What happened to Lake Hodges?

The city of San Diego discovered some problems with the Hodges Dam that need to be repaired. They began lowering the lake in late May, 2022, in order to facilitate the repairs. The ultimate level that they will need to drain it is unknown as of this writing.

While the entire lake will not be drained, the edge of the water will be so far from the launch area, and the ground will be so soft and muddy for a while, that the volunteers are not currently allowed to kayak on the lake. That’s sad, but it it also an opportunity.

While we have scoured the shore line from the nominal normal water level to the high water mark and got it nearly spotless, we have been unable to remove fishing line from below the surface. We have still been losing grebes at a steady rate as they become entangled in this underwater fishing line. Some of them we find, but most are presumably decaying underwater – into our drinking water. Ick.

So while the lake is down, we are going to try and scour the bottom and remove as much line as possible. And there is a LOT of it down there. Just look at this video:

At some point we may try to get some community assistance, but for now the city is banning non-volunteers from the lakebed due to the risk of stranding in mud or quicksand.

Once the water returns this problem will begin to build up again. One thing that will not eliminate it, but will greatly decrease the amount of long, loose line in the water would be if the fishermen would use lightweight leaders and then pull their line until the leader breaks rather than cut the line at the pole. A hook or lure stuck into a deadhead with a couple of inches of monofilament leader on it is just litter – it is not likely to kill a bird. If you fish, or know a fisherman, please think about this. Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about it.