While much of the Kings River Fisheries Management Program’s efforts have been directed toward enhancing the river’s fishery downstream from Pine Flat Dam, the program is also examining how Pine Flat Reservoir’s fish habitat and populations might be improved. The reservoir’s fishery was created when Pine Flat Dam was completed in 1954. The lake offers a variety of year-round gamefish, including spotted and smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. King (chinook), kokanee salmon and rainbow trout may also be occasionally found in the low elevation reservoir during colder wetter years when environmental conditions are favorable.
Over recent years several habitat improvements have been completed with the use of program funds and the participation of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Plantings of winter wheat and barley have occurred during times when the reservoir is low in storage, creating additional habitat for warm water species when lake levels rise the following year. Honey-hole trees have been placed in the bottom of the reservoir to provide structure and cover for game fish. Wire gabions filled with manzanita brush or Christmas trees have been anchored within the reservoir for use as fish habitat. In 2016 the ACOE vertically anchored 80 such gabions using cement anchors and approximately 4,000′ of aircraft cable along the reservoir slope near Island Park Campground. The intent of the project was to create a string of continuous habitat that would be accessible to fish at varying reservoir levels, while keeping fish near a high use recreation area. As with many KRFMP endeavors, volunteer help has been an integral part of completing most of these projects.