Bummed out

triploidjunkie

Active Member
There is an extensive network of spring creeks in the desert near me. I've spent countless hours exploring the public sections, and haven't even scratched the surface. Some sections you explore are seasonal, some don't hold fish (they go underground and pop back up), and most are private.
One of my favorites is close by, and is an old winter reliable. Definitely not easy fishing. Sometimes you have to put a mile or two between fish, but it was convenient, less than a half-hour away, and I've never heard anyone ever utter it's name online.
I went back to a favorite location (where the fish pic I'll post came from) and was shocked to find it dry. It literally felt like a gut punch! I've fished this section of creek for years, and never have seen it dry. I rigged up and set out anyway, assuming there still had to be fish somewhere. I found some, but felt too sorry for them to cast. They were all huddled into the last remaining pool, and dying fast. The saddest part is this creek hasn't been stocked. These are wild redbands that have been there since the floods. They probably won't ever recover in this section again!
I went a few miles upstream. Found water, a couple fish, and dozens of turtles. Which I found strange for the middle of December. But even though this section was doing slightly better, less than half of the creek had water that normally does. Flows were a trickle.
So I headed even further upstream. This section had more water than usual, which tells me the problem lies downstream. Beavers had dammed this section heavily, resulting in more frozen water than normal. I did find a couple fish, though.
It saddens me, because even if there is a flood event that washes fish back downstream, it will take several years to repopulate. And that is allowing something upstream doesn't cut off the water source again.
I have never posted a pic or even hinted at this creeks existing, but seeing how it's going to be years before it comes back, if ever. Here's a fish my buddy caught in the first section this Feb. We split up and covered ground without anything to show. I had spotted this huge redband in a deep hole, but spooked it. I saw the undercut bank it fled into, though. When we met back up just before dark, I convinced my buddy to follow me back up to the spot. It wasn't far from where we parked. His first cast, it came out and made a swipe, buy saw us and fled to the middle of the deep pool I originally spotted it in. "It's over, he spotted us!" My friend made another cast anyway, and to both our amazement, the fish moved a good two feet to take his fly as it dead drifted by! I've caught some good ones from these systems, but this is probably the best I've ever seen come out of such a small spring creek! Around twenty seven inches! In a creek you can usually step across. IMG_20201219_212049.jpg IMG_20201219_212053.jpg IMG_20201219_212113.jpg
 

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
Am I getting the correct idea that beaver dams may be re directing flow which is causing the dewatering downstream? Where is the flow going? Just filling up the beaver ponds to a higher level?
 

longputt

Active Member
I fish several streams like this and the introduction of CRP dewatered a few of them. In those cases I don't think they were actually streams before the farming and will probably never come back.

Another stream in OR disappeared in the stretches I fish and then re-appeared a couple of years later and somehow "stocked" itself. The growth rate was crazy they were 20" in a couple of years and stuffed with crayfish. So hang in there.
 

Gary Thompson

dirty dog
Nice fish!!!!!!
I have seen the beaver dams kinda dewater the stream below.
I have also seen where the beavers had undermined their dam and flooded the creek below.
I have a good time catching many good sized Brookies after that, before the creek got to low again.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
A bit different situation, but it involves dewatering.
I beach fish at the mouth of a creek that holds chums, coho and cutthroat.
In the fall, it is fun to watch returning adult salmon run up the creek.
In the summer, the lower section of the creek is completely dry. I’ve seen it bone dry as early as June on low water years, but up in the forest canopy there are pools which the young coho and cutts utilize until the stream gets recharged with fall rains. The dewatering doesn’t effect the chums fry of course as they are long gone by the time things go dry.

I’m sure some get picked off out of the pools by predators, but it is pretty amazing how fish adapt to survive and how hardy they can be under less then idea conditions.
SF
 
I think it is unlikely that beaver dams are the problem. Beaver dams tend to buffer flows in streams by slowing high runoff and recharging water tables so that they maintain better minimum flows. I wonder if a new irrigation diversion has been put in between the two sections you accessed?
 

Hookset

WFF Supporter
Sad discovery but incredible rainbow. Do you have a photo of the entire fish? He’s a beauty.
 

triploidjunkie

Active Member
I think it is unlikely that beaver dams are the problem. Beaver dams tend to buffer flows in streams by slowing high runoff and recharging water tables so that they maintain better minimum flows. I wonder if a new irrigation diversion has been put in between the two sections you accessed?
I'm guessing a farmer upstream is doing something illegal.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
I feel ya. I had a largemouth bass pond with legit tens (didn't get one just saw) winter kill off Frenchman a few years ago. I think the inlet had a huge ice dam or something. It was a beast to get to but quite a place...
 

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