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Fishing Reports

December 9, 2022 Fly Fishing Report for the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake

by Miles Zimmerman


December 9, 2022 Fly Fishing Report for the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake

by Miles Zimmerman


We’re happy to see such a great start to the winter this year, with more snow on the ground coming into December than in quite a few years. Of course, last year was a record-breaking December with nearly 18 feet of snow falling on North Lake Tahoe, followed by 2 months of very little precipitation. Let’s hope this steady pattern of storms we’ve seen this year continues though the winter and that Truckee receives an above average snow year to fill our reservoirs, keep fire danger down, and of course keep the river running cold all summer!

There’s another large storm moving in starting this evening and carrying through the weekend which is expected to drop over 2 feet here in town. This will naturally limit access to most of our lakes, creeks and the Little Truckee River, however the Big T will still have some fair access here on the California side, and the Nevada side will be wide open and fishing well.

Truckee River Fly Fishing Report & Forecast

The Truckee had a significant drop in flows last week, due to the state turning off the spigot out of Boca dam, which has been the main source of water throughout the fall. This has made the average flow along the entire river system at just over 100 CFS, which is definitely lower than we like to see it. With how low Boca was getting this wasn’t a big surprise, but what is surprising is how much water continues to be held in Donner Lake which is typically drained much lower this time of year and is usually quicker to get replenished as it catches snowmelt from Donner Peak, Shallenberger Ridge and the Tahoe Donner area.

Derek and Finn rigging

Derek and Finn rigging up in the snow near Floriston, December 2022

The upper river at 89 south continues to be dry and even around Glenshire Drive the flows are only about 50 CFS. It’s not until you get around Hirschdale that we begin to see fishable water, so focus your efforts from here all the way down through the Nevada side for best results. Starting tomorrow, access will get a bit difficult on the river and the sure shots will be along any freeway exit here on the California side or anywhere in Nevada, especially out east which should see very little snow. With the low water right now, if the water is running clear think small bugs such as BWO nymphs in 16-18, Midges in 18-20 or other attractor style nymphs such as blowtorches and duracells. If the water is dirty, stoneflies, crawdads, worms, eggs or streamers will be the name of the game.

Little Truckee River Fly Fishing Report & Forecast

The Little Truckee is closed out to all vehicles due to snow on Stampede Dam Rd. The only access here will be via cross country skis, snowshoes or snowmobile. If you are willing to put the effort to get back here, you should have some great fishing all to yourself, but be prepared as it’s remote and there’s no cell service.

Tyler fishing the Truckee on the Nevada side

Tyler fishing on the Truckee, Nevada side, December 2022

Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Report & Forecast

Pyramid Lake continues to fish steadily, but we still have the best fishing ahead of us as the deep winter months are the shore angler’s best shots at larger fish in the 20 pound class. The bite seems to remain spread out throughout the day, with no clear window on better fishing, so keep those flies in the water and be ready to strike back. The bobber fishing continues to be the most consistent and leeches have been getting the most takes. Your color choices will depend on the light, time of day and water clarity, but the go-to colors will be olive, black, white and secondary colors choices will be brown, purple, burgundy, silver, and peacock. The colors are endless and most will work, truthfully, it’s mostly a matter of keeping your flies in the zone, fishing with confidence, and remaining patient. When you’re looking to switch it up, the stripping game has been working as well, although it’s been a bit less consistent. The fly choice here is also widely varied and fishing with confidence is the most important factor. Beetles, boobies, buggers or various streamers all work as these cutthroat are not know to be picky eaters, perhaps that’s why they grown as big as they do!

Pyramid Lake Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

Pyramid Lake Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, from the shore, December 2021

Although Saturday will be tough to fish, next week should be great as long as you find safe access down the river, or out at Pyramid. Feel free to call the shop anytime for our up-to-the minute information about where to go and what to use.

– Miles

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Check out our Holiday Gift Guide online as well.