Well I have been able to contact two persons with the CPW regarding the Mountain Home draining. One is the DWM for that area and the other is the Fisheries Biologist. As you know there has been a lot of confusion and wonderment as to why there was not a fish salvage at Mountain Home before its complete draw down. I wanted to make sure I understood the reasoning before writing about it.
CPW knew that the draining of the reservoir was going to happen. There was some talk (and I posted about this newspaper article) that there would be a conservation pool that would protect some of the remaining trout. I was elated over this. Money was being set aside. That news article, however, was premature and poorly founded as the work they needed to do would have required divers and the nature of the pipes that needed to be installed was really not suited to divers. Heavy equipment was necessary. Complete drainage was needed for the work to be done.
The CPW did not stock rainbows this year, not wanting to see them die or get washed away. Seems reasonable. They also planned for the reservoir to be maintained until November, which would have given us folks a little more time to catch the remaining LARGE trout and pike. Then rather suddenly, the water user groups, who really control water, announced complete drainage in 3 weeks. CPW explained that setting up a salvage operation with only 3 weeks left was difficult to accomplish. The water went down very quickly. Those of us fishing it in the last pools did well! An 8# Pike was my best yet! I helped the man in the picture land this 20 pound Northern Pike! He was elated!
It also became clear that the long term goal for this lake is a trout fishery. This is due to the fact that there is not much public access water available in Costilla County. Pike enthusiasts, there is still Sanchez and the river, is what I was told.
I appreciate the CPW for sharing their information on the story. I am still disappointed that a salvage of some kind could not happen. Perhaps snagging could have been allowed as well as no limits. On the last day I was there, the reservoir had been drained and hundreds of fish were dead on the mudflats. It was pretty tough to see it all.
Three months for the work to be completed and possible filling and stocking by spring, depending on runoff and IF we get snow this year. There you have it.