Cutthroat trout reintroduction plan moves forward
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service plan to restore the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout is proceeding. Fish and Wildlife has assembled a technical team to develop a Restoration and Recovery Implementation Plan for the Truckee Basin. The primary purpose of the Implementation Plan is to identify and prioritize actions for the improvement of Truckee River ecosystem function to facilitate the restoration/recovery of Lahontan cutthroat trout and cui-ui populations in the basin. Restoration/recovery implementation recommendations for cui-ui will concentrate in the Pyramid Lake/lower Truckee River system, whereas those for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout will focus on Pyramid Lake and localized areas within the Truckee river watershed.
The general approach to plan development includes the following:
– Compilation of pertinent data that assess of the physical and biological health of the Tahoe/Truckee/Pyramid system with respect to fisheries.
– Assessment of available information to delineate primary factors that adversely impact the functional health of the system with respect to Lahontan Cutthroat and cui-ui populations.
– Identification of data gaps that preclude a full understanding of system condition.
– Prioritization of identified conditions with respect to their severity and their potential for treatment.
– Development of detailed recommendations for the implementation of specific approaches that will reduce adverse impacts to system function and facilitate Lahontan Cutthroat and cui-ui recovery.
As a part of this plan, stakeholder meetings are being held in the region.m Various stakeholder groups meet and provide input for the Plan. After gathering this input from these groups, the team charged with the restoration will try and incorporate these items into the plan.
A stakeholders meeting was held in Truckee on May 24 at the utility district building in Truckee. The first meeting that I attended in March in Reno was much more adversarial.
Both the tone and the content of this past meeting was encouraging. This was due in no small part to the participants that kept the meeting focused and provided a significant amount of direction to the Service.
Also, the California Department of Fish and Game Biologist for the region, John Hiscox, was present at this meeting. He provided our state’s prospective on the reintroduction. We are extremely fortunate to have such a highly skilled and qualified individual representing our interests in this project.
There was also some new information at this meeting in the form of maps that identified the areas within the Truckee Basin that are being targeted for the reintroduction. The map included priority areas. The highest priorities were identified within the next five years to be implemented. The breakdown was to five years, five to 10 years, 10 to 20 years, and greater than 20 years.
High priority areas of immediate concern to us were identified as the Truckee River between Donner Creek and upstream to Tahoe City. Also noted, were a number of creeks within the drainage, Bronco, Deep, Gray and Pole. These areas were selected because of the better potential for success of a reintroduction. This area relies heavily on Department of Fish and Game plantings of catchable trout. Hiscox was quick to point out that the plan of Lahontan Cutthroat reintroduction would include a similar scenario, but with catchable cutthroat. It turns out that this is the most manageable area.
While the plan to reintroduce Lahontan Cutthroat Trout may be an idealistic goal, it is proceeding. A draft plan is due out sometime in October.
A couple of key elements identified at this meeting were the genetic study that is pending to identify the form(s) of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout to be reintroduced, and whether more or less government restrictions might come about as a result of this plan.
The genetic study is fundamental before the state of California can finalize its plans according to Hiscox.
This plan is apparently scheduled to be complete in July or August. Two forms of Lahontan are being considered, the Fluvial (river dwelling) and Lacaustrine (migratory lake fish).
As far as the government restriction issue was concerned, a suggestion was made and a follow-up meeting with the various government entities that have regulatory powers in the river will be scheduled. It was observed that many of these regulations may not change, but this is a key element that must be considered since habitat restoration and stream hydrology are also components of this plan.
One other item of concern is to whether or not the fishing groups that are at these meetings are representative of the general population.
While groups such as Cal Trout, Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers are great organizations, their membership is comprised mainly of fly-fishermen or catch-and-release advocates. What about the rest of the fishermen?
Your input is just as important as all the rest, so do not be silent. If you feel that your interests are not represented, attend the meetings or get your input to someone who can pass them along. A good suggestion is to call your county fish and game commission representative: Mickey Daniels at 546-0440 if you live in Placer County and Ray Butler at 587-6680 for Nevada County.
A day-long workshop has been suggested in July in Truckee, that will bring the technical experts to the public to provide them with updates on their various studies.
This forum will provide the public with a much better opportunity to see just where this plan is going. I urge all individuals or groups to attend this workshop and any future meetings, or at the very least, provide your input to insure your views are heard regarding the future of the Truckee River.
Boca – (38,652 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair-to-good. Most anglers fishing from shore near the inlet are having some success. The area near the dam is also fishing well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boaters are having fair-to-good success. Most were using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Kokanee fishing has been good. Fly-fishermen near the inlet should have fair-to-good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers and emergers.
Donner – Fishing has been good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had fair-to-good success. A few large fish continue to be reported. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair-to-good success. A plant was scheduled again this past week.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 6,229.00) Fishing has been good for Mackinaw trout. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for Mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing are fair. Remember tributaries to Tahoe are closed to all fishing until July 1 and close again on Sept. 30. No fishing is also allowed within 300 ft. of these tributaries.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) Fishing has only been fair overall. Blood midges are showing due to the mild winter. Others are using nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams and Griffith’s Knat are good choices.
Little Truckee River – (This area between Stampede Reservoir downstream to Boca Reservoir is now subject to artificial barbless lures with a two fish bag limit of fish 14 inches maximum) Fishing here is fair-to-good. Fly-fishermen fishing this stretch between Stampede and Boca concentrate on nymphs and streamers with occasional hatches where a dry fly will work.
Prosser – (26,979 ac. ft.) Prosser fishing has been fishing fair-to-good. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Fly-fishermen near the inlets are fishing primarily with nymphs and streamers.
Stampede – (215,922 ac. ft.) Stampede is fair-to-good. Most shore anglers are catching some very nice fish. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Topliners are having good success for kokanee salmon. Most used a flasher of some sort and a kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn. Kokanee fishing should be best in the early low light hours or in the evening as the weather warms up. A plant was scheduled this past week for Stampede.
Truckee River – The release has been raised to 410 cubic feet per second from the dam at Tahoe City. As a result, In the Truckee area the river is running much higher than last week at 668 cubic foot per second rate. Fishing will be much tougher. Seasoned anglers can still do well, but for novice anglers it will be difficult. Most fish being caught in the special regulation areas are being caught on large nymphs or streamers. The upper stretch of the river should fish better now because of the added flow.
Other Waters – The road to Jackson Meadows reservoir is open and the fishing has been good. Davis and Frenchman lakes fished fair this past week. Pyramid Lake has still been fishing well but has slowed a bit.
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The Truckee girls’ cross-country team raced to a runner-up finish at today’s Class 3A Northern League championships.