Santa Ana River
The Santa Ana River drains 2,650 square miles and flows 96 miles to the Pacific Ocean, making it one of the largest rivers in Southern California. Historically, the mainstem and some of the larger tributaries supported large steelhead runs up until the 1950s. However, extensive modifications, including channelization of most of the lower watershed, numerous impoundments, and decreased water quality, have dramatically reduced steelhead returns.
CDFW in partnership with the Golden State Flycasters and researchers at the UC Santa Cruz are conducting a genetic study to determine the historical origin of trout in the upper portions of the watershed. Should remnant populations of steelhead be found in the upper reaches of the river, there would be a significant interest by local environmental groups to restoring access in the river as well as improving water quality and quantity for native species.
Rainbow Trout from the Santa Ana River - 2012
Courtesy of Chris Lima, CDFW