The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has conducted its second stocking of Lahontan cutthroat trout into Lake Tahoe, releasing 4,645 of the native fish into its crystal-clear water. Following a stocking a 5,000 Lahontan’s into the lake in October 2019, this marks nearly 10,000 placed into the lake over the past 7 months.
The fish were spawned at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex in Gardnerville, Nevada and released into the Nevada side of the lake.
Nearly a hundred years ago, Lake Tahoe was full of Lahontan cutthroat trout, the largest inland cutthroat trout in the world and only native fish to the world-renown Northern California lake. The fish also populated nearby Pyramid lake and the tributaries in between the two reservoirs, namely the Truckee River. Following decades of land management policies like logging and overfishing in the 1930’s, the fish disappeared from Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.
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!