ATASCADERO – Local anglers can rejoice as The California Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 500 pounds of full-size catchable fish into the Atascadero Lake on Dec. 22, just-in-time for the Holiday weekend and end of the year festivities.

The fish drop off came from the San Joaquin Hatchery in Fresno and contained up to 1000, half-pound or bigger, rainbow trout. This is the third plant of fish into the lake this year, a welcome sight after the Jewel of Atascadero went over a decade without being stocked before 2020.

For years, the Department of Fish and Wildlife refused to stock the Atascadero Lake for fear that the rainbow trout would swim their way out of the lake and into the Atascadero Creek, where they could potentially affect the native steelhead.

Before this year, the last time the lake was stocked was in 2008.

Contributed photo

In February, the Friends of the Atascadero Lake paid for a fish screen installed near the tributary, which has brought the fish back.

“There are two things that go into the lake being stocked,” Dennis Mitchnick of Fish and Wildlife told the Atascadero News. “The first one, the conditions have to be right, the water has to be cool enough, the water quality has to be good, and then it comes down to if they have fish available. We were really trying to get some fish in there before Christmas, and we just made it.”

While the fish are planted for fish-and-eat, there are laws governing how many fish a person can take from the lake at one time.

The limit is five fish per person and reserved for people carrying a fishing license unless he or she holding the pole is under 16 years old.

Feature photo courtesy of Rick Evans