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Rainfall increases local lake water levels

Posted at 9:16 PM, Dec 03, 2019

The recent rainfall in San Luis Obispo County has been much needed for the area, especially for lakes.

Many places across the Central Coast have seen close to one to three inches of rain, which has helped lakes and reservoirs add to their water levels.

The first rain of the season helped Lopez Lake, but it only raised lake capacity from 51.8% to 52%.

"With the first rain, a lot of it just kinda gets soaked into the ground. So we need to get a good rain and then the ground saturated and then we're going to start to get significant run-off," said Miles Tuinstra, park ranger.

One Arroyo Grande resident says he's been coming to Lopez Lake to fish for years, but says the low water levels in the past have affected fishing and how much he visits.

"I don't come here as often as I used to. I think when the lake was up the fishing definitely to me seemed better," said Shawn Lee, Arroyo Grande Resident.

Tuinstra says water levels won't see a significant rise until the creek begins to start flowing.

He says this usually happens for one to two weeks out of the year and is the main water supply to help increase levels at the lake.

Until the creek starts to flow, Lee says a low lake capacity means a smaller amount of fish to catch.

"With the lake at this level there really is no structure in the lake and so the litter of the year, the spawn of the year basically get eaten by the bigger fish because there's no place to hide," said Lee.

Lopez Lake has some time to prepare and get water levels back on track, as Tuinstra says the next busiest time for visitors comes during spring break and April.

"We haven't seen the rise yet but we're primed right now. All of the grounds are saturated, so if we were to get rain now that would all turn in to run-off," said Tuinstra.