The pay-off for the Mt. Shasta Rotary trout pens is a new trophy trout program at Lake Siskiyou, with a rearing facility for trophy-sized rainbow trout.

Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to deliver rainbow trout ready to be stocked Friday morning, according to Rotary Project Manager Tom Stienstra, the award-winning outdoors writer.

Stienstra describes the new facility as the best of its kind in the nation.

Rotary planned, financed, and constructed a dock structure with three pens at Lake Siskiyou for a pen-rearing program for trophy-size rainbow trout. The Department of Fish and Wildlife projects the trout could range from 3 to 5 pounds when ready for release next spring.

Volunteers built the pens at Lake Siskiyou and then installed them in a cove neighboring the marina facility.

The process, as described in a press release, is as follows:

Each fall, when water temperatures cool, the DFW will stock the pens with rainbow trout. Over winter, solar-charged, battery-powered feeders will automatically feed the fish, which can grow an inch per month. In spring, most likely early May, the large fish are released and quickly become naturalized to their habitat and then take on the characteristics of wild fish. The trout are “triploids,” that is, they cannot breed, and in turn, grow faster and fight harder.

Mt. Shasta Rotary’s hope is “to commemorate the release with a youth fishing tournament, and the goal is to inspire increased outdoor participation with parents and their children.”

Mt. Shasta Rotary formed partnerships with the DFW and Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and received support from Kokanee Power, Sousa Ready Mix, Campbell Global, Lake Siskiyou Marina and private foundations.

The pens were constructed by more than 20 local volunteers on site and another half dozen off-site.

“After completing the plans, financing, construction and then CEQA and MOU, working with so many volunteers – some incredible local efforts with equipment, time and insights – for the trout to finally arrive feels like a huge local win,” Stienstra wrote in an email.

A 39-page document for the California Environmental Quality Act was vetted and filed by the DFW and then approved by the State of California.

Mt. Shasta Rotary sees the final result as:

• The finest trout pen facility of any lake in America.

• New opportunities for youth, families.

• A template for how to provide big fish for any cold-water lake in the nation.

• A program that is sustainable into the future.

For more information contact Rotary Project Manager Tom Stienstra at 530-261-1954.