Rangers Nix Boating at Lahontan

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Our hot, dry weather this summer has led to severe drought conditions in some areas of Northern Nevada. The water level at the Lahontan Reservoir, just a few miles south of Fernley, has severely decreased in the past few months, causing state park officials to take drastic measures.

When the reservoir is at it's fullest, the water covers 10,000 surface acres, but you can see how low it is now. By the end of summer, it's expected to reach near historic lake levels.

On a normal summer day, you'd likely see a lot of people at Lahontan, but not lately. The reservoir is bone dry, and at dangerously low levels.

State Park Rangers have closed several ramps, and aren't recommending any boating. They also say the fish may not be safe to eat.

Gayla Pefley says her business is suffering. She owns the Bait Bar Saloon on Highway 50...it's on the road to Lahontan that no one seems to be driving on these days. She says a few years ago, the mosquitoes were the problem, and water was plentiful.

"You could stand on a picnic table and you'd be in the lake. It was wonderful," said Pefley.

Bartender Donny Seal says tips just aren't what they used to be either.

"We're not getting some of the fishermen. When they're done for the day, they usually stop in, but we're not getting those guys," said Seal.

Locals say they've seen it better, but they've also seen it worse. Summer at Lahontan may be a flop this year, but they say one good winter could turn the puddle back into a lake.

Currently, both the Silver Springs and North Shore marina docks have been removed from the water at Lahontan and the launching ramps are closed. Rangers say the low reservoir levels have exposed dangerous, even life threatening underwater hazards and boating is not advised.

For updates on the status of Lahontan Reservoir, go to www.parks.nv.gov.