Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival

The Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival is Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018

That's when we'll do it all again at the fantastic Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival, held on the grounds of the Milt Brandt Visitors Center!  Rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Food, wine, beer, silent auction, live music, archery, fishing, tours, demonstrations -- just about anything you can imagine, and it is FREE!.


2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Silent Auction

A wide variety of unique donations await bidders at this year's Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Silent Auction.  Eight tables of great auction lots will be in the Milt Brandt Visitors Center.  This year, the auction will end at 3 p.m.  Top items include lodging packages, picturesque trail rides, a Dry Creek Watershed Tour (with box lunches!) for five, wine, artwork, a Joe Montana autographed football and Club Level tickets to see the San Francisco Giants attempt to improve their record after last year's fiasco (remember, it IS an even year!).

Among the donors are: Bolt Fabrics, Voss Signature Vintage, Papa's Pizza, Moe's Eagles Nest Deli, Agave Mexican Restaurant, 8 Dragons Restaurant, Taste of Tea Lounge, Mary's Pizza Shack, Railroad Station Bar & Grill, Hamburger Ranch, Clover Theater, Cloverdale Auto Parts, El Taco Grande, 14 Feet, Plank Coffee, The Ranch at Lake Sonoma, Sierra Foothills Mountain Cottage, Tom Highshoe Gallery, Colleen Wattells, Kelley & Young Wines, Geyserville Inn, El Molcajete, Thai Spice, Sonoma Fused Glass, Cloverdale Ace Hardware, Jane Hodges Young, Tony Pettis, River Rock Casino, Blue Water Kayaks, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, Shelton's Natural Foods, The Cliff House, Amista Vineyards, Sbragia Family Vineyards, Martorana Family Winery, Brandt Insurance, The Finishing Touches, Geyserville Coffee Co., Fideaux, Jendala, Linda Clapp, Cloverdale Citrus Fair, David Moore, and Lake Sonoma Marina.

Make sure you stop by -- and bid!  Special thanks to FOLS Board Member and Secretary Mark Thayer for all his hard work in organizing this year's auctiion.


Join the Treasure Hunt!

New this year is a treasure hunt for youngsters.  A map with 10 booth stops will make sure kids learn about environment and threatened/endangered species while enjoying the day's festivities.  Completed maps (with a stamp from each booth) can be brought to the Milt Brandt Visitors Center to redeem a prize.


 County Awards Gold Resolution to 2017 Festival

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has issued a Concurrent Gold Resolution recognizing the Friends of Lake Sonoma and all sponsors of the 2017 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival.  The resolution was presented to Steelhead Festival Chairman Rich Thomas at the supervisors meeting on March 28, 2017.


Record crowd enjoys 2017 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!

An estimated 8,000 people attended the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival this year!

Superhuman efforts from our Steelhead Festival Committe made it all happen -- and the weather gods helped out by sending sunshine and warm weather!

Thanks to our tremendous sponsors:  Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, Bear Republic Brewing, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County Airport Express, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, American AgCredit, The Belli Corp., Bowland Vineyard Management, Brandt Insurance, Exchange Bank, Lake Sonoma Marina, Russian River Watershed Association and Vineyard Industry Products.


2016 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival 

Upwards of 6,000 people enjoyed the 2016 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat captured some great photos of the event!

Read all about it here:


We Need Your Help!  Become a Sponsor of the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!

Come run with us and participate in the Annual Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival by becoming a sponsor.  This festival is one of California's biggest and best celebrations of the endangered Steelhead Trout, which return annually to the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery at Lake Sonoma to spawn the next generation of fish.

This free event attracts upwards of 8,000 people to the grounds of the Milt Brandt Visitors Center at Lake Sonoma. Adults and children enjoy tours of the hatchery and watch one of nature's most fascinating species -- Steelhead pushing upstream and leaping out of the water as they climb the fish ladder.

On hand to educate and entertain are more than 60 exhibitors.  Activities and entertainment include archery, art projects, a casting pond, food vendors, local beer and wine booths, a live band and a silent auction benefiting Friends of Lake Sonoma.

The Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival is hosted by the Friends of Lake Sonoma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  This event allows us to provide educational elements critical to increasing understanding of threatened and endangered species of not only the Steelhead, but also the Coho Salmon, and to increase awareness of water conservation and our watershed.

To keep this festival growing -- and allow us to offer this FREE to everyone that attends -- we appreciate the support of our business community.  Sponsorship levels range from $1,000 to $7,500.  Benefits include your company logo on all advertising and promotional materials, banners at the festival, a booth at the festival and other special rewards.

For more information and to find out how you can help, please contact Marinda Freeman, festival coordinator, at 415-924-9145.


Want to Exhibit at the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival?

