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Pike problems

Bruce Ajari

Recently, a Northern pike was caught in the Truckee River about 20 miles east of Reno. A longtime Truckee River angler from Reno caught the large specimen while spinfishing with a lure early in the morning.

At first, the angler thought he had a large brown trout, but when he got the fish close to shore and was able to see the teeth, he knew right away that it was a Northern pike. At 9.5 pounds, it was a very large fish.

According to Nevada Department of Wildlife representative Dave Rice, any introduction of pike into waters such as the Truckee River is illegal under Nevada law.

As in California, Nevada authorities are very concerned that the pike would threaten the existing fisheries in the Truckee and other waters.

Somewhat surprisingly, Northern pike are legal gamefish in Nevada and can be found in two locations in White Pine County. Basset and Comins are the two lakes that already have populations of these toothy fish. The Nevada state record of 27 pounds was set at Comins Lake in 1978.

In our region, pike were found and eradicated from Frenchman Lake in 1991.

The proposed Davis Lake pike eradication program has come under heavy fire from locals and a temporary restraining order by Superior Court Judge Roy MacFarland remains in place after the judge refused to lift it July 7.

The restraining order prohibits the California Department of Fish and Game from proceeding with the Davis Lake eradication project until an interim water supply for a small development that depends on the water from Davis Lake is in place and functioning.

A key factor in obtaining the restraining order was based on the interpretation by the judge of what constituted the beginning of the project. The temporary retraining order was put in place because the DFG had not provided a fully operational interim drinking water source prior to beginning the project, which the city successfully asserted began with the lowering of the lake April 3.

The DFG countered that the project began with the actual treatment of the lake – a step in the project which had not yet occurred.

The DFG did fund the final testing of a city-developed well that could replace Lake Davis in all but peak mid-summer months. In conjunction with the existing spring, it could supply sufficient water for several months beyond the proposed October treatment period. The judge’s decision to continue the temporary restraining order was based upon the fact that the tanks to supply the Grizzly Lake Resort Improvement District were not actually in place yet.

The DFG eradication plan proposes to lower the lake to about half its normal volume, treat it with a chemical called Rotenone to kill all of the fish, and then restock the lake with trout. A similar project was successfully completed at the previously mentioned Frenchman Lake near the town of Chilcoot (east of Portola) in 1991.

The recent catch of the Northern pike in the Truckee raises new concerns about introduction of this species into waters close to home. There have been unconfirmed reports of people catching or observing Northern pike in Stampede Reservoir and near the Boca Reservoir inlet.

If these reports are true, the trout fishing in these waters will surely decline over time. Pike, which inhabit the same type of water as trout, tend to take over a lake because they feed voraciously on brown and rainbow.

If you do happen to catch an exotic species of fish such as a Northern pike, take the fish to the U.S. Forest Service ranger station at the northwest corner of the juncture of Interstate 80 and Highway 89. There is usually a fish biologist available or a ranger can put the fish on ice until a biologist can confirm your catch.

Taking the fish to the ranger station will be a great help in identifying the existence of a problem on our area. I am hoping these sightings are incorrect; but if pike really do start showing up in the Truckee River, my concern will turn to fear.

If you have information on anyone that may be involved with the illegal introduction of exotic species such as the Northern pike, call 1-888-DFG-CALTIP.

Fishing Events

— A fishing clinic sponsored by Mountain Hardware and Sports on Martis Lake will be held this Saturday (Aug. 16) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic will be conducted by noted stillwater angler Denny Rickards. Cost for the clinic is $20 and sign-ups are being taken at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.

Fishing Report

Boca Reservoir – Boca is at 36,405 Acre Feet. Shore fishermen are doing fair in deeper water. Some nice trout are still being taken on inflated nightcrawlers. Rainbows are taking power bait and salmon eggs. Trollers are still catching some kokanee using flasher and Kokanee Bug combinations. Others are using minnow type lures or a flasher/worm combination for fair fishing for the rainbow and brown trout. Fly fishermen are doing fair to good using woolly buggers, nymphs, or midges near the inlet.

Donner Lake – Shore fishermen are taking planted rainbows, and a few nice brown trout. Most are dunking nightcrawlers, power bait, or salmon eggs near the boat ramp or west end beach. Trollers are taking some nice mackinaw. Jigging for mackinaw has also produced a few as well. Topliners should try the shallower water with flasher/worm combinations or minnow imitating lures.

Lake Tahoe – (6228.60 Lake Elevation) Mackinaw fishing remains good. The majority of fish are still being taken in water over 200 feet deep. Most fish are in the three to five pound range. Rainbow fishing is improving. Topliners are beginning to take a few more fish, but overall is fair. Most use inflated nightcrawlers from shore or troll minnow imitating lures such as a Rapala. Tributaries are open through September 30.

Martis Creek Reservoir – Martis is a zero kill lake – catch and release fishing only with only artificial lures with barbless hooks. No bait is allowed. Fishing has been fair with warmer weather. A variety of nymphs, midges, and streamers have been successful. Seasoned anglers have found steady action. Try woolly buggers, bead head nymphs, midges, and emerger patterns. Blood midges and small midges have been good early and late. Callibaetis have been effective about mid-morning. Damselfly imitations are effective as well.

Prosser Creek Reservoir – Prosser is at 25,041 Acre Feet. Fishing has been fair for shore fishermen. Most are using power bait, nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs. Trollers are having fair success. Most are trolling flasher/worm combinations or minnow imitating lures. Flyfishermen are having success with olive or black woolly buggers, nymphs and midges.

Stampede Reservoir – Stampede’s lake level is 184,753 Acre Feet. Shore fishermen have been taking some nice rainbows and browns early and late in the day. Most are using nightcrawlers, power bait or salmon eggs. Some nice fish are being caught near the dam. Kokanee fishing still remains the main draw this time of year for trollers. The traditional flasher/wedding ring and white corn combination has been a good producer recently as have Ted’s Bugs and Kokanee Bugs. Look for fish deeper after early morning bite with the warmer weather. Flyfishermen have been taking a few fish on woolly buggers, nymphs, and midges near the inlet streams.

Truckee River – The Truckee river is in great shape and fishing has been good. The section between Truckee and River Ranch is rated fair. Bait and lures have accounted for most of the fish. Good numbers of small fish have been reported. Fishing from Tahoe City to Truckee has been fair. The Wild Trout Section below Truckee has been fishing well. Caddis and the Little Yellow Stones at dusk can account for some large fish this time of year. An appropriate color elk hair caddis will do nicely in a #14 or #16. Try standard nymphs such as the Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Prince, Birds Nest, and Zug Bug. For dries and emergers try an Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Humpy or Quigley Cripple. Soft hackles and streamers can also be very effective on the Truckee.

Other Waters – The Little Truckee River has still been fair to good. Most success has been by the fly fishermen working nymphs, streamers, and some fairly good dry fly action. The road to Jackson Meadows has been open and the lake has been fishing fair. Frenchmans Reservoir and Davis Lake are getting tougher with the warmer weather. Damsel imitations are still doing well, but the bite is early and late.


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