A significant weather change has brought precipitation and cold temperatures to the Reno-Tahoe area. Fishing conditions have changed as a result at both Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River. Water temperatures have dropped across our region and have made trout fishing better across the board. Flows continue to drop into late-fall and winter flows on the Truckee and are pushing fish into slower and deeper holding water. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Pyramid Lake are being caught in greater numbers from the shore as a result of the storms. We hope you enjoy this week’s report and get to spend valuable time on the water.
Following the storm system in early November, fly fishing at Pyramid Lake has improved greatly with shore fishing becoming the method of choice for a majority of anglers. As water temperatures have decreased, fish have moved into shallower water and are now targetable from the shoreline. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout feed in slightly deeper water adjacent to the shoreline, so look for depth changes that occur close to shore. Cutthroat have seemingly switched away from baitfish patterns and are keying in more on smaller presentations. Both sinking line and floating techniques have produced fish in the last week and will target roughly the same areas.
When stripping flies on a sinking line, flies such as the Pyramid Lake Bugger in a variety of colors will be a good choice. Additionally, many of the stripping flies with foam incorporated into the tie will help add additional movement to the presentation. A staff favorite last season was the Mopcorn Beetle. This fly is a spin off the standard Pyramid Lake Beetle, but utilizes a Mop Body tail on the end for added movement. This fly has an almost unfair amount of movement and is sure to be a favorite for seasons to come.
Indicator fishing has also been effective as of late. With cutthroat cruising in 8-12’ of water, indicator fishing is a good choice. This setup allows you to suspend flies at a certain depth throughout the drift. Additionally, it allows you to keep the fly in an effective zone for a longer period of time compared to the sinking line setup. Balanced leeches and Mini Jig Leeches are great choices this time of year. When fishing two of these flies, it is best to rig the top fly on a tag to allow it to balance properly. On dark and stormy days, darker colors tend to work best. The Sizzurp Balanced Leech is a new addition and available exclusively at the Reno Fly Shop. Other colors such as Peacock and Midnight Cowboy have been top producers as well. Midges and chironomids on the other hand are not fishing well which is typical of this time of year. As the season progresses, these flies will become more effective.
The Truckee River has also fished well in the past week and has seen a reduction of flows. As flows have dropped, water has become increasingly clear and Brown Trout have begun to spawn. With the addition of eggs in the river, both rainbow trout and brown trout have been keyed in on egg patterns. Bead fishing is an increasingly popular technique and is an effective way of fishing an egg pattern on a fly rod. While the egg bite has been good this fall, smaller mayfly nymphs have also been effective in the clear and cold conditions. Mayfly nymphs in darker colors such as olive, brown, or black have been effective when fished in tandem with an attractor such as an egg or bright nymph. Flies such as the Psycho Mayfly or the Micro Mayfly are great choices.
As the water temperature continues to decrease, trout are holding in slower and slower water. Try focusing on deeper buckets and slower water where fish don’t have to work too hard to hold their position. With trout in slower water, tippet diameter comes into play and can make or break a day on the water. Thinner tippet material will help fool a few more fish as we go into the end of the year. 4x, 5x, and even 6x fluorocarbon tippet are needed when fish have more time to examine your presentation. Cortland Top Secret Tippet is a customer favorite throughout the year.
While many associate fall and winter with slower fishing, this can often be a great time to target large fish with streamers or even a dry fly. Stormy weather provides favorable conditions for both of these techniques and can offer some variety to your fall and winter trout tactics. Successful streamer fishing takes place in slower water this time of year. Heavier streamers in slightly smaller sizes catch large trout on the Truckee River. Additionally, dry fly fishing can take place on days with the same weather conditions. Overcast skies and precipitation create ideal conditions for Blue Winged Olive (BWO) mayflies to hatch. While dry fly fishing does not occur all the time on the Truckee, this is certainly one of the best times to do so. Pack your dry flies next time you hit the river.