The Friends of Lake Sonoma invites community non-profits and local businesses to exhibit at the 2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival.  Cost for a table is $50 for non-profits and $100 for small, local businesses.  You are in charge of setting up your table and providing approriate display materials.  Please contact us at if your group our business would like to participate.



Ready? Set? Here comes the 2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!


Check out our Steelhead Festival video!

Videographer George Dondero captured the spirit of the 2015 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival in this fantastic video, which provides a brief snapshot of all the fun activities.  Thanks to the Sonoma County Water Agency for providing this footage! salutes the Steelhead Festival

Check out what they say about us!


Thank you, sponsors!

We thank the following companies and organizations who are on board as sponsors of the 2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival:

Platinum Sponsors:

  • Californai Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma
  • Sonoma County Water Agency
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Gold Sponsors:

  • Bear Republic Brewling
  • Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
  • Sonoma County Airport Express

Silver Sponsors:

  • American AgCredit
  • Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
  • Sonoma County Winegrape Commission

Steelhead Sponsors:

  • Belli Corporation (Westec Tank)
  • Bowland Vineyard Management
  • Brandt Insurance
  • Exchange Bank
  • Lake Sonoma Marina
  • Recology
  • Russian River Watershed Association
  • Vineyard Industry Products


  • Redwood Empire Vineyard Management
  • Elizabeth Pinto 


Vendors & Performers for 2018 

  • Healdsburg Kiwanis -- Food Vendor
  • The Wurst Restaurant-- Food Vendor
  • El Coyote -- Food Vendor
  • Got Balls Meatballs -- Food Vendor
  • Franchetti's Pizza -- Food Vendor
  • TIPS Tri-Tip Trolley
  • Falafel Fix
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma -- Beer, Coffee and Water
  • Amy's Wicked Ale
  • Just POPPED Up -- Kettle Corn
  • California Funnel Cakes
  • Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
  • Bear Republic Brewing Company
  • Third Rail -- live music
  • Bubblesmith

Booth Sponsors 2018

  • California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) Stream Talk & Walk
  • CDFW and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Coho Talk
  • Sonoma County Bowmen (Archery)
  • CDFW Hatchery Tours -- Fish Sorting Demonstration
  • CDFW "Fishing in the City" Fishing Hole (Ages 5-15)
  • Northern California Federation of Fly Fishers
  • Watershed Stewardship Program
  • Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks/Environmental Discover Center
  • Father Nayture
  • North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council
  • Sonoma County Waste Management Agency
  • Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
  • Sonoma County Farm Bureau
  • Sonoma Resource Conservation District
  • The Salvation Army
  • Laguna de Santa Rosa
  • Farm Fresh to You
  • Clean River Alliance
  • Citizens Climate Change
  • Blue Water Kayaks
  • Audubon Canyon Ranch
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife
  • Russian Riverkeeper
  • Redwood Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • Santa Rosa Junior College
  • United Anglers of Casa Grande
  • Bookmobile of Sonoma County
  • Cal Fire -- Sonoma, Lake & Napa
  • Gualala River Watershed Council
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  • Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
  • The Ranch at Lake Sonoma (Donkey Petting!)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • United Flyers of Sonoma (UFOs)
  • CDFW Mussel-Sniffing Dogs
  • Geyservill Fire Protection Unit
  • Bear Republic Brewing
  • Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
  • Lake Sonoma Marina
  • Russian River Watershed Association
  • Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
  • Sonoma County Water Agency
  • CDFW Heritage & Wild Trout Program
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma Silent Auction
  • Artist Kenyon Lewis
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma Craft Tables
  • Cloverdale Key Club -- Face Painting
  • Sonoma County Bird Rescue -- Live Birds of Prey

Board of Directors

Linda Clapp, chairman

Rich Thomas, vice chairman

Tony Pettis, treasurer

Mark Thayer, secretary


Directors: Dora Azevedo, Nikki Baxes, Harry Bosworth, Joe Brandt, Jayson Collard, John Granatir, Rick Herbert, Donna Meier, Brad Sherwood, Kasey Wade and Burrell Wyle.


Directors Emeritus:  Gordon Amrein, Paul Finn, Dave Harmeson, Phil Pinto, Arnold Santucci, Ken Screechfield

Tax Status

The Friends of Lake Sonoma is recognized as a non-profit cooperative association under section 501 (c) 3 of the United State Internal Revenue Service tax code.  Our tax identification number is 94-2260679.  We operate on a fiscal year from January 1 to December 31.  Monetary and in-kind donations to the Friends of Lake Sonoma are considered to be tax deductible, unless limited by law.


The Friends of Lake Sonoma relies on strong partnerships with key govenmental agencies and businesses, including:

United States Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District

Sonoma County Water Agency

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

National Environmental Education & Training Foundation

Toyota Motor Sales USA

Back Country Horsemen of California -- North Bay Chapter

Bike Monkey

Sonoma County Bowmen

United Flyers of Sonoma County

Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley




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