Department Of Fish And Game Can Start Restocking Kern River

In Nov. 2008, the Department of Fish and Game was ordered to stop stocking the Kern River after an environmentalist group said the hatchery fish were a danger to native species.

But after reviewing DFG's environmental impact report, a judge decided the hatchery fish were not a threat.

On Wednesday, for the first time in over 15 months, the Kern River was replenished with over 1,800 hatchery trout.

Christie McGuire with DFG said they were ecstatic when they heard the news.

“We just got the word late yesterday afternoon that we would be to stock today, so we’re jumping for joy," said McGuire.

And so were the fisherman, businessowners, and community members that showed up to help.

Fisherman and Friends of the Hatchery volunteer Buck Jakob said, "I haven’t fished since a year ago Thanksgiving, so it’s important to me, but for the hatchery and the community, it’s very, very important. Monetarily, economically, it’s very important because this is a sports fishing community.”

Business owners said they have definitely felt the impact of not having the river stocked for the past year and a half.

John Davis owns Riverview Lodge and said, "There have been several businesses that have been forced to close. Most businesses up here are running just on shoe strings right now. That’s all we have left. Combined with the recession, it’s been a one-two punch, it’s just hit us really, really hard.”

Vice President of Kernville's Chamber of Commerce and owner of Cheryl's Diner Cheryl Borthick said, "The fishing is the only thing people can do all year long, and so when you take that away from the fall and winter months, we are really hurting up here.”

Now that the river will be stocked, everyone is hoping that business will be looking up.

“We’re trying to get the word out, they can come back to the Kern and we’re going to fish, fish, fish,” said Borthick.

And as word spread that the river was being stocked, business already went up as many went to buy new bait, tackles, and their fishing license.

DFG said it plans to stock the lower Kern River every two weeks, and then as the temperatures warm up stock both the upper and lower Kern River weekly which means good news for the Kernville community and fisherman all over.

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