Fly Fishing Report | Truckee River and Pyramid Lake | mid January 2020

We hope everyone had a great holiday season! Here is the first fishing report of 2020! This is a jam packed report, we hope you enjoy and it kicks off the year right.

-Mike Anderson and Jim Litchfield

Truckee River 

The Truckee River is in great shape! The water is cold, slow, and clear, but the fish are actively feeding later in the afternoons. Some days, it takes a few fly changes to find out what they are looking for, but once you find the right fly combination we are catching amazing quality of fish. This is typical for this time of year, for any winter fishing really. Smaller fish require less calories in general, but when the water temperature consistently drops below 48-50 trout metabolism creeps to a minimum. Smaller fish with their smaller caloric necessity may only feed once or twice a week. But the bigger fish still need to feed more often to maintain a healthy weight.

We are catching most of our fish in slower “Indicator” type water. I’ve ventured into the realm of micro ESN (European Style Nymphing) leaders to really tackle the slower water and to refine presentation. Sunnier days with a higher thermal load will encourage fish to move into faster currents, but you should not be focussing on water faster than a walking pace this time of year.

Over the holiday we had the chance to release our State of the Truckee River podcast episode with Travis Hawks. This annual episode gives you a snap shot on the condition of the Truckee River and how the fishery is fairing on a year over year basis. If you haven’t listened to it yet check it out here. It is great news and we appreciate Travis and NDOW for making the information available.

Keep looking for Blue Winged Olive mayfly hatches in the afternoon as we should really start to see this hatch increase as our days get longer and we get into a more stormy weather pattern

Flies we suggest: Spanish Bullet, Quill Jig, Hot Spot, CDC Red Tag, Zebra Midge, Baetis Nymphs, Carot, The Ticket, Para Adams, Para Olive,Psycho May BWO, ID Thief

Pyramid Lake 

Pyramid Lake has changed quite a bit since the last report. Fish are coming into shallower water to eat in short spurts and not sticking around long to be caught. Surface temps are in the low 40’s causing typical mid-season conditions. Just like on the river though, when fish do come in to feed they typically are larger and we are seeing quality 10 plus pound fish when we catch it right. You may only get a couple shots a day so really focusing and being on your game is key.

We are interested to hear you thoughts on is this the time of year to pick a beach and stick it out through slow periods or are you still using a “stick and move” pattern of moving around the lake looking for fish? Leave a comment below.

Fish are entering shallow beaches and even under the indicator we are noting fish in 8 feet of water or less on many occasions. You definitely want to vary your indicator depth often to find out where these fish are comfortable. Indicator fishing has been good on beaches with rocky shores/structure where fishing a sinking line would result in many lost flies and a few headaches. The majority of fish that we are catching have been retrieving boobie flies along the bottom. The fish are still willing to chase these flies this late into the season.

Looking forward to some upcoming storms to stir things up a bit and midge season is quickly approaching! With the amazing fish that we have already caught this season I would wager that this spring is going to be one for the ages!!

Pyramid Lake Flies We Suggest: Boobies (Spanish Olive, Cat Whisker, Diablo), Pyramid Lake Beetle, Bellyache Minnow, Jans Tui-Chub, Balanced Leech, Holographic Midge (buy them online before your trip)

February is filling up fast! Book your trip today!! We have gift certificates available for guided trips or whatever the angler in your life desires!

Come by the Reno Fly Shop or order online at

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