Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Incline Lake - A potential local Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Fishery?

Some of you may remember fishing Incline Lake (aka Little Lake), formerly owned by the Incline Lake Corp. which was little more than a collection of locals who wanted a nearby private retreat. Above is an aerial photo from 2006 when the lake had water.  Situated at an 8,300ft elevation and only one mile west of Mt Rose Ski Resort (Slide Mountain), it is secluded and private and you used to have to be invited by an owner to fish it.  What a great little fishery, feisty little brookies and nice fat bows 2-5 pounds with some fish growing well in excess.  The lake was full of forage fish that kept the trout fat and healthy.  The 33-acre lake is now at a crossroads.  In 2009 it, along with 777 adjacent acres of forest, was purchased by the Forest Service for the bargain price to the public of $43.5 Million, of which ~$5.5 Million was appropriated for rebuilding the damn.  Part of the "official" rationale for the purchase was to make it a public fishery, but per inquiries with former owners, I've surmise that the real impetus came from powers in Tahoe intent on preventing further development of this grandfathered real estate.  In any event, the lake has since been drained and the damn could (and in my humble opinion should) be repaired, but there is talk now about restoring it to natural meadowlands. The public was invited to weigh in recently but unfortunately the public comment period closed June 6th.  

High Sierra Fly Casters has a good article that explains the situation, unfortunately, I just became aware of the role we (the public) could play a few days too late.  Here is a link to the aforementioned article, A Lake is a Lake, Until it Isn't.  If the Forest Service decides to rebuild the damn, the plan is to  possibly plant the lake with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout - wonder if they'd put in Pilot Peakers.  It would be awesome to have a new alpine fishery only 30 minutes from Reno.

Below is an aerial photo from 2010, the lake looks like this today, dry.  I'm hopeful (fingers crossed) they decide to repair the 70+ year old dam and restore this awesome fishery.
 If anyone has intel on the situation, love to hear it.


Matt Wilcks said...

Be prepared for a West-Nile infested bog...

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