The first half of October has provided outstanding fishing at Pyramid Lake as well as the Truckee River. Nighttime low temperatures have continued to drop and many of our favorite waters in the region are fishing well. While we’ve highlighted Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River in this report, there are a number of other places to explore which are fishing very well. We hope you enjoy this week’s report and get to spend some time out on the water!
The fishing at Pyramid Lake has been nothing short of fantastic since the season opener on October 1st. Anglers have been having success catching Lahontan Cutthroat Trout after locating schools of Tui Chub minnows. These bait balls congregate near points and other structure around the lake. Some of the most exciting fishing takes place at this time as you can cast a streamer into a school of Tui Chub being actively ambushed by large cutthroat trout. Streamers are the best option at this time since the fish are chasing schools of Tui Chub at a rapid pace. One of the more popular and effective techniques this year has been a vertical presentation using a heavily weighted fly or jig on a heavy sinking line. Baitfish patterns like the Reno Fly Shop Super Jig weigh 1/4 ounce and get down quickly. This new fly is available exclusively at the Reno Fly Shop and is available in 3 color combinations. With a change in weather expected this weekend, we anticipate water temperatures to drop and wind speed increase. Lahontan Cutthroat have been located throughout the water column at a depth ranging from 0-50 feet as they follow Tui Chub schools. Many people have found success by using a fish finder to identify depth and locate trout and bait balls.
Deeper castable sonar units are now available at the Reno Fly Shop in-store and online. Shore fishing has been slow but still possible in the early and late part of the day. Following the weather pattern change, it is possible trout to begin moving shallower and closer to shore.
Fly Fishing on the Truckee River has continued to be productive with almost ideal river flows for this time of year. With cooler nights on the top end of the river, water temperatures have come into an ideal range and set the stage for really good fall fishing. As the water has cooled, bug activity and food sources have changed a bit. A majority of the fish being caught currently are on either nymphing or streamer setups. Nymphing is your best bet to find numbers of fish right now. There a quite a few small mayflies in the system, so mayfly nymphs in a size range of #14-18 will get the job done. We have brought in a number of new flies for fall fishing on the Truckee River both in-store and online. Midges will also gain importance in the trout’s diet as the seasons change. Zebra Midges in a standard red or black in a size range of #18-20 will continue to fish better. Jigged streamers have fished very well in the last week on a European Style Nymphing (ESN) rig. These flies can be fished on either a dead drift or a jigging presentation. By bouncing the rod tip gently throughout the drift, you can give life to the jigged streamer and entice hard takes. Flies like the Silver Fish and Daniel’s UV Polar Jig work great for this technique.
Streamer fishing on the Truckee River has increased in productivity as water temperatures have decreased. Fall is synonymous with brown trout and streamer fishing on the Truckee. A wide variety of streamer patterns have caught fish recently with baitfish and sculpin patterns near the top of the list. Generally speaking, baitfish patterns work well on the lower river from Reno and downstream. Sculpin patterns are consistent upstream of Reno to the town of Truckee. Crayfish are still on the menu, so make sure to carry a few with you.
We are stoked to introduce several new fly patterns to our shop offerings. These are available both online and in-store. These are flies that will be great as all arounders but were specifically chosen to offer up a new look to our Truckee River trout this Fall/Winter.
The Truckee River continues to fish well as we enter into mid September. Flows have remained consistent on the Nevada side and it’s been a pleasant surprise to see flows in the canyon section hover around 500 cfs. Typical of late summer, crayfish have made up a significant portion of the trout’s diet in the river. We are still experiencing hot days and as a result are seeing the best fishing in low light/cooler periods early and late in the day.
