Low Water at the Lake


Sunday July 27 2021 – It was August 2013 when San Luis hit its lowest level in history.  Since then,  The DWR vowed never to let the lake drop that low ever again.   The algae blooms nearly ruined the lakes plumbing and the local reservoirs that depend on San Luis Reservoir dried up .   The fish kill that year was never released to the public because the last thing the DWR needed to worry about was endangered fish when they were scrambling to figure out how to get enough water to LA to keep the politicians happy.   No stinkin’ fish was going to jeopardize that.

The lake is at its lowest point since 2013.   The grates are less than 20 feet from the water line and most of the pilings on the gangway of the trash racks are out of the water.  The one silver lining of a low San Luis Reservoir is that the big stripers that normally sit on the the bottom ,  are with fly casting depths along the dam and trash racks.   Some of the biggest fish are caught in the lake when the water reaches its lowest point.     Some guides have told me that it concentrates the fish.

Today I found lots of fish with the Panoptix in 20 to 40 feet of water along the dam and racks.  The winds have kept me away from the lake but today I found a window between 9-1:30 of calm.    There were some promising reports from the forebay over the last couple days,  but I still couldn’t get the big fish I lost last week out of my head.    I really want to concentrate on the lake while its low.

I thought the racks were empty till I got up close and noticed two bait fishing boats anchored up inside.   The water was so low that the cable signs were hanging 20 feet in the air at the end of the cables.   The shad were still circling the pillars but I could see less stripers around the periphery of the schools.   It seems today like the  stripers were spread out.     I didn’t notice any current at the racks today but obviously ,  water is or has been pumped out .  The bait fishermen were still getting a couple and they left at 11:00 probably with limits.   The rangers have been watching them from basalt with binoculars lately.  They aren’t interested in kicking people off the racks but instead are looking for poachers.

Vaughn pointed out that the water temps in the forebay were a cool 60 degrees while the Delta water is in the 70s.   The  forebay must be cool from the lake water. Dan Blanton and Vaughn did well on the forebay yesterday  finding eating fish  along the rock walls now that the weeds are almost all dead from Herbicides.  Nothing in the flats.

I switched flies a lot today,   I caught fish on small and large flies plus I got to watch fish come up to my flies on the panoptix and laugh.  They just weren’t eating aggressively today.    I caught around 10 good fish,  all 18 and over, still in a spawning way.    Maybe the spawn is mostly over or maybe the moon pushed the bite to the afternoon.   I would have stayed till the second solonar peak at 4:00 if it weren’t for the line of white caps that moved across the lake at 1:30.   I seemed like all the boats around the racks saw it coming and motored out at the same time.

It was a satisfying day fishing over large schools of fish even though I didn’t catch that many.   I like the game.   I have to remind myself that you only learn when  you fail.   I just can’t really pinpoint what I learned today other than I sucked.

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