Lake Sonoma In the News

Yes, there is something for everyone at Lake Sonoma

Lake Sonoma was profiled in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in a wonderful story by Ann Carranza on December 29, 2019.


Sonoma County awards grant to Friends of Lake Sonoma

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, based on a recommendation from Sonoma County Tourism (SCT), has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Friends of Lake Sonoma to improve safety at the park.  The money will be used to fund crosswalks in high-traffic areas.  A previous grant awarded in 2018 is currently funding installation of gates at the public boat ramp to help prevent possible contaminatiion/invasion of quagga mussels.


Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Just Keeps Getting Bigger

Crowd estimates for this year's Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival were the highest ever -- 12,000 people attended.  Check out this article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

There is also a great photo album that captures all the fun of the day.  Peruse and enjoy!


2017 Steelhead Festival Earns Gold Resolution

On March 28, 2017, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors formally recognized the Friends of Lake Sonoma and the sponsors of the 2017 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival with a Concurrent Gold Resolution.

Steelhead Festival Draws a Record Crowd!

An estimated 6,000 people turned out for the 2016 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival on Saturday, February 13 -- a new record!  The Santa Rosa Press Democrat captured the essence of the day in this article: has a lot to say about the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!

We had a great visit with the folks at, and here's what they had to say about the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!

It's Spawning Season

Rains have returned and the rivers are up.  Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout are spawning!  More than 100 adult Steelhead climbed the ladder at the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery at Lake Sonoma on just one day the week of January 3 (2016). Now is the time to come visit us!

Drought Takes Its Toll On Coho Salmon Population

California's continuing drought means streams are drying up, threatening the fragile and endangered Coho Salmon species.

2015 Steelhead Festival "Hooks" 5,000 Visitors

A break in the weather on a very rainy weekend brought more than 5,000 people to the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival.

Steelhead Festival 2015 Photo Gallery

Fantastic photos of Steelhead Festival activities from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat!

Steelhead Festival Celebrates Steelhead Run

It's time for the annual Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival!  This year's event has been expanded to include a wine tasting tent featuring six winery members of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley.


Hatchery Tours Begin

The steelhead run is on and guided tours of the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery are now available each weekday.  Self-guided tours are available every day!


Going Solar!

Sonoma County's largest solar installation is coming to Lake Sonoma and will help power the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery and the Milt Brandt Visitors Center, among other areas of the park!  This is a great partnership forged with the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Dry Creek Restoration

A unique partnership of governmental agencies and private landowners along Dry Creek is working to restore fish habitat along Dry Creek.  In 2013, the first baby coho were released into Dry Creek in more than 30 years (see photo above).  North Bay Biz Magazine and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat report on the efforts.

This video, produced by Contractor Services Group, chronicles the work done at the base of the Warm Springs Dam.


Coho Pellets Boost Habitat

Unlike Steelhead Trout, who return to the rivers and live after spawning, Coho Salmon die.  Their carcasses are used to create pellets that are returned to the new Dry Creek habitat to feed baby fish -- and attract more insects that the fish can devour.  Read more about this Earth Day effort!


Feral Pigs Pose Problems

The Friends of Lake Sonoma help control the wild pig population by hosting local archery and crossbow hunters from November through March.  This story in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat details the challenges local landowners face and mentions the Lake Sonoma pig hunts.


Lake Sonoma – A Hunter’s Paradise

The Friends of Lake Sonoma pig and deer hunts were the subject of this story by Sean Scully in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.  For the first time in 30 years, areas of the park were opened to allow for deer hunting to help control the growing deer population.



Late-Breaking News!

  • Kasey Wade, instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College and a former park ranger, has been elected chairman of the Friends of Lake Sonoma.  Rick Herbert, who manages the Lake Sonoma Marina, was named vice chairman.  Joe Brandt, co-owner of Brandt Insurance in Healdsburg, is the organiation's new treasurer.  Mark Thayer, Cloverdale civic leader, continues in the role of Secretary.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now participating in the America the Beautiful Pass Program, which allows pass holders access to more than 2,000 recreatiion areas managed by federal agencies nationwide, including Lake Sonoma and Yosemite National Park.  The annual pass, which costs $80, is valid 12 months from the date of purchase.  Day use and entrance fees for parks and recreation areas are waived for pass holders. Camping fees, however, are not covered. Passes can be purchased at Lake Sonoma  at the Milt Brandt Visitors Center.  Senior passes for those 62 and older can be purchased for $10 and are good for a lifetime.
  • Effective January 1, 2016, the day use fee at Lake Sonoma is $5.  Day use fees are waived for holders of the America the Beautiful Pass Program (see above) and for holders of the USACE Annual Pass, which is $40.  To purchase the USACE pass, contact the Milt Brandt Visitors Center at Lake Sonoma at 707-431-4533.

Board of Directors

Skip Brand, chairman

Rick Herbert, vice chairman

Joe Brandt,  treasurer

 Vacant, secretary


Directors: Dora Azevedo, Nikki Baxes, Carl Bowers, Jayson Collard, Marci Cook, Dan Horn, Brent Swinth,  Marshall Turbeville, Jim Wilmes and Burrell Wyle.


Directors Emeritus:  Gordon Amrein, Harry Bosworth, Linda Clapp, Paul Finn, Dave Harmeson, Donna Meier, Tony Pettis, Phil Pinto, Arnold Santucci, Ken Screechfield, Richard Thomas, Kasey Wade

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 Water

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Sonoma County Tourism

Back Country Horsemen of California -- North Bay Chapter

Sonoma County Bowmen

United Flyers of Sonoma County

Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley




Contact Us