Ajari | Independence Lake plan to provide rental boats only for anglers | SierraSun.com

Ajari | Independence Lake plan to provide rental boats only for anglers

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

The Independence Lake summer recreational plan was released recently after quite a bit of public input. In May of 2010, the Nature Conservancy purchased 2,325 acres of land around the lake owned by Nevada Energy for $15 million.

The lake bottom is owned by the State of California, and Truckee Meadows Water Authority owns 17,000 acre-feet of the lakeand#8217;s water as drought storage.

The importance of this lake lies in the fact that it holds the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT). It is one of only two lakes that has a self-sustaining population of this threatened species.

A vocal group formed the Friends of Independence Lake, which opposed the restrictions on boating that the new owners placed upon the lake. Boats were not allowed to be launched lakeside. To launch a boat, it required quite a portage to get to the lake. As a result, some of the older anglers felt excluded.

The summary of the new plan is a compromise of sorts. This was gathered off of the Nature Conservancy website. First, it plans to provide limited boating opportunities while protecting the lake from invasive species.

A fleet of 14-foot aluminum motorboats, kayaks and fishing pontoons will be available for rent provided by the Nature Conservancy and their partner, the Tahoe Donner Land Trust. No outside boats will be allowed. These motorboats will be available for rent every other week to allow periods of quiet boating only. A limited number of walk-in campsites will also be available under this plan.

All in all, this plan appears to provide the protection from aquatic invasive species to protect the lake and its native fish, the LCT.

Given the fact that quagga mussels have been reported by the Nevada Department of Wildlife at nearby Lahontan and Rye Patch reservoirs, it seems only prudent to take extra measures in keeping these invasive species out of this watershed.

The compromise is a good one from the standpoint of protection of the lake and the threatened LCT. Boaters and other anglers will undoubtedly not like the fact that they cannot bring their own watercraft with them.

While the rental watercraft offers them the option of using the lake, the cost of these rentals may be prohibitive for some. Obviously, not all will be pleased.

However, in the long run, protection of the lake should be the most important factor. This seems to be a fair compromise given the elevated risk of threats from aquatic invasive species.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.