Bruce Ajari: Fishermen crossing fingers for more snowpack in March
The first week of March has brought us some much-needed snowfall. What turned out to be a significant snowstorm has increased our snowpack by as much as 20 percent by some accounts. While we still need much more precipitation to bring us out of our current drought, we are now sitting at around 90 percent of normal in the Truckee River Basin.
While this is good news, it is anticipated that runoff will still be pretty light. Our lakes and reservoirs are so low that it will take quite a bit more precipitation to meet current water demands.
As it stands now, our early-season prospects for fishing appear to look a lot better than it did just a couple of weeks ago. We should have some pretty decent early-season flows in our rivers.
Lakes and reservoirs are very low right now. While Boca is at about where it was last year at this time, and Prosser is just a little more full than last year, the larger bodies of water are looking pretty bleak. Lake Tahoe is nearly 1 1/2 feet lower than it was last year, and Stampede is at about 64 percent of where it was last year.
What this means is that the demands on the water will draw these lakes and reservoirs down very low once again. Until we get several large years in a row, it will be unlikely for us to recover the additional storage in these bodies of water.
Many fly fishermen are concerned about the status of the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Truckee. This area was in sad shape when the lake dropped below its natural rim and there was no flow into the Truckee River. Many are concerned that we may have lost the aquatic food chain in this section of the river. This would be devastating to a stretch of river that had become a very good fishery once again.
The rest of the river should fish pretty well, with your best bet as the area below where Boca Reservoir empties into the Truckee, downstream to the state line. This section of water has maintained a good flow throughout the year with releases from our local lakes and reservoirs.
The local lakes and reservoirs should fish pretty well during the early season. However, keep in mind that many of our local waters this year will not receive the regular plants of catchable trout by the California Department of Fish and Game due to the lawsuit that was brought against them that requires them to do an Environmental Impact Report before planting can continue. The one exception is Stampede reservoir, where plants are scheduled to continue.
Remember the end of next month brings on the General Trout Season once again. Until then, let’s hope that the snow keeps coming and we work on the snowpack. I know it is pretty late in the season, but a miracle March is not without precedent. More snow means more water, and that is very good for the health of our fishery.
” Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.