Fishing Lake Tahoe

Catching a Mackinaw Trout in Tahoe
Area man catches fish

Shoberg, fishing Tahoe
Area Man Catches 2nd Fish
Tahoe and its surrounding lakes and rivers are not only scenic, they are full of fish! Lake Tahoe has populations of Mackinaw Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Kokanee Salmon. There are many other lakes and rivers in this region also have populations of salmon and trout, so if you are coming to visit, read these tips and bring your fishing pole.

First of all, do not fish without buying a license for the state you will fish in (California or Nevada). Either license covers fishing in Lake Tahoe. You can buy a license good for a year or a few days at local hardware and grocery stores.

Next, ask or read about where you intend to fish, because some areas are off limits, have limitations on bait, techniques, or are catch and release. Violating these rules or fishing without a license can carry fines of $1500.00 or more.

Lake Tahoe is open for fishing all year long, from one hour before sunrise to two hours after sunset. Limits are two Mackinaw, and a total of five fish. Read your guide for regulations on fishing near or in tributaries.

When fishing Tahoe, you can have success catching Rainbow Trout from shore. Popular places are where a shelf gives access to deep water or where rocks provide a place to stand and cast into deep water. Getting out in a boat provides the opportunity to troll in deep water for Mackinaw, which can school in depths over 200 feet. If you do not have a boat, an excellent option is to pay for one of Tahoe's Fishing Charters. You get the benefit of an experienced guide who will greatly increase your odds of catching something. Lake Tahoe's crystal clear waters are difficult to fish, but when you have success, the catch is delicious.

The Truckee river is a popular place to fly fish, but note that you are not permitted to fish within 1000 feet of the dam. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used - no live bait. The season is spring through fall, and you may only take two fish per fishing session. There are more regulations on the Truckee and other rivers in the area, so your best bet is to pick up a guide with your license.

Many other lakes and rivers in the Tahoe region are open for fishing, but some are catch and release only, and some are completely off limits. For example, Spooner Lake off HW 28 near HW 50 in Nevada is open for catch and release fishing only. Marlette Lake, which is about 5 miles above Spooner, is a hatchery that is closed to all fishing, and the fine for violations is enormous!

Fallen Leaf lake, near Emeral Bay, is limited to Rainbow, Brown, and Mackinaw.

The reservoirs of Boca and Stampede are popular spots, with access off I 80 several miles East of Truckee.

Donner Lake is populated with Rainbows, Browns and Mackinaw. It has public fishing piers on its north shore. When it's hot, Donner can be a great spot to catch fish, and having your own pier to enjoy the views from while fishing is a big plus. A boat is also useful on Donner.

Prosser Reservoir near Truckee is full of trout. It's worth a visit; try using a float tube!

Up HW 89 north of Truckee, many other lakes are accessible in this vast, scenic area of national forest. If you pick up a map with your license, you will be able to spot various lakes accessible by car or a 4WD vehicle in some cases.

See also: Fishing Charters.

Cleaning and Cooking Trout
So you caught a trout and don't know what do with it - this is one way to we have found to prepare trout. In this case we have a Mackinaw, also known as a lake trout caught in Lake Tahoe. Start by cleaning it.

Get a good filet knife, and slice its belly from the bottom to the mouth. Remove the guts, cleaning the inside with lots of water and your hand or a brush until no blood or guts remain. You will be left with a hollow fish. Next, cut off the fins that are near the belly; in the process you will remove a small amount of poor quality fat that deposits there. You can leave the head on, or cut it off and butterfly the fish as we did in this case. To butterfly, remove the head, spread the fish out and cut from inside of the belly, slicing the ribs along and as close as possible to the spine. Make this cut from head to tail, and you will be able to open the fish and lay it out skin side down.

Light the grill and rub olive oil on the skin of the fish. When cooked, the skin will separate from the meat of the fish, so you do not need to remove it. Lay the fish out and dress it with lemon, white wine, fresh cut parsley and dill, salt and pepper. Grill it skin down until the white fats start to bead on the surface of the meat.

You can also make a sauce for the fish. In this case, we simmered olive oil, white wine, butter, and parsley in a frying pan and poured it over the trout before serving. Delicious.

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