The Continuing Saga of the Quagga
By John Barron
Boat inspections, today that's a little more than a mouth full. How do you know which lake is going to require what type of inspection? If you only fish one lake it's not a problem but many of us travel to other lakes. Even with today's high price of fuel I like to go to Santa Margarita Lake or Naci. Clear Lake and the Delta take a little more planning but it's not unusual for me to leave Friday night and drive somewhere to fish early in the morning.
Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County does slightly more than a cursory inspection. Castaic Lake in Los Angeles County does nothing but ask if you have heard about the Quagga Mussel. OK but you're going to Pyramid Lake this weekend what are you to expect? How about Piru? What if you want to go fish a lake in Northern California?
Lake Casitas in Ventura County will go through all of your lockers and check everything you have, lower your motor and if water comes out you will fail the inspection and be sent away for 30 days. Once you have satisfied their physical inspection they will sell you a lock and cable, lock your boat to the trailer so you can't remove it and quarantine you for 10 days. You can take your boat home but you can't put it on any body of water for those ten days. After the quarantine period you can go fishing at Casitas.
When preparing to go fishing you should always expect the worse. You should keep your boat ready for inspection as if you were going to Lake Casitas or Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County. Cachuma requires that your boat be decontaminated no matter how clean you are unless you are a repeat visitor of that lake and are "tagged" for entry similar to Casitas. Once they pressure wash your boat you can launch your boat and go fishing. At this point the lake is providing that service without additional charges.
So what do you do? You want to go fishing but you don't know what the criteria is for Silverwood. You can always try to look up the lake on the internet and see if they have posted the inspection criteria. Look at the page on westernbass.com titled lake info and find the lake you are wanting to fish. If they don't have the inspection criteria posted you should call them and ask.
If you keep your boat Casitas ready you can go just about anywhere well almost anywhere. Some Northern California lakes like Pardee and Comanche have banned Southern California anglers from their lakes and in actuality there are a total of 6 lakes SoCal anglers can not take their boats. Caution there could be more so take the time to research it out before you make a long drive only to be turned away. A little homework will help get you on the water instead of send you home grumbling especially with the cost of fuel what it is today.
It is truly part of our responsibility to help prevent the spread of this voracious pest. It will kill the fisheries we love. If left unchecked it will change fishing as we know it today. It will also cost us untold billions of dollars in maintenance fees for water delivery systems, not in our children's lifetimes but in ours.