Bruce Ajari: Frenchman Reservoir producing scrappy ‘bows
One of my favorite lakes in the region is Frenchman Reservoir located just northeast of Truckee. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes to get there by driving through Sierraville, turning right at the “T” and then catching Highway 70 to Chilcoot. From there it is about 20 minutes to the lake. The lake can also be accessed from Reno by catching Highway 395 north to Highway 70 and on to Chilcoot.
A Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers outing this past weekend proved to be a very good one despite the cool temperatures and blustery conditions. About seven well-layered fishermen spent a good part of the day in the wind and rain to fish this lake.
Fishing was surprisingly good in spite of the weather. Most everyone caught fish or had chances. The crew met at Crystal Point, where about half of the anglers decided to head over to the other side of the lake to get a favoring wind. Three of us remained and tried the cove at Crystal Point for awhile due to the large number of birds working there. There was a large flock of white pelicans, a comorant, and an osprey that we watched take a pretty nice-size fish off the surface and fly off.
While the fish were there, they were not in a cooperative mood. After only a modest amount of action, our group moved over to join the other group on the west side of the lake. Once there, the fishing picked up.
A calibaetis hatch began just shortly after our arrival and the fish were fairly cooperative. There was certainly enough action to keep everyone’s interest.
The nice thing about early- and late-season fishing at Frenchman is that shore fly fishers can do pretty well. This day was no exception, but our angler in a pontoon boat did do consistently better than the rest of us. There was a good concentration of fish within a cove that he could access much easier than those from shore.
Once you get to know a location it seems to produce well each year. It is a fairly predictable pattern that, once learned, can lead to a successful day of fishing.
The fish seem to be all rainbow trout. These fish tend to be very strong fish that when hooked appear to be much larger than their actual size. They will even give you some aerial displays at times. While you will get some large fish in this lake, most tend to be in the 13- to 16-inch range, with an occasional larger fish.
It is a great lake for all fishermen due to the fact that Frenchman and Davis are both lakes that will continue to receive California Department of Fish and Game hatchery plants this season, unlike many lakes in our immediate region. Only Stampede Reservoir will receive regular plants of our available roadside waters this year due to the fact that an EIR/EIS is needed to determine their impact on native flora and fauna.
According to a recent press release by the California Department of Fish and Game, “In October 2006, Pacific Rivers Council and Center for Biological Diversity, represented by Stanford Law students, sued DFG over fish stocking programs it has engaged in for more than 100 years, claiming that no Environmental Impact Report (EIR) had been completed for the programs. The result of the case was a court order requiring DFG to complete an EIR. DFG is engaged in the years-long and multimillion dollar EIR process, now scheduled to be completed in January 2010.”
Until this time no fish planting will occur in waters not negotiated in a subsequent agreement by the two parties involved in the suit. For a complete list of these waters go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/stocking.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.
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