On the Nevada side, flows have been steady between 250-300 cfs. With steady flows, several sections of the Nevada side have fished well. With these consitent flows it seems as if the fish are moving around during the day and finding water conditions best suited them at the time. When water temperatures are at their lowest, fish have been holding in slow water towards the bottom of runs and pools. As the water temperature creeps up, fish tend to move into faster water. When fishing the faster water, try to adjust fly weight to get the right drift. While crayfish are a significant feed item, there are other food for trout available. As the daily temperature increases, small mayflies have continued to hatch. These mayflies vary in a size range of 16-20. When running a double nymph setup, a small mayfly in size 16-20 will work. Flies such as the Jig TNT, Spanish Bullet, or Galloup’s Jig BWO are a great choice to represent the small mayflies. Additionally, caddis patterns have worked well in similar sizes, try the G6, Krystal Caddis and the OCD.
Streamer action has increased as the crayfish activity has increased. Streamer patterns have varied greatly. In low light conditions, large patterns in darker colors (olive,black, or brown) swung through slower water and tailouts have worked. As the sun comes out and temperature increases, fishing fast and shallow water with brighter streamers has been our choice. Crayfish often get dislodged and tumble through heavy current. For those willing to venture into the night, we have arrived at the time of year when mouse fishing is at its best. Now available is the Mousey McMouseface – an articulated foam mouse with a sharp stinger hook hidden in its tail. This fly pushes water well and has tantalizing swimming action. Many of the smaller jig streamers have worked well recently when fished on an ESN rod.
While dry fly fishing is not typically associated with the Truckee River, this time of year can provide good conditions to fish a hopper-dropper rig. With fish holding in fast and shallow water, this rig gives a good presentation for both a dry fly and a nymph. A 2-4’ section of tippet between the dry fly and nymph will allow the nymph to get to a good depth in most cases. Our newly received Chernobyl Super Hopper is available in a golden color and is available for purchase online and in-store.
Heenan Lake has opened for it’s short season (Sept-Oct) and fishing has been very good in the first week. Typical of late summer, fish are concentrated at deeper depths anywhere from 15-25 feet. This is a local favorite since Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) inhabit the lake. While these fish are a bit smaller than the LCT at Pyramid Lake, they can achieve large size in a short time due to the available feed in the lake. Shore fishing can be tough at Heenan due the weed growth along the edges of the lake, so a boat of some kind float tube will help get you into fishable water. There are a variety of ways to fish the lake, with a deep water indicator setup being the most popular and effective. By using a Jay da Cator on a long leader with bobber stoppers, you can suspend flies at depths in the 15-30’ range. Chironomids account for many caught fish and work best when suspended within a foot of the lake bottom. These flies can also be placed effectively in the target zone on a full sink line. Additionally, scuds and leeches fished along the vertical weed lines work well when targeting cruising fish. With a limited fishing season, now is the time to fish Heenan Lake.
The mornings are getting colder as we draw nearer to fall. We may not see much of a change in the afternoon temps being in the mid to high 90s, but with such lower temperatures overnight and in the morning fishing has been good. The Truckee River has been somewhat dirty in the last few weeks due to strong thunderstorms. As of recent, the river has really cleared up, but stray thunderstorms possible in the next couple of weeks may introduce more turbidity to the river.
The trout are starting to gear up for fall as well. We’re finding fish in all water types; slow, medium, and fast water. We’re also noticing that the brown trout are beginning to group up more as they get closer to spawning in a few weeks. The streamer fishing has not kicked off just yet, but they are happily eating large and small nymphs equally well.
Crayfish are a large part of the trout’s diet this time of year. August is usually the month that we see a lot of molting from crayfish making them a little more vulnerable until their exo-skeleton returns. (Guide Tip: crayfish that have just molted will be a lighter color for a few hours as their skeleton harderns.) After cycling through your crayfish patterns try smaller nymphs. From doing net samples recently a lot of the food items are #16-18 both caddis pupa and mayflies nymphs.
