Fly Fishing Marlette Lake
Marlette Lake sits perched high above the east shore of Lake Tahoe. The Nevada Department of Wildlife currently uses this lake as their brood stock lake for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout as well as rainbow trout. The eggs taken from fish at Marlette are then planted across the state in various lakes and streams. Marlette is open from July 15th – September 30th. The lake hosts a variety of trout including Rainbow, Lahontan Cutthroat, and a surprising number of large brook trout (regularly caught in excess of 18 inches).
SEASONS ON MARLETTE RESERVOIR
As soon as the lake opens and the trail from Spooner is clear, the lake fishes very well. The tough trek up to the lake is most often worth the fishing. In the early part of the season, large white moths hatch by the thousands on the southeast corner of the lake. There is a large outcrop on this end of the lake where North Canyon Road ends. When fishing here, an ant or hopper pattern in white works best. Cast out to a rising fish and slowly strip the dry fly back towards the shoreline. White streamers fished right under the surface work just as well. Once the summer heat sets in throughout August, We prefer fishing on the west side of the lake where more dramatic drop-offs continue along the shoreline. Stripping various baitfish or leech patterns on a sink tip works well. If the trout won’t fully commit to a stripped fly, an indicator is almost always a day saver. Fishing a balanced leech just off the edge of the drop off near the bottom is sure to produce a few fish. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout congregate on this side given the depth and cover.
In the last month of the short season, areas near an inflow fill up with fish. Given the short growing season at this high-altitude lake, trout must pack on the pounds while they can. They become very aggressive and opportunistic, eating a stripped fly easily.
Since the banks of steep slopes with dense cover blocking any back-casting opportunity, switch rods with streamers or indicator rigs are most effective. Since the hike is roughly five miles uphill from Spooner, the lightest and most effective rig to pack is an 11’ 6wt switch rod such as the Redington Dually with multiple spools of varying fly lines. Having a floating, intermediate, and Sink 3 on three different spools is ideal and allows much more flexibility. It’s a long walk back to the car.