Oroville, Calif. -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released 50,000 Steelhead Trout into the Thermalito Afterbay by Oroville on Wednesday morning, an important economic contribution to the fishing community.
The 50,000 trout released into the water were the last remaining fish rescued from the Oroville Dam Spillway one year ago.
"When the emergency spillway failed, we were actually out on the lake," said Alan Wensman, a Gridley fisherman.
Wensman was fishing on Lake Oroville when the spillway evacuations began.
"We had to get our boat out quickly and then exit stage left real fast! So we had kind of a scare," said Wensman.
"In California, we raise about 18 million salmon and about 40 million trout that we put in state waters every year so hatcheries are critically important to the infrastructure," said Andrew Hughan, Public Information Officer to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fishing is about a $ 1.4 billion industry in California.
"Those figures are hotel rooms, gas stations, bait and tackle, things like that. The department, we get very little money, revenue from that," said Hughan.
Employees at the Feather River Fish Hatchery met early on Tuesday morning to pack the fish into trucks.
"They literally pull up to the fish dock, put a big pipe on the end of the truck and the fish are dumped into the waterway," said Hughan.
"It's great that they saved these fish from the hatchery, I guess got flooded. It would've killed them all, so they saved them and released them, so the fishing should come back hopefully real strong," said Wensman.