The September 27 storm came ten days too late for these trout in a Yosemite drainage. In 25 years of visiting this area, I had never seen water levels this low. These fish survived in an absurdly small and shallow pool until September 18th, their day of demise.
I came upon these trout in late afternoon (more than shown); trout fade in color after dying, so they had been dead only a few hours at most. Two smaller ones remained alive in 0.5 inches of water or so; I rescued them to a nearby pool; one revived and one did not.
Returning up-canyon about 2 hours later at dusk, there were no trout to be seen but there were big wet happy bear footprints on the nearby granite. An easy meal.
We demonstrate that while 3 year periods of persistent below-average soil moisture are not uncommon, the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years