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What to expect in E. Sierra this year

Article and photos by Don Quilici
04/11/15 -- We are into the first part of the month of April, winter is behind us, and the outlook is grim for the rest of the year due to our prolonged drought. Here are some things that are currently occurring and will probably occur:

Snow
Our Sierra Nevada snowpack is either non-existent or minimal at best.

There are very few snowdrifts across higher elevation hiking trails.

Deep snowfields and snowdrifts in the mountains are things of the past.

The peaks are bare rather than smooth white with lots of snow.

South Lake down to large puddles, photo by Don Quilici
South Lake

Snowpacks
According to the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service in an article in the Reno Gazette Journal, here are some of the mountain snowpacks, by percent of normal: Carson River Basin: 5 percent, Lake Tahoe Basin: 3%, Truckee River Basin: 14%, and the Walker River Basin: 21%. That is bad!

Streams, creeks and rivers
Our streams, creeks and rivers are mere trickles of their former selves.

Instead of high-level, fast-moving, spring-run offs on those moving waters, many are so shrunken, you can either step or jump across them.

Conditions can only get worse during this coming summer.

East Carson River such a small ribbon, photo by Don Quilici
East Carson River

Ponds, reservoirs and lakes:
Ponds, reservoirs and lakes are at record lows and still shrinking.

Higher elevation lakes have been ice-free for weeks and weeks.

Some of the shrinking reservoirs and lakes have had their fish limits removed as any remaining fish will probably die in the heat of the summer.

Bone dry Bridgeport lake, photo by Don Quilici
Bridgeport Lake

Animals
Mule deer have migrated into and are staying permanently in Carson City due to lack of water and feed at the higher elevations.

Black bear are out of their hibernation dens earlier than normal and are already causing problems in their search for food.

In my opinion
I believe that local water authorities are going to make some very drastic reductions in the near future to conserve on water usage.

I suspect that our lawn and garden watering days will be reduced and our watering hours will also be reduced.

Water wasters
Again in my opinion, water wasters should be hammered hard, especially those fools who let their water run continuously down the gutters.

Instead of receiving warnings, they should be hurt where it really matters: In their wallets with hefty fines for first offenses.

Summer fires
Our summer will be hot, dry and windy with the possibility of catastrophic range and/or forest fires where the trees and bushes are tinder dry.

There will be some dimwits leaving unattended campfires, discarding cigarettes, driving where they don't belong, and the results will be disastrous.

Temperatures
We have already experienced record highs temps this past winter and in the current spring, and you can be sure that it will only get worse.

Temps in the high 90's-low 100's will become a norm with no relief from occasional rainstorms. It is going to get hot and stay hot!

Economic Impact
The prolonged drought has already directly and indirectly affected many snow and water related industries including: Ski resorts, ski shops, snowmobile rentals, sport fishing guides, sporting goods stores, boat stores, marinas, resorts, hotels, motels, lodges, restaurants, gas stations, etc.

The future
We can only hope and pray for abnormally heavy rains (without lightning), successful fire prevention tactics; and good, old, common sense to carry us through until we revert back to the deep snows of past winters.

Until then the outlook for our part of the country is grim...at best.

Finally
Let's all do a rain dance and hope that it works.

We need our streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, reservoirs and lakes back in the tip-top shape that they used to be many years ago.

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. Please let it rain.

Bet your favorite pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon he can't tell you some of the waters that are suffering the most due to the drought.

If he takes a deep breath and says, "To name just a few, Boca Reservoir (26 percent of capacity), Bridgeport Reservoir (down 24 feet), Carson River, Frenchman Reservoir (37 percent) Lahontan Reservoir (all boat launches are closed), Prosser Reservoir (24 percent), Rye Patch Reservoir (boat ramp is closed), Stampede Reservoir (21 percent), Truckee River, Walker River and Wildhorse Reservoir (18 percent)," he is very knowledgeable.

Don Quilici was Outdoors Editor for the Nevada Appeal newspaper in Carson City for 22+ years, where he wrote a weekly “Outdoors" page every Thursday. On March 21, 2006, he was honored by Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn with a proclamation of “Don Quilici Day” for his long-time commitment to the conservation of Nevada's wildlife. He has backpacked extensively in the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way from the Lake Tahoe area to the Mt. Whitney area. He has hunted big game in Nevada (antelope, deer, elk, Rocky Mountain Goat), California (deer), Oregon (elk) and Idaho (deer) and has fished in Alaska, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, plus British Columbia and the Yukon in Canada. He can be reached via email at donquilici@hotmail.com or at 775-882-4372.

Fishing Reports

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story

 

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