Although there is good fishing in the small upper Truckee above Lake Tahoe
near South Lake Tahoe, the major fishing occurs below Lake Tahoe between
Tahoe City and Reno. Access to this river is easy since it follows
California Highway 89 and Interstate 80 along its entire length. Eventually
the Truckee empties into Pyramid Lake, but this is another story.
There is an excellent StreamTime Fishing Access Map that covers every hole
and access point in detail from Tahoe City to Reno. In general one will be
fishing riffles and pocket water sometimes for miles at a time. This is not
a river to fish to death in one spot. There is plenty of room and one should
keep moving until one finds some agreeable fish. Below I'll give a brief
overview of the major sections.
First of all, below Lake Tahoe one should take a quick sightseeing stop at
Fanny bridge at the Tahoe outlet gates. There are large numbers of "pet"
rainbows in the 5+ lb variety just below the bridge, but no fishing is
allowed in the first 1000' below the lake. Following highway 89 north there
are a number of turnouts on the left side of the road that offer passable
fishing. The problem with this water is the noisy road that is just above
where you fish. Also this is primarily a put and take fishery although I
have caught some browns here that survived the drought. Nonetheless there is
a very pleasant beaver meadow just above the River Ranch that is particularly
nice in the evenings for dry fly action.
The latest news is that the Department of Fish and Game has planted some 30,000 Lahontan Cutthroat in the 12 miles below Lake Tahoe (2500 per mile or one every two feet). The fish were planted at 4" in length but should soon begin to offer some good sport or some good feed to the resident browns. The hope is that they will repopulate the river of their origins- see the Pyramid Lake page for more history. The picture in the header of this page is a large specimen from Pyramid Lake.
Just after the turn off to Alpine Meadows you pass over the river and it
takes on a consistent gradual descent with riffles and pocket water all the
way to Truckee. There are a number of obvious public access points in this
area although there are also vacation homes on the river to avoid.
Nonetheless one can easily escape anglers by parking in turnouts without cars
and working upstream. This area was completely dry in many places during the
drought and will take some time to fully recover.
Just before highway 89 goes under the railroad in Truckee take a right turn
down West River Street. Just as you turn right Donner Creek enters and adds
flow to the river. Access to this urban angling experience is best obtained
on the far bank that can be reached by crossing the bridge at highway 267 and
moving either up or downstream.
The next area is Trophy Trout "special regs" area from Trout Creek to the
Boca Bridge below Boca Reservoir. Major access to this fine area is along
Glenshire Road and the railroad on the north bank of the Truckee. Watch out
as you cross the Truckee again because you hit private land (the Flycasters)
without easy access except from a few places off Interstate 80. Legal spots
to fish downstream from this area are well marked along Interstate 80;
illegal spots guarantee a visit from the Highway Patrol.
There is still plenty of fishing below the special regs area. The old bridge
in the metropolis of Hirschdale provides access to the north bank and miles
of fishing some of it quite wild. This area is subject to fast and deep
water depending upon reservoir release and should be approached with caution
when wading. Also above Boca Reservoir is the Little Truckee with one of the
prettiest meadows around to fish in -- though fishing can be very thin at
times due to changes in reservoir flow. When in doubt, caddis on the surface and in the form of
nymphs are the basic ticket. Ninety percent of the fishing is likely to be
strike indicator work.
Story and photos by Jerry Yesavage