feet above its ordinary level. The water was soon a foot above the danger mark, and the buildings began to rock and totter, as if nearly ready to fall. There was now no hope of saving them or anything in them. At 2.30 a.m. February 3 they toppled over with a great crash, and were seized by the resistless current and hurried down the river. When the day dawned nothing was to be seen of the main structures which composed the United States salmon-breeding station on the McCloud River. The mess-house, where the workmen had eaten and slept for nine successive seasons, and which contained the original cabin, 12 by 14 feet, where the pioneers of the United States Fish Commission on this coast lived during the first season of 1872; the hatching-house, which, with the tents which had preceded it, had turned out 70,000,000 salmon eggs, the distribution of which had reached from New Zealand to St. Petersburg; the large dwelling-house, to which improvements and Conveniences had been added each year for five years—these were all gone, every vestige of them, and nothing was to he seen in the direction where they stood except the wreck of the faithful wheel which through summer’s sun and winter’s rain hail poured 10,000.000 gallons of water over the salmon eggs in the hatchery..
Rainfall at Shasta : January, 1881, 47 inches; February, 1881, 17.5 inches; Total for 1881 for the season 109.7 inches.
During the years the Baird McCloud River Hatch House was closed either due to the McCloud floods or the railroad blasting up the Sacramento Canyon and cutting off the Sacramento River for as many as 5 years, thus not allowing the salmon the ability to make it up the river. The US Government moved the operation up to the Clackamas River in Oregon to supply everyone who wanted trout and salmon when the Baird Hatchery was closed due to a high river or blasting by the railroad.
The lovely McCloud River emptying out into the Pit River on a bend that must of held so many species of fish, now all gone because of Shasta Lake.
As the Industry Revolution took place in the United States, rich land owners and aristocrats from the San Francisco Bay Area began to emerge north as the train tracks were being laid and many new families began to travel together out of their counties and states for the first time up north to the Shasta area to enjoy the great out doors and all it had to offer.
(Kind of like that scene in Titanic when Kathy Bates was walking on the 5th deck with all her cronies, families found it high society to travel together.)
The weather was a lot different then now and just surviving the Shasta winters was something to be proud about.
Meanwhile, the most important river in the world was constantly flowing freely to the oceans of the Pacific. It was obvious then how it appears from this report below, the problem with today’s era of diminishing and extinct salmon runs as the salmon are dying off as well as the Bull Trout that have become extinct has been caused by the McCloud River being cut off from the historical salmon migration out of the Sacramento River. For sure there needs to be a fish ladder added to Shasta Dam and all bass must be removed or we are destine to lose more and more salmon runs, as we have lost 19 of the historic 22 different salmon runs that used to thrive in this, the most important salmon run river, Spencer Baird & Livingston Stone, had ever seen in all their travels. That includes the Columbia River.
Propagation of Salmon On The Pacific Coast. Bulletin To The United States Fish Commission. Page 220
Salmon are very abundant in the Sacramento and McCloud River, and are on the increase.The sitnation of the station and its adaptability to its purpose are almost idea. McCloud River, on the banks of which it stands, is not only cold, clear, and inviting to the salmon, but it is almost the only cold tributary of the Sacramento that has not been roiled in gold mining, in consequence of which the salmon come into the McCloud to breed in the summer, not from choice , but also from necessity.
Then some of the richest people who made it big, not in the Gold Rush but an Uncle, who delivered mail to the gold seekers and he saved money and bought a plot of land in San Francisco, built a nice house and had a garden, His son became a big time attorney by the name of Charles Stetson Wheeler and bought a large piece of land from a man named Justin Sisson (Mt Shasta was named Sisson from 1888 to 1924, areas first tavern owner plus hunting and fishing guide.) called the Bend on the McCloud River. You invite friends to come up to the estate by train, rich San Francisco friends who share in your delight of the only turquoise colored river in California with incredible hunting and fishing. You start a men’s only hunting and fishing club, like they have in England and on the East Coast. Then the era of heading north out of the Bay Area commenced, families started to move like they had never done before, exploring, with a new feeling of not being afraid to adventure outside because diseases were being studied more as each decade human health improved, The fear of Native Americans molestation was literally becoming non existent. When the SF Earthquake hit in 1906, many of the richest hung out at clubs on the McCloud River waiting for the city to be rebuilt, many of them became sportsmen and outdoorsmen, as I have seen the pictures at the clubs, it was an amazing era indeed.
