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Fishing opportunities still available

Bruce Ajari

The California General Trout Season is about seven weeks away. With the latest reports on the snowpack at 115% of normal, this year should bring us great fishing. A sixth normal or above winter in a row means that the rivers, lakes and reservoirs should have adequate water throughout the season.

While the season is still seven weeks away, there are still fishing opportunities for those of you that want to wet a line. One of the most overlooked opportunities is with our neighboring state of Nevada. Their lakes and streams, such as their portion of the Truckee River, are open year round.

If you are a California resident interested fishing the state of Nevada you will need to purchase a license. A season-long license, non-resident license costs $51.00 and runs from March 1 through Feb. 28, unlike a California license that runs on the calendar year, Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. One-day fishing permits are also available for the fee of $7.00 per day.

While winter fishing can be slow in comparison to the peak of the season, it still provides a great “fish fix” for those of you that need to keep active. I know that I really enjoy getting out to wet a line whenever my schedule permits.

The really enjoyable aspect of fishing in Nevada is that many days during the winter you can actually be fishing with a long sleeve shirt. Yes, even when it is cold and snowy up here, an area such as the East Walker River can provide a fairly comfortable day of fishing.

Winter fishermen should be prepared for just about anything. Dressing in layers is the preferred method for keeping warm during these cold months. Raingear is also a must. However, as I have indicated above, many days can be quite comfortable in Nevada.

The type of gear that one would fish with should be no different than you use during the course of the regular season. The trout still eat, although the colder water temperatures do have a tendency to slow down their metabolisms so they have to eat less frequently.

The fish will typically not expend much energy to chase down their prey during this season as well. Therefore, the angler’s offering must be right over them to be met with success.

The success to fishing in the winter is to be persistent. While the fish may not eat as frequently, they can be caught. The angler will just need to make many more casts over likely holding areas and cover the water thoroughly.

On some days, fish will be very active. Typically winter fish feed on a variety of aquatic insects as they do during the spring and summer months.

The most consistent activity that I have found tends to be on midges. These are very small insects and very prolific hatches that occur during the winter months. To imitate these flies, a size No. 20 or smaller is needed. Small mayflies in the No. 18 to 20 range are also available at times.

If you arm yourself with an assortment of standard nymphs such as the stonefly, prince, pheasant tail, hare’s ear, or bird’s nest you should have some success. Streamers can also be good during the winter.

Do not hesitate to keep some dry flies in your arsenal as well. There are those days when the fish are active and a dry fly will work very well.

While fishing in the winter is certainly not for everyone, the experience is well worth the effort and should be tried. With the state of Nevada in such close proximity, their waters are very accessible and can be very productive at times. There are certainly other options within California, but Nevada should not be overlooked. With at least a couple of weeks of winter left, give it a shot.

FISHING REPORT

The General Trout Season has closed for the season. The following waters are year round lakes that are still open.

Most lakes are now reporting some open water for fishing Ice fishing season has been very short due to warmer conditions this winter.

Lake Tahoe has been fishing well for mackinaw when the weather permts. Fishing with a guide for at least the first time or two is highly recommended even if you typically fish on your own.

The Truckee River on the Nevada side has been producing some fish for the diehards. Reports of several fish in the five to seven pound range this past month have been encouraging. Pyramid Lake, northeast of Reno, is fishing well for both trollers and shore anglers as is Walker Lake near Hawthorne, Nevada. Both of these lakes offer fishing for large Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Some pretty decent size fish have been reported. Average size has been reported as two to three pounds. Topaz Lake has seen good action since it opened. Boat fishing remains good while shore fishing has slowed a bit. A California or Nevada license works at this lake that sits in both states like Tahoe.


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