January 7, 2023 Fly Fishing Report for the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake
by Scott Keith
As the first part of winter begins to shake out, we are in seemingly good shape in terms of our over all precipitation for the region, and we have more snowy days on the way this week – which is great to see! Here on the California side, access to most waters will be a bit difficult due to snow both in terms of parking and walking, but for those persistent anglers willing to post hole a bit to get to the river, great fishing conditions and little to no fishing pressure will be your reward.
Truckee River Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
The Truckee River saw a great flush of water with last week’s big rain event peaking at over 3,000 CFS and now settling down to around 500 at the Boca confluence. For reference, this time last year the river was holding at around 300, so it just goes to show what a few good storms can do! These big flushes of water are not only beneficial to the river in terms of giving it a much needed bump in flows but also by clearing the river bottoms of sediment and creating better habitat for spawning fish and bug life.
Winter fly fishing on the Truckee. Photo credit: Jason Shields
For the nymph or streamer angler, this surge of water will often create new obstructions as more branches get put in the river, avoiding these can be difficult, and you will likely loose some flies, not much you can do here other than use heavier tippet. While the water has cleared up quite well there is still a tint to the water at the moment, and we found our fish still pushed up along the edges of the river on the slow eddies, or deep tail outs. While this week we didn’t see much action on top with the exception of one particularly large fish rise in a tail out, we are expecting the lower river dry fly bite to pick up in the coming weeks as the Baetis become increasingly active over the next few months. For those looking to fish on top, we recommend focusing on the river east of Sparks where the hatches of these winter mayflies will be more present.
Little Truckee River Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
The access on the Little Truckee will be closed out to all but those willing to cross country ski or snowshoe back here. This break from fishing pressure is great for this particular body of water as this river is known to get “loved to death” during the summer months.
Winter colors from a Truckee River Rainbow. Photo credit: Jason Shields
Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
The bite has really switched on this week, and for those waiting patiently to fish out here, now’s the time! It seems that all methods of presenting a fly are working out here, depending on the where and the when. The bobber will fish best when fishing off of sandy shelfs 6 feet or greater, or if fishing around rocky outcroppings where snags are present. Balanced leeches tend to do best when there’s a bit of chop on the water, adding motion to your flies. Midges tend to do best when the lake is calm and glassy, or during sunny days, and also when fishing around tufa rock, which is a preferred substrate for these insects.
While we don’t typically recommend using split shot on your line, we do encourage you to change the weight of your flies up depending on the size of the waves or the amount of current found where you land for the day. When the lake is glass or has small rollers, down-sizing you fly size and weight will often get you into more fish. Conversely when we see those infamous 3-4 foot swells, using leeches with large tungsten beads, or trying balanced baitfish patterns will work better, anchoring your flies in the zone. While we’ve found that stripping tends to work best during low light hours, we’ve also seen the strip bite really be great during heavy swells, when the bobber just gets kicked around too much. This week we had the best day yet this season with over a dozen takes between 2 anglers, with the largest weighing in around 8 pounds and one fish lost after a good battle estimated near the 20 pound mark. The bite window was most of the day with the most action found from around 11am-3pm.
New Events at the Shop
Next Friday, 1/13, we will be hosting our very first Fly Tying Friday. We will be running this event every other Friday at 6:00pm. Come hang out with the crew at TCO and twist some feathers by the fire!
On Saturday, 1/14, we will be hosting a free intro to fly fishing class in the shop. We are super excited to be offering this class to shorten the learning curve for beginners, and make fly fishing more accessible. Be sure to bring your notebook, this class will cover a wide range of topics from setting up your gear, to making your approach and landing the fish. If you are new to Fly Fishing, we guarantee that you will come away feeling more confident on the water after this class.
On Wednesday, 1/18, we will be hosting the Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing event. More info to come on that, but save the date and watch our social media for updates.
Call the shop if you have questions or to reserve a spot. Thanks for supporting your dedicated local fly shop.
- Miles and Austin