Two German immigrants, August Schilling and George F. Volkmann. Schilling had come to San Francisco in 1870 at the age of 16 and had gone to work for J.A Folger & Co., a producer of coffee, teas, and spices. His ambition and business acumen were such that, five years later he was made a partner in the company and the firm name was changed to Folger, Schilling & Co. These two men August Schilling and George Volkmann, the father of the Dan Volkmann family of SF, (Wrote: 50 years of the McCloud River in 1951.) It would be the sons, grandsons and friends of these predominant San Francisco families that would later run this famous yet secret fly fishing club on the McCloud River. Many times preceding 1900, Wakefield Baker and Alexander Hamilton had camped along the upper McCloud River and had been enchanted with the beauty of the country, the fine fishing and good hunting. At the same time, their friends George W. Scott and William W. Van Arsdale were operating a lumber company at McCloud, and also knew of the charm of the McCloud River Canyon. These guys started the McCloud River Association in 1900, that led to the formation of the McCloud River Club, to preserve these lands for their friends and families. The McCloud River Club from Ladybug Creek to Squaw Valley Creek is approximately 9 miles of river and 4061 acres of land. The land was originally deeded by the United States Government to the railroad, a predecessor of the Southern Pacific; some to Indian allotments, (Prior to Shasta Lake, then the Indians lost everything and were never given any lands in return.) and one piece was acquired through location by Alexander Hamilton and State patent to him. Sadly most of the very early records from the McCloud River Club were burned in the SF fire of 1906, so I have used Dan Volkmann’s book, 50 years of the McCloud River – The McCloud River Club as a reference. In the 1930′s Dean Witter joined the club and later on his grand daughter Mrs. Ann Witter practically ran the whole operation there for years and was a leading decision maker and most club ventures. Her husband Ed Gillette died in the McCloud River in the late 1990′s as he fell into the McCloud River and wouldn’t let go of Dean Witter’s fly rod and drowned.
In 1973, the club deeded a section of 3 1/2 miles of river to the Nature Conservancy to make a trout sanctuary for the McCloud River Rainbow.
Around the year 2005, Bob and John Fisher of the Gap, bought the McCloud River Club with their father Don Fisher’s money, of the Gap & Old Navy. The first day I led them down to the river to a white bridge that crossed over the McCloud River. Bob Fisher was so excited he took off all his clothes and jumped in the river naked as happy as a lark. We were all surprised and started laughing, his brother John came over and and mentioned that his brother Bob had a fascination with his penis and likes to get naked as often as possible. I thought to myself, “wow these guys are different? One of those… Alrighty then…?” Thus a new generation and era began at the McCloud River Club. jt
Fifty Years of the McCloud River Club.
Volkmann, Daniel G. What a great guy, I met him once guiding at Bollibokka, he told me great stories about the McCloud River. Good luck trying to find this book, it’s pretty valuable these days. After meeting Dan Volkmann, I can see why.
Dan Volkmann – 1924 to 2009
But back in the 1880′s around Baird, things got a little slow after all the blasting by the railroad, that literally dammed the Sacramento River with debris and rocks and did not allow the fish to have ingress or egress on their normal annual migration from the oceans inland. Some of the crew moved up to the Clackamas Hatchery in Oregon, while others stayed around to create a life in Shasta & Siskiyou counties, they may be your family?
Meanwhile, in 1883 Justin Sisson, one of the first guides of Siskiyou County, was showing some flat landers how to hunt and fish on his later famous section on the Upper McCloud River called the Bend,this is up river from the Bend, just down a mile from Lower Falls, on the McCloud River. Later George Hearst would strike it rich in Virginia City silver and his family would acquire the poorly named Wyntoon Estate.
The old days of covered wagons and the Trinity Stage Coach that would take you from Weaverville to Dog Town. (Delta on the Upper Sac.) would slowly disappear and a new era would begin. But we never forget those men who really put it all on the line for all of us. Through hardships unimaginable, diseases that you and I wouldn’t dare go outside not knowing about. Once you crossed the United States and got to the gold fields, then the real work began. I always thought if everyone knew these stories, we’d have a whole lot of people not bitching so much about life. People, we got it made these days, there’s nothing to complain about, you don’t know suffering.
