Gone Fishin’: Lakes and leaves turnover for fine fall fishing
Seeing the leaves turn to brilliant fall colors, feeling the cold crisp nights and mornings and looking at the calendar tells me it is certainly a prime time for fishing. Fishing in a pretty good rain the other day and watching kokanee salmon in their bright red spawning mode are certainly other signs that fall is upon us.
One other sure sign for me is my fall fishing buddy and I are usually on the telephone planning a fishing trip to one of our favorite locations. On the trip prior to going out this past weekend, the fish were still scattered and had not swum to the shallows in large numbers yet. We could see suspended vegetation in the water which indicated the phenomenon we call lake turnover was just beginning. This phenomenon actually happens twice a year – once during the spring and once in autumn. During fall turnover, the September winds mix lake water from surface to bottom, causing a uniform temperature and an even distribution of nutrients throughout the various depths.
As this event happens and the daylight and temperature continue to decrease, animals which live in the water chemically and physically prepare themselves for the onset of winter. This is the main reason fishing is typically much better from shore during fall and spring. The fish become more active in these regions since they can be comfortable coming into the shallow waters. Couple this with the fall spawning instincts of the brown, brook and kokanee salmon and you have indicators that fishing can be very good. The spawning runs attract other fish such as rainbows which follow the spawning brown and kokanee to feast on their eggs in local waters such as Boca and Stampede.
With the cooler weather we have experienced since my last trip, it appears lake turnover has now occurred. Confirming this is the fact that fishing reports this week tend to indicate that fish are now in the shallows in great numbers. This is true of the lake that we had fished a couple of weeks ago. So how was my most recent trip? It was a great fishing experience (both the fishing and the company), and personally confirmed that lake turnover has happened and you should get out there and go fishing! Of course, you could wait for more signs of fall, like the status of your neighbor’s wood pile.
Boca – (21,208 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good. Anglers fishing from shore near the inlet are having success. The area near the dam is also fishing well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boaters are having fair-to-good results. Most were using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow-imitating lure. Kokanee are running up the Little Truckee River to spawn. Fly-fishermen near the inlet should have fair-to-good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers and emergers.
Donner – Fishing has been good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had fair to good results. Mackinaw fishing has been fair. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow-imitating lures have had fair-to-good action.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 6,227.23) Fishing has been good for Mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for Mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed.) Fishing is fair to good. Try using nymphs such as the Hare’s 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 Quigley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams and Griffith’s Gnat are good choices. Snails are good this time of year as well.
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.) The river flow is running at a rate of only 31 cubic feet per second. The fishing is only fair now with the reduced flows. Fly-fishermen on this section are concentrating on a mix of nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers.
Prosser – (10,491 ac. ft.) Prosser fishing has been fishing fair to good. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Trolling has been mostly with flashers and nightcrawlers. Fly-fishermen near the inlets are fishing primarily with midges, nymphs and streamers.
Stampede – (204,468 ac. ft.) Stampede is rated as fair to good. Shore angling is improving. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Kokanee are now in their full spawning mode. Fly-fishing has been good. Nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers have been working.
Truckee River – The release has been reduced to 237 cfs from the dam at Tahoe City. In the Truckee area the river is running at around 249 cfs. Fishing in the upper section between Tahoe City and Truckee has been fair overall. Seasoned anglers are doing well on the Truckee. Most fish being caught in the special regulation areas are being caught on nymphs, emergers, dries or streamers. A streamer this time of year can produce well.
Other Waters – Jackson Meadows reservoir is good. Davis Lake has been very good for some and only fair for others. The same holds true at Frenchman. Eagle Lake near Susanville has been fishing very well. Pyramid Lake northeast of Reno has been fishing well for small fish since the opener Oct. 1. Good numbers but no large fish just yet.
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