Lahontan expecting small crowds for the weekend |

Lahontan expecting small crowds for the weekend

Nevada Appeal News Service

A lower-than-average water level and the high price of gas are not mixing well for Lake Lahontan this weekend.

According to Nevada State Park Ranger Brad Larkin, the Labor Day weekend may be one of the most serene and peaceful in years because water enthusiasts are staying away.

“It will probably be a nice, calm weekend, something visitors haven’t seen in a decade,” Larkin said Tuesday.

During the past two weeks, Larkin said, the number of people visiting the lake has “really slowed down.”

Camp sites should be plentiful, and Larkin said people still can have a good time relaxing for the weekend.

As of Tuesday, the lake had 37,000 acre feet of water, and the two major boat ramps are inaccessible. Larkin said the only watercraft able to navigate the reservoir are small fishing boats, jet skis and Skidoos.

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“Last year was real slow at this time, and both boat ramps were unusable then,” Larkin said.

Although most visitors to Lake Lahontan are within a two-hour drive, Larkin said the high price of gas has also deterred many people from visiting the recreational area. However, if the water levels were up like they were two years ago, Larkin said fuel prices may not have made a major difference.

“I think if we still had the water, we might have had the crowds,” Larkin predicted.

Larkin said fishing is becoming more difficult. He said fishermen are still snaring white bass in the 5- to 8-inch range.

“The best fishing is by the Truckee Canal spillway,” he said, adding the Silver Springs’ side consists of stumps and mud.

Larkin said motorists should also be aware of the lake bed because the soil is moist underneath. He said a few motorists have been towed out of the mud because they thought the lake bed was dry.

“They need to be careful,” he said.

Larkin said a day pass is $5, while a day and boat pass costs $10. Camping each night is $10, and camping and boating costs $15 per night.

David Overvold, project manager for the Truckee Carson Irrigation District, said two reasons for the low lake level are the break in the Truckee Canal that flooded Fernley on Jan. 5, and a drier than normal year.

“This year we only have 35 percent of a normal runoff,” he said at the beginning of August.