How the lake clarity and temperature flip of Lake Tahoe has affected the 2023 fishing season
Photo Taken by Moondull Media
The last year in the Lake Tahoe Basin has been one for the record books for many reasons. In addition to a record snowpack, we have also seen a record change in lake clarity. The Algae in the lake has depleted to its lowest numbers in 40 years. Scientist Geoff Schladow, the director of Tahoe Environmental Research Center, stated in the State Of The Lake Report that he suspects this is linked to the non-native Mysis Shrimp population. Their numbers have gone drastically down from last August to December.. This typically leads to a decrease in Algae.
This is because the Mysis Shrimp eat the Daphnia (a small planktonic crustacean) in the lake and the Daphnia are large consumers of Algae. The last time the Mysis Shrimp population collapsed the water clarity improved and the Daphnia population boomed resulting in larger Kokanee in Emerald Bay. “The Mysis Shrimp population collapse has also caused the Mackinaw Lake Trout to eat other food such as minnows and smaller fish causing them to grow larger and faster” says captain Zach Gordon from Tahoe Sport Fishing. “The captains are seeing less shrimp in the bellies of the Lake Trout and more bait fish like minnows and other fish”. It was another clear lake year that the state record Kokanee was caught back in 2013 on our very own Hopper I by customer Bill Brush. Researchers expect this process to stay for the next 1-4 years.
In addition to the improved lake clarity, Lake Tahoe has also flipped its temperature this spring. This is a process where the water from the top to the bottom of a lake mixes. The last time Lake Tahoe had flipped its temperature was in 2018-2019. This process is great for the lake as it brings in rich oxygen-filled water from the top to the bottom. In addition to oxygenated water, it also brings algae, plankton, and other nutrients to the bottom where the Mackinaw Lake Trout spend their time. Potentially another factor in why the Mackinaw season has been so successful for the 2023 season. For more interesting discussions on Lake Tahoe see the following articles. Lake Tahoe State Of Lake Report, Tahoe Weekly Rapid Clarity Changes Lake Tahoe, Nevada Appeal Algae Report, UC Davis Lake Tahoe Food Web, Keep Tahoe Blue State Of The Lake Report, Tahoe Daily Tribune Tahoe’s Eco-Systems Ever Changing Numbers, Tahoe Quarterly The Rise and Fall of Lake Tahoe’s Salmon