QUAGGA MUSSELS like these from El Capitan Lake are around...

“And if they made a mistake, do you think they’d tell us?” So asked Apollo 13 pilot Jack Swigert (played by Kevin Bacon) in the compelling movie about the U.S. lunar space program.

Fast forward to the biggest problem facing bass fishermen and other recreational boaters: severe constraints in using our boats over the threat of spreading the “invasive” quagga mussel. And yet, I wonder do the water agencies know something they’re not telling?

Hey, if I were in their shoes, I would want to curb the mussel spread and the added costs associated with maintaining pumps and pipelines. But as we have seen throughout the upper Midwest, once these mollusks find a home in a waterway, you can treat the malaise, but you can’t cure it–unless you can corner the quaggas in a small, contained body of water.

It was fairly recently when I got a report that quaggas had been found in the Santa Ana River bed–in Orange County. The story only got out as the people involved felt confident they had exterminated the specimens at that locale.

But more recently, my sources tell me that Lake Wohlford, which allows no private boats, (and no private trolling motors, no private anchors, no private sonar units and possibly no private fishing reels with line used in another lake) to enter. Yet witnesses are said to have found a quagga colony attached to the hull of one of their rental boats.

Fishermen are the easy mark, of course, since they can be stopped at the gate. But what about waterfowl: ducks, gulls, cormorants? Hard to fathom them as “clean and dry.” Former Wohlford Ranger Jay Cowan was adamant about preventing the spread of the quagga, but he freely admitted, that just “over the hill,” there were quaggas in Dixon Lake barely a mile and half away.

But closer to home, my sources cited even more compelling testimony–that divers used by the Metropolitan Water District–have admitted to cleaning quaggas out of underwater pipes at Diamond Valley Lake. While MWD has been adamant in their boat inspections and have reportedly tried various “treatments” in their pipeline system, maybe they haven’t heard: there’s no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.

If they have one, they have a population.

If it were any other agency, I would cut them some slack. But MWD are the folks who did a  “divide and conquer” on 2-strokes, tried to influence the San Diego Lakes to ban outboards so they could use the precedent for DVL, stumbled on publicity over MTBE in gasoline and used it to keep boaters out, blamed kangaroo rats for not opening the lake for state-legal angling hours and more recently, increased the use rates by 100 percent to buy an extension to a ramp that should have already been in place.

MWD has been anti-recreation from the beginning.

Yes. I think they know they have quagga mussels, yet they still demand your boat be as dry as “a couple hundred pounds of moon rocks.” So I ask you, “Do you think they’d tell us?”


35 Responses to “Sounds like a cover up: so then what?”


Interesting read! You’ll have to keep us updated…on the rest of the story!


As always, smacked on the head… dead on contact. I have shown mussel clumps that I got from DVL to the “authorities” there, and they did nothing. Nice to know others are starting to expose the MWD for what they are.

They will find a way to blame the fishermen for it.

The cracks are starting to show…

George, fantastic for you to bring light to this. I personally have seen the mussel at DVL myself also.
As I can appreciate the lakes hard line rules to keep the water clean by boat checking, (we have all see ones that could use some TLC) the way it has been happening has been quite negative. I have been saying it can’t be too much longer to keep the truth under wraps….I think the time has come!
I relish the day I can drive the 75 miles each way to not be concerned of being denied entry! I have yet to fail a pass….but the stress to is just wrong.

My 2 cents.

I feel you where u talk about mwd not being recreation friendly. It really is a bummer and pisses me off. I have nothing of value to add but I just gotta agree.

A user on SDFish had a good point in regard to your blog; Poway has been on the DFG / SDCWA list for quite some time and yet still enforce their strict rules against outside bait, trolling motors, fish finders, anchors, bait buckets, etc… I don’t know if its denial or what?

What a joke what really pisses me off the lake employees show up at 4:30 in the morning and they can’t open the lake until a half hour after sun rise? They screw anglers out of the best fishing hours, and still don’t have a permanent marina store or electricity. How about a fish cleaning station????

Good Job on keeping all abreast on this issue George. Perhaps DFG should help the water district out by stocking a truckload of those monster redear that seem to be thriving on the quagga’s in Lake Havasu. I can see a DVL Redear Derby in my future…….

The irony is that when all of our lakes are infested and they will be, sooner or later, there won’t be restrictions. At that point it will be purely a water management issue and recreational use will have nothing to do with it.

As far as fishing is concerned, Lake Erie seems to be doing pretty well.

A few of you folks claim to have seen the Quagga in DVL. I don’t doubt you.
I’ve seen muscles but not Quagga.
So, why not take a video and post it so we can all be done with this non-sense.
I hate this clean and dry stuff like everyone else. I just want to fish!!

