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Thousands of fish die when Calif. lake runs dry overnight

WALKER LAKE, Calif.-- Thousands of fish are dead after a Northern California reservoir ran dry overnight, reports CBS Sacramento.

Mountain Meadows reservoir also known as Walker Lake is a popular fishing hole just west of Susanville. Now the reservoir is dry and all the fish are dead.

Residents tell CBS Sacramento that people were fishing on the lake just last Saturday. But it drained like a bathtub overnight.

Resident Eddie Bauer has lived near the lake his entire life. He says that this is the first time he has ever seen the lake run dry. He and other residents now want answers as to why and how this could have happened.

CBS Sacramento reports that Pacific Gas & Electric Company own the rights to the water and use it for hydroelectric power.

"It's the situation we worked hard to avoid but the reality is we're in a very serious drought, there's also concerns for the fish downstream," said spokesman Paul Moreno.

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Dead fish at a Northern California reservoir. CBS Sacramento

Bauer tells CBS Sacramento there should have been at least two weeks of water left. He says that would have been enough time to relocate the fish.

"This makes me feel like they didn't want to do a fish rescue and that it was easier to open that sucker up Saturday night," Bauer said.

PG&E officials tell CBS Sacramento that no one opened the dam up. They say the water just ran out.

"The reservoirs are all continuing to be far below normal," said Doug Carlson with the Department of Water Resources.

He says there is no question water concerns are still a very serious issue across the state.

"We are reliant upon rainfall to fill those lakes of course and until we get more rain we're not likely to see any appreciable increase in the reservoir levels," he said.