I am posting this email that I received from David Lass of Trout Unlimited today regarding the projected flows here in the Truckee Watershed and also to let everyone know about a dive team that will be inspecting Prosser Dam that will result in Lower Prosser Creek being turned off (meaning zero cubic feet per second). We will be rescuing fish during the period of time that LPC will be shut down and we will most likely need additional volunteers to help out. With that said, KEEP IN MIND, this email and and the words that are contained in it are based on hypothesis and it could be subject to change with additional weather that may or may not come. It is up to us as anglers (both industry professionals and leisure anglers) to keep a watchful eye out on our beloved watershed and to not abuse the fish when they’re stressed due to low water, lack of oxygen, and the fact that they’ll have no deep pools to hide in and will be exposed. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO FISH DURING THESE CONDITIONS HOWEVER IT IS UNETHICAL!!!! Please, keep the bigger picture in mind and think of the environment before you feel the need to go fishing on the Truckee River and her tributaries. There are lots of other fishing opportunities around the area that can be equally fun and rather rewarding. Smallmouth Bass, carp, spring creeks with smaller trout, high mountain lakes and many more. Please, do your part and be a ‘steward of the river.’ Here is the email I received this am and like I said, this could all change.
“On July 25th, the release from Boca Dam will likely be shut down to between 0-50 cfs and the gates at Tahoe will remain open. Tahoe has remained relatively flat with the rain we got, lack of wind and relatively overcast skies, and actually came up a tad in the past week. This can change fast. Before for weather, the flow in the Truckee below the dam was dropping at about 4 cfs per day. The new projection for Lake Tahoe to reach its natural rim is September 30th. Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) is going to close its hydro operations in the Truckee River Canyon today/tomorrow, a silver lining being that water will stay in the “dewatered” stretches of the river instead of entering the diversion structures. Fish stranding in the diversion structures is the downside. Below Chalk Bluff dam near Boomtown, the primary point of diversion for TMWA, the Truckee River will get insanely low this year as there is only a minimum of 50 cfs by-pass flow through tribal claims 1 and 2. The Tribe has the authority to move more water from Stampede to satisfy instream flows for fish and Pyramid Lake levels, however word on the street is that they are not planning to use this right.
Prosser Creek is basically done for the year as the Reservoir is below 9,800 acre feet of water, and the Federal Water Master can only release from the dam to match the inflow, which is minimal. I am working with California Department of Fish and Wildlife to schedule fish rescues, most notably when Prosser will have to be turned to 0 cfs for up to 6 hours for a Bureau of Reclamation dive team to inspect the gates for a future retrofit.
The Little Truckee will remain at around 45-47 cfs for the remainder of the summer and early fall.
We should note that Donner Lake will start releasing after Labor Day, which will add flow to the Truckee River throughout the month of September and October, and though minimal, there will be unmanaged flow coming from Bear, Squaw, Trout and Martis that will add ~15 cfs during this time. We should see the Truckee remain at around 80-100 cfs even during the worst of it. We’ll see what the weather gives us in the next two months.”
I urge you all to take a long look at the overall big picture going on here and keep in mind that these conditions are rare and we CAN AND WILL make it through this. But we can’t do it alone. Pass the word, educate those who are unaware, and though I’m not a religious man, I can tell you I’ll be praying to whomever and whatever god will listen with hopes of a huge and water filled winter this next season.