General Trout Season opens on Saturday
With the relatively mild winter temperatures the Tahoe area experienced this year, the streams should be in fairly good shape when the General Trout Season opens this Saturday, April 29.
Area lakes should be nearly full with five good wet winters in a row and a decent one this past season. Many anglers concentrate on lakes for the opener because they tend to be more consistent than the streams during the spring. Typically spring runoff determines just how good the fishing will be for the opener. With a fairly decent snow pack in the upper elevations, the amount of runoff to streams is totally dependent on how our weather is for the week preceding the opener. The long-range forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid 50s to near 60 degrees. There is also a slight chance of precipitation in the forecast for the latter part of the week.
Presuming that we have these weather conditions, fishing conditions in the river should be very good for the seasoned angler. Runoff should not be much of a factor given what we are seeing this week. The river was cold – at around 44 degrees – when I took the temperature mid-day on Easter Sunday, but it was running clear and at a rate of around 286 cubic feet per second in the Truckee area. Between Tahoe City and River Ranch, the river is only running at a rate of 70 cubic feet per second.
What this means is that if the weather remains as it has been this past week, you can expect some relatively clear stream conditions all day. This gives the fisherman a much better shot at catching fish in the early season.
If the temperatures get unusually warm, you can expect some pretty good runoff that may make the water cloudy around mid-day. As a result, try and hit the river sometime in the early morning.
Keep in mind with water temperatures as cool as the mid 40s, fish will be fairly lethargic. Typically, fishermen should thoroughly cover a considerable amount of water to catch fish during early spring conditions.
A key during early season is to fish the edges of the river when the water is running high. Fish will seek the shelter from the current during these high water periods. Also many of the aquatic insects that are available are found around the edges. Stoneflies are a good example since they migrate to shore to emerge. Anglers also find success in other areas that provide shelter such as rocks and logs. These areas provide great current breaks and should be worked thoroughly.
With the river between Tahoe City and Truckee running at such a low level, fishing here could be tough if it were not opening day. Opening day will generally be better since fish have not seen fishermen since last November. If water levels do not change, however, the fishing will get progressively tougher from day to day.
Early season tactics should include nymphing and streamer fishing. Both of these methods are a great way to catch these fish. Those fishing bait or lures can find success as well.
Keep in mind that the Truckee River has special regulations if you intend to use bait. A good portion of the Truckee River falls under an “artificial with barbless hooks only” regulation. Generally speaking this area is just east of Truckee where Trout Creek enters the Truckee River to the Boca Bridge. A bag limit of two fish with a minimum size of 15 inches is permitted in this section. The San Francisco Fly Casters own a portion of the land in between this stretch so pay attention to the posted signs and do not trespass on their property.
From the Boca Bridge to Gray Creek, the same two-fish bag limit is in place, but fish can be taken using any means. Below Gray Creek the general season regulations and limits apply.
This year there is a new set of special regulations on the Little Truckee River between Boca Reservoir and Stampede Reservoir. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used and a two fish bag limit with a maximum size of 14 inches is permitted. This area will be heavily patrolled this year so be aware of the restrictions.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse in court.
I strongly suggest getting a copy of the regulations at your local sporting goods store and studying them prior to going out on Saturday morning. There are special exceptions throughout the regulations. For example, Tributaries to Lake Tahoe are closed until July 1 and only open through Sept. 30. All Martis Lake tributaries are closed to fishing throughout the year.
Know the regulations and obey them, and report those who do not by calling the CalTIP telephone number at 1-888-DFG-CALTIP.
Boca – (36,478 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair. Most anglers fishing from shore near the inlet are having some success. The area near the dam is also fishing well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boaters are having some success. Most were using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Kokanee fishing should be improving. Flyfishermen near the inlet should have fair to good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers, and emergers.
Donner – Fishing has been fair to good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had fair to good success. A few large fish were also reported. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair to good success.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 62287.39) Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish are in the five to seven pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is slow overall.
Remember tributaries to Tahoe are closed to all fishing until July 1 and closes again on Sept. 30. No fishing is allowed within 300 ft. of these tributaries.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) The lakes waters are slowly rising. Fishing should be good for the opener. Most use nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Griffith’s Knat are good choices.
Little Truckee River – (This area between Stampede Reservoir downstream to Boca Reservoir is now subject to artificial barbless lures with a two fish bag limit of fish 14 inches maximum) – Fishing here should be good for the opener. Fishing has been fair to good near the inlet area of the Little Truckee into Boca reservoir. Flyfishermen fishing this stretch between Stampede and Boca concentrate on nymphs and streamers with occasional hatches where a dry fly can work.
Prosser – (15,745 ac. ft.) Prosser has been fishing fair. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Flyfishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish mostly on nymphs and streamers.
Truckee River – The release is at 70 cubic feet per second from the dam at Tahoe City. This translates into 286 cubic feet per second in the Truckee area. The river should be in great shape for the opener as long as it does not get too warm. At this time last year the flow coming out of the dam at Tahoe City was significant. Lower water levels should make the opener very productive for seasoned anglers.
Other Waters – Davis and Frenchman lakes fished fair to good this past week. Reports indicate that fishing has been good and that there have been good numbers of people fishing these two lakes. Pyramid Lake has still been fishing very well and should continue to do so through at least mid May. Lots of large fish this year too.
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The Truckee boys’ soccer team shutout its third straight opponent on Saturday, taking a 5-0 win at home against Dayton.