Fish Lake Spillway Cut Down For Safety
Fish and Game will not allow spring runoff to fill Fish Lake west of McCall because the earthen dam there is leaking.
Work to lower the spillway at the dam should be complete by Wednesday, according to Fish and Game engineering chief Mike Maffey. Excavation will lower the level of the spillway so that the reservoir will only fill to about half capacity, or about 100 acre feet, this year. The lake has had a capacity of about 200 acre feet.
Fish and Game owns the dam and maintains a fishery in the lake. The outflow from the lake goes into Little Creek and from there to the Little Salmon River.
Winter snowpack in the area had only just begun to melt when a leak around the dam’s overflow pipe was noticed. Dam safety experts from Idaho Department of Water Resources and a Fish and Game fisheries biologist from the McCall office inspected the dam last week and noted a continued leak after their attempts at minor repair.
Maffey said cutting the spillway down will take care of safety concerns but that major work to fix the dam so the water level can be raised back up to 200 acre feet will have to wait for funding.
The dam was built by local ranchers in 1931.