A 30-inch adult steelhead trout in Mission Creek photographed in 2008.

The Sisquoc River in Santa Barbara’s backcountry is now off-limits to fishing of any kind, as the California Fish & Game Commission unanimously voted last month to ban the activity until populations of the endangered southern steelhead trout recover.

The species has dwindled to just 1 percent of historic numbers due to dam building and other waterway development in Southern California, and the Sisquoc, which winds through the Los Padres National Forest and feeds the Santa Maria River, should have probably been closed when the species was listed as endangered in 1997.

To correct that oversight, this move was urged by the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara and supported by a number of groups, including the National Marine Fisheries Service. No one spoke in opposition of the closure.


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