The last two days are certainly ones that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Fishing guides, TMWA staff, two dozen volunteers and a dozen NDOW employees worked more then four miles of ditches shocking and removing the resident trout. Why?
Those trout have lived very comfortably over the last five to seven years. Water levels coming out of the Truckee have kept the ditches full. The current drought has now become severe enough to affect them. The process was easy: shock fish, net fish, transfer fish to five gallon buckets, walk buckets to nearby hatchery truck, drive hatchery truck to river, then release happy fish back in to the Truckee River.
(a video capturing the salvage operation will be up on TruckeeRiverKeepers.com in the next few days)
Day one was all about the numbers. A reported three thousand fish had been removed by us from the draining ditches and released back into the Truckee River. Brown, Rainbow and Cutthroat/Rainbow Hybrid trout from two inches to twenty six inches along with Tahoe Suckers, Lahontan Redside Shiners, Paiute Sculpin, and Mountain Whitefish all made it back in the river for a second chance. I would have never believed that we would see at least a hundred fish over fifteen inches, another two dozen over twenty two inches, and a few that reached well over two feet.
Day two brought much warmer temps and even a little sunshine here and there. It also brought the largest Rainbow I’ve ever seen on the Truckee River. The beastly rainbow was between twenty six and twenty eight inches long weighing just under nine pounds. Evidence of a healthy river if I’ve ever seen it. Day two only had roughly half the size and numbers from the previous day but still an impressive number of fish were rescued from a miserable death in a ditch that was dry hours later.
A giant thank you to NDOW biologists Travis and Kim for putting the major reproducers back where they cam from. You guys rock!! Big or small they all help to repopulate as we move on to next season.