????Any chance it could come in with the trout stocking????

by Scott Robertson

George, It has always been obvious that DVL never wanted boats on the water regardless of the quaggas, the have not put in the extra launch ramp, picinic areas, permanent restrooms, or anything to attract people that was all supposed to be apart of the deal after the land was given to them. I recently fished wounded warrior out there because it was for a good cause.I didnt even get a tag on my boat because I wont frequent the lake. If you go through that much trouble to make it difficult for me to give you my money and drive an hour + to get to the lake with gas at 4.00 a gallon i’ll spend my money where I feel welcome and where someone wants us there. just a rant sorry but I have been saying this for a long time. what a shame for a great fishery. Scott

You Don’t have enough paper G-Man … I sat in on all those meetings and they shoved it right down our throats! It’s all a game! If you think for one minute they don’t have them, well I have some beach front property in Az. for you!

by art bailey

Speaking of launch ramps…Please tell me that the new ramp at San V will go all the way to the lowest possible level. We don’t need a 12 lane ramp that doesnt go down far enough during low water levels.

by George Kramer

Better do some checking on that ramp, Art. I just don’t have a good feeling about recreational interests these days.
Who has the savvy, clout and financing to stand up to Big Water? 🙁

Maybe people should boycot DVL? I bet they’ll miss that extra income after a couple of years of no one fishing the lake.

by Kevin Linehan

DVL could care less about gate fees/concession income. It’s all about the water! Water is more precious than Gold in Southern California. Do me a favor and everyone boycott! 🙂
I’ll stick around to make sure the Quaggas don’t get in.

by George Kramer

Cage fighter, or ‘cagey’ fighter. So you want us to tap out?

I live in La Mesa. I fish both DVL and skinner. I have never felt welcome at DVL, I just deal with the rude people and horrible hours. However skinner used to be great. Now they are worse or as bad as DVL. Last time I fished skinner I rented a boat for the day. It had to be back at the dock by 5:30, at 4:30 the ranger came up to us and said “You need to take the boat back, the guy at the marina wants to leave.” Needless to say I didn’t stop fishing. The ranger came back around and started to yell at us. I told him “I have a contract that says I have the boat till 5:30, so he will have to wait.” He shook his head, said some stuff under his breath and drove away. I brought the boat back at 5:30 with no other issues. The staff at these lakes need to realize, the water department may not need our money, however there job relies on us showing up to fish. No fisherman=No gate attendant,No dock attendant, No concession jobs,and No ranger.

The anti-fishing stance by the water districts is beyond conspiracy — they successfully sued to remove striped bass from game fish status and they also sued to halt the salmon season up north. The latest water storage facility — the one they fill off the pumps in the Delta — was built underground in the West San Joaquin Valley. It goes on and on and they are immune from control as appointed officials.

by Betsy Cawn

Lake County — home of Clear Lake, one of the West’s sweetest bass fishing water bodies — is the headwaters of Cache Creek, which leads directly to the Sac River and the Bay-Delta. We are doing everything we can to prevent introduction of the Quagga/Zebra Mussels by visiting fishermen and other water vessel operators from infested water bodies (mostly in Southern California and states to the East). We do everything possible to make the prevention program as easy to use and effective at educating our visitors as possible. And we truly appreciate your efforts to Clean, Drain, and Dry your watercraft before coming to enjoy this fantastic fishing area. If the lake becomes infested, there will be NO FISH to catch, so please help us keep our lake Quagga/Zebra-Free. SPREAD THE MESSAGE, NOT THE MUSSEL! We can’t do it without your help.

by Guy Williams

I’ve never seen Quagga at DVL but I have seen freshwater clams. If Quagga means “NO FISH” then what are those things at Havasu and Erie? Don’t believe the hype!! Quagga isn’t about fish and fishing quality, it’s about the G’s!!

And people (lake associations) in MN think gates will prevent the Zebra’s from coming.


by George Kramer

Tom, thanks for that link. That gate approach seems so far off target on the list of preventative methods–almost like closing one’s eyes and hoping the mussels aren’t coming. 🙁

As per Mike Guisti of DFG, there are no Quagga’s in Diamond Valley Lake and no MWD employee or Diver has ever seen any on the screens at the tower or in the lake ever. I did see some though while looking over the grassy knoll into Area 51 with bigfoot George.

by George Kramer

I think you misinterpreted his comments. He is reminding us that the MWD is looking for someone to blame. Is Mr. Giusti’s DFG income still being derived from the MWD as it has been in the past? Or is he just preserving the possibility of resuming that revenue source? And take it one step further: when the mussel presence is finally (whenever) confirmed and you as a bass fisherman are then assigned “blame,” then what? (Which was my original question). 😉

Well George lets looks at the facts as they have unfolded here in the West.
Quaggas in Mead-Still open to the public
Quaggas in Mojave and Havasu-Still open to the public
Quaggas in Irvine Lake-Still open to the public
Quaggas in El Cap-Still open to the public
Quaggas in Skinner-Still open to the public

And the fishing in these lakes is better than pre-quaggas!
The only lake that has quaggas in So. Cal that is not open to the public is Lake Matthews and its NEVER been open to the public. So to say that IF they get in Diamond they will close us out and blame the bass anglers is far fetched IMHO. This is bassfishing, not Dateline NBC.


