Optimism, water run high as anglers prepare for trout opener | SierraSun.com
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Optimism, water run high as anglers prepare for trout opener

Bruce Ajari

This Saturday (April 26) marks the opener for the general trout season in the Sierra. Lakes not open year-round and most streams will remain open from this Saturday through November 15.

This means that lakes such as Martis Lake, a zero kill, artificial only water in Truckee, will open. However, all tributaries to this water are closed to fishing.

Another area of caution is Pole Creek and its tributaries. Pole Creek runs into the Truckee River above Big Chief. Also note that all of Lake Tahoe’s tributaries are closed until July 1. The season runs only until September 30 in these waters. An angler cannot fish within 300 feet of the mouth of any Tahoe tributary during this time frame.

Independence Lake tributaries and the area in the lake within 300 feet of the tributaries is closed to fishing all year. The rest of the lake is open to fishing all year with artificial lures with barbless hooks. All Lahontan Cutthroat trout taken should be immediately returned to the water.

Sagehen Creek from the Highway 89 bridge upstream to the gauging station at the east boundary of Sagehen Creek Station is subject to the general season and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. This is also a zero kill water.

Anglers fishing the area for the first time should check with the local sporting goods stores to insure that they will be fishing legally. Remember ignorance of the law is no excuse! Read your regulations carefully and when in doubt ask the local experts.

The outlook for the opener appears to be fairly optimistic. With a decent snowpack and lots of water already in most lakes and streams it appears that the long-term outlook appears good for fishing.

The floods of 1997, now a seemingly distant memory, should have beneficial long-range affects on the fishery according to fisheries’ biologists. It has removed much of the silt and left lots of clean gravel. This is a situation that should promote excellent spawning conditions for the remaining trout.

On opening day, the Truckee River should still be running at its current level unless we get an additional release of water from the Tahoe City dam. At present, the projection for this lower release is anticipated through the month of May. This could all change quickly as we have seen this past year.

With the anticipated lower flows, the river should fish “fair” particularly early in the day before any run-off from melting snow hits the system. Many of the largest fish of the season are taken during the opener. This year promises to be no exception.

Lakes also produce well this time of year. Anglers should keep a close eye on the weather and the water temperature to try and improve their chances for success. Water temperatures during this time of the year are typically in the mid-40 to 50 degree range. The colder water is usually found in streams this time of year.

Opening day usually provides most anglers the first opportunity to get out and wet a line. As is usually the case, you will have lots of company on your favorite waters.

Since this is the first day of fishing for many, be sure and have your gear in good working order before you hit that lake or stream. You would hate to lose that fish of a lifetime because of old line, an unattended reel or a damaged rod. Checking out your tackle will really help save you some aggravation.

Those Anglers venturing to the southern Sierra to fish should be aware that Highway 295 along the West Walker River to Bridgeport will probably be closed until mid-June. Earlier projections were that the road would be open by mid-May, but some additional work has been added to the project. A detour around the damaged area adds approximately 30 to 40 minutes on to your drive if you are heading down to the Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes or Bishop region.

Whether you are traveling out of the area to fish or staying in our region, do not expect solitude. A good crowd is expected to be on local waters for the opener. If you do not want to share the water, wait until sometime after the opener.

Opening days are best known for seeing old friends from the past season. They are great social events with a little fishing thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

Sierra Fishing Report

1. BOCA RESERVOIR – (33,822 acre feet) Boca is fishing fair. The water from the Little Truckee is coming in cold. Most anglers are dunking nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Some nice trout have been taken from the bank this past week. Fly fishermen have been taking some nice fish near the inlet using nymphs and streamers.

2. DONNER LAKE – Donner is fishing fair. Most anglers fishing from shore are concentrating their efforts off West End Beach and the boat ramp area. The favorite bait appears to be nightcrawlers and Powerbait. Mackinaw fishing has been fair to good for most anglers.

3. LAKE TAHOE – Lake Tahoe is at 6227.86 feet. Fishing for Mackinaw has been good when the wind subsides. Fish in the five- to seven- pound range have been reported. If you are going after Mackinaw for the first time, a guide is highly recommended. Rainbow fishing has slowed as the fish are beginning their spawning runs up the tributaries.

4. LITTLE TRUCKEE RIVER – The Little Truckee should be fishing slow for the opener. Water temperature this past weekend in the section between Stampede and Boca reservoirs measured 43 degrees late in the afternoon. Very cold and the flow has increased as more water is coming in from Stampede. Fishing will be tough in the section above highway 89 bridge and above. This section should be a little warmer, but still cold.

5. MARTIS CREEK RESERVOIR – Zero kill and artificials with barbless hooks – Martis is at its typical level to start the season. Speculation is that Martis should fish okay in spite of a recent fish kill. It is hard to tell just what to expect. Most will fish streamers or midge patterns for the opener. Good flies are the woolly bugger, Martis midge, and Griffiths gnats.

6. PROSSER CREEK RESERVOIR – (11,259 acre feet) Prosser is low, but filling. Some fish are being taken from the bank using nightcrawlers and Powerbait. Fly fishermen using nymphs and streamers have been doing fair near the inlet areas.

7. STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – (196,228 acre feet) Stampede is dropping and Boca is filling. Look for Kokanee fishing to kick off well around the time of opening weekend. It should be no problem getting a boat on the lake since we have not have any real snow in quite some time.

OTHER WATERS – Several other waters should be mentioned here. Frenchman and Davis lakes just north of us could be good for the opener particularly if the weather turns warm the week before the opener.

Pyramid Lake northeast of Reno should also be fishing well. Flyfishermen are having the best luck tossing black, purple and white woolly worms or buggers.


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