Fishermen concerned as Lake Wilson water level drops as much as 20 feet

Stan Wright
Stan Wright
William Aila
William Aila

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WAHIAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Those who enjoy boating and fishing at Lake Wilson in Wahiawa say they're extremely concerned about the drastic drop in the water level there. Many say they have never seen the water level so low.

Stan Wright shares tale after tale while at the wheel of his fishing boat. For him, Lake Wilson is a treasure.

"The fishing, it's world class," he said. "I'll put this lake up against any lake on the mainland."

But the scenery has changed. Tree roots that were underwater are now exposed. The tires, shopping carts and trash that were dumped in the lake are no longer hidden.

The water marks on the support columns for a bridge suggest the lake level has dropped as much as 20 feet.

"Two, three weeks, ever since the last big rains we had, the water's just been dropping and dropping," Wright said. "Now it's to a point where probably in a day or so, we won't be able to use the boat ramp."

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which manages recreational fisheries and oversees dam safety, says a valve that is used to control the water level during heavy rains is stuck in the open position. Dole Foods leases the reservoir and is working to fix the problem.

"They had indicated to us that they should have the repair done in a couple of days," William Aila, DLNR director nominee, said. "Of course, this was the conversation starting on Friday."

In the meantime, fishermen are worried about whether the bass, catfish and blue gills in Lake Wilson can survive.

"It's concentrating all the fish," Wright said. "That's a good thing. But if it keeps going down, down, down, we're worried. Is it going to get too concentrated? Is there not going to be enough oxygen in the water to maintain the fish?"

DLNR officials say they are monitoring the oxygen level, and have a plan if it gets too low.

"Putting some temporary pumps," Aila said. "Just drawing water and then putting it back in and that action producing oxygen."

That comes as good news to Wright and other fishing enthusiasts.

"A lot of families spend some real good quality time at Lake Wilson," Aila said. "So, of course, we're very interested in maintaining those opportunities for our families."

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