CA Lake Davis plan has 'no future'


Mar 11, 2001
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Lake Davis plan has 'no future'

Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle

March 4, 2002

In a rare political stand with black-and-white clarity, a proposal to drain one of Northern California's most popular fishing and camping lakes, Lake Davis, "has no future."

"Without support from the Department of Water Resources, the County's proposal to drain Lake Davis and sell the water seems to have little or no future," said Diana Jacobs, science advisor to the director of the Department of Fish and Game.

She said the DFG wouldn't even consider the issue without "analysis contained in the standard CEQA document (California Environmental Quality Act). " No such study is being prepared.

In the plan, outlined by Supervisor B.J. Pearson at a Plumas County hearing last week, the lake would be drained and the water sold for $24 million. The money would then be distributed to regional businesses damaged by the loss of recreation dollars.

At the same time, draining the lake would rid it of northern pike, an invasive predator fish that poses a downstream threat to salmon, steelhead and endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Lake Davis is located in southern Plumas County near the town of Portola, about 45 minutes northwest of Reno, and is one of the best fishing and camping recreation lakes in the Sierra Nevada. Yet it is threatened by the presence of pike, a fast-breeding predator fish that looks something like an alligator mouth connected to a tail.

The DFG is now employing an intensive program to "contain and control" the pike at Davis. That policy reversed a 10-year, hard-line policy of eradication of the predator fish, which included a botched attempt to poison the lake that cost $20 million in fees and fines for water quality violations.

While there have been reports of pike having been caught downstream in the Feather River and Lake Oroville, including a photograph provided to The Chronicle, there has been no independent verification of these stories.

Pike have the ability to devastate a habitat, according to the American Fisheries Society, which urges complete eradication of the fish at Davis. The AFS describes the Susinta River drainage in Alaska where pike were introduced 20 years ago in a lake, then escaped downriver. Pike now inhabit 90 lakes and 44 river systems in the region, destroying runs of silver and sockeye salmon and 60 percent of the rainbow trout populations.


Apr 1, 2001
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How stupid are these people?  What do they think, that the pike just eat any and everything.  I find it really hard to believe that the pike will take over the lake.  Instead of draining the lake(brilliant idea), why not spend the money and introduce other predator fish such as bass and brown trout.  Better yet, let's try poisoning the lake again.  No, draining the lake is much better idea.  Why not make the most of this and let it be and have another fish to catch.  I like how they say the pike is a threat to downstream salmon and steelhead, and to endangered species in the Delta.  Are these species high on the pike food chain?  It was wrong for whoever to illegally plant the pike there in the first place, but I cannot believe the money and time that is being spent to try to fix this.  I guess I would like to see some variation in the type of fish to catch and not just trout.  But I guess that's the Minnesota side in me coming out.  I live in San Diego and would love to go up there and catch some pike, but I read you can't keep them.  You have to turn them in to be destroyed.  What did they think I was going to do with it?  I don't think some of those people up there have ever fished for pike with tip-ups in the winter.  What a blast.  I'll take that over trout anyday.  But then that is just my Minnesota opinion and I suppose if I only fished for trout I would be mad too.  
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