Carp fishing has still been very good. The carp are feeding primarily in the late morning until 1 o’clockish. We’ve noticed some interesting behavior recently as the carp have been taking flies that are not sitting on the bottom of the river or pond but in the column below the water surface. Some fish have been taking flies on the drop or even when slightly stripped moving the fly and keeping it from the bottom. This observation and adjusting our tactics has produced some great fish.
High mountain lakes are still fishing well, but they will begin to cool off with over night lows and will begin to ice over on the edges towards the end of September. Using terrestrials is always a good idea on high mountain lakes as well as flies that have a little movement. (Small streamers, Gilled nymph, or soft hackles), Using a dry/dropper rig is a great technique for these lakes. Change your depth every 30 minutes as needed, and don’t get caught up fishing from one or two spots around the lake. Just like any fishery, some areas will fish better than others and might take many and frequent adjustments until you “crack the code”.
Are you interested in trying out European Style Nymphing or maybe looking to update your set up? We have just started a great end of Summer and looking toward Fall promotion. When you pick up our top selling ESN rods, the Cortland Nymph Rod you will get a Euro Style Nymph Fly Line for FREE. You can choose between a 10’6″ 3wt or 4wt. We are stocked up and ready to get you on the water. This promotion will last as long as our inventory of rods does. Pick up your today.
This offer is only good for in-store sales, however we will accept phone orders so stop by or call soon.
August is off to a great start with many places in our region fishing well. In this report, we will focus on the Truckee River but would like to highlight high altitude fishing as well as carp fishing. August heat will continue but there is still plenty of opportunity to fish a number of waters in the area. While a day in the mountains is always nice, carp and other warmwater fish can be an exciting pursuit this time of year. We hope you have a great weekend on the water.
Following a week of steady thunderstorms, the Truckee River has fished well and benefited from the recent rainfall. The storms here in Reno passed through and dropped enough rain to raise river flows to just over 700 cfs at the Reno gauge. As a result, water clarity decreased with each shot of rain but flows were quick to come down and fishing has improved in the last few days.
On the Nevada side, fishing has been best in the morning while water temperatures are at their lowest of the day. Many fish are now in their summertime holding areas which means you’ll want to focus your efforts on faster and shallower water. If you are out early you can often find the trout in these shallow areas finishing a night of eating crayfish and while they still feel safety in low light conditions.
Crayfish and Golden Stoneflies have been very productive fly patterns lately. These meals are much larger than the typical food items (mayflies, caddis, midge) and fish have keyed in on the larger fly more often than not. Most of the time, these flies fish best in fast water since the trout have a short window to examine the fly and make a choice. The Mini Crayfish Jig is a great fly for fishing fast and heavy water. Matching the fly weight to the type of water will be key as heavy flies are best fished in heavy fast water. In pocket water, heavy flies are necessary. In shallow riffles and slower velocities, a lighter fly will drift at the correct speed leading to more hookups. Smaller mayflies and caddis have also been effective at times. The ESN rig has been very effective since fish are in fast and/or deeper water. Dry dropper is a good approach when fishing the shallow riffles.
The California side of the Truckee has fished well in the last week despite tributaries blowing out and bringing dirty water into the river. Bronco Creek was responsible for a majority of the sediment we observed. As clarity increases throughout the week, dry dropper rigs should find a few fish. With the trout pushing into shallower water, big foam flies with a nymph underneath will present well in fast and shallow water. Flies like Para Madam X or Stimulators work well as attractors on top. The nymph on a dry dropper rig could be a variety of patterns. Many of the ESN jig-style flies work well on a dry dropper rig. If you need to change your depth, consider changing fly weight before changing the tippet section between the dry and nymph.
With the summer heat continuing, many local anglers are hitting the high country. The Sierra Nevada is well known for it’s backcountry lakes and streams. These high altitude areas experience long winters and as a result – are not accessible year-round. The window of opportunity is now for many of these lakes and streams. There are multiple species you can target within an hour drive of Reno/Tahoe. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout are also prevalent in local waters and can offer a different perspective on the species as compared to fishing Pyramid Lake. Rainbows, browns, and brook trout also inhabit many of these waters. If you are looking for a challenge or a new approach, try some of our high mountain waters.