So many good people came from the the SF Bay area to spend time out on the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers and enjoyed what the north state of California had to offer. It was a marvelous era that has never ended, you all are still coming up now, more than ever. What I am really enjoying is seeing is all races of people and nationalities that I have never seen before, interested in nature and, hiking, fly fishing and protecting our outdoors. We call on all people of all races and nationalities, to protect the forests, rivers and mountains, it will take all of us to understand and care about what resources we have left, what we have lost or destroyed, in the less than 150 years and some foresight would be nice, as we can learn from what our fore-fathers who told us in their writings. It’s time for the public to know, if we don’t protect our water rights, depletion of salmon runs today and read about the past, you’ll be out to the pastures in the future!
I mean, don’t drive faster then your windshield people, water and salmon and steelhead are important.
Then Phoebe Hearst heard about the Shasta area from her attorney George Stetson Wheeler about the year 1900 and invited her up to his men’s only hunting and fishing club at the Bend, that he had bought in the 1880′s from Justin Sisson. After losing her husband George Hearst in 1893, she had moved into the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, she needed a break and the Shasta area was just the place. Her husband George Hearst had bought a 1/6 interest off of Henry T Comstock and he hauled 38 tons of silver ore to San Francisco to the only smelter close to Virginia City and he made $90,000 in 1859. He paid off his dad’s debts out east and continued on buying up claims and gold mines all over the US and as far away as Peru. (My hero!)
George Hearst was a smart hard working man, to have hauled all that silver ore in those days, I mean 38 tons, my hats off folks! The son, that was a different story..
Shasta Springs Resort above Dunsmuir, California (Previously named Pusher.)
So Phoebe Hearst, enjoyed her time she spent at the Shasta Springs Resort and liked the Shasta water she had tried that day in the train station.
She watched an angler catch a trout at Mossbrae Falls on The Upper Sacramento River.
She then rode the lift that took you up to the dining area and more lodging on the property.
Babcock’s Cabin on The Heart Estate around 1904. As Phoebe looked around she began to realize that all of her wealth didn’t mean a thing compared to the beauty she was surrounded by. (Little did she know, many others before saw to it in the Government that the Wintu Indians were not recognized as a “formal tribe” so they were never given federal designation thus allowing all the richest company owners and attorney’s from San Francisco a monopoly of ownership on the soon to be coveted Middle McCloud River. The Indians were given an allotment of lands near Baird, but after Shasta Lake was built in 1947, the Indians for all their efforts not only in the local gold rush, but helping with the transportation of fish all over the world, was all but forgotten and never credited by allowing the tribe to own one inch of land on their own native lands after that.) Phoebe Hearst then proceeded to ask George Wheeler if he would sell her his property entirely. He told her absolutely not, but she stayed on him until he agreed to living on the Bend, and he would do a 99 year lease for the Wyntoon portion of his property, with the promise that she wouldn’t build anything too extravagant.
(It was a men’s only hunting club and he didn’t want to upset his crony men that came up north to visit, hunt and fish.)
She built a seven story Bavarian castle!! This castle burned down in 1924 and her son William Randolf Hearst hired Julia Morgan (1st women architect in California.) to design a new castle and architect the world famous San Simeon Castle.
Randolph Hearst and His Mistress Actress Marion Davies. – Mrs. Hearst hung out on the East Coast with the kids.
William Randolph Hearst and his mistress Marion Davies at Wyntoon Estate on the McCloud River.
The family were conniving and powerful, able to get Presidents elected, change the course of rivers on their property and have the CCC pay for it and Roosevelt would get his endorsement. They could hide Wintu Indians from being federally recognized too, it happened people. The family controlled the river, the utility decisions, railroad, the forest service, you name it. After Hearst’s death in 1951, they struck a deal with PG&E for the McCloud Dam and the rights to send 2/3 of the McCloud’s waters over to the Pit River, meanwhile, the native Bull Trout in the McCloud River perished because of this. The other McCloud Club owners were all in on it, most were active politicians or had family and friends in politics. I’ve seen bridges on their lands built over the river onto USFS lands, anyone else building that bridge would have to remove it, not the McCloud River Club at Clairborne Creek. The wooden picnic table at the Upper Falls has been removed and it’s over on the other side of river on the Hearst side of the river. Someone took it and brought it over there and the tourist up at the Upper Falls vacationing have one less table to have lunch with their family on.
Back side of the Hearst Estate at Wyntoon 1923.
Presidents being elected..
Angel House on The Hearst Estate. This is where Wheeler’s lived and entertained while the Hearst controlled the Wyntoon section of the estate. Years prior to this photo.
