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Fishing Spots in Lake Tahoe & Northern Sierra

Fishing on Donner Lake with Sierra Anglers Guide Service

[ Boca Reservoir, Caples Lake, Davis Lake, Donner Lake, Eagle Lake, Echo Lakes, Fallen Leaf Lake, Frenchman's Reservoir, Lake Tahoe, Little Truckee River, Martis Creek Reservoir, Prosser Creek Reservoir, Pyramid Lake, Saw Mill Ponds, Shasta Lake, Silver Lake, Stampede Reservoir, Topaz Lake, Truckee River, Whiskeytown Lake ]

[ Fishing the Desolation Wilderness and Mokelumne Wilderness areas ]

View Map of Northern Sierra Fishing Holes

Boca Reservoir (area map)

bulletResting at an elevation of 5,700 feet, just 28 miles west of Reno, Bocca has 15 miles of pine covered shoreline with a surface area of 980 acres. Excellent rainbow trout action with good numbers of large fish available. Good early and late shore fishing with trolling a favorite on the lake. Also shore fish the rocky sections of the stream inlet to the reservoir. Shore fishing is fruitful using inflated nightcrawlers for trout near the dam and inlet area or switch to power bait and salmon eggs for rainbows. If trolling, try flashers and Kokanee bugs for Kokanee. Switch to a flasher/worm combination or minnow imitating lures for better success. For more information contact the Truckee Ranger Station at (530) 478-6257.

Caples Lake (area map)

bulletLocated about 60 miles east of Jackson and directly south of Lake Tahoe at 7,950 feet elevation, Caples contains 600 surface acres of mountain water. All boating is permitted at 5 mph restriction with launching facilities and boat rentals available. Limited to trout for the fisherman, however a good quantity of quality rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout are available. For more information contact Amador Ranger Station at (209) 295-4251.

Davis Lake (area map)

bulletLocated approximately 80 miles south of Susanville at an elevation of 5,775 feet with a surface area of 4,025 acres. Take Interstate 395 south to Hallelujah Junction, west on highway 70, then follow the signs. Lake Davis is a very popular destination for fly fishermen. The western and northern shorelines offer the best access for float tubes. This trophy trout water is one of California’s top trophy rainbow lakes. The nutrient rich waters supply an abundance of insect life, with major hatches being the damsel fly and blood midges. Often one can sight cast to feeding fish during these active periods. For more information contact the Mohawk Ranger Station at (530) 836-2575.

Donner Lake (area map)

bulletResting at an elevation of 5,969 feet, 2 miles west of Truckee, Donner has 7.5 miles of alpine covered shoreline and crystal clear blue water. Launching facilities are available as well as a full service marina with boat rentals located on the north side of the lake. Donner Lake holds a good population of rainbow and brown trout as well as kokanee salmon. Shore fisherman can expect Browns and Rainbows dunking nightcrawlers, powerbait, or salmon eggs near the boat ramp or the west end of the beach. Topliners have the best luck in the shallow water using flasher/worm combinations or minnow imitating lures. Trollers go for Mackinaw using a minnow imitating lure or jig for the best results. Early on, the macks may be found in the shallows. For more information contact Donner State Park at (530) 582-7892. For charter and fishing guide services at Donner Lake contact Keith Kerrigan, Sierra Angler's Guide Service.

Eagle Lake (area map)

bulletLocated about 17 miles northwest of Susanville at an elevation of 5,100 feet, Eagle Lake contains 27,000 surface acres of water, with 100 miles of timbered shoreline. On the northern end of the lake are characteristics of high desert country with brush and junipers cover the surrounding area and rocks and patches of reeds making up the shoreline. While the south end of the lake is forested with pines, cedars, and firs. Marina and boat launch are located at the south end of the lake. Fishing at Eagle Lake opens each year on the Memorial Day weekend and closes on Dec. 31. Eagle Lake is nationally known for its trophy Eagle Lake Trout that average  3 - 5 pounds. For more information contact the Eagle Lake Ranger District at (530) 257-4188. For charter fishing and guide services at Eagle Lake contact Keith Kerrigan, Sierra Angler's Guide Service.

Echo Lakes (area map)

bulletNear Echo Summit, you can shore fish from the dam or go deep with a boat. Also a water taxi is available out of Echo Lakes Lodge, for a modest fee they'll drop you at the head of the lakes and make arrangements to pick you up later. Tamarack Lake is the closest lake to the end of the water taxi route and suffers from over use. However, right next to Tamarack are Ralston and Cagwin Lakes that provides less used alternatives with plenty of fish and solitude.

