Sawmill Pond stocked to the gills |

Sawmill Pond stocked to the gills

Susan Wood

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Young anglers Baxter Cantrell, far left, and Dominic Dorsich, far right, fish as a load of rainbow trout is released into Sawmill Pond on Sunday afternoon.

Ten-year-old Sawyer Cantrell wasted no time Sunday trying to land a big one at Sawmill Pond. During the third fish stocking of the year, the South Lake Tahoe boy plopped his line in the pond from the bank about 4 feet from the delivery truck.

His father, Paul, said his three boys had never had the opportunity to fish right after stocking. Sunday afternoon Sawmill Pond was a target-rich environment – they just had to decide what to use as bait.

They relinquished the worms for lures and salmon eggs, as suggested by David McFarland. The Susanville man, who operates the delivery company American Trout & Salmon, opened the hatch, releasing the fish while Tribune fishing columnist Doug Busey looked on.

Busey had collected about $1,000 in individual donations to stock the pond. It is a designated youth fishing hole through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish & Game and El Dorado County. No one over 14 is allowed to fish at the site, which was once the location of a sawmill operated by the Celio family.

Along with a few 2-pound trophy fish, more than 350 rainbow trout – sized at about 10 to 12 inches – were brought in. Busey is hoping for another stocking this month.

Before the fish get to their new digs, they’re taken off food. This is music to the ears of the eager anglers.

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“I just want to see how it’s done,” Marcelino Guel of San Jose said before returning with his children.

When the fish arrive, they get to know their surroundings and often bite after a few hours. Then, the water temperature may determine how hungry they are. Sawmill Pond runs about 15 degrees over their normal lake temperature.

“If the water is really warm, they don’t like it. But they’ll start biting in a few hours,” McFarland assured.

Sawmill Pond, a favorite South Shore fishing hole, is located off Lake Tahoe Boulevard southwest of town at the intersection of Sawmill Road.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at