Truckee Tahoe Fly Fishing Report June 4, 2021
by Miles Zimmerman
While we’ve continued to have good flows on the Truckee River, we have also started to see water temps in the mid 60’s which is a bad sign for things to come. Let’s continue to hope for some storms over the next few weeks to tamper down these abnormally warm temperatures. If you are fishing the Truckee in the next few months, please look out for the best interest of our wild trout and take a few basic steps to keep our population healthy:
1 – Please carry a thermometer and check temps throughout the day and call it if/when it gets to 65 degrees.
2 – Try and get out early in the mornings, it will be when the water temps are at their coolest and fish will be most active during that time anyways. While evenings can drop somewhat in temperature, this is no guarantee.
3 – When fighting a fish try and get them to the net as fast as possible and limit handling them (this means limit your time taking pictures as well). With warmer water temps there is less depleted oxygen in the river meaning the fish will take longer to recover after a fight and this is when delayed mortality can occur. This is when you release a fish, and it swims away fine, but it is unable to recover due to lack of oxygen in the river and it dies up to 24 hours later. A good rule of thumb for the amount of time to keep a fish out of water is the amount of time you could hold your breath under water. Keep it to a minute or less to ensure that fish swims away healthy.
4 – Please respect local “Hoot Owl” closures. A “Hoot Owl” closure is when local anglers determine that the water temps or levels (or both) are at an unsafe level to effectively catch and release fish and they collectively implement a voluntary closure to allow the fish to remain unmolested during these less-than-ideal conditions. While we aren’t at this stage yet it will likely happen soon, please feel free to call the shop to get the latest on conditions in the area.
Trout fishing will be tough this year due to the lack of water and unfortunately the criteria needed for the Department of Fish and Game to place an emergency closure on fishing would make it happen after it’s already too late. It will be up to each and every one of us to act as stewards of our environment and make the right decisions. While there will still be options to fish during the warmest months of the year, fishing the creeks and rivers may not be one them. Please do your research and stay informed on when and where ethically fish this year.
Truckee River Fly Fishing Report
While current conditions on the Truckee are great the above average water temps for this year have definitely been a cause for concern. Please get out early in the mornings and call it by mid-day or when water temps have hit 65 degrees. Please do your part to help preserve our wild trout fishery and make the right choices when fishing here for the remainder of the summer, this will be a trying year for these fish.
We have seen a good variety of bugs out here and as usual on the Truckee you can give them a good number of different fly patterns with success as long as you’re getting a good drag free presentation and using enough weight and depth to get it in front of their face. As fish quickly transitioned into the faster water with the increase in temps, euro nymphing has been a very effective technique as of late. The main bugs present are Golden Stones, Caddis Pupa, PMD’s, Baetis, Yellow Sallies, Green Drakes and Carpenter Ants. Currently, the entire river is in good shape and we recommend trying to access some of the less pressured parts of the river for best results. Put those wading boots to the ground and explore a new section, you may be surprised what you find.
Recommended Flies for the Truckee River
Pat’s Rubberlegs #8-#12, Poxy Back Stones #8-#16, Iron Sallies #14-#16, Caddistrophic Pupa #16, Fox’s Caddis Poopah #16, Splitcase PMD’s #14-#16, Jigged PMD’s #14-#16, TNT PMD #16, Hunchback Green Drakes #10, San Juan Worms #12, Gummy Worms #12, Flexy Floss Worms #12, Juju Baetis #16-#18, Pheasant Tails #14-#16, Hare’s Ears #14-#16, Bird’s Nest #14-#16, Lightning Bugs #16, Rainbow Warriors #18, Zebra Midges #16-#18, Carpenter Ants #8-#12, E/C Caddis #14-#16
Little Truckee River Fly Fishing Report:
The flows on the Little Truckee remain at 75 CFS this week, this is well below average for this time of year and with the low water in Stampede Reservoir we aren’t expecting to see that number come up any time soon. Another number that doesn’t fluctuate much here is the water temps as this is a tailwater coming out of the bottom of the reservoir, and temps here are hanging in the upper 50’s, a positive given the warm temps on the Truckee. Unfortunately, with a significant number of people fishing here daily these fish are extremely pressured and overfishing will be a great concern out here this year with a lack of other options. Please do your part and limit your fishing here in the coming months to allow these fish to continue to thrive. We are not telling you to stop fishing here, but to simply be aware of how often these fish see other anglers and to do your part to spread out along different sections of river and avoid fishing the same water with regularity (remember to be stewards of our waters). We know you all want to catch fish, but we must remain aware or the difficult year these fish have in front of them and make conscious decisions with that in mind so we can make it through this without loosing our great wild trout fisheries and we will be able to have good trout fishing for decades to come.
Thank you for taking this into consideration, now back to the fishing. Fishing on the LT has been good as most trout are done spawning and have started to feed heavily in an effort to gain regain lost calories. We have seen a lot of green drake nymphs out here in the last couple of weeks and this will be a great option for a larger offering, we are also seeing good numbers of PMD’s which have been hatching off throughout the day. Caddis pupa have been fishing well subsurface and the adults have been coming off with regularity in the evenings when the sun goes over the hill and fishing these dries has been good until dark. Baetis, Midges, and Worms are all good options when nothing else is working and when fishing dries out here, emerger patterns tend to out-fish the adults (food for thought).
Recommended Flies for the Little Truckee
Hunchback Green Drakes #10, Juju Baetis #18-#20, Anato-Mays #18-#20, Zebra Midges #18-#22, Caddistrophic Pupa #16-#18, Fox’s Caddis Poopahs #16, Splitcase PMD’s #16, Jigged PMD’s #16, TNT PMD’s #16-#18, RS2’s #18-#20, Mole Flies #18-#20, Hackle Stacker PMD’s #16-#18, Hackle Stacker BWO’s #18-#20, Comparaduns #16-#18, Carpenter Ants #8-#12, E/C Caddis #16-#18
Local Stillwater Fishing
This is the year for stillwater fishing as most moving water fishing will likely be a non-option soon. If you’ve never thought to use a fly rod in a lake all we can say is you’ve been missing out. Fish can simply grow larger in lakes. There will be a larger variety of species found in our local lakes and you can expect to catch Rainbows, Browns, Lahontan Cutthroat, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, Whitefish and even the occasional Kokanee or Mackinaw. While some of the methods can vary slightly from fishing rivers there is a lot of crossover as well. Using nymphs under indicator can be one of the easiest ways to fish a lake for a number species from trout to bass. Using a full-sink line with streamers is a great way to target the more piscivorous species found in deeper water (i.e. Browns, Smallies and Mackinaw), while dry fly fishing can be great when the lake glasses over. We have a huge abundance of lake fishing opportunities and we highly encourage you to get out and explore this realm of fly fishing if you haven’t already!
Flies for Stillwater fishing:
Ice Cream Cone Midges #12-#14, Zebra Midges #16, ZT’s Attack Damsels #12, Ultra Damsel Nymphs #12, Albino Winos #12, Thurman’s Cut Bait Midge #12-#14, Pheasant Tails #12-#14, Hare’s Ears #12-#14, Caddistrophic Pupa #16, Fox’s Caddis Poopahs #16, Balanced Leather Leeches #10, Pyramid beach Leeches #8, Bellyache Minnows #8, Woolly Buggers #6-#8, Simiseal Leeches #12, Zonkers #6, Para Adams #14-#16, Carpenter Ants #8-#12, Elk Hair Caddis #16-#18, E/C Caddis #16-#18
Tight line! – Miles and the TCO Crew