Despite the weather, fishing continues | SierraSun.com

Despite the weather, fishing continues

Bruce Ajari

Weather obviously plays a key role in our daily lives, particularly for those of us in the mountains. Our economy is driven by snow, or the lack of it. The recent abundant rainfall may help fill Lake Tahoe, but it is the snow that is needed for our long-term good.

Last Saturday, the Truckee River near Granite Flat’s gauging station was running at 6,030 cubic feet per second. This number is very close to what is was the last time we had flooding on the Truckee, in 1997.

The difference here is that water is not being released from Tahoe at the maximum level, as was happening in 1997. Tahoe is at 6,225.37 feet in elevation one week later. Checking my report from last week, Tahoe was at 6,224.5 feet. This means the lake has risen nearly 10 and a half inches. That is pretty significant, and there is still more precipitation on the way!

The snow level is supposed to drop significantly near the end of this storm, so there is hope that we will get some much-needed snowfall. It has certainly been in short supply so far this season. I am hopeful that this happens.

We need the snow for our local winter and summer recreation. A low snow pack would mean little water for precious summer sports such as water skiing and boating, kayaking, swimming and, of course, fishing.

While all this water is filling our local reservoirs, water will be released at a pretty quick rate. The reason is that these reservoirs provide flood control for the Reno area. As a result, the reservoirs have to be maintained at a certain level, and most of the water will just pass through at this time of year. The rationale is that if we had a catastrophic event, we could not release water fast enough. So having room in the reservoirs is necessary.

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This is one of those policies that always troubled me. It happens everywhere in the West. Reservoirs draining west to the ocean are in the same situation. They are releasing a tremendous amount of water into the Sacramento River drainage from Folsom Lake to keep room for flood control.

The one benefit in our situation is that Pyramid Lake is receiving more water than it normally would, which is a good thing. This weather event is probably helping out Walker Lake, as well. The influx of water there will spare the lake’s fishery from dying off for a little while longer.

I am being asked with all this weather, is there any fishing going on? The answer is yes.

During the recent brief break between the first and second storm, a group of local anglers and I headed out to Pyramid Lake for a day of fishing. The day proved to be one of the calmest days I have experienced on that lake. The weather was more spring-like than winter ” and the fishing was stellar.

Bob McClintock of Tahoe City landed the nicest fish of the day. Fish the size of his have been caught in greater numbers this year than anytime in recent memory. The special regulations and sound fish management are definitely working to make this a better fishery.

So there is some pretty decent winter fishing nearby at Pyramid Lake. All that is required is a tribal fishing permit and some warm clothes.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident. “Gone Fishin'” appears weekly in the Sierra Sun during fishing season.