Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival

The Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Canceled for 2021

Due to COVID-19 and the Walbridge Wildfire, which burned a part of the Lake Sonoma Recreational Area, the Friends of Lake Sonoma have regretfully been forced to cancel the 2021 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival.  We look forward to 2022 and hope for a return to healhier times.  Please do your part to help control the spread of COVID-19.  A little inconvenience now can help us heal quicker and get back to our normal routines.

Despite Rain, 6,000 celebrate the return of the Steelhead!

Rain didn't dampen spirits at the 2019 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival on Feb. 9th!  An estimated 6,000 hearty souls showed up to enjoy the festivities -- including music by the Blue Rock Band, a bubble show by Bubblesmith, food trucks, Bear Republic beer, wines from the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, a silent auction and more than 50 different booths and activities.  Special thanks to our sponsors, headlined by Bear Republic Brewing, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma County Airport Express.  Other sponsors included Sonoma Winegrape Commission, Exchange Bank, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, American AgCredit, The Belli Corp., Bowland Vineyard Management, Brandt Insurance, Lake Sonoma Marina, Russian River Watershed Association, Poppy Bank and Vineyard Industry Products.

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.

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 Jane Young, Friends of Lake Sonoma Executive Director, at 707-694-1916.


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 2020 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 2020 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
  • Dry Creek Valley -- Sonoma Wine Country
  • Sonoma County Airport Express

Silver Sponsors:

  • American AgCredit
  • Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
  • Sonoma County Winegrowers

Steelhead Sponsors:

  • Brandt Insurance
  • Exchange Bank
  • Lake Sonoma Marina
  • Poppy Bank
  • Russian River Watershed Association
  • Westec Tank & Equipment Co


Vendors & Performers for 2020

  • Healdsburg Kiwanis -- Food Vendor
  • The Wurst Restaurant-- Food Vendor
  • El Coyote -- Food Vendor
  • Fruity Moto-- Food Vendor
  • TIPS Tri-Tip Trolley
  • Lola's Market
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma -- Beer, Coffee and Water
  • Amy's Wicked Slush
  • Just POPPED Up -- Kettle Corn
  • California Funnel Cakes
  • Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
  • Bear Republic Brewing Company
  • Heartwood Crossing -- live music
  • Bubblesmith

Booth Sponsors 2020

  • 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)
  • CDFW Mussel Dogs
  • CDFW Mobile Aquarium
  • Blue Feather Organics
  • Blue Water Kayaks
  • Bookmobile of Sonoma County
  • Cal Fire -- Sonoma, Napa, Lake 
  • Citizens Climate Change
  • Clean River Alliance
  • Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Group
  • Erin's Repurposed Metal Art and More
  • Farm Fresh to You
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma Silent Auction
  • Geyserville Fire Protection Unit
  • Gina's Wood Art
  • Gualala River Watershed Council
  • Kenyon Lewis, artist
  • Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation
  • Lake Sonoma Marina
  • NOAA
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council
  • Pepperwood Foundation
  • Redwood Empire Trout Unlimited
  • Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
  • Russian River Confluence
  • Russian Riverkeeper
  • Russian River Watershed Association
  • Sonoma Resource Conservation District
  • Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation & Open Space District
  • Sonoma County Bird Rescue Center
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks -- Environmental Discovery Center
  • Sonoma County Sheriff
  • Sonoma County Waste Management Agency
  • Sonoma Water
  • Sonoma County Resource Conservatiion District
  • Sports Basement
  • Steelhead Stoppers
  • Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
  • The Ranch at Lake Sonoma
  • Ukiah Valley Fish & Wildlife Club
  • Ukiah Rod and Gun Club
  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • UFOS -- United Flyers of Sonoma
  • Wildcaught -- Cindy Fox, Trout Artist
  • Friends of Lake Sonoma Craft Tables
  • Cloverdale Key Club -- Face Painting
  • Sonoma County Bird Rescue -- Live Birds of Prey
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • United Anglers of Casa Grande High School
  • 2NFrom (leather artisan)

Silent Auction Donors

  • Linda Clapp
  • Jane Hodges Young
  • Brandt Insurance
  • The Ranch at Lake Sonoma
  • Bosworth & Sons
  • River Rock Casino
  • Cindy Fox, Trout Artist
  • Jendala
  • Kelley & Young Wines
  • Taqueria El Molcajete
  • Mark Thayer
  • 101 Thai Way
  • Bolt Fabrics
  • Next Door Comics & Games
  • Erin Mavis
  • Voss Signature Vintage
  • Fideaux
  • Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
  • Ann Petersen
  • Colleen Wattles
  • Valette
  • Sonoma County Vintners
  • Best Western Dry Creek Inn
  • Journeyman Meat Co.
  • Marinda Freeman
  • Hotel Trio
  • Whistlestop Antiques
  • Comstock Wines
  • Holly Werner
  • The Clover Theater
  • Cloverdale Citrus Fair


Special Donations

  • Recology, Sonoma/Marin
  • Barbara Donohue


  • California Conservation Corps, Ukiah
  • Healdsburg Boy Scouts
  • Santa Rosa Junior College
  • United Anglers of Casa Grande High School

Board of Directors

Brad Sherwood, chairman

Rick Herbert, vice chairman

Joe Brandt,  treasurer

John Granatir, secretary


Directors: Dora Azevedo, Nikki Baxes, Harry Bosworth, Jayson Collard, Donna Meier, Marshall Turbeville, Kasey Wade, Jim Wilmes and Burrell Wyle.


Directors Emeritus:  Gordon Amrein, Linda Clapp, Paul Finn, Dave Harmeson, Tony Pettis, Phil Pinto, Arnold Santucci, Ken Screechfield, Richard Thomas

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