What, if anything, can be done?

Ell Lake is dead, Sidley lake is dead, other lakes on the way. When I bring up this issue to fellow fishermen most give me "it's a cycle, pray for more moisture, they'll eventually come back, etc." I really hope they are correct but honestly don't see it that way. If you look at the dire water shortages around the glob it becomes apparent (at least to me) that time is running out quickly to reverse global warming.

We have had two years in a row of 100+percent snow pack and still no change. I am not a hydrologist or a climatologist. That said, I don't think 10 years of 100% snow pack would make a difference in an ever-decreasing water table.

Since Dept. of Fish/Wildlife, local fish Biologist, fly clubs, Nature conservancy, TU, and others have ignored my "the sky is falling" rants, I am inclined to either give up or try something drastic to have at least a few good years of fishing before my age and health say "done". My plan is to raise enough money to have water air dropped into these lakes. I realize that the summer's relentless heat in the NCW would take it's toll but perhaps there would be some fishing for at least awhile.

Yes, this is a desperate measure but people ignoring the inevitable and doing nothing is worse. Hell, I have not seen "Fly Fishing in Yemen" yet but look forward to the chance. Without going totally "ape shit", tell me your thoughts.


Active Member

I applaud you for your efforts. I have never fished Ell and only fished Sidley once and so I can't really appreciate your concerns as much as you do. But I have found great fishing in the Okanogan area lakes the past 10 years and as recently as last weekend. The lakes where I have had lots of success without a lot of crowding is where I concentrate my efforts. If there were no place to fish and/or fishing was poor, I think you would generate more support and/or get some attention of others but since there is still some great fishing to be had, it doesn't surprise me that you are not getting the attention of these two lakes that you want.

Lakes to come and go. I fished a small, shallow lake three years ago and had great fishing. I have been back one time each of the last two years, thinking that with above average water, the lake would be fishing even better, with better overwinter or summer survival. But I found fishing to be very poor each time and likely won't be back for a while. But there are three other lakes nearby where I had extremely fast fishing on decent sized trout. So for the time being, my thinking is while I hate to give up on a long-time favorite lake, others will still be producing very well.

Good luck.
I miss ell lake. Saddens me every time I drive by. But so many other lakes have gotten so much better recently that my size and catch rate have improved overall.

Bob Rankin

Chasing fur and fish every second I get :)
I know just what you mean. I uesd to have a cabin by Ell lake, and fished it all the time. What a cool place. its been done for a while. It really is sad.
I talked to the Okanagan WDFW biologist at a recent fly club meeting and they are concerned about Sidley. He said they are doing some research and are a little perplexed about the problem. The Ph of the water is changing probably due to water levels but there is something more to it than the level of the water.
They are listening.
Unfortunately that is how eutrophication works. When a lake has a few really dry years and the lake level is lower, light penetrates to the bottom of the lake more easily which promotes more weed growth. When those weeds die off, they produce more 'soil', and the lake is even shallower than the year before. Due to the overall reduced depth of the lake, light has an easier time getting to the bottom of the lake, promoting even more weed growth, and the cycle is compounded. After several years in a row of exponentially increasing weed growth, the lake is a lot shallower than before, and even a few good water years don't overcome this change.
If there were a way to divert more water into the lake either via creek or spring, that could raise its whole level a few (maybe 3-4 feet) that could be enough to retard the weed growth and bring back the lake that you like, but that would be under the drastic measures heading you were describing, and doesn't stop eutrophication, it would just delay it. It is sad to see a good lake go, especially when it produced so well for so long like Ell certainly did, but new opportunities will always be coming available. If you had the cash do organize a water dump into Ell, you certainly have the cash for a $25 dollar stocking permit, and some trout that you could put into another watershed (provided that all your ducks are in a row and where you want to stock is a) private and b) available legally for stocking).


Active Member
Lakes have a finite lifespan, and eutrophication is the final stage....they become a nutrient sink, and eventually a meadow. It will get better....the next ice age should carve out some beautiful oligotrophic lakes!