Truckee River and Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Report April 22, 2022
by Miles Zimmerman
The word of the week is snow. Yes, it’s a very welcome sight during a time of drought further accelerated by climate change, and while this storm will help to extend our potentially limited trout fishing on our local rivers this summer, what does this weather mean for our current fishing conditions? We’ve found fishing this week to be a bit tougher than normal as it appears both the fish and the bug life are unsure what to make of these drastic swings in weather patterns. Just a few weeks ago we were seeing temperatures in the mid 70’s and very active fish, and since then, the fishing has seemed to be as spotty as the weather.
Of course, this is also coinciding with the spawning of our rainbow trout, which is most certainly a factor as well, and even if you aren’t seeing the fish spawning on the Truckee, trust us they are, but in typical Truckee River fashion they’re just good at hiding. Worry not, with temps returning to near average starting next week we should see the fishing begin to pick back up quickly and early next month we should see a good spurt of excellent fishing until the dreaded warm water temps once again become a factor. With similar conditions to last year, we anticipate seeing water temps become too warm for ethical catch and release fishing on the Truckee near the end of July, so as we’ve been preaching for a while now, if you’re looking to fish the Truckee be sure to put in a good effort this spring and into early summer as fall may be a bit iffy again this year. We would love to be proven wrong on this and see good fishing all summer, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Truckee River Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
Another week of snowy weather dropped over a foot in town and 2-3 feet along our peaks which should keep the Truckee fishing for just a little longer this summer. With this storm coming in cold very little of the precipitation came down as rain and therefore we haven’t seen a significant increase in flows on the river this week as the flows hold around 500 CFS in Glenshire and around 900 CFS in the canyon with good clarity throughout the system. During the stormy overcast days, we were getting great reports of streamer fishing using olive sculpins patterns in the 4+ inch range, but as we look into next week’s forecast, we anticipate that switching back over to the nymph rigs will be best.
The bug selection hasn’t changed much this week, we are still seeing good action on Skwala nymphs, worms, eggs, and crawdads for our attractors and with the water remaining clear paring those with zebra midges, baetis patterns and larger mayfly patterns in #12-14 such as pheasant tails to imitate the march browns will be sure bets. With the high flows be sure to add ample weight and get your flies deep right now and continue to focus on slower moving water to find fish. We have heard very little action on dry flies at this time with only very few baetis hatching throughout the day, there is always a possibility of seeing some march browns come off but typically after the Skwalas are done hatching the next significant bug will be carpenter ants and this should be starting up in the next few weeks as long as we see consistently warm weather.
Little Truckee Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
As the rainbows continue their spawn here, we encourage anglers to fish elsewhere and give these fish space during this time. We should see this begin to wrap up early next month, and as long as the flows stay good, the Little Truckee will offer some excellent post-spawn fishing! Please respect our populations of wild trout in this river and do your part to assure sustainable fishing on this fabled water for generations to come.
Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Report & Forecast
As is the case on other waters, it seems that the fish at Pyramid have really begun to focus on their spawn and the bite here has also slowed significantly unless you are opting to fish around the spawning zones here at the lake such as Pelican, the north nets or around popcorn where fish will congregate this time of year based on where they were originally planted or in the case of popcorn, where they will stage before moving up the river. While these fish can’t successfully spawn in the lake due to the salinity and alkalinity of the water, they will sure give it a try and it isn’t uncommon to see paired up fish attempting to make it happen just a foot or two off the shore. Just like our local rivers, the best policy is to avoid these fish during this time and focus on targeting the fish you don’t see just beyond the drop-offs in 3-6 feet of water.
While not every fish is actively spawning here right now, most are, and the fishing will be slow because of it. We do not see fishing out here this time of year to be nearly as detrimental as fishing waters such as the Little Truckee for a few reasons, mainly because these fish cannot successfully spawn in the lake itself and only the ones that move up the river will be able to reproduce and once in the river they are protected by no fishing zones along the tribal borders. Additionally, at this time the populations of fish at this lake are primarily sustained off the stocking program done by the Piute tribe and very few of this fish found here are products of a natural spawn. This could of course change over the next few years (we hope it does) and when that happens, we will surely be singing a different tune during this time of year. Regardless, these fish deserve your respect and any fish exhibiting spawning behavior should be left alone when fishing here. If you are ever curious about what to watch for in terms of spawning behavior or why we feel certain waters are more susceptible during this time, please give us a call or stop in the shop and we are more than happy to explain, knowledge is power!
Thanks again for keeping an eye on our Spawning Rainbows right now and protecting our fishery. Hope to see you guys soon at the shop. We're probably going to move over to the larger spot sooner than we thought - so keep watching for updates as we get into May.