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It's Long Road Back From Drought for 2 Reno Lakes


RENO — Washoe Lake is going to be just a dry bed for another summer, and while neighboring Little Washoe Lake has more water than its namesake, there are not many fish at the one-time popular destination.

The state Department of Wildlife poisoned Little Washoe Lake in mid-November because trash fish were taking over. Between the competition and the water quality after five years of drought, biologists doubted many game fish would survive the winter anyway.

"We stocked the lake last month with about 1,500 channel catfish we purchased from the Duckwater Indian hatchery out near Ely," department spokesman Chris Healy said.

"This is the time of year that catfish spawn and some are of spawning size," Healey said.

Healy said biologists hoped a successful spawn would help get the lake started back on its way to a popular spot for anglers.

"Late in the summer, if the water conditions are right, they'll plant some white bass."

Healy said that would not likely happen until after the summer heat has peaked.

In the meantime, he said, people were having some luck fishing the newly stocked lake, but biologists were not concerned that the catfish population would suffer greatly.

"If that lake kind of gets taken over by water- and jet-skis, fishing pressure will break off. There'll be enough fish in there to get the spawning going. It's a long road back," he said.

Adjoining Washoe Lake dried up last summer for the first time in half a century, and so far, skimpy springtime runoff has made it little more than a big mud puddle.

While Little Washoe Lake has enough water for jet-skiing and sailboarding, it is not part of the park. It cannot be used at all until it is incorporated into the park system.

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