Hello, the picture you posted does not appear to be quagga mussels, wherever that picture came from.

There are no Quagga mussels in D.V.L. as of 6/29/2011.

Colorador River Water is not going into the lake to prevent the spread of Quagga mussels. Quagga mussels plug filters and raise the cost of water treatment so its in our best interest to keep them from spreading.
By the way, Quagga do not kill fish, they are filter feeders and are not hazardous to gamefish. And Bluegill can only eat them when they are crushed.

MAYBE the U.F.O’s are spreading them when they visit Bigfoots summer house near Castaic.

by George Kramer

You seem to know a lot about these mollusks–without being able to recognize one. However, the MWD “publicly” agrees with you on their presence in DVL.

This ran in the San Bernardino newspaper this week. It looks like a rebuttal. I still can’t think of a reason that MWD would be intentionally misleading on this issue, but I would be more willing to accept it without question if Mike Giusti had said that he had been monitoring and had found none. Here is a partial quote and a link:

“There have been a number of rumors, blog posts and discussions on fishing forums about Diamond Valley Lake having quagga mussels, but Mike Giusti, a biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, says monthly monitoring by the lead water agency (Metropolitan Water District) has never turned up one of the invasive species.” http://www.sbsun.com/sports/ci_18480977

by Mike Kostial

Diamond Valley has Gone too far . However MWD is falsely backing them. I HAVE HAD IT WITH THEIR QUAGGA MUSSELL BS!!!!! My friend just bought his brand new retirement bass boat; asked me to fish the wounded warrior day at DVL May. 19th. We were turned away after the guy crawling on the boat floor said the bilge was wet. NOT!! It was bone dry! It may have looked wet because the inside is black but after we removed the drain cap and checked with our hands it was BONE DRY!!!!! 100-mile round trip for nothing! I served my country and was shot through my rt. hip and was denied the right to fish for untruth’s!! Another was denied because he had cleaned the trash can in his boat and the plastic back inside had a few drops of FRESH FAUCET water in it!!! This is WRONG and NEEDS to be STOPPED NOW!!!! What can I do or who can I help. We need this to come to public light or in court if need be. I am ready to take this BS as far as I need to.

by George Kramer

Mike, there’s no consolation for you on DVL. MWD runs it and they have been hard-nosed on access–though maybe not as much as Lake Casitas. They would argue, 87 boats got in that day and only two didn’t. But that percentage is still higher than Lake Wohlford, where NO PRIVATE BOATS are now allowed–something fishermen around here are afraid of. The risk of not passing the inspection has kept me from taking my boat there. Your experience reinforces that idea.

by Mike Kostial

George I don’t blame you for not taking your boat there but still what they are doing and blantly lying to the public doesn’t make it right. The truth and common sense should prevail. MWD should not be allowed to get away with untruths and or just plain lying to the public. It is just a business and if all businessness were allowed to get away with that b.s < where would we be? This just makes me sick. Some how there has got to be a way to put enough pressure on them to relax their absurb rules and adapt a common sense approach. Accept that you have Quallel muscle infestation and that is is NOT the boaters that are to blame but is from their original water source and roaming flocks of various water fowl. This stuff needs to be worthly of being on the local T.V & news channels as it is unfair to people who simply want to enjoy fishing .

Free swimming mussel larvae may be present in standing water. That is why the boat inspection regime dictates “no water.”

There is an aqueduct full of water that is pumped from the mussel infected Colorado River to DVL and DVL’s water is distributed downstream to much of SoCal.

Does MWD have any water treatment that will kill mussels or larvae that may be in the water as it moves from the Colorado to DVL?

by George Kramer

John: They have treated to some degree on the way in, or so we’ve heard–either with chlorine or by heating the water. Since it’s not in MWD’s best interests to have the mussels in the conduits, there is the presumption they feel they have them under some control and are trying to maintain. One day I guess we’ll know…

George – the MWD puts on a three day tour that covers their entire SoCal system, if you haven’t done it, then I recommend it highly, especially for someone as “plugged in” as you are. Here’s a link to some photos of a recent trip.