Back then Shasta was named Sisson – Until 1925 then it was called Mount Shasta.
Classic Card. What ever happen to the Martha’s and the Myrtle’s of the world…
Kids fishing in the early 1900′s in McCloud California, check out the kid with the Indian canoe, doesn’t look too happy, must not be an extra pole that day..
Houses sprung up on the river and the towns and of Kennett and Baird were formed.
The tracks were finally being laid in 1883 on up through the Pit River Country as well as up into Sisson, Montague and Ashland by 1889.
The town of Redding changed its name from Reading 1874 to Redding by 1880.
The operation continued on and more trout were transported all over the world and throughout the United States, Chile and Argentina first got their McCloud River Rainbows from 1904 to 1908. Read Robert Behnke’s Book, About Trout, it talks all about it.
During the 1900′s and early 1920′s fish were collected for their eggs and the Government continued to propagate fish when ever and where ever they could.
A new generation was born around the Baird area.
Wintu Indians who lived in Baird were still employed by the federal government but were still never given any lands or consideration for what they did for the project.
Yet many others took glory in what was to become the biggest transportation of fish and its history, the world has ever known.
Roads were plowed and cars were built, and for the first time in history, families quit traveling together as much in groups or by ship or train and became more independent just traveling with their immediate family members.
The McCloud River was always flowing freely to the ocean and so were the runs.
Camp Baird was established for families.
The Indians tried their best to survive, but it wasn’t meant to be as many disappeared from the face of the Earth.
Holding or stock ponds, Baird California.
The Southern Pacific Trestle at the confluence of the McCloud River and the Pit River about 1887.
Log weirs McCloud River 1870′s or 80′s.
McCloud River wiers.
Top section of the weirs.
Look at how big those salmon were back then!
Looking down on Baird Hatchery and it’s buildings including the Hatch House.
After 1930 Baird Hatchery.
Modernized weir in the same location after 1930.
Then when the foods came in the river rise with such force and magnitude that nothing could be done and you would lose everything.
Baird Hatchery and Mount Persephone.
Then I made it down to Chile in 1994, to start fishing and guiding for McCloud River Rainbows in South America. They have done well in the Rio Yelcho River near Chaiten Chile. They have even survived volcano eruptions that have completely destroyed rivers and some how they come back after a few years. Those McCloud River Bows sure are hearty trout.
They were transported to the Lakes District of Chile and have survived and found other drainage’s to migrate into because there are no dams in that region of Chile. The salmon are down there also and have done very well.
I have guided some 24 years down there with hundreds of happy customers every time.
Some enormous like this one, Bob Lowe caught this trout with me two years ago.
My guide Mattias, has enjoyed catching many browns that were brought into Chile from the Germans who migrated there in the 1850′s
One time me and Andy landed this obscene McCloud Rainbow Trout that took over 2 hours to land on the Rio Enco in Chile.
Dave came down from Reno Nevada and caught this beauty last year with me in Chile.
And who would forget Scott, who landed this beauty after we fished together in Argentina.
These areas like Chile and New Zealand, have been very good for the transportation of trout and salmon, maybe it’s time we consider life saving changes that would impact future generations of trout and salmon in the Sacramento River system. Most of the other countries have no dams where the salmon and trout are excelling, the problem with Shasta Dam is the fish cannot make it up to the Big Springs on The Hearst Estate and there are other problems to discuss.
What a beauty caught in Chile.
Sea Run Brown caught on the Rio Gol Gol in Chile in 2009 before Volcano Puyehue destroyed the river and nothing can live in the river anymore due to ash. 15 to 20 lbs. I guess?
Now here’s a map of the Lakes District of Chile and the Argentine Patagonia Side of the Andes Mountains. Basically all the water ways are connected one way or another, so it wasn’t hard for the fish to adapt being that they had the same insects we have in North America minus the fish. The first McCloud Rainbows were supposed to be stocked in the Rio Manso but being it was so hot when they finally arrived in 1904 in Argentina, the shipment was dumped outside of Bariloche, Argentina in the Rio Limay and we have been in a restaurant on it’s banks that lays claim to this, as well as countless guides I have interviewed and talked to about this subject. No dams folks between Argentina and Chile, and this is how the trout and salmon have flourished. (Just the heads up, but, about that same time Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid & Etta Place, were also down in the same region hiding out from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, on the run, I’ve always wondered if they came down on the same ships?…)
My wife Carola Trout on the Rio Chimehuin outside of San Martin de los Andes, Argentina. Another McCloud River Rainbow that survived a long and daunting journey.
