Truckee Tahoe Fly Fishing Report October 8, 2021
by Miles Zimmerman
With our first bit of winter weather moving through the Truckee area last night and another small storm expected early next week, let’s continue to keep our thoughts and prayers going for the big winter we desperately need. While this storm will only briefly bring flows up on our local rivers and creeks it will hopefully help keep the ground saturated to better retain snowpack when our first major storm hits.
Fishing this week should be exceptional with the shift in weather patterns but please be aware that our populations of brown trout in our area are in the height of spawning right now and great care should be taken to avoid targeting any fish that are actively spawning, especially given the extreme drought conditions they are faced with this year. Brown trout have a few requirements that need to be met for a successful spawn and taking these conditions into account when you choose where your fishing will help you avoid accidentally catching these fish. First, spawning browns require moving water to keep their eggs free of parasites and disease, so first and foremost to avoid any spawning fish the best thing to do will be to fish lakes over the next few weeks and leave all moving water containing browns alone (this includes inlets into lakes). Ideal spawning habitat for these fish will be areas of the river with a depth of 3 feet or less containing a clean gravel bottom so if fishing our local creeks and rivers during this time please focus on fishing deeper runs, areas with a silty bottom and pocket water. These mature spawning size fish are incredibly vulnerable during this time and to ensure their best odds for both a successful spawn and the survival of our wild trout populations we ask you to take all of this into consideration the next time you are heading out to fish. To clarify, while fishing the river this time of year is not illegal, we here at Trout Creek consider it unethical and should be avoided, as tempting as it may be. If you have any further questions on what to look for, please don’t hesitate to stop in the shop or drop us a line to discuss this in greater detail. Our friends at Bearfish Alliance have also released a podcast on this topic with guest Travis Hawks, a fisheries biologist of the Nevada Department of Fish and Wildlife, Click HERE to listen.
Truckee River Fishing Report
We are now at the lowest flows of the year and in the height of the brown trout spawn and we ask that you do not fish the river during this time. The spawn will typically last the entire month of October and should be mostly complete by early November, but if flows don’t come up significantly before then we will continue to ask you not to fish on the Truckee. Flows out of Tahoe have all but dried up and as of today there is a mere 1.5 CFS out of the lake, as Tahoe is now at its natural rim. The Glenshire stretch of river is at a meager 30 CFS thanks to releases from Donner Lake and Martis reservoir, and by the time it’s at its highest flows in Farad it’s still barely hanging in above 100. These conditions will barely be able to sustain fish and the only saving grace here is the cooler weather bringing water temps down allowing the river to hold more dissolved oxygen. We have done our best to keep you informed on how to ethically fish the river this year during the drought and now with the current conditions we are asking you to just avoid it all together.
Little Truckee Fishing Report
With similar conditions to the main river in terms of spawning fish and low water, we are asking you to also avoid fishing the Little Truckee until fish finish their spawn and flows increase.
Local Truckee Area Lakes
Where can one fish during this time of low water and spawning fish? Our local lakes make for a great option during this time as the cool weather has really turned on the still water bite. If you’ve been in our shop or have been reading our reports over the last year you know how much we love still water fishing. While fly fishing is commonly thought of as a method best suited for moving waters, using flies in lakes can be incredibly productive, and at times more so than using bait or lures as you’re imitating these fish’s natural food source. Typically having a float tube, boat, kayak or anything of the likes will certainly open up fishing more water on any given day, but they are far from necessary to get into fish. When trout fishing in a lake you can use a variety of methods you may already be familiar with in the world of river fishing and using indicators with nymphs, stripping streamers or tossing dries can all work well depending on the situation. Fishing on the shore may be intimidating, particularly on larger lakes but also like fishing a river it’s all about where you position yourself. Look for drop-offs, channels, submerged boulders or logs or a good fall back will always be fishing off dams. Inlets are another staple to the still water fly-fisherman but as stated before, please be aware if any fall spawning fish are found in the lake and avoid targeting them. This time of year you can always count on a select few bugs being active in lakes and some must have still water flies would be midges (have a good assortment of sizes and colors as these can vary greatly in lakes), Callibaetis (the most common mayfly of lakes), Caddis, scuds, leeches and worms. Having a good selection of baitfish patterns will also be a must for those stripping streamers or if you wish to try some balanced patterns under an indicator. Lastly, don’t forget crawdads which are very prominent in the greater Tahoe area.
Pyramid Lake Fishing Report
Using flies at Pyramid can be tough this time of year, but fish are being caught by fly anglers and with the cooler weather in the forecast this will continue to improve over the coming weeks. We have had good reports from those using a boat to get further off the shoreline and fish deeper than you are able to do on the beaches. This method will require a fast sinking line and some patience, make sure to give your flies a long soak before you begin your retrieve and maintain a methodical approach in terms of finding the depth you are fishing by keeping count. The fish here are looking for bait balls of tui-chub and if you can find these you will often find hungry trout below them. With that said, the best fly patterns as of now are those imitating these baitfish. Anglers fishing from shore will be doing the best during low-light hours when fish will be found tighter to the banks and positioning yourself on deep drop offs and using a full sink line will be best here. As the winter weather progresses please be cautious of sudden changes in conditions if fishing on a boat or float tube, this can be a very dangerous place to use a small craft due to unpredictable weather patterns, wear a PFD!
We keep a great assortment of gear for fishing here, so stop in and check out our rods, reels, lines and flies for this amazing fishery!
- Miles and the TCO crew