Nearly a hundred years ago, Lake Tahoe was full of Lahontan cutthroat trout, the only native fish to the world-renown Northern California lake. Following decades of land management policies like logging and overfishing in the 1930’s, the fish disappeared from the lake. But after a historic release by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, they are back in their native habitat.
The USFW released 5,000 Lahontan cutthroat trout into the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe last week with hopes that the prehistoric strain of trout reestablishes the lake as a worldwide fishing destination in the near future. A similar release occurred in nearby Pyramid Lake, which is now known to routinely net fishermen 20-pound plus trout.
Although the Lahontan cutthroat trout is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, a special rule under the act still allows anglers to catch the fish. The hopeful resurrection of the species in the lake should allow for awesome shoreline fishing opportunities in the future.
Not only will the trout release improve fishing opportunities on Lake Tahoe, scientists hope the trout can help bring the lake back to its original equilibrium before humans made their mark on the region.
As humans took away the monster trout in Lake Tahoe, they have put the same fish right back where they came from. Will Tahoe become a world-renown fishery in the heart of Northern California? Let’s hope so!