The Redband trout is barely existent these days living only in the far reaches of the Upper McCloud, the Bull Trout have been extirpated from the McCloud River as talked about in the Bull Trout Reintroduction Program Review by the Dept of Fish and Game March 27th, 1995.
The bull trout went extinct in the McCloud River due to the following reasons.
1. PG&E’s McCloud Reservoir Dam being built – This cut off the char trout mid range river, to the cold springs of Big Springs and Little Springs on the Hearst Estate. These fish need waters in the 40′s in order to reproduce so all the fish below the McCloud Dam died off first.
2. Because the lake was built during the 1960′s, the Bull Trout were like sitting ducks and were easily caught with bait because of their carnivore like tendencies.
3. So many of them were taken before they even grew to spawning size and they were not able to reproduce in time to be a protected harvest.
4. 2/3 of the water from the McCloud Reservoir is taken by a tube 11 miles to Iron Horse Canyon, to be run trough 6 dams on the Pit River, there was no reason to build this and impact negatively on the Bull Trout and Redband Trout of the McCloud River and has led to their demise. (American Greed PG&E.) (You need to put those Bull Trout back in the Upper McCloud and don’t let those Hearst family attorney’s influence you. That means you Lloyd Bradshaw. )
5. This has dramatically impacted the salmon runs these days because they cannot make it to the springs on the McCloud River either, we have lost so many historic salmon runs, the same ones Alaska has right now.
This is unacceptable, we will lose all the salmon eventually and entirely if we don’t do something now!
It’s happen gradually over time, but the salmon and steelhead are suffering and they need a fish ladder put in on Shasta Dam. Make your choice now for the future, because we’re going to be left with spotted bass from Arkansas that are not native to California.
The writing is on the wall people, it’s more serious then we think. When you read all the reports from Stone and the hatchery, you start to realize that we have lost so much and no one really knows until you read their words. The Government agencies have their hands tied by Congressmen like Doug La Mafia and the Westlands Water District and all the underhanded corrupt things they try to get passed. They don’t know the history and they don’t care, it’s a lot of fist banging and money grubbing, the fish come last and so do the Indians.
We have problems you are not hearing about from our Government.
The Bull Trout – The McCloud River was the southern most Cascade river to have native Bull trout in her system. Both Livingston Stone and JB Campbell mentioned in their writings that the Bull trout most the prolific and populated trout specie in the McCloud river back in the 1870′s. Now extinct in the McCloud river because of Pacific Gas & Electric’s McCloud Dam authorized by the Hearst Estate in a deal after William Randolph’s death in 1951. It would be great to see them restocked in the Upper McCloud River and the Hearst Estate waters, it’s the least they could do folks. It is time to revisit this program that was put on hold back in 1991.
These fish have been called Dolly Varden for years, but they have been reclassified in recent reports from the DFW as Bull Trout.
McCloud River Club – Originally started with the money of August Schilling and partner George Volkmann, who came from Germany and made it big in the spice, salt, teas, baking powder and more business, with the help of the owners of the McCloud River Lumber Company and Wakefield Baker & Alexander Hamilton formed the McCloud River Association which became later the McCloud River Club in 1900.
The kids and the grand kids of Schilling and Volkmann became regular members in years after. Then Dean Witter and his wife joined in the 1950′s and he wrote a book that mentions the McCloud River and his experiences. The name is Meanderings Of A Fly Fishermen. Years went on with little change when one year, one of their caretakers shot at some boaters around 2000 and after the lawsuit was settled, the owners all sold their interest and Bob and John Fisher of the GAP, the sons of Don Fisher, the founder of the Gap & Old Navy, (the kids) bought the estate for 5 million.
This is the Bollibokka Club founded in 1904 by Austin Hills, of the Hills Brothers Coffee fortune of San Francisco, he bought the bottom section of last 10 miles of river and was owned by Dorice Hills and her sons Leighton and Gray Hills until they sold to the Westlands Water District in 2006. Since then.. Nothing but bad from these guys..
