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Fishing Reports

Fall Fly Fishing in and around Truckee

by Scott Keith

Fall Fly Fishing in and around Truckee

by Scott Keith

It’s the big and the beautiful season everywhere you look.

As we move from summer into fall, a new season of fly fishing brings new excitement to those that are eager to keep active. Fortunately, fly fishing is a 4-season game here in the Sierra, and fall is widely considered one of the best times of year to be on the water. 


Bir Brown Trout from the Truckee River

Although Brown Trout can be found in the river all year, Fall tends to be when the more aggressive and larger Browns make their presence known.

Search for Browns on the big Truckee 

As the weather cools down, and days get shorter, time on the river becomes more precious. It’s this time of year that our more elusive Brown Trout become increasingly aggressive as they near their annual spawn. Overcast or rainy days create a better opportunity as well, as the fish are less on edge and more active when weather is present. This is when we bring out our favorite streamers and start walking downstream instead of upstream, casting across the river and swinging these larger offerings in front of the more predatory browns. A grab from one of these browns while stripping your line through the current is something you don’t forget. It’s a shock, and if not managed well, can lead to another one that got away story. Make sure your gear is ready for bigger browns this fall, like an 11’ 4 wt. trout spey rods and heavy tippet.  


 Miles with a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout from Pyramid Lake

Landing a giant Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Pyramid Lake is a rite of passage for the Truckee River Fly Fishing angler. 

Early Season for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout 

Most people know that the Truckee River starts in Tahoe City, as the only outflow for Lake Tahoe. But many do not know that the river’s terminus is Pyramid Lake in Nevada, after meandering 120 miles through the Sierra and into the great basin of Nevada. Just a 90 minute drive down highway 80 past Reno, Pyramid Lake is home to our native trout, the Lahontan Cutthroat, and this lake holds all of the IFGA records for the largest Cutthroat caught. Over the last few years, the average size of the fish has been getting larger and larger which has helped make Pyramid the premier Cutthroat fishery in the world.  

Every year on October 1st, Pyramid opens for the season and we adjust our schedules to make sure we can visit ‘the salty pond’ in search of a 20+ pound pig. Early season at Pyramid is all about getting deep to get onto the fish. Shooting line from the shore is common but getting out on a float tube or boat using fast sinking lines with heavy streamers will work the best early in the season. These fish will often be keyed in on the bait balls of Tui Chub and if you can find these schools of fish you will likely find some fat cutthroat gorging on these baitfish.  An outing to Pyramid is a memorable experience, whether you land one or not. 

 Fall fly fishing for rainbow trout

With lower water levels and a whole new set of hatches in the Fall, fly fishing for rising trout returns after most of them stayed out of sight all summer.

October Caddis on the Truckee 

This time of year also brings a literal fall of activity from the sky. The October Caddis event is not to be missed if you enjoy surface fishing for rising trout. Sometime in late September through early November, one of the last hatches of significant proportions will occur, causing more activity on the river. These larger winged bugs tend to create a more aggressive surface take from Rainbows and Browns, a perennial highlight of every Truckee river fly angler. Another major hatch of the fall is Blue Winged Olives commonly known as BWO’s, and what they often lack in size they make up for in quantity, often blanketing the surface of the water in such significant numbers it’s no wonder why they are one of the go-to offerings in the area.  

Miles Zimmerman fall fly fishing on the lake for Trout

Before things get too cold on the lake, the Fall invites calmer waters and fewer crowds, making a float on one of our local lakes very enticing.

Fly Fishing on local Lakes 

 Fall fishing on the local Truckee region lakes is always a great bet as water temperatures drop and the trout come up higher in the water column. Both fishing from the shore and out of a boat or float tube can be excellent, and using dry flies, nymphs and streamers all work close to equally. One great thing about fall still water angling is the lack of recreation happening, often making for a quiet day with just you, the fish and the beautiful fall colors. With the abundance of lakes in the Truckee area, one could spend a lifetime exploring them all, so why not start this fall? 

We hope you have a chance to get out this fall and enjoy some fly fishing time on our amazing local waterways. Fly fishing really is a four-season sport for many of us, and you just need the will, and the gear, to make it happen.

For more information about Fall Fly Fishing in Truckee, reach out to Trout Creek Outfitters in historic Downtown Truckee or visit

To learn more about fly fishing at Pyramid Lake, read our 4-part series here