The Trout That Saved Mono Lake

In 1941, Rush Creek, a famous brown trout fishery, and major Mono Lake tributary was diverted to supply water to the ever-growing population of Los Angeles. Over the decades that followed, the lack of water had turned Rush Creek into a dry creek bed and was slowly reducing Mono Lake to a dust bowl. In 1984, after a rare two-year snow event in the Sierras filled the dry creek bed, fly fisherman Dick Dahlgren discovered thousands of trout in Rush Creek. A lawsuit, lead by attorney Barrett McInerney, won a monumental battle in 1991 in a court decision that required the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, under the supervision and guidance of Cal Trout and the California State Water Resources Control Board, to restore the Rush Creek fishery to its original 1941 condition. This true David vs Goliath story about water wars in the west follows Dick Dahlgren as he revisits Rush Creek after 25 years to see the progress that’s been made to restore the fishery. In a shocking discovery he finds that they may have won the battle to restore Mono Lake’s historic water levels, but the trout in Rush Creek that saved Mono Lake are losing the war.

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