Westlands Water District will pay big fine to settle SEC civil
According to the SEC, Birmingham “jokingly” made the Enron reference in discussions withWestlands’ nine-member board of directors. The now-defunct Enron was a Texas energy company that grew fast and then collapsed following revelations of crooked bookkeeping. Louie David Ciapponi, the water district’s former treasurer and assistant general manager, agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty to settle charges as well. Ciapponi also neither admitted nor denied the charges. The record $125,000 to be paid by Westlands marks only the second time a municipal bond issuer will pay a financial penalty to settle an SEC enforcement action. “Westlands, Birmingham and Ciapponi determined that entering into the settlement to fully resolve the matter was in the district’s best interest,” Westlands said in a statement. Westlands officials declined to speak about the case, but they noted in the statement that “the settlement did not find that Westlands, Birmingham and Ciapponi intended to mislead potential purchasers of the 2012 bonds.” The Westlands statement also stressed that the district has taken “prompt remedial actions,” including drafting new written policies and training. Even so, one longtime Westlands critic said she wasn’t surprised by the SEC investigation, adding that it suggests doubts about the district’s true financial picture. “The legal action taken by the SEC today against Westlands raises serious questions about the wisdom of relying on this large federal contractor to finance about half of Gov. Brown’s delta water-export tunnels,” said Patricia Schifferle, director of Pacific Advocates. Westlands, in its statement, noted that the district “has not missed any payment required to repay the 2012 bonds” or others issued by the district. According to the SEC, Westlands had agreed in prior bond offerings to maintain a 1.25 debt service coverage ratio, which is a measure of the ability to make future bond payments. It is the ratio of revenue to debt service payments. In 2010, though, the SEC said, Westlands officials learned that drought conditions and the resulting revenue losses would prevent it from reaching the 1.25 ratio. Rather than raise water rates for farmers in the 600,000-acre district, the SEC said, Westlands used “extraordinary accounting transactions” that reclassified reserve funds as revenue. The district then informed potential investors in the $77 million bond issuance in 2012 that it had met or exceeded the 1.25 ratio for each of the five previous years. “That wouldn’t have been possible without the extraordinary 2010 accounting transactions,” the SEC said.
AP Exclusive: Water giant gave $1.4M loan to official
Posted: Jun 08, 2016 11:18 PM PDTUpdated: Jun 09, 2016 3:36 PM PDT
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). In this photo taken Wednesday, June 1, 2016 is the Walnut Grove, Calif., home of Jason Peltier, the former deputy general manager of the Westland Water District. Peltier received a $1.4 million loan, from the water district…
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). In the photo taken, Aug. 12, 2014, Jason Peltier, second from right, the former deputy general manager of the Westland Water District attends a water conference held by Gov. Jerry Brown at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. …
Meanwhile back at their club.. This was the original kitchen stove. It was sad that the Hills Family didn’t have enough sense to sell the property to good people like the Nature Conservancy who made a full price offer for $30 Million, but the Hills family sold out on the McCloud River, the Indians, Jack Trout and the State of California by taking the Westland’s Water District offer for 5 million over the asking price, the trust fund boys sold out the property to the Darth Vaders of Rivers in California and tried to con their investors and people who counted on them to be honest stewards. Had a feeling this would all catch up with all of them. Even heard a story from a judge who told me the Westland Water District tried to infiltrate the Department of Fish and Games Wildlife Commission with one of their own employees, thus to influence decesions on water in the state. True story folks. They are bad people that will stop at nothing to get the water to make a profit and make them the largest water district and the richest water district in the United States.
Bollibokka section of the McCloud River.
Joe Cooper, tracked every trout he ever caught in the McCloud River, another amazing guy who wrote this book on his cabin adventures on the McCloud River. I would buy this book up fast, before they are gone. jt
The Present Day McCloud Hearst Wyntoon Estate- This was a very bad choice in words to name the estate. The Indians were killed off, why put it in their face by naming the estate Wyntoon, like a Wintu Indian cartoon. Not very cartoonish to the Indians that lost their lands and were not federally recognized nor ever given one inch of their own lands.
The new Hearst Castle on the Upper McCloud River.
The Old Spanish Guard Tower.
2 years ago in 2014, my dog Beef and I rafted the McCloud river, below where all the clubs lie now, I wanted to see if I could find any evidence of the old McCloud Hatcheries from Baird, so I threw the raft down the hill. It amazed me how the grasses were starting to grow back from so many years of drought, the banks and countryside were changing back to how it looked before the dam story. Beef and I were excited to see what we could find.
Lo and behold, we saw something up along the banks, it was Joe Cambell’s hatchery, as there were as many as 4 at one time hatching trout and salmon. J B Cambell a local resident with his Indian wife, who also got into the business of selling trout and his son Joey, who was one of the first guides to ever guide people both hunting and fishing at the McCloud River Club and Bollibokka Club.
