Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3816 Jul 19- Aug 2 2019 - Page 16

14 July 19 - Aug 2, 2019 MAP FEATURE VOL.38 • ISS. 16 Frenchman Lake, sits on the transition zone between the desert to the east and pine forest to the west. Impressive lava formations dominate the scenery around the reservoir. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. Frenchman Lake Features Hard-Fighting Rainbows in Scenic Setting F renchman Lake, located in Plumas County in the northeastern portion of the Plumas National Forest, features top-notch fishing for rainbow trout year round and for brown bullhead catfish in the spring, summer and fall. The lake’s fishery is similar to that of Spicer Reservoir, nestled in the North Fork of the Stanislaus River watershed, in that both reservoirs feature beautiful, square-tailed rainbow trout grown out from fingerlings planted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Bank anglers bag the rainbows and brown bullheads by bait fishing around the reservoir, while boaters land rainbows by trolling spinners, spoons, flies and nightcrawlers behind dodgers and flashers. A 1,580 surface acre reservoir created in 1961 that sits at an elevation of 5,588 feet above sea level, Frenchman, is situated on the Middle Fork Feather River watershed. The California Depart- ment of Water Resources (DWR) owns and operates the dams. The reservoir is operated by the State Water Project (SWP) to regulate Little Last Chance Creek for irri- gation purposes in the Sierra Valley and to enhance recreation opportunities . “The recreational fishery established at Frenchman Lake is primarily comprised of rainbow trout (RT) (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown bullhead (BB) (Ameiurus nebulosus),” reported Amber Mouser, CDFW Environmental Scientist, in a General Fish Survey 2016 published on April 14, 2017. In addition to the trout and catfish fishery at Frenchman, Last Chance Creek below the dam, a tailwater fishery with cold water flows year round, provides good fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout. Fly fishermen and spinning gear enthusiasts nail the fish on an array of flies, spinners and bait. Frenchman Lake become the focus of much local, state and national media coverage when it became infested with no-native Northern pike (Esox Lucius).in the late 1980’s. The fish, a popular fish in the Midwest, Eastern Seaboard and Canada, is a non-na- tive, invasive, predatory fish species that was illegally introduced to California by unknown Frenchman Reservoir, a State Water Project reservoir, has excellent boat persons. launching facilities. “This highly Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. invasive fish has Frenchman Lake using a commercial the potential to seriously impact Califor- formulation of the piscicide rotenone nia’s aquatic ecosystems,” wrote Mouser. (DFG 2007). Unfortunately, the pike soon “Northern pike were first discovered in appeared in Lake Davis, a nearby SWP California at Frenchman Lake, Plumas reservoir, and it took two eradication County, in 1989. Due to the potential sessions to finally eliminate the fish from harmful impacts to statewide water that reservoir in 2008. management, aquatic ecosystems, In an effort to evaluate the current and recreational fisheries both fishery at Frenchman Lake, two general in Frenchman Reservoir and fish surveys were conducted during throughout the waters of the daytime hours on April 28, 2016 and July state, California Depart- 28, 2016 by the California Department ment of Fish and Game of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Prior to (DFG) determined it this, the lake was last surveyed in 2008 as was necessary to eradicate northern part of the effort to monitor other waters nearby Lake Davis for northern pike, pike from according to Mouser. Frenchman Results of this effort can be found in Lake.” the 2008 monitoring of other waters of In June Plumas County (LaCoss and Rossi 2011b) 1991, DFG paper. A boat electrofisher was used to success- complete the 2016 surveys. The three fish fully eradicated species identified during these surveys were rainbow trout, brown bullhead, and northern Lahontan redside (LRS) (Richardsonius pike egregius). from “The lake was divided into two sections (north and south) separated by a narrow channel,” wrote Moser. “Each section was sampled individually and included as much of the shoreline as possible in the designated survey area. The reservoir Cal Kellogg, Fish Sniffer Editor, shows one of the gorgeous, square-tailed rainbows that Frenchman Lake is known for. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff.