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Fishing - Lake Tahoe
Fishing at Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe Fishing

Tips for Catching the Big One!

Fishing Hot Spots

Tahoe Sport Fishing Co.
Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience on America's premier Alpine lake. Our captains are experienced in trolling, drifting, and jigging and they're here year-round to guide you to the lake's hot spots. Depending on the season, you can expect to catch Mackinaw (Lake Trout), Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Kokanee Salmon. The Mackinaw season is open all year. Introduced to Lake Tahoe near the turn of the century, Mackinaw have reproduced rapidly over the years. The daily combined limit is 5 fish per person (2 Mackinaws, 3 Trout). Average size is two to seven pounds and many 20-30 pound trophies are taken each year.

Fishing in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Sparkling lakes and rivers provide numerous opportunities to test your angling skill. Try some of the suggestions here, then as you become more familiar with the forest, go exploring on your own.

To prevent over fishing and to give the fish a chance to reproduce naturally, rules and regulations have been made. Several lakes and streams are closed to fishing year around. Some lakes and streams are catch and release only. Before fishing, pick up a current copy of the State Fish and Game regulations from our office. Fishing licenses can be obtained from local sporting goods stores. Failure to obtain a fishing license or to follow rules and regulations can result in stiff fines.

Any person 16 years of age or older must have a valid California or Nevada sport fishing license to fish in Lake Tahoe. Surrounding lakes and streams require a license for the state in which the person is fishing.

Seasons vary. Check a copy of the current fishing regulations for information.

Fishing in Lake Tahoe is legal one hour before sunrise to two hours after sunset. In all other bodies of water in the Tahoe area (Sierra District) fishing is legal one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

The daily limit for Lake Tahoe is 5 trout but no more than 2 mackinaw. Most other lakes and streams in the Tahoe Basin have a limit of 5 trout. Check a current copy of the Fish and Game regulations for specific information.

Live Bait
No fish may be used for bait or possessed for use as bait in Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, or Donner Lake unless taken from that lake. Live bait in these lakes are limited to the following: Lahontan redside shiner, Tui chub, tahoe sucker, Lahoritan mountain sucker, Piute sculpin and Lahontan speckled dace. Chumming is illegal.

Where to Fish

The best fishing spots around Tahoe are usually kept as secret as a gold miner's claim. But the following locations have been shared: Each fishing spot listed has a number corresponding to the map. All rivers listed below, except for the special regulations mentioned, are open from the last Saturday in April to November 15.

1. Upper Truckee River
The Upper Truckee is fed from the waters of Meiss Country south of Highway 89. Fishing is good in the deep pools during the early part of fishing season.

2. Echo Lakes
Just a short drive off Highway 50 you can try both boat and shore fishing here. Shore fishing is usually good from the dam. Please respect the rights of private property and homeowners around the lake.

3. Sawmill Pond
A stocked pond for children 15 years of age and under. Adults are allowed to help children fish but are not allowed to fish themselves. The pond is located 1 mile south of South Lake Tahoe along Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

4. Fallen Leaf Lake
The best fishing is from a boat, but occasionally fish can be taken from the shore with a good cast. The lake is a short walk from Fallen Leaf Lake Road or Fallen Leaf Campground. Fishing within 250 feet of the dam is illegal.

5. Lake Tahoe
The best fishing is in deep water from a boat. For shore fishing, try places where the shoreline drops off quickly such as Rubicon Point on the west shore or Cave Rock on the east shore. A day use fee is charged at both of these areas. .

Fishing Techniques

The skillful angler minimizes the disadvantages to Tahoe's wonderfully clear water in the following ways:

1. Avoid fishing during times of mirror like calm, unless fishing deep for Mackinaw. Even a slight surface riffle with break up shadows cast on the bottom and will partially obliterate the angler from view.

2. Use a light monofilament line.

3. Use very long line for trolling or make very long casts if fishing from shore.


6. Truckee River
Lake Tahoe's only outlet, the Truckee starts its journey from Lake Tahoe's dam at Tahoe City and continues along Highway 89 to the town of Truckee. Fishing is closed year around from the dam to 1,000 feet downstream. Certain other sections of the Truckee are closed year 'round. Check the fishing regulations for specific information.

7. Carson River, West Fork
Flowing through Hope, Faith, and Charity Valleys, this portion of the river receives considerable use. It is located south of Lake Tahoe along Highway 88 and also flows along Blue Lakes Road.

8. Carson River, East Fork
Closed to all fishing above Carson Falls. From Hangman's Bridge (south of Markleeville) downstream to the Nevada state line, there is a minimum size limit of 14 inches and you must use artificial lures with single barbless hooks.

9. Blue Lakes
A series of lakes located south of the Tahoe Basin, 12 miles off Highway 88. At over 8,000 feet they are some of the highest lakes accessible by automobile. Camping is available nearby. Fishing is reported to be good off of the dams where the two lakes connect.

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