River/Snow/Fishing Report | January 12, 2017

Snow in the air and water in the river. Mutually good things for the Truckee River, both now and in the future. It’s great to see the Truckee River flexing like this again.

The river through town right now is somewhere right around the 1,500 CFS mark. I walked the river yesterday through downtown and it’s noticeably lower today. Late Sunday night the river rose to over 13,500 CFS. Big water by anybody’s standards and major flood stage for our area. The river is on a steady drop for now and flows did not get as high as the ’97 or ’05 events, but these are the biggest flows Reno has seen in a decade.

Snowtell Jan 12

Rain transitioned to snow after the major rain this weekend which slowed runoff of considerably. We have recieved about 6-10 feet on the mountains since January 1. Another round of storms are forcast for this coming week so it looks like it isn’t over quite yet. Some good heavy Sierra Cement type snow. This is just an absolutely huge year for the Sierras and as of now we’ve got over 170 inches of snow since the 1st of the year. Our snowpack is sitting heavy right now at over 200% of water equivalent. A welcome difference from the past 5 years. Lakes, reservoirs, tail waters, and freestones will all have the goods this summer. So start filling those fly boxes now. Some agencies are predicting that the drought is officially over in Northern California.

We aren’t out of this cycle yet either. When the storms line up off of the Pacific and break onto the Sierras like this it comes full force. There will be a slight break through the weekend where the river might come into fishable shape up high. Then it’s back on next week.

Truckee River Weather

A major flooding event like this is the best thing possible to happen to our Truckee River after the past few years of drought. It will revitalize the entire system from Tahoe all the way down to Pyramid. It moves natural debris, takes silt from holes, and gives life to the entire ecosystem from the bugs on up to the trout. I’m sure the pocket water through Floriston will look differently this spring as well as some sections of river out east of Reno. But that’s all natural for the river.

How’s the fishing? Admittedly it is a bit rough as long as the water stays high and off color. As it drops and clears the fishing could be really really good.Further up you go the river will come back into shape quicker. Look for flows of about 800 CFS in the higher range to fish around Hirschdale. Nevada will follow suit typically a little later and you’re going to want to hold off on this side until about 1,200 CFS. Either way be cautious wading at these levels. For anybody with a raft or drift boat out there, this should be a great year to get those things out of the garage and run ‘em through the Nature Conservancy water east of town. Tossing streamers from the raft down there is great way to move a big fish. The fish will be fine and dandy with all this water as they are built to weather these kind of storms. Expect them to be happy, healthy, and in all the same spots they were before the water came up. I’m sure they’ll be on the eat once the water comes down.

As always, Reno Fly Shop is open 10-6 Monday through Saturday. Feel free to stop by or give us a call at (775)-323-3474 to check on current conditions before hitting the river.


Matt Needs is a new staff member at the Reno Fly Shop.  He is also a student at the Univ. of Nevada studying Geological Engineering. When not in class or the shop Matt is fly fishing all of our local waters and the Steelhead Rivers of western Oregon.  In summer Matt is a fly fishing guide in Montana and will be found most days on the oars of his drift boat with clients throwing dry flies.

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