This spawning season could save the Clear Lake hitch from extinction, but not everyone agrees on how to help
The time is fast approaching when a native fish species known as the Clear Lake hitch should begin their yearly run up tributaries around the lake to produce a new generation of young. Pomo elders and old-timers say the hitch, or “chi,” as they are known by the region’s Indigenous people, once spawned in such abundance that people could practically walk across their backs in the creeks. For the region’s tribal members, the spawning time was cause for celebration — a reason for tribal folk from all around to gather, collect food for the year and visit. But all that was before expanding development and agriculture, declining water quality, gravel mining, invasive species, habitat loss and extended drought took a toll on the hitch, a species of minnow found nowhere else on earth.