Studies resume: Reintroduction of Lahontan Cuthroat Trout into local waters |

Studies resume: Reintroduction of Lahontan Cuthroat Trout into local waters

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provided an update on the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) Reintroduction into the Truckee River drainage at an evening meeting in Truckee on Oct. 26.

Lisa Heki with the USFWS, the project manager for the restoration of LCT in the said region, gave those in attendance an update on the Genetic Study, the Hatchery/Recreational Fishery program, an update on radio telemetry studies in the Truckee River, studies at Fallen Leaf Lake and work downstream on the Truckee River.

On genetics, the anticipated report on the strain of fish that is to be reintroduced into our region is tentatively scheduled to go to publication in January 2005. The genetic study was conducted by Mary Peacock of the University of Nevada, Reno and Jennifer Nielsen of Stanford University.

Part of the process in selecting the fish to reintroduce into our region was based upon DNA taken from museum specimens of ancient Pyramid Lake fish. The fish being used are Pilot Peak strain fish. These fish being reintroduced from Utah showed a strong genetic link to the original strain of fish once found in the region.

On the hatchery front, the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery located in Minden now has brood stock of Pilot peak fish and is currently raising fish for the put-and-take recreational fishery. These will be the fish that are planted into the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Donner Creek, an area in which the California Department of Fish and Game used to plant catchable rainbow trout.

Catchable LCT were planted in this region in 2002 and 2003, but none were planted this season. This coming year, it is anticipated by Heki that fish would be planted into the river in August or September of 2005. This is so the fish can obtain the desired size of around 10-inches. A one-year old fish attains a size of six-to-seven inches in the hatchery according to Heki. They may alter this plan and release some smaller fish earlier if that is desirable. An earlier release in, say, June or July would correspond with peak recreational usage.

Also of interest to anglers should be the radio telemetry studies being conducted in the Tahoe City Section on the non-native species of rainbow and brown trout. While water is the obvious problem in that reach at the moment, Heki felt that the Draft Truckee River Operating Agreement that is presently in the public review period into December will have a beneficial impact on the flows in this area. The study surgically implants a device into the fish and the fish’s movement is tracked by radio signals. In our area, they will be studying non-native species to get an idea of how they will interact with the LCT.

Radio telemetry is also being used in the Reno area. The Nevada Department of Wildlife has been working with the USFWS and the Pyramid Lake Indians on this project. They are tracking movement to see how they survive and what areas of the river that they inhabit.

In Fallen Leaf Lake, studies were conducted on the non-native Lake Trout and how they interacted with the LCT that were planted. It was found that a very small number survived the plantings due to their small fingerling size. Most became food for the Lake Trout. As a result, a larger fish is now being stocked.

Heki also mentioned the McCarran Ranch habitat restoration program east of Reno. This area was channeled for flood control and the effect has been horrific. A restoration project restoring the riparian vegetation and repairing the river is being conducted.

In closing, Heki mentioned that anglers should continue to provide feedback on the recreational fishing in the Truckee River and Fallen Leaf Lake by filling out one of their angler surveys.

A downloadable angler survey is available on their Web site at as well as some information on the LCT restoration efforts.

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

– Boca

(5,220 Acre Feet) Inflow is at 92 cfs, and the outflow is 94 cfs. 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.

– Donner

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 6222.75 on 10/31/2004 (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 is fair.

– Prosser

(4,940 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. Fly fishermen have been taking a few fish near the inlets and the dam with nymphs and streamers.

– Stampede

(104,000) 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 well. Most are using nightcrawlers or Powerbait. 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 is fair. Mostly small Cutthroats. Most anglers are using midge emergers, pheasant tails, hares ears, small damsels and streamers.

– 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 fishing fair to good. Flows are now 92 cfs. Anglers are using nymphs such as the PT and Hares Ear. Dries, emergers and streamers are also working.

– Truckee River

Lake Tahoe has dropped below its natural rim, and there is no measurable flow coming into the river at Tahoe City. The stretch between Tahoe City and River Ranch has little water, and only 17 cfs between River Ranch and Truckee. Fishing is fair to good where you can find adequate flows in the river. Below Donner Creek and Boca the flow gradually increases. Anglers should concentrate in this section through the canyon below Boca. 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 starting to be caught in shallow water at Frenchman and Davis. Intermediate and floating lines are working well.

Pyramid Lake in Nevada, which opened up on Oct. 1, is still slow for shore fishermen, but very good for those trolling. The water temperature is cooling, so shore anglers should start to catch more fish. This cooler weather and the storms are beginning to help. Don’t forget that you will need a permit to fish from shore and also a boat permit if you are using a boat since this location is entirely on the Paiute Indian Reservation.

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