The snow pack this season has been dismal. As a result, the spring runoff peaked early at the end of April. The Truckee River is running lower than usual for this time of year and the lakes are starting off at pretty low levels.
Early season fishing should be good and those fly fishermen wishing to fish dry flies should do quite well earlier than normal. Hatches of several species of mayflies and some caddis are already beginning to bring fish to the surface.
With so little runoff the lakes will quickly get down to fall levels by mid-season. With these low lake levels, fish tend to get concentrated into a smaller area, which should make it easier for anglers to find them.
Lakes will get warmer driving fish deeper earlier than normal. This could make fishing a little more difficult during the summer months.
The Truckee River should maintain a sufficient flow during the summer due to the fact that the Watermaster will have to release water out of Lake Tahoe to maintain the flows downstream. Because of this, the fishing should be close to normal for the mid-season.
The popular Little Truckee River between Stampede and Boca Reservoir is dependent on releases from Stampede to maintain its flows. With lakes getting low, flows here may be minimal during the summer. Keep an eye on the flows here before you go fishing. Low flows mean that the trout in this stream will be stressed. It may be a better option to fish elsewhere when the flow is extremely low.
As fall approaches lakes will most certainly be low, but the main river should maintain a reasonable flow to support fish. The outlook for the fall season should remain mostly positive.
Throughout the course of the season keep an eye on water temperatures. Carrying a thermometer is always a good idea for the trout fisherman. Optimum water temperatures are generally in the 52- to 64-degree range. Above 64 degrees the fish will go into survival mode and seek cooler water.
If practicing catch-and-release be mindful when the water temperatures hit the upper limit in the optimum range; releasing a fish will require a much longer time in reviving it. Take the time necessary to release the fish in good health. You owe it to the fish.
The 2013 fishing season holds the promise of some great early season fishing. Get out there and enjoy it.
(See Sightseeing for water levels)
Boca | Inflow is at 405 cfs and the outflow is 386 cfs. Try powerbait or nightcrawlers. Throwing lures from shore also has been working. Fly fishers have been catching some fish near the inlet mostly nymphing.
Donner | Fishing has been good. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seems to be the main bait. Mackinaw fishing has been fair. Fly fishermen are catching some fish with streamers.
Lake Tahoe | Fishing has been fair to good for mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Most shore fishermen use inflated nightcrawlers.
Little Truckee River | The flow is at 405 cfs. Fishing is tough with high flows, but can be rewarding. Small flies are generally the rule on the Lake, but during high flows a large bug, such as a stonefly nymph with a small trailer nymph, can work well. Try Stonefly, March Brown, PMD and Baetis nymph imitations and midge patterns as trailers.
Martis Lake | Zero kill. Catch and Release only with barbless artificial lures or flies. Some small cutthroats and an occasional large brown are rainbow can still be caught here. Smallmouth bass also have been introduced in this water. Try fishing here before mid-June when the water typically warms up for trout.
Prosser | The lake is fishing fair to good. Powerbait and nightcrawlers are the best bait. Lure and fly-fishermen also are taking some fish from shore and near the inlets.
Stampede | Fishing has been fair to good from shore. Kokanee fishing has been fair. Fly fishermen have been doing well near the inlets with nymphs and streamers.
Truckee River | Flowing out of the lake at 69 cfs at Tahoe City. The flows through Truckee are only 166 cfs as of May 25. Fish have been caught on nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers. The main hatches are March Brown, PMD and Baetis. Watch for Carpenter Ants and Green Drakes to be productive, as well. Nymphs and dries imitating these hatches have been the most productive. Streamers also have been productive. Run-off has already peaked, so anticipate low flows.
Other Waters | Davis and Frenchman have been fair to good. Some reports of a great ant hatch at Davis a couple of weeks ago. Fish are being caught on blood midge larval patterns. Some Callibaetis are reported beginning to show so imitations of this insect should also do well.