Fallen Leaf Lake (area map)

bulletApproximately 30 miles southeast of Tahoe City at an elevation of 6,400 feet just short distance off the south shores of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake permits boating and rentals are available at the lake. Gas and launching facilities are available as well as bait, tackle, groceries, and supplies. Fishing is limited to rainbow, brown, and mackinaw trout but usually very rewarding. Best from a boat, illegal within 250 feet of dam. For more information contact US Forest Service (530) 573-2600.

Frenchman's Reservoir (area map)

bulletLocated 80 miles west of Highway 395, and 25 miles south of Susanville, Frenchman rests at an elevation of 5,558 feet and has 21 miles of sage and pine covered shoreline. All boating is permitted as well as overnight boating. Frenchman has two boat ramps that are easily accessible except during severe winter weather. Well known for excellent rainbow and kamloop trout fishing Frenchman's Reservoir also holds a population of catfish. The early spring and late fall bite on this water can be spectacular. With many shallow coves, it is a popular lake for fly fishing. The fish range from 1 to 5 lbs. some of which are wild fish with beautiful markings. It is not unusual to see a duo of bald eagles soaring overhead while you are getting hooked up and enjoying the scenery.  For more information contact the Beckwourth Ranger Station at (530) 836-2575.

Lake Tahoe (area map)

bulletResting at 6,230 feet elevation in the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe is approximately 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and 72 miles around. Tahoe is famous for crystal clear waters, beautiful mackinaw and kokanee salmon. Mack attacks in a boat, and deep! Macks make delicious eating and the early season brings in mostly 5-7 lb range. Some macks may be found in shallow water during early season but most are found at the 200 foot level.  Toplining and shore fishing are popular however a Lake Tahoe fishing guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time.

Lake Tahoe Tributaries

bulletNote that It is illegal to fish the tributaries except from July 1 to September 30. No fishing is allowed within 300 feet of these tributaries.

Little Truckee River

bulletThis area between Stampede Reservoir down-stream to Boca Reservoir is now subject to artificial barbless lures with a two-fish bag limit of fish 14 inches maximum. Fishing this stretch concentrate on nymphs and streamers with occasional hatches where a dry fly will work.

Marlett Lake

bulletMarlette Lake, tributaries and outlet stream: Season is July 15 through September 30, 1 hour before sunrise to 2 hours after sunset. Limit is zero fish, catch and release fishing only. Only artificial lures with single barbless hooks may be used. Anglers can fish for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout.

Martis Creek Reservoir (area map)

bulletMartis is a zero kill lake. Catch and release fishing only using artificial lures with barbless hooks and no bait. Fishing during the opener was fair overall. Blood midges are already showing due to the mild winter. Many are using nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damesfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish. Woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams and GriffithKnat are good choices.

Prosser Creek Reservoir (area map)

bulletLocated approximately 40 miles west of Reno, Nevada at an elevation of 5,715 feet, Prosser Reservoir is a 740 surface acre lake with 11 miles of sage covered shoreline. Boating is allowed under 10 MPH. Some of the finest California trout fishing with both rainbow and brown trout ready to jump on the stringer. Try power bait, nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs. Trollers may also find success using flasher/worm combinations and minnow imitating lures. If fly fishing, try olive or black woolly buggers, nymphs, and midges. For more information call Mountain Hardware at (530) 587-4844 or Truckee Ranger District (530) 478-6257.

Pyramid Lake (area map)

bulletPyramid lake is at about 4000 feet elevation in a desert setting with no trees and a alkaline lake that offers pastel blue colors. The fish come into the shallows, are beautiful, none too smart, and can be caught in large quantity and occasionally large size. The season runs from October 1 to June 30th each year. In general the early season, October and November is noted for large numbers of fish at 17-20 pounds. The winter months are when the really big fish come in.

Saw Mill Ponds

bulletSaw Mill Ponds is a trout fishing pond open to children 14 & under and located in South Lake Tahoe. If traveling south from the casinos (Stateline), continue straight through the "Y" on Lake Tahoe Blvd. (not hwy 50) for around 2 miles. After you pass the flashing light of the school look for sign "Saw Mill Ponds" it will be on your left hand side.

Shasta Lake

bulletShasta lake About 2 hours north or Sacremento and only 20 min. out of Redding. Many arms and inlets make it a paradise for fishing. With Trout,Browns,King Salmon and Bass Shasta has it all. The four major arms of the lake offer spectacular scenery as well as great fishing. With over 29,500 surface acres and 350 miles of shoreline Shasta will alway give up a catch for you.You can always find a place to fish out of the wind. For Shasta Lake fishing guide, contact Keith Kerrigan at Sierra Anglers Guide Service.

