Regulation changes to affect local anglers | SierraSun.com

Regulation changes to affect local anglers

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

The California State Fish and Game Commission approved two regulation changes to our local fishery at its meeting in Santa Monica on Dec. 8. This will affect a number of local waters.

The regulation changes will be effective on Martis Creek, the Little Truckee River, Prosser Creek and the Truckee River. The changes were made with the idea of simplifying the current regulations and protecting two important spawning tributaries.

According to a Policy Statement Overview, The Truckee River’s current regulations from Lake Tahoe to the Nevada state line are divided into seven segments with different sport fishing regulations (Section 7.50(b) CCR). This array of regulations maintains opportunities for diverse trout fishing interests and addresses different trout management goals but is complex and may be a source of confusion for anglers.

The majority of the Truckee River falls under the Sierra Fishing District general regulations, which allow for a daily bag limit of five trout from the last Saturday in April through Nov. 15. A long segment of the river with these general regulations, from 1,000 feet below Lake Tahoe downstream to Trout Creek, is managed to provide anglers the opportunity to fish with bait or other gear and take five trout.

Portions of this reach are stocked with hatchery trout. The reach of the Truckee River from Trout Creek to Gray Creek, which is managed for wild trout, has four separate segments with the same two-trout bag limit but with differences in gear or length restrictions. Tributaries in this reach of the Truckee are governed with the Sierra Fishing District general regulations.

The new regulations on the Truckee River change the general season regulation from the confluence of Trout Creek downstream to the Glenshire Bridge and on the Truckee River from the mouth of Prosser Creek downstream to the Nevada State Line as follows:

The last Saturday in April through Nov. 15, the minimum size limit is 14 inches.

Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used, with a daily bag and possession limit of two fish.

For the segment that runs from the Glenshire Bridge downstream to the mouth of Prosser Creek, the regulations will be the same as above with the exception that only artificial flies with barbless hooks may be used.

The new regulations will be the same as the former on Martis Creek from Martis Lake Dam downstream to the confluence with the Truckee River (Nevada County) and Prosser Creek from the Prosser Reservoir dam downstream to the confluence with the Truckee River (Nevada County). The regulations will require only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.

An additional proposal will also open a winter zero-kill special regulation season on the Little Truckee River (Sierra and Nevada Counties) from Stampede Reservoir Dam downstream to Boca Reservoir and a portion of the Truckee River that corresponds to the general regulation changes above, but excluding the portion from Gray downstream to the Nevada State Line. The same gear restrictions (artificial lures and artificial flies) on each of the sections applies under the general regulations. The difference is, there will be a zero daily bag and possession limit during the winter season ” from Nov. 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April.

This proposal was put into place because many western states do have winter seasons, and the fact that an open winter season on the Upper Sacramento River with a zero-bag limit and restrictions to artificial lures with barbless hooks has been well received by the local communities. It also has been popular among trout anglers. Fishery managers have determined that winter season catch-and-release trout fishing with artificial lures and barbless hooks has insignificant, often undetectable impacts to trout populations.

While these new regulations eliminate the use of bait that was historically in place from the Boca Bridge downstream to the state line, which will no doubt cause some anglers great aggravation, the new regulations should improve the fishery.

Old-time anglers who have fished the current special regulation water from Trout Creek to the Boca Bridge can see a noticeable difference in the fishing in this stretch. Many feel that this fishery has improved quite a bit.

You can also look to other waters such as the East Walker in Nevada and the special regulation section vs. the adjacent general regulation water. Fish surveys conducted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife show a tremendously better population and size of fish in the special regulation water.

Incidentally, the Truckee River, its diversion ditches and tributaries above the Interstate 80 bridge ” which is upstream from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi to the California state line in Washoe County ” is Nevada’s section of special regulation water, and it is open year-round with limitations of using artificial lures with single barbless hooks and 14-inch minimum size, two trout and 10 mountain whitefish bag and possession limit. This section of the river is doing quite well, according to members of the Truckee River Fly Fishers.

Only time will tell if the fishery will indeed improve. However, the goal of making the regulations simpler and protecting two important spawning tributaries has been accomplished by these changes.

Be sure and check the new regulation book when it comes out for the effective dates of these changes.

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