I try to post fun stuff on Fridays, but this is a little too important to overlook: Recent snowpack surveys in California suggest we’re looking at a third year of drought – with this year being potentially the worst. From the Aquafornia blog:
â€œWe may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history. It’s imperative for Californians to conserve water immediately at home and in their businesses,â€ says Lester Snow
The no-place-else-you-need-to-go Aquafornia blog published a roundup of reactions from around the state, many of which are remarkable only for their deft denials of reality – including the often-repeated hope for a “March Miracle” series of storms to replenish reservoirs.
The problem remains LaNina currents in the ocean, which tend to push rain farther north to Oregon and Washington (take that, Moldy).
The condition is expected to remain for another couple months – past the end of California’s traditional rainy season.
The Watery Details
All those who fish the Sierra’s small streams might do a little better; the Southern Sierras and the Tahoe area are sheltering a little more water than the northern Sierras (or the Mt. Shasta area).
The farther north you go, the lower the snowpack, and while I’m not sure of our current numbers, I know we were looking at below-50% snowpack a while ago, and we’ve had almost no precipitation since.
With new water extraction restrictions in place to protect Salmon, smelt and other species, whatever flexibility that exists in the California Water Project seems to have evaporated along with our weather.
The Fly Fisherman’s Take
Like any fly fisherman, I’m running down a mental list of my favorite waters, wondering which will suffer most.
The Upper Sacramento and McCloud rivers may not feel the effects just yet; both are fed by reservoirs, which will buffer the worst of the low water problems in late summer and fall.
The little streams are another matter entirely, and while the trout have survived millenia of this kind of stuff, drought isn’t exactly good for our finny friends.
I expect I’ll be avoiding some small streams entirely starting late summer, including a couple of my nearby “run out and fly fishing for a few minutes” spots, which will be tiny, warm trickles by fall.
See you at the Weather Channel, Tom Chandler