Silver Lake (area map)

bulletLocated approximately 40 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe at an elevation of 7,200 feet in the El Dorado National Forest. All boating is permitted with launch ramps, rentals, bait, tackle and fuel available. Fishing is limited to rainbow and brown trout but is often very rewarding for the angler. For more information contact Amador Ranger District at (209) 295-4251.

Stampede Reservoir (area map)

bulletLocated approximately 15 miles north of Truckee at 5,949 feet elevation, Stampede Reservoir has a surface area of 3,450 acres and 25 miles of sage and coniferous shoreline. All boating is permitted but note that water levels drop dramatically toward the end of summer which limits launching to extended low water launch ramps. Stampede holds a large number of trophy class rainbow and brown trout and the fisherman is commonly well rewarded. For more information call Truckee Ranger District (530) 478-6257. For charter fishing and guide services at Stampede Reservoir contact Keith Kerrigan, Sierra Angler's Guide Service.

Topaz Lake

bulletSituated in California on the Nevada state line at an elevation of 5,012 feet, Topaz Lake has approximately 25 miles of shoreline surrounded by sage covered mountains. Topaz is closed for fishing from October 1st through the end of December. The lake permits all boating as well as overnight boating. Launch facilities, a full service marina and boat rentals are available. Excellent fishing with rainbow trout heavily stocked and large native brown trout abundant. For more information contact the Douglas County Recreation Area at (775) 266-3343.

Truckee River

bulletFish the deep pools during the early part of the season. Best bets are to fish the section of the river between Tahoe City and the River Ranch. Use powerbait, salmon eggs, and worms. The Department of Fish and Game stocks this section of the river during the spring. The Wild Trout section is restricted to artificial lures or flies and is located below the town of Truckee from Trout Creek to the Boca Bridge. Access to this river is easy since it follows California Highway 89 and Interstate 80 along its entire length. Note that no fishing is allowed in the first 1000' below Lake Tahoe outlet.

Whiskeytown Lake

bulletWhiskeytown is about 2 hours north of Sacramento off Interstate Hwy I- 5. This lake is one of the best Kokanee lakes in the state of California, with over 36 miles of shoreline and 3,200 surface acres. Whiskeytown Lake starts fishing early in the year late February, with Kokes up to 15-16 inches. The Kokanee will get up to 2 plus pounds. At an elevation of about 2,000 feet it's always warm. Sierra Anglers Guide Service is your Fishing Guide for Whiskeytown Lake.

Fishing the Desolation Wilderness and Mukelumne Wilderness areas

Desolation Wilderness Map (PDF format) / Mukelumne Wilderness Map (interactive format)

bulletAngling and fly fishing opportunities abound on hundreds of lakes of all sizes in a 100 square mile of Desolation Wilderness Area area just west of Lake Tahoe and 105,165 acres of Mokelumne Wilderness Area which straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada, within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Toiyabe National Forests. Below are just a few of the many Sierra fishing holes located in these wilderness areas.
bulletReservoirs include: Bear River Reservoir, Blue Lakes, Caples Lake, Hell Hole Reservoir, Ice House Reservoir, Loon Lake, Silver Lake, Stumpy Meadows Reservoir and Union Valley Reservoir.
bulletNatural Lakes include: Gertrude Lake, Grouse Lake, Hemlock Lake, Island Lake, Lyons Lake, Maude Lake, Smith Lake, Sylvia Lake, Twin Lakes and Wrights Lake.
bulletRivers include: Middle Fork Cosumnes River, Rubicon River, Silver Fork American River and South Fork American River.
bulletSmall Streams include: Camp Creek, Cole Creek, Gerle Creek and Lower Long Canyon.

Sugar Pine Point State Park is a forested promontory on the western side of Lake Tahoe. Deep-line fisherman can try their luck along Lake Tahoe's 300-foot-deep underwater ledges by trolling for lake trout (Mackinaw) and kokanee Salmon. Top-lining (trolling near the surface) for rainbows is also popular. Shore fishing does not tend to be productive, though the lake's tributaries can be. Be aware that these streams have a very short open season from July 1 through September 30.

Be sure to observe rules and regulations designed to prevent over fishing. Contact Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Office (530) 573-2600. Also check out the California Department of Fish and Game.

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Last modified: March 08, 2007

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