Fisherman or not, pray for wet winter
As we near the end of the summer, the affect of the drought we have been experiencing for the past five seasons is evident. Most waters are already at their fall norms. Just taking a look at the various water levels in comparison to the same time last year will tell the tale.
Let’s run down some of last years level’s compared to this year at the same time. Last year Boca Reservoir was at 31,499 acre feet. The inflow was running at 79 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the outflow at 80 cfs. This year at approximately the same time, Boca sits at 18,400 acre feet (58 percent of last year) with the inflow and outflow running at 31 and 300 cfs.
Lake Tahoe was at an elevation of 6224.25 compared to this year’s 6223.35, nearly 11 inches less this season. Tahoe is nearly at a point where it will cease to run into the Truckee River.
Prosser Reservoir was at 24,420 acre feet last year and it sits at 10,100 acre feet now, about 41 percent of what it was last year. Fishing it this past weekend, it seemed that it was near the minimum pool that it typically is for the fall.
Stampede Reservoir was at 145,155 acre feet and it is presently at 108,400 acre feet, about 75 percent of last year. Water in this reservoir is typically held for fish spawning at Pyramid Lake and is not drawn upon as much as the other reservoirs in our region.
By comparison, the streams are apparently in much worse shape this year. The Little Truckee River between Boca and Stampede was running at 79 cfs last year, and it’s currently at 31 cfs, 39 percent of what it was last season.
The Truckee River by comparsion is much worse off. Last year it was running at 276 cfs at Tahoe City compared to a rate of only 40 cfs this season. This is slightly more than 14 percent of what the flow was last season.
With water levels at these low points, the prognosis for our fishery is not encouraging. Low water levels such as these will certainly lead to the loss of aquatic insect and fish populations.
We must have a good winter this season if we are to hope to maintain our limited resources. The likelihood of recovery in a single year is very remote. It did happen in 1997, but that was probably close to a 100-year event. Lake Tahoe did fill up in that one year due to the heavy snowfall and rainfall.
Most likely, the recovery will be a several-year process at the very least. What is different and quite evident these days is the increasing demand that there is for the water from our region.
One only has to look at the growth in Reno to understand the dynamics of our low water levels in our lakes and streams. Most have noticed that it seems to take less time for us to get into serious water conditions than it did in the past. Most blame it on the drought, but in prior ones, it seems that we would not approach these dire conditions as quickly.
A recent article in the Reno Gazette-Journal regarding the taking off-line of 13 wells in the municipal system that tested too high for Arsenic really got my attention. The one thing that really struck home with me was that the plan to offset this well-loss was to take additional water from the Truckee River.
I, like many of my friends and neighbors, are fearful that we are losing our local recreational resources. The numbers above are pretty striking. Unfortunately, we are just coming into September, and they will get much lower.
Pray for a good winter this year, and let those who represent us know of our concern. Water is a precious commodity, and needs to be carefully used. One only has to look at the once mighty Colorado River to see what continued use of the water can do to our resources.
[Bruce Ajari, a Truckee resident, is a regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.]
(18,400 Acre Feet) Inflow is a low 31 cfs and the outflow is 300 cfs. Boca is dropping rapidly. Boat and shore anglers have had fairly good success. Fish have been caught with minnow imitating lures and flasher combination rigs. Most anglers are fishing from shore using nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Fly fishermen near the inlet have experienced fair to good action. Nymphs and streamers have accounted for most of the fish caught, although some fish have also been caught on dry flies and emergers.
Fishing has been good for mackinaw. A combination of jigging and trolling has been successful. Shore fishermen near the launch ramp have had fair success. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Fly fishermen have taken a few fish mostly with streamers.
– Lake Tahoe
At 6223.35 on 8/29/2004 (Lake Level 6223.00) Fishing has been good for mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing should improve now that rainbows are done spawning.
(10,100 Acre Feet) Prosser is fishing fair to good. Boat anglers have been catching fish with minnow imitating lures and flasher combination rigs. Most anglers have been shore fishing with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Fly fishermen have been taking a few fish near the inlets and the dam with nymphs and streamers.
(108,400) Stampede fishing has been fair to good. Boat anglers have had good success and have caught fish with minnow imitating lures and flasher combination rigs. Shore fishermen are also doing pretty well. Most are using nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Smallmouth bass action has been good. Fly fishermen are using a combination of nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers with fair to good success.
– Martis Lake
(Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) ” Fishing has slowed. Mostly small Cutthroats. Most anglers are using midge emergers, blood midge, pheasant tails, hares ears, small damsels and streamers. The water is very warm. The past couple of years the weed growth has limited fishing on this lake to early and late season when the weeds are less of a factor.
– Little Truckee River
(Special Regulation Water ” Artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks ” no bait. Only two fish with a maximum size of 14″ may be possessed) This body of water between Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir is the area’s best option, but continues to be very crowded. Flows are now only 31 cfs. Fishing will be much more difficult at this flow. This water has been very crowded all season. Anglers are using nymphs such as the PT and Hares Ear. Dries and emergers are also working.
– Truckee River
The water in the upper river between Tahoe City and River Ranch is now running at 40 cfs and 29 cfs between River Ranch and Truckee. Fishing has slowed due to the lower flows. Below Boca the flow is 454 cfs. Anglers should concentrate in this section through the canyon. Most fly fishermen are using nymphs, emergers and dries now. Streamers can also be very productive.
– Other Waters
Davis and Frenchman reservoirs have been fishing fair to good for most anglers. Fish are in deeper water, but anglers are still having some fair success.