Fish Advisory for Lake Almanor in Plumas County Offers Safe Eating Advice for Four Species of Fish

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SACRAMENTO – A new state fish advisory issued today provides safe eating advice for black bass species, Rainbow Trout, Sacramento Sucker, and Inland Silverside from Lake Almanor in Plumas County, near the town of Chester.

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) developed the recommendations based on the levels of mercury found in fish caught from Lake Almanor.

“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are an excellent source of protein,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, director of OEHHA. “By following our guidelines for fish caught at Lake Almanor, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”

Lake Almanor is 13 miles long and 6 miles wide, with 52 miles of shoreline. The lake was formed by a dam on the North Fork of the Feather River and is located southeast of Lassen Volcanic National Park, between the Lassen and Plumas national forests.

When consuming fish from Lake Almanor, women ages 18-45 and children ages 1-17 should not eat Sacramento Sucker.  They may, however, safely eat a maximum of seven servings per week of Inland Silverside or two servings per week of Rainbow Trout, or one serving per week of black bass species. 

Women ages 46 and older and men ages 18 and older may eat as many as seven servings per week of Inland Silverside or five servings per week of Rainbow Trout or four servings per week of black bass species or one serving per week of Sacramento Sucker.

One serving is an eight-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. Children should be given smaller servings.

For fish species found in Lake Almanor that are not included in this advisory, OEHHA recommends following the statewide advisory for eating fish from California’s lakes and reservoirs without site-specific advice.

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. It accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury, which can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses. Because children and fetuses are especially sensitive to mercury, OEHHA provides a separate set of recommendations specifically for children ages 1-17 and women of childbearing age, ages 18-45.

Eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the advisory’s recommendations is not likely to cause health problems if it is done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.

The Lake Almanor advisory recommendations join more than 90 other OEHHA advisories that provide site-specific, health-based fish consumption advice for many of the places where people catch and eat fish in California, including lakes, rivers, bays, reservoirs, and the California coast.

The health advisory and eating advice for Lake Almanor – as well as eating guidelines for other fish species and California bodies of water – are available on OEHHA’s Fish Advisories webpage: Pictorial versions of fish consumption advice are also available on this page in both English and Spanish.

OEHHA is the primary state entity for the assessment of risks posed by chemical contaminants in the environment. Its mission is to protect and enhance public health and the environment by scientific evaluation of risks posed by hazardous substances.