EP059: Travis Hawks – 2024 State of the Truckee River

Apr 29, 2024 | Podcast, Reno Fly Shop

Welcome to the 2023-24 State of the Truckee River with Travis Hawks, NDOW. We recognize that we took a bit of a break since our last podcast episode, the 2020 State of the Truckee and we wanted to start things where we left off, at an installmnet of the State of the Truckee River.

As you will hear in this episode. The Truckee River is fantastic shape with survey results suggesting that the river is better than it has ever been measured before. Travis believes that the abundant winters combined with water management has contributed to the best survey results ever. He even suggests that there are multiple 30″ brown trout catchable in the Truckee River.

Travis Hawks, NDOW

I realize that a lot has changed since our last episode and wanted to take a moment to familarize some of our new and old listeners to what this episode is all about. After that we will jump right into the episode. So settle in and get ready for an in-depth conversation on all things Truckee River with Travis Hawks.


The Nevada Department of Wildlife conducts annual fish surveys on several location within the Truckee River. The results of this survey are published into an annual report that presents the assemblage and distribution of game fish. Fish Assemblage is defined as the variety and composition of each gamefish species in the Truckee River described as a percentage of all fish sampled during the survey, i.e. rainbow Trout, brown Trout, LCT and Mountain Whitefish. Species Density is the measured concentration of each unique species reported in each surveyed reach, reported as fish/mile.

Nevada portion of the Truckee River was divided into five zones beginning at the mouth of Pyramid Lake and ending at the California state line.  The zones are numerically sequenced starting at the downstream limit of the Truckee River at Pyramid Lake and moving upstream. These zones are described as follows: 

Zone 1 – encompasses Pyramid Lake to the Wadsworth Bridge and is entirely within the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) Reservation.  Zone 1 is not sampled by NDOW.  

Zone 2 – stretches from the Wadsworth Bridge upstream to Derby Dam.

Zone 3 – covers Derby Dam to East McCarran Bridge.

Zone 4 – captures most of the greater Reno/Sparks urban area and extends from East McCarran Bridge to Mayberry Bridge.  

Zone 5 – is the reach of river from Mayberry Bridge to the California state line

source: Nevada Department of Wildlife

The survey each year is executed by NDOW staff and community volunteers. Electo-shocking is utilized to facilitate fish capture and measurement. NDOW has utilized different methodologies in electo-shocking year to year and Travis discusses the differences in methodologies and how the data could be biased between these different techniques.

2023 NDOW Sampling

It is important to note since we have started the State of the Truckee River episodes (all links are below in Show Notes) Travis has been promoted into new roles within NDOW. He actually now does not perform as lead of the annual survey but oversees it’s execution. The actual sampling is lead by a new member of the NDOW team, Sam Sedillo. Sam is a long time Truckee River angler and has made presentations in the shop during our Happy Hours on this exact data. Our deepest gratitude and appreciation goes out to Travis, Sam, the entire NDOW crew and community volunteers that performs this annual survey. To have the opportunity to review, discuss and understand issues related to the management of the Truckee River is tremendous. And unique compared to many other watersheds.

Sam Sedillo, NDOW

2024 State of the Truckee River

Throughout this episode, as in previous State of Truckees, Travis present sampling results and observations, changes in angling regulations, covers other Nevada angling opportunites and finally (and most interesting to me) some of the hot topics of resource management in the Truckee River watershed.

This last topic is especially interesting to me, in that it covers Travis’ expert assessment of LCT recovery in the lower river and Pyramid Lake. This is a very important topic both for angling opportunity but our overall river health and bio-diversity. There seems to be competing ideas, objectives and approaches to the management of the fish populations in the Truckee River and not all might be conducive to maintain our wild trout populations. 

For a perspective on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approach to LCT Recovery and their management alternatives I suggest you listen to Episode 56 which is linked here

EP056: Helen Neville and Mary Peacock – LCT Recovery – Challenges and Opportunities

It is important to note that while Travis and I discuss our opinions of several management scenarios that were presented in Episode 56. These opinions reflect only the approach and management strategies presented for the Truckee River watershed. Management scenarios that might be challenging or problematic in a river the size of the Truckee are appropriate and can be very effective in other watersheds. We hope that care and responsible review be given to those and all fishery management options.

So settle in and please enjoy our deep dive into the Truckee River and the next installment of the State of the Truckee River with Travis Hawks.

Show Notes:

EP058: Travis Hawks –  2020 State of The Truckee River

EP053: Travis Hawks – 2019 State of the Truckee River

EP047: Travis Hawks – 2018 State of the Truckee River

EP037: Travis Hawks – 2017 State of the Truckee River

EP026: Travis Hawks – 2016 State of the Truckee River  


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