Trout Arrives at Camp with Fishy Story PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 June 2012 15:05

062112sch1By Jim Knowles

San Leandro Times

The Tiny Tots at the Chabot Park Day Camp landed a trout this week and they didn’t even have to cast a hook into the water.

The trout walked right up and sat down with them in the shade of the trees at the park on the banks of San Leandro Creek. The trout introduced herself to the group.

“I’m Suzy O’Mykiss, boys and girls,” said the talking fish.

The name comes from the type of rainbow trout discovered in San Leandro Creek in 1855 by the founder of the California Academy of Sciences William Gibbons—its scientific name being Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus, a subspecies of the rainbow trout.

The trout that came to camp this week wanted to teach the kids about the creek, which starts way up in the hills and includes Upper San Leandro Reservoir and Lake Chabot. The trout said she stays in touch with her relatives upstream by using her shell phone.

Suzy O’Mykiss, who’s real name is Susan Levenson, is the Watershed Awareness Coordinator for the City of San Leandro.

So her job is teaching about the creek, which is one of the few natural creeks in the East Bay that runs its natural course without being confined to a concrete channel.

Levenson said City Councilman Michael Gregory suggested teaching about San Leandro Creek at the camp, since the stream runs through Chabot Park, the city park at the upper end of Estudillo Avenue.

The creek flows all the way through San Leandro and enters the bay at Arrowhead Marsh. And this is what the trout wanted the kids to learn, because everything in the vicinity of the creek that winds up on the ground, eventually flows downstream into the bay.

062112sch2Levenson made a waterproof topographical map of the creek watershed to show the kids. They poured miniature bottles of fake Coke, Pepsi and used motor oil on the map and then they “made it rain” by using spray water bottles. All the stuff washed down into the creek and on to the bay.

In the 1800s, rainbow trout and coho salmon ran in the creek, and Levenson hopes that East Bay Municipal Utility District can release water from Lake Chabot throughout the year to keep the creek running and restore the native species.

“It wouldn’t be hard to do,” Levenson said. “And then we could get the species back.”

CAPTION 1: A human-sized trout jumped out of San Leandro Creek this week to talk to the Tiny Tots at Chabot Day Camp.

CAPTION 2: The kids at the Tiny Tot Camp at Chabot Park learned about the creek from one of its native species.

PHOTOS BY JIM KNOWLES