Commercial Fishing Returns to Lake Tahoe, to Combat an Invasive Species

By Veronique Greenwood | July 14, 2012 8:05 am

Lake Tahoe in winter

More than seventy years ago, commercial fishing in Lake Tahoe was outlawed. The deep, clear lake in the Sierra Nevada had been denuded of its Lahontan cutthroat trout, and state officials have since only allowed recreational fishing.

Now, with interest in eating invasive species on the rise, and with millions of invasive crayfish muddying the lakewaters, commercial fishing of the crustaceans has been instated on Tahoe’s Nevada side. The New York Times has a reporter on the scene, who records the giddiness in the local seafood industry:

In Nevada, made up mostly of desert, the impending availability of a local seafood has made headlines in Reno, less than an hour’s drive northeast. Sierra Gold Seafood, a wholesaler that will sell [a fisherman’s] crayfish, trucks in all its products from hundreds of miles away — everything except the Lake Tahoe crayfish now.

“This is it, man,” said Brandon Crowell, whose family owns Sierra Gold, adding that 40 restaurants and casinos in the Reno area had already put in orders.

“Keep Tahoe Blue” bumperstickers have been adorning Northern California cars for decades, but it has been an uphill battle against pollution and runoff. The alpine lake is ringed with ski resorts, beaches, and condominiums. Putting a dent in the numbers of crayfish, whose excretions can cloud the shallow water at the edges of the lake, may help, but there’s plenty more work left to do.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of advencap / flickr

  • Graham

    Signal crayfish are not just a problem in the US, the abound in the rivers and lakes of Southern UK and are damaging the environment and certainly having a negative effect on fish stocks.

    My global solution is to catch them and eat them!

  • Norbrook

    Since they’re edible, why not? In fact, that might be the solution to a number of invasive species we’re dealing with. In a change from the usual environmental mentality, we’d have absolutely no interest in doing it sustainably.

  • eman

    i love it– looks like the greenies have learned how to really conquer the issue of invasive species — make it financially beneficial to people to catch these things.

    bravo ! we need to learn to harness capitalism.

  • Lowell McCormick

    I can’t believe you have crayfish and haven’t been eating them. I’m from New Orleans and crayfish and seafood were Friday staples (everyone was Catholic at one time). Friday is still seafood day in our neck of the woods. Traditions die hard. Be sure to try boiling them in Zatarain’s Crab and Shrimp Boil.

    And don’t forget to, “Suck da heads and squeeze da tails”. Talk about good.


  • EBL

    Anything that gets Nevadans and Californians off beef is a victory for me! Eat those crawdaddies up!

  • A. Tahoe Crawdad

    Most of the hoi-polloi’s who have homes on or around the Lake only eat Lobster and think we are peasant hillbilly food, so no problem there.

    But when the peasant hillbillies drive up to the Lake from the California side,
    where theres a crawdad festival in every other town every other weekend, we’re done.

    See ya!

  • Sullivan

    Do they know how to cook crawfish in Nevada? Or is a crayfish different?

  • mrbill

    They could do the same with a lot of this stuff…IF they would make them worth money or make them private property with value. If they are “common property” then no one takes care of them. The elephants could likely be taken care of if they would allow hunting for a few and give the ownership to the local native etc. they have done that with others by giving ownership and therefore giving them value. If they have no value….then poof, they wont be taken care of. A lot of these things could be self sustaining and prosper if valued by someone besides the green wienies at Sierra Club etc.

    Yes, I know there is crying over hunting…but there would be more crying when the last on dies off au-natural.

  • Mark L

    You get a line and I’ll get a pole,
    And we’ll all go down to the crawdad hole.
    Honey, oh babe, be mine.

  • RKW

    Yep, plenty of crayfish there. We catch and cook them each summer as a family tradition though we catch them on the west side of the lake in about 20′ of water so not on the Nevada side of the lake. Had never heard that they cause clouding of the lake and don’t think the California enviros admit it even if true as Nevada decided to permit commercial catches w/o approval of the CA members of the Joint Board.

  • jo bling

    Put some largemouth or any kind of black bass in there and your crayfish problem will be gone in no time.

  • Geack


    I think you have this exactly backwards – animals become extinct when their value dead is higher than their value alive. People don’t kill elephants because they’re worthless – they kill them because they’re worth a small fortune as ivory, skin, and umbrella stands. Yes, it’s good to find some non-dead value in endangered animals (like tourism instead of hunting), but what’s happening in Tahoe is only useful when you WANT to exterminate something.


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