Anglers can expect more of same in 1999
After a fifth wet winter in a row, Tahoe area anglers can look forward to conditions similar to those of last season.
As of April 1, the snow pack in the Lake Tahoe Basin was at 121 percent of normal, and the Truckee River Basin at 132 percent of normal. We have had a good April, so I would anticipate these numbers to increase.
With warming weather, look for run-off to increase and the water to stay pretty high throughout the season. Keep in mind that the Truckee River ran no lower than about 300 cubic feet per second through the end of September last year. This was at its lowest point except for the last month and a half of the season.
Flows as of Sunday, April 18, showed a release from Tahoe City at the rate of 513 cubic feet per second. When this gets to the town of Truckee it is running in the neighborhood of 800 cubic feet per second. The water is high and cold. This release rate could change again prior to the opener.
Release rates are really subject to change early in the season.
Last season, the water was really not safe to wade, and this year will prove to be a repeat of last season. The good news is that the fish are getting fat and robust with this influx of water. However, catching them is not the easiest task in high water conditions.
The best way to catch fish in a freestone river such as the Truckee is to aggressively wade and put yourself into good position. With the volume of water running in the river, this is not a safe option.
Opening Day anglers will have to contend with high run-off, cold water, and possible turbidity, depending on the weather. If the weather is warm, expect the water to get discolored. If the weather turns cool on us again, the run-off will be slowed and the water will be fishable for a much longer period of time. This past week, the river was high, but fishable. Keep your eye on the weather to figure your chances for the opener.
Typical tactics on opening day stream fishing include fishing eddies created along the edge of a stream or around, obstructions such as rocks or deadfall in the stream. Fishing these areas thoroughly, but moving quickly is the key.
This means covering a likely looking area with 10 to 20 casts and moving on if you get no response from the fish. The fish will be sluggish due to the cold water so making this many casts to the same spot are important since the fish will not move very far to take your offering.
Do not continue to probe an unproductive spot. Make your casts and if you get no action, move on. Using this approach you will cover the water systematically, quickly and thoroughly. This is what most veterans will tell you works the best for the high cold run-off waters that spring typically provides us with.
In lakes, keep in mind that trout will be found in areas where the water temperature favors them. This typically means shallow areas or areas in which you can locate springs.
Also, look to areas that provide a food source such as inlet streams. Trout will make forays into these areas to feed, and can generally be found there all season as long as the water temperatures permit. This is often a great place to start fishing.
The Department of Fish and Game has not announced any plants in our area this past week. Last week’s plants are mostly in lower lying lakes and streams. Keep in mind that this time of the year high water and weather factors could alter any planting schedule that is announced.
A reminder, do not forget your license when you fish the opener. A season-long resident’s license costs $27.55 this year. A nonresident’s season-long license costs $74.80.
A nonresident also has the option of purchasing a two- or 10-day license to fish California waters, $10 and $27.55, respectively.
The two-day license is also available to the resident angler for the same fee.
Incidentally, fishing during the spring also means that the angler need not be up at the crack of dawn. Because fish are sensitive to water temperature, the warmer period in the day is usually the optimum time to fish. So, sleep in a bit, have a nice breakfast and get going at a leisurely pace.
The drawback is that if you have a favorite spot, someone will probably already be there.
Enjoy the opener. It is a great time to reacquaint yourself with your favorite water and friends.
1. Boca Reservoir (32,075 acre feet) – Fishing has been fair at Boca, and access is good. Bait fishermen should try nightcrawlers, Powerbait or salmon eggs. Lures could be productive along the shoreline, particularly in the dam area. Fly fishermen have been doing fair to good at the inlet area, mainly on nymphs. Trollers should be able find fair to good fishing for both Kokanee and trout. Flasher combinations with various lures or baits are the favored set-ups.
2. Donner Lake – Not too many fishermen out yet, but those trying are having some luck. Try trolling with flashers and minnow-imitating lures. Shore fishermen near the boat ramp and west-end beach have had some success.
3. Prosser Reservoir (10,022 acre feet) – Fishing has been fair to good at Prosser. The lake level is at or near its fall flood control level. With this lower level, anglers have found an easier time locating fish. Trollers using flashers and lures or nightcrawlers will do well. Shore fishermen should use nightcrawlers, Powerbait and salmon eggs. Fly fishermen should do well near the inlets and in the shallows with a variety of nymphs, streamers and emergers.
4. Martis Lake – (Martis is a zero kill lake. All fish must be released unharmed and only artificials with barbless hooks are allowed.) Fishing should be fair for the opener. Releases out of Martis are at 67 cubic feet per second. This means that the lake level should be rising with run-off typically exceeding outflow this time of year. This usually makes conditions tough. Try fishing in the shallow areas around the bushes. Try the usual variety of nymphs such as the P.T., Hare’s Ear and Damsel Imitations. Midges and dries such as the Quigley Cripple or Parachute Adams may also work when the fish are feeding on the surface.
5. Stampede Reservoir (203,819 acre feet) – Fishing has been fair to good at Stampede. At last check, the boat ramp was inaccessible. Those able to get a boat in will find good fishing with the standard rigging. Shore fishermen have been doing fair using nightcrawlers, Powerbait and salmon eggs. Fly fishermen typically fish near the inlets and do well with nymphs and streamers this time of year.
6. Truckee River (513 cfs @ Tahoe City) – River is running high and cold. It has been mostly clear, but look for possible turbity if the weather continues to stem the run-off. Fishing should be best in the stretch between Tahoe City and Bear Creek. The past two openers, particularly in 1997 after the flood, have been pretty good in this location. Look for an occasional large fish to come out of this water. The water from Truckee to the state line will be running in the neighborhood of 800 cubic feet per second for the opener, barring any changes this week.
7. Lake Tahoe (Elevation 6227.95) – Tahoe has been fishing good for mackinaw recently. Fishing for rainbows has been fair. Most are trolling with flashers and minnow imitating lures, both for mackinaw down deep and toplining for the rainbows. Shore fishermen have reported fair fishing using inflated nightcrawlers.
Note: All Tahoe tributaries upstream to the first lake are closed to fishing, and within 300 feet of the mouths of tributaries in the lake until July 1.
Davis and Frenchman lakes have been limited somewhat by the access, but the fishing has been fair to good. Reports have been fairly favorable, with most using nightcrawlers and Powerbait from shore. Pyramid lake in Nevada has been steadily improving. The shore fishermen using fly fishing gear have been the most successful of late. Most are using black, purple, white and pink woolly buggers. Hot area so far this season has been the South Nets.
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The two-time defending state champion Truckee baseball team opened league play in style last weekend, taking a three-game sweep of Sparks.