20 Aug 31 - Sept 7, 2018 MAP FEATURE Loon Lake Dam is one of the better spots for shore anglers to pursue rainbow trout on the reservoir. VOL.37 • ISS. 19 Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. Loon Lake Offers Superb Rainbow Fishing In Fourth Year Of Plant Program L oon Lake, situated in the Crystal Basin of El Dorado County, has been known in the angling community for decades as a pristine location for trollers and bank anglers to catch large numbers of holdover and planted rainbow trout. The conifer-lined alpine lake, silhouetted by the snow-graced peaks of the Crystal Range, is in my opinion the most beautiful of all of SMUD’s Crystal Basin lakes. Not only is Loon Lake scenic, but the future of trout fishing at Loon Lake is now even brighter, due to a new trout planting program that was initiated in 2015. SMUD, in conjunction with the Cali- fornia Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), this June, July and August stocked Loon Lake, Ice House and Union reservoirs in El Dorado County with a total of over 25,000 pounds of rainbow trout this summer. These stocked trout are one to two pounds each and in a few years could be potential trophy fish. The amount of fish stocked can number as high as 50,000 pounds in a given year, depending on matched stocking by the Cali- fornia Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is the fourth consec- utive summer SMUD and CDFW have combined efforts to stock the reservoirs. “The trout planting Boaters are able to launch their boats with ease at the Loon Lake boat ramp. is intended to enhance Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. angling opportuni- ties for the public. Payne’s Creek. The company also stocks low-cost, clean, non-carbon-emitting According to surveys, fishing tops the SMUD’s Rancho Seco Lake that ever hydro power, enough to provide about 15 reasons folks visit the Crystal Basin annually hosts the very popular Trout to 20 percent of SMUD’s energy capacity Recreation Area. On average, the stocked Derby. during an average year. The fish-stocking trout weigh one to two pounds This year SMUD is working with the effort helps SMUD meet conditions of each, with a handful of trophy owners of the Ice House Resort to install operating its FERC license for the UARP. fish included,” according to a board where anglers can post pictures of Located an elevation of 6358 feet 45 SMUD. their catch from Crystal Basin reservoirs. miles northwest of Placerville at the edge SMUD coordinated six The “Crystal Basin Bragging Board” of the Desolation Valley Wilderness Area, separate trout plantings offers anglers the opportunity to show off the 76,200 acre-feet Loon Lake is formed from June through August. a photo of any catch they think is worthy. by Loon Lake Dam, completed in 1963 Loon Lake received 6,250 A scale will be made available as well by Sacramento Municipal Utility District pounds, ending up with if anglers wish to weigh their catch and (SMUD). 1,000 pounds on August claim biggest fish bragging rights. The lake, designed to conserve spring 13, the last scheduled “SMUD proactively works to improve snowmelt runoff for use during the plant of the season. the quality of life in El Dorado County, summer and autumn for hydroelectric Union Valley, the largest where many SMUD employees call home power production, is part of SMUD’s of the three reservoirs, and work, and where the electric utility Upper American River Project. received 10,000 pounds owns and operates the Upper American Loon Lake Dam impounds water at the and Ice House, 8,750 pounds. River Project (UARP), a system of hydro- headwaters of Gerle Creek that, prior to The fish provided by SMUD came electric generation facilities,” according the dam, flowed intermittently through from Mount Lassen Trout Farms of to SMUD. Loon and Pleasant Lakes, both natural In 2014, SMUD was awarded a new lakes. However, most of the water now 50-year license by the Federal Energy stored in Loon Lake Reservoir arrives Hard-fighting rainbows like these two Regulatory Commission (FERC) to from Buck Island Reservoir in the are the reward for boaters and bank anglers fishing at Loon Lake. continue operating the UARP, which adjacent Rubicon River watershed by way Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer provides nearly 700 megawatts of of the Buck-Loon Tunnel. Staff.