Wintu Indian- Andy Miller 1st fishing and hunting guide at the McCloud River Club 1900- 1928. Joseph Campbell, 1929 to 1946.
Source of information ~ 50 Years McCloud River Club – Daniel Volkmann.
No one knows what will be the fate of the McCloud Winnemem Wintu, their now Chief Caleen Sisk, will have to fight for everything she can get because the ultra rich like to turn a blind eye, it’s in their nature. There is a Bull Trout section on the McCloud River below the Nature Conservancy water, there’s a no fish, 2 mile zone, that the Bull Trout will never come back in because it’s under the dam some 12 to 15 miles. It would be impossible for those fish to ever come back, because they are extinct as in the report from 1995, the Bull Trout went extinct after 1980.
The tribes lands have been taken, the river has been taken, the salmon have been taken, give these people one gift from the White Man. Give them the Bull Trout section of the McCloud River, we all owe it to them, especially the federal government and the families, water district, utilities and the attorneys on the McCloud River. No one is using these lands and they could build a round house and have their meetings again on the McCloud River. Do this Nature Conservancy, do this Cal Trout, do this Hearst, Fishers and the McCloud CRMP Land Owners, you are nothing without your reputations and right now, you are all wrong. Lands should of been designated on the McCloud River for the Wintu Winnemem Tribe when Shasta Lake was built in 1947, by the federal government, but there was no way this was going to happen with the influence and power of these clubs over any final decision.
Respectfully Submitted, Jack Trout
To see this new bridge being constructed at Lakehead over Shasta Lake with bass eating salmon or McCloud Rainbows makes me sick to my stomach, someone needs to have their heads examined on this bogus project, those glorified bass are from Arkansas and will lead to the demise of our native salmon and steelhead runs as we know it in the Sacramento River. We have lost so many species of fish already and I guess until something changes in the future, generations will now know why. Stupid is as stupid does, mom always says, life is like a box of chocolates. Get with the program Gump!
McCloud River Rainbow Trout -
This story is dedicated to the McCloud River Rainbow and it’s longevity worldwide. Spencer Baird, Livingston Stone & President Ulysses Grant and all the Wintu Indians who helped with the expansion and propagation of the McCloud River Rainbow all over the world and the United States. Their foresight and fascinating written reports were a treasure trove for my research on the transportation of this fish and the history that was connected with the first Pacific West Coast National Hatchery and what it meant at the time to the world. Thank you men for what you all accomplished together.
Wintu Winnemem Indians -
Everyone deserves access to the McCloud river, you wouldn’t like it if someone did that to you. Especially in light that the Wintu Indians who helped with so many things that made our north state great. The transportation of trout and salmon throughout the world was reason enough to give them some land or federal recognition on the McCloud River after the completion of Shasta Dam. To me, it doesn’t even make any sense other than the power that these families have over our federal government, then, as well as today.
If you’re from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand or Argentina, call anytime for information on the historic transportation or just want to chat about the history of trout and salmon in your country.
Many Rivers to You, Jack Trout – 530-926-4540
Thanks for reading if you want a copy of anything just email me. Jack Trout firstname.lastname@example.org
References For Story:
Shasta Historical Society (Some Pictures)
A History Of California’s Hatcheries 1870 to 1960 By Earl Leitritz
A Brief History of the McCloud River By Elaine Sundahl At The McCloud
Record Union Newspaper 1875
The Two Americas – Major Sir Rose Lambert Price Livingston Stone – Pioneer Fisheries Scientist -
Frank E Raymond 1989 Fire- Making Wintu Indians By George H Redding
Department Of Fish and Game – Bull Trout Reintroduction Program Review – Michael Rodes 1995
Artificial Propagation Of the Pacific Salmon Coast of the United States – Livingston Stone 1896
Livingston Stone 1896 Notes On the McCloud River Wintu -
Selected Excerpts From Alexander’s S Taylor’s Indianology of California – 1874 Edited by Robert F Heizer – University Of California
General Report of the Investigations On The McCloud River Drainage in 1938
50 Years The McCloud River Club – Daniel Volkmann
Tarpey’s Cabin – Joe Cooper
Life Amongst The Modoc – Joaquin Miller 1873
About Trout – Robert Behnke
Wintu Indian Interviews by Jack Trout over the years.