Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3815 July 5-19 2019 - Page 19

Spicer Reservoir Facts Size and Location: The 189,000 acre foot reservoir is formed by New Spicer Meadow Dam on Highland Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of the Stanislaus River, at 6620 feet in elevation. It has a surface area of 2,000 acres when full. The reservoir is situated eight miles southwest of Highway 4 on Spicer Reservoir Road in the Stanislaus National Forest. History: The reservoir is a relatively new one, since the 262 foot tall rock-fill dam was completed on Highland Creek in 1989 and filled in 1990. Additional water is diverted from the North Fork of the Stanislaus River by the North Fork Diversion Dam and a two-mile tunnel. Calaveras County Water District (CCWA) owns the dam. Water from the reservoir supplies drinking water and water for irrigation in Calaveras County. The water district, along with the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) sells electricity from the 6-MW hydroelectric plant at the base of the dam. Boating Facilities and Regulations: A boat ramp with turnaround area and movable dock is available when the lake is full. No overnight mooring is permitted. Maximum speed on the western portion of the lake is 10 mph; the eastern portion, surrounded by the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, is managed for non-motorized uses only. Supplies: Gas, groceries, and camping supplies are available in Arnold, Camp Connell, and Bear Valley. Camping: A Wilderness Permit (available at the District Office free of charge) is required for shoreline camping in the eastern (non-motorized) portion of the lake. Spicer Reservoir Campground: located at 6,200 feet on a timbered setting on the shore of Spicer Reservoir. There are 43 total campsites. The maximum vehicle length is 50’, the maximum length of stay is 14 days and the maximum use is six persons per single unit site, with several multiple units for small groups. Piped water, restrooms, vault toilets, tables, picnic table, stoves, BBQ grills are available. Reservations are first-come, first- served. The campground is open from June to October, weather permitting. National Forest Information: Calaveras Ranger District, P.O. Box 500, Hathaway Pines, CA 95233, (209) 795-1381, spicer.shtml Fishing Information: Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods, (209) 795-1686 Spicer Meadow Reservoir 6692 Tuolumne County To Hiway 4 Markleeville & Arnold Protect Fragile Shoreline Camp 100 feet from water’s edge 6648 er Spic w do Mea voir r Rese 10 mph Western arm No motorized boating in Eastern arm of reservoir 7195 Fishing Notes • Rainbow Trout are the dominant species in Spicer Meadow Reservoir. The DFG plants approximately 50,000 rainbow fingerlings each year. No catchable rainbows or other species of trout are planted in the reservoir. Bank fishing is best on the area near the boat ramp or the dam. Nightcrawlers, Power Bait and salmon eggs are good baits to try. Casting spinners, Kastmasters and flies under plastic bubbles is also worth a try. Trollers find the top action with nightcrawlers behind blades and flashers or minnow imitation lures such as Sparkefish, Needlefish, Cripplures, Triple Teazers, Rapalas and Thomas Buoyants. Float tubing is effective for fly fishermen using Wooly Buggers, beadhead nymphs and black ants. • Brook & BrownTrout have been reported in the lake, but 99 percent of the fish caught at Spicer are rainbows. For brook trout, fish the Highland Lakes on Highland Creek, a tributary of Spicer, in the Ebbetts Pass high country. Off Spicer Reservoir Road on the way to the reservoir, the North Fork of Stanislaus offers good fishing for wild and planted rainbows at times. Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. I went, Vince Grimes and his fishing buddy reported catching 30 to 40 trout while trolling Wedding Rings in the top 3 to 5 feet of water, according to Reynolds. Other anglers have reported catching lots of fish from shore. One fisherman reported catching five quality trout in a row while tossing a spinner from shore. When the lake first filled in 1990, the influx of nutrients into the reservoir created a relatively rich food chain that allowed rainbows to grow to large size, including some fish in the 3- to 5-pound class. However, the lake’s nutrients have declined over recent years, accounting for smaller, though still healthy fish. The Department of Fish and Game stocks the reservoir with 50,000 rainbow trout fingerlings, a mixture of Eagle Lake-strain rainbows and 17 July 5 - 19, 2019 MAP FEATURE VOL.38 • ISS. 15 Kamloops trout, every year. Every spring, huge numbers of rainbows go up into Hobart Creek, located near the boat ramp, to spawn. To protect the naturally spawning population, fishing in the creek is closed every year until July 1. Wild brook trout, brown trout and brown bullhead catfish are available also, but “99 percent of the fish caught at the lake are rainbows,” according to Bill Reynolds at Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods. The only fish I’ve personally seen caught in the reservoir are rainbow trout. The reservoir has 2,000 surface acres and contains 189,000 acre-feet of water when full, as it is now. When I first fished the lake in the summer of 2002, the lake was just beginning to recover from the trout population’s battle with a tapeworm parasite. I caught an easy limit of rainbows while bait fishing from shore when I went to Spicer. one evening, while James Pagani of You can also drive up Highway 4 to Sparklefish Lures and I landed limits Lake Alpine, a lake that is planted with of fish while trolling the following day. larger, trophy-size rainbows by Alpine Although the fish were square-tailed and County and “catchable” rainbows by the very pretty, they were only in the 10- to CDFW. At this popular lake, you have 12-inch range. a chance of nailing a 4- to 8-pound class On my second trip to Spicer on Oct. 7, holdover every time you go there. 2007, I had a great time catching a fast “ Lake Alpine has fully thawed,” said limit of Spicer’s colorful rainbow trout Abbott Valenti, director of operations in the 14- to 16-inch range from shore. for the Lake Alpine Lodge. “There’s Since then, bigger fish have been snow on the ground but the sun has been caught, but the largest Reynolds has shining! The lake is full and still spilling seen this year measured 20 inches. over the dam.” On every other trip since those my first One angler reported catching good two trips there, I have hooked fish and numbers of rainbow trout while seen people hook fish from the bank and throwing PowerBait from his kayak at boat. My favorite trip was in November Alpine, according to Reynolds. 2014 when I landed an easy limit of For more information about fishing at trout while fishing for a couple of hours Spicer Meadow Reservoir, call Ebbetts right before dark with PowerBait and Pass Sporting Goods at (209) 795-1686. nightcrawlers. My latest trip was the only time I can recall when I saw no trout hooked by bank anglers. For a mixture of rainbow trout and brown bullhead catfish, anglers can fish nearby Union Reservoir, located off the Spicer Reservoir Road just before you get to Spicer, However, the access road to Trollers like this angler like to battle the scrappy rainbows that Spicer the lake was Reservoir is known for. still closed Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff.