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Fishes of Sespe Creek, California facts for kids

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Sespe Creek is located in the southern Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, Southern California. The stream winds over 31 miles (50 km) through the Sierra Madre Mountains and Topatopa Mountains, foothills and valleys, and very narrow canyons and gorges


Sespe Creek headwaters are in Portero Seco of the Sierra Madre Mountains, and is formed by more than thirty tributary streams in those and the Topatopa Mountains, before its confluence with the Santa Clara River, in Fillmore. Sespe Creek is a National Scenic Waterway, and is one of the longest creeks untouched by dams or cement channels. The Sespe Wilderness Area protects a portion of its watershed and channel.

The Sespe Creek watershed is known for the 53,000-acre (210 km2) Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Established in 1947, it is where the critically endangered species Gymnogyps californicus (California condor) has been re-introduced into its native habitat.


At least twelve native and introduced fishes can be found in the creek:

  1. Arroyo chubGila Orcutti
  2. Pacific lamprey — Entosphenus tridentatus
  3. Prickly sculpin
  4. Santa Ana suckerCatostomus santaanae
  5. Steelhead troutOncorhynchus mykiss irideus
  6. Threespine sticklebackGasterosteus aculeatus
  7. Green sunfishLepomis cyanellus, (introduced)
  8. Fathead minnow (introduced)
  9. Black bullhead (introduced)
  10. Mosquitofish (introduced)
  11. Golden shiner (introduced)
  12. Threadfin shad (introduced)
  13. Rainbow trout (introduced)

A common fish in Sespe Creek is the Threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), which is easily identified by its three dorsal spines.

The Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) enters Sespe Creek from the Santa Clara River, a tributary of the Pacific Ocean.

The arroyo chub (Gila Orcutti) is often found in schools. The Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae) is common around waterfalls.

The introduced species, Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), can be found in shallow, weedy areas.

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