Fly Angling  For "Wild Trout" in the Truckee-Tahoe Area

The Lake Tahoe area is a world-renowned, diversified recreational playground. The addition of both public and private trophy trout angling in the area's alpine waters make this the premier outdoor site in the pristine High Sierra. During the decade of the '90's jaded flyanglers started visiting because word spread of the quality flyangling that was available.

During the 1970's, California's Department of Fish & Game became aware of the natural fishery potential that the area possessed.  The state then instituted public "Wild Trout" waters.  Restrictive regulations in the form of creel limits, minimum and maximum size requirements and gear were mandated. These areas now sustain self perpetuating, natural trout populations without the intrusion of "cookie cutter" hatchery fish that dilute their native instincts. Rainbows, brooks, browns and hopefully , cutthroats*, all jewels in their own right, are available to the conscientious and observant fly angler in and around the Tahoe-Truckee basin.

There are eight (8) state mandated "Wild Trout" waters within one hour's drive from the town of Truckee. These fish, at times can be very difficult to dupe with an artificial fly. So, if you're up to the challenge, the following waters may pique your interest:

TRUCKEE RIVER ---Of the interest to the fly-rodder is nineteen (19) miles of freestone river, from the town of Truckee downstream to the California/Nevada state-line. The regulations are barbless flies or artificials only. During the regular season (last Saturday of April to November 15th) the limit is two, MINimum size of 14". Winter season  (November 16 to the last Friday in April) require NO-KILL. The quarry is stream-bred Browns and Rainbows.

LITTLE TRUCKEE RIVER --- For those who enjoy the challenge of hatch-driven, discerning, surface feeders, this area is the place;  spring creek tactics are required.    This is a unique tailwater fishery in that it is a relatively small meadow stream in its upper sections and  a freestone water in its lower section. It is for wading anglers only. From its inflow at Boca Lake upstream to Stampede Dam, over 4 miles, the regulations are barbless artificials only, maximum 14", limit 2 during the regular season (see Truckee River) and NO-KILL during the winter season.

NORTH FORK OF THE YUBA---The head waters of this west slope stream is at the Yuba Pass, it free-flows through a deep, shaded canyon as it bypasses the majestic Sierra Buttes.  Below Sierra City, starts four miles of classic freestone fly angling in crystal clear water, which requires barbless artificials only, minimum size 10", limit two. Colorful rainbows and browns inhabit this tough access stretch of uncrowded flyangling.

MARTIS LAKE --- California's first "Wild Trout" lake is inhabited by acrobatic Eagle lake rainbows. Robust browns, which grow to 5-6 pounds on their diet of green sunfish, are lurking. The regulations are: barbless artificials only, NO KILL. It is fished from shore or in float tubes, prams, pontoon boats and canoes; no motors are permitted.

MILTON LAKE---This small, 12-acre lake is ideal for float-tubing; shore fishing is limited. There are times when its rainbows and browns can be very selective. The maximum size is 12", the limit is 2, and only barbless artificials can be used.

"SECRET SPOTS"---Intimate small creeks and beaver ponds are available throughout the area. They host unselective, but wary, rainbows, brookies & browns. One is a small, meadow stream, requiring 0-kill with barbless artificials only.

*In 1995 the US Fish & Wildlife embarked on a recovery plan to re-introduce the Lahontan Cutthroat to its native waters in the Tahoe Basin. The intent is to "delist" the trout which currently is a "threatened" species under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Planted specimens are being caught & released in the lower Truckee River, both on either side of the California/Nevada border, since that time.  It is too premature to assess the program's  success; that will occur when biologists determine that there is a natural spawn and a self-sustaining population.

All "stakeholders" are awaiting the five-year implementation plan....been waiting since October 2000....geez!

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