Explore Tahoe: Area fishing charters provide fun, successful excursions
At Sierra Fin Addicts Fishing Charters in Incline Village, fishing isn’t just a hobby, it’s an addiction. The charters specialize in shallow water and light tackle applications for mackinaw, rainbows and browns and want to spread the passion of fishing. Visit www.northlaketahoefishingcharters.com to learn more.
At Shaun’s Guide Service on Donner Lake, guests will feel totally comfortable and able to fully experience the joy of being on the water, feeling the pull of a monster fish as it peels line off the reel. Visit www.shaunsguideservice.net to learn more.
At Reel-Lentless Fishing Charters in Carnelian Bay, living the dream at Lake Tahoe includes sharing the pleasure of fishing with each person who comes aboard. Visit www.reellentless.com to learn more.
Whether you’ve snagged a trophy catch in your day or never cast a line, it’s no surprise that fishing is one of the most invigorating activities to be had at beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Being on the lake is instantly relaxing, but if you’re looking to ensure a successful fishing trip at the most affordable cost, the best bet is to reserve a charter.
The experts at area fishing charters know the right bait, technique and locations to fish at both Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake and have all the necessary tools readily available — no need to spend hundreds on a few fishing trips, they’ve got you covered.
“I get just as excited when a client, especially a child, catches a fish, as when I was a kid,” said Gerald Scholl, owner and guide of Sierra Fin Addicts Fishing Charters in Incline Village. “The excitement, the enthusiasm hasn’t changed.”
Scholl started fishing at four years old with his godfather and still remembers the rainbow trout he caught at June Lake, which his mother kept in the freezer for him to bring out for “show-and-tell” to all those who came to visit.
And his passion certainly hasn’t wavered over the years.
“We’re up at 3:30 (a.m.) and typically go out by 5 — I love it,” Scholl said. “There’s nothing like being on Lake Tahoe for the sunrise; it’s so extremely scenic, and the best fishing is at the crack of dawn.”
He says he was absolutely addicted to fishing from his first experience on, and now makes that same special experience available to anyone. Scholl encourages people to give fishing charters a try to feel what it’s like to really live in the moment.
“We’re learning, catching fish, having great conversation and just able to forget about everything else we have going on,” he said. “You’re not checking your email or worrying about the small stuff, there’s no distraction and you’re really living in the moment.”
DON’T FORGET ABOUT DONNER
Fishing is a healthy hobby, and getting outside on the water on Donner Lake is as breathtaking as Lake Tahoe. The lake is quaint, offering a more laid-back atmosphere.
Shaun Rainsbarger runs Shaun’s Guide Service out of Donner, not only inviting guests on his boat, but also offering to show people the ropes on their personal boat, so they can learn in a more natural way and be successful, long-term.
“There are fishermen who are wise, and when they want to learn a new body of water, they find the most successful guides in that area so they can mimic on their own boats,” Rainsbarger said.
An apt fisherman himself, he also understands the importance of protecting the environment and is a proponent of releasing trophy catches.
“Lake trout are very old; they grow really slowly,” he said. “So when you get a 10-pound lake trout, it’s usually around 13 years old, and there are a few reasons we release them: mercury accumulates in the fish, so you don’t want to eat the ones who’ve been building it up over that long, as it will accumulate in your body, too.”
“The bigger fish, seven- to 20-pounders, are the successful spawners,” he added. “They are the ones who repopulate the lake, so when you take them out, you’re not just killing one fish — you’re killing hundreds or thousands.”
Catching and keeping the larger fish means it will take another 10 to 15 years for the smaller ones to have time to grow big. Experienced, local fishermen want to ensure the opportunity for future generations to also get a nice, big catch.
FISHING LAKE TAHOE IS TOUGH
Another fishing expert, Danny Salvador, owner of Reel-Lentless Fishing Charters based out of Carnelian Bay on Tahoe’s North Shore, says his business name reflects his passion for the sport.
“People coming out on a charter should expect me to have a relentless pursuit of fish,” he said. “I don’t quit. I’m not going to quit on any charter — if I take people out, I expect them to catch fish, so I’ll go to multiple spots and try different techniques to be successful.
“It really bums me out when guides stay in one spot that isn’t working. I like to try and find the active fish.”
Salvador has dreamt of running his fishing charter for much of his adult life. He once worked restoring wooden boats, but recalls thinking they would make great fishing boats. He now invites guests to share his passion and have successful fishing experiences because he refuses to settle for anything less.
All three of these fishing charter experts echoed the same sentiment — fishing Lake Tahoe is tough, especially along the shoreline. Their goal is to keep people from feeling discouraged in unsuccessful fishing excursions by teaching them the tricks of the trade.
“A lot of my clients want to learn to jig or troll the lake,” Salvador said. “I show them exactly what I use, what works and what’s successful. There are a bunch of different methods. Spending time doing it, they catch on and begin to recognize what the fish like.”
Experiencing a fishing charter on Lake Tahoe or Donner Lake is the best way to learn technique and become a successful fisherman, not to mention you get to spend time with some pretty awesome locals who love the outdoors and the lake as much as you do.
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.