Marlette Lake worth the hike for anglers
August 29, 2008
If you are up to taking a good hike with some good possible fishing at the end, Marlette Lake on the east side of Lake Tahoe just may be the place for you.
Marlette is considered a moderate hike of about 5 miles from Spooner Lake, which is located near the junction of Highway 28 and U.S. 50, at Spooner Summit.
A couple years ago the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) opened this lake to catch-and-release angling from July 15-Sept. 30 ” artificial lures, flies only single barbless hooks. An angler must have a Nevada fishing license to fish the lake.
Marlette is a brood stock lake that has been used since the 1960s by the NDOW and has been closed to all fishing until this year. The lake contains several thousand Tahoe-strain rainbow trout. Fish to 20 inches and larger are in the lake with most being in the 15- to 16-inch range.
NDOW holds a fish-spawning operation at Marlette around late May each year. During this two- to four-week period, NDOW biologists and volunteers set fish traps in the streams and hoop nets in the lake to capture several thousand trout.
Captured fish are then separated into male and female holding ponds. Eggs are taken from the females, which are then mixed, or fertilized, with the milt gathered from the males. The adult fish are then released back into the lake.
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The eggs are taken to the Mason Valley fish hatchery. The fish raised there are released back into the region in the form of fingerlings and catchable fish. These eggs are a major portion of Northern Nevada’s catchable program.
If you are going to try fishing Marlette, it is advised to take along a float tube to give yourself better access. While there are good spots to fish from the shore, the float tube gives the angler many more options.
Depending on the season, a floating line will probably work. When the wind comes up an intermediate line may provide a better option.
A selection of general flies in the form of nymphs, streamers, emergers and dries will work. Backcountry fish do not seem to be as selective as their more educated relatives in some of our popular roadside waters.
That is not to say they are easy pickings. It is, after all, fishing, which can be a crap shoot on any given day.
I have had some days in the backcountry where anything I threw out resulted in a fish on the end of the line. Conversely, I have also had those days where I wore myself out casting without barely and nudge.
The great thing about the backcountry is that you typically have solitude and the scenery is generally spectacular. I often find myself just staring at the scenery while I sit on shore.
If you are going you will need a valid Nevada state fishing license. Being from California, you have the option of buying either a one-day non-resident license at $18 or a non-resident seasonal license at $69, plus a Nevada Trout Stamp at an additional $10 for anglers 16 years and older. A non-resident junior license is available for $21 for children 12 through 15 years of age.
The attractive part of fishing Marlette is that you have the possibility of catching some pretty sizable trout. It is worth the effort to give this lake a try.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.