East Bay Local History: Rainbow Trout

We wanted a local outing Sunday afternoon, and Kate wanted something that fit into her current interest in local watersheds. So we drove up to Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills, and drove down the east side of the ridge to where Redwood Creek heads down to Upper San Leandro Reservoir. Kate had read about a fishway there–an aid to migrating rainbow trout. I had no idea that the Oakland Hills had any fish populations that would benefit from something like a fish ladder, so I was curious to see what was up there.

And what was up there was a little piece of history. Specimens from the watershed were the first to be identified as “rainbow trout,” back in the 1850s. And then later, fish biologists came to realize that these trout were the same species as steelhead found elsewhere on the West Coast and first collected by European biologists on Russia’s Pacific Coast in the 1730s (for more on that tale, consult Peter B. Moyle, “Inland Fishes of California.” See his discussion of the rainbow trout’s name.

Here’s a little album of the afternoon’s expotition (and if it’s not visible below, check it out here).