Low River Levels Killing off Fish

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RENO, NV - As the Truckee River slowly trickles through Nevada, more fish continue to die.

For the past four years, the Truckee River levels have gotten lower and lower, slowly killing off its inhabitants.

"If you want to have a fish hatchery in the Truckee river, you need consistent flows of cold, fresh, oxygenated water that stay cool," said Chris Healy with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Trout tend to stress out when water temperatures are hotter than 69 degrees.

"There's no cold water; there's very little oxygen in in the water that's in there, so this is a very bad situation, so I'd mark this on the scale as a 9.99 on a scale of one to 10."

Healy says the water level is 1/30th of what it should be flowing and it can't sustain life for much longer. Hundreds of trout are dying and will continue to die for the rest of the season.

"We just know through experience that when this happens, enough fish will survive and the aquatic life will come back, but the bottom line is we just need to get more water into the system and that's going to begin with a big winter this year," he added.

Those that survive will rebuild the population in the future. For now, nature will take care of the fish that have been left behind.

"The death of the fish or the death of multitude of fish will actually provide food for other species."

Healy says there's not much we can do but wait for the next big winter.

"We know we can't go and rescue these fish and put them somewhere; it's just not possible. But we also know that once we get the water back, we will be able to rebuild this fishery."

NDOW wants to remind anglers to hold off catching and releasing trout until next year to help sustain the population.