High altitude fishing often requires a degree of stealth. Most lakes up high have good clarity and can make fish a bit picky. While many of our local still waters are approachable with a balanced leech and a bobber, fish in the high country can require a more accurate match to the food of choice. Bugs such as Callibaetis and Water Boatmen are important to many of these lakes. Additionally, hatches of small midges occur at most of these destinations so it’s a good idea to carry small chironomids. Thinner diameter leader and tippet can greatly increase success in the high country as well. A 9’ 5x leader and a spool of 5x fluorocarbon tippet will cover almost all high mountain applications. August is a great time to put on the hiking boots and head to the high mountain lakes and streams in our backyard.
Carp fishing around Reno has hit stride the last few weeks and many local anglers choose this as their primary target species until cooler weather arrives. Carp are feeding with regularity in the morning after the sun comes up and the water begins to warm. When choosing a day to carp fish, wind forecasts are useful and can show you the least windy times during the day. Ideal conditions for carp fishing is little to no wind with a high sun. Light penetration into the water will allow you to see the fish even in discolored water. The “drag and drop” technique is a popular method of presenting flies to carp. This technique suggests, slightly over casting the target fish and then dragging (retrieving) the fly into final position. It hopes to reduce spooking by having the fly plop close to their cone of vision during the cast.
Additionally, carp are receptive to a dry dropper presentation. The dry fly acts as an indicator for a nymph suspended 6-8 inches below the surface. On the right day, a carp will sip your hopper off the surface.
We won’t lie and say we aren’t already thinking of the start of Pyramid Lake season. Just a couple months from now we will be driving out and hoping for a 20+pounder. As many of you know the early part of the season can be tricky. The surface temps can be warm and the trout can be deep. Coming up into shallow water to eat but to quickly return to depth.
We have found that knowing the depth of water we are fishing in can improve our liklihood of finding fish throughout the season but especially early and late. There have been many techniques to estimate the depth out in front of us that have been less than reliable and prone to losing whatever it is we have tied or clipped to our leader (if you know, you know…). For the past few seasons we have been using a castable sonar/fish finder from Deeper. This is a reliable and affordable tool that has increased our understanding of Pyramid and other stillwaters. We have secured a source of these devices and have gotten our first shipment in.
Deeper Pro+2 and Deeper Start castable sonars are in stock and ready to ship. These castable fish finders connect to a smartphone via an internal WiFi signal. These castable sonars allow you to read depth, structure and mark fish at specific depths. The Deeper Pro+2 has improved features as well as the ability to build a bathymetric map off the scans it makes. This is a must-have tool for all stillwater fishing. Stop by the shop or click the link to learn more.
The summer heat is finally upon us. After a long cool beginning to summer, the heat has caught up to us. Flows on the Truckee River are holding strong at 250 cfs through the downtown gauge, but water temps are rising above 70 degrees consistently at the Sparks gauge (the only gauge with a thermometer). We have started fishing earlier in the morning or further up the river system where morning temps are a cooler 61-64 degrees. We suggest keeping a thermometer with you and testing the water before, during, and after fishing and once the water hits 68 degrees consider fishing elsewhere.
The Truckee River does not have Hoot owl closures in Nevada or California. We suggest, if you are practicing catch and release, that you consider water temps when making your decision to fish. On a side note, the daily temps are forecasted to drop significantly next week with highs only in the upper 80s for Reno. This should get things back in great shape throughout the day. Until then bring a thermometer.
That being said, the fishing has been good during the early morning. The trout are feeding well, moving between fast shallow riffles and deeper moving water that may have a fast seam nearby. Takes have been quick and easy to miss in the fast moving water as trout dart side to side to grab prey items. The Hopper/Dropper