Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch

Migrating and Spawning Hitch:

a film by Tom Smythe


This video showing Clear Lake hitch (lavinia exilicauda chi) during their annual spawning run was shot by Tom Smythe, Lake County Department of Public Works Water Resources Engineer.

The first segment of the film shows fish moving upstream at the Kelsey Creek Detention Structure, a groundwater recharge facility on Kelsey Creek approximately one mile downstream from Kelseyville. The video shows the fish moving through the loose rip rap and through the concrete fish ladder, which was constructed 20 years ago and is the first fish ladder built specifically for the Clear Lake hitch. While the fish ladder is successful, it is slated for modification in the fall of 2009 to improve the ability of the hitch to migrate upstream in future years.

The second portion of the video shows Clear Lake hitch spawning in Adobe Creek near Finley. Females, the larger fish, are laying their eggs, while several males cluster around the female to fertilize them.

Many other photographs of the hitch migration are posted to this site, including several taken this spring at the detention structure. Additional information about the life cycle of the hitch, illustrated with both photographs and drawings, is also available.