Bruce Ajari | Visiting nephews have a blast fishing Donner Lake
A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune of having my nephew’s two boys come up for a visit. They were 9 and 12 years old and were looking forward to riding the train up from the valley.
Because Truckee is not a manned station, the children were not allowed to depart the train here. My wife had to pick them up in Reno.
My nephew told us that he had many fond memories of his childhood visits to our area and really appreciated us doing the same for his boys. Of course, the boys wanted to do some fishing.
It had been a long time since I had done any fishing other than fly fishing. I had two spinning rods set up for them spooled up with some new line and went through much of my old conventional tackle. Wow, what an experience.
I actually had salmon eggs, marshmallows, Power Bait and Power Eggs that had to be at least 10 years old in my tackle box. Needless to say, the salmon eggs, marshmallows and the Power Eggs were all useless, so they were tossed in the garbage. The Power Bait was the real surprise. It appeared to be just fine. These were jars that were previously opened and used at a Kid’s Fishing Derby in Truckee. The fact that my daughter will be 23 this year and our last year of fishing there was when she was 12 gave me an indication of just how long it had been. It makes you wonder what the shelf life of this product really is.
I even dusted off an old minnow trap in the event we could catch some minnows if we fished Donner or Tahoe. Obviously, I was hoping for some success. Kids need that since they have pretty short attention spans. The minnow trap also serves as a nice diversion since the kids can catch crayfish with it.
Since our first day started a bit late, I decided to stay close to home and took the boys to Donner Lake. We fished along the north shore of the lake closer to the west end. I rigged up using an egg sinker, small split shot as a stop, to a lighter leader and a small No. 10 single egg hook. We baited up using the Power Bait on my rod and an inflated nightcrawler on the other.
The Power Bait proved to be the ticket. Within five minutes, the first planted rainbow was placed on a stringer. Four more followed in short order. I told the boys that we had enough fish, but since they wanted to keep fishing we could release them. The youngest suggested giving some to the couple fishing next to us that had not caught any yet. I told him to ask the couple if they would like the fish if we caught more. They did, so the boys proceeded to catch five more and give them to the couple. They were appreciative and said that they had friends coming up who would think they were very good fishermen!
My daughter, who was up for a visit from Santa Cruz, showed up to see the last couple of fish being caught while bringing the kids their bathing suits. A quick change and the kids and my daughter were into the lake to cool off. Between the swimming and catching crayfish, the boys finished out their day. What fun!
It was a successful fishing outing because the fish were biting and we caught some fish to keep their attention. We also had other activities to ensure that the boys would not get bored, as well as a cooler of food and drinks to keep them fueled. It was a great fishing trip with all parties having a terrific time.
and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.