SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As a beginner fisherman, Robert Allstead says he took up the sport partly because many around him kept telling him about their amazing fish stories.

“I didn’t have any to tell,” Allstead said. “I’ve got a couple now.”

What You Need To Know

  • Chronic algal blooms inland and along the coast are seen as a rising problem due to global warming

  • Blooms can kill aquatic wildlife and are harmful to humans and dogs

  • California inland waterways saw fewer algal blooms in the summer of 2023 according to the state water resources board

  • The record snow pack received earlier in the year is considered the primary driver of fewer blooms

Another reason Allstead said he loves throwing out a line is being outdoors.

“If I don’t have nothing to do. I’m not going to sit at home,” he said. “I’d rather be on the river.”

Allstead added that the fishing has been pretty good along with water conditions this summer.

Conditions for fish and people in the rivers have been favorable this year. Over the past years, river systems around the state have been plagued by toxic algal blooms. But this year is different.

Spencer Fern, Delta science program manager for the Restore the Delta nonprofit in the Stockton area, explained that last summer, McLeod Lake in the heart of Stockton — which feeds from the San Joaquin River — experienced algal blooms for much of the summer.

“This year, at least compared to last year and the years prior, we haven’t seen any single harmful algal bloom outbreak along this waterway, which is kind of strange.”

Fern noted that all along the San Joaquin River this summer, they saw a significant decrease in algal blooms. He said water conditions this year were relatively the same as previous years, except for one major difference.

“The increased water flow has come down as a result of [the huge] snowpack [working its way] throughout the system,” Fern said.

The record snowpack is the same reason authorities released salmon fingerlings into the lower American River in Sacramento for the first time in years.

The state water resources department reported across the state there has been a decrease in algal blooms in inland waterways.

With the El Nino weather pattern, forecasters say we could be in for a wet winter but are unsure on the snowpack.

It’s something Allstead said he hopes for so he can once again wet a line and enjoy the river.

“It’s calm, nobody bothering you,” Allstead said.

And so, Allstead said he can finally land a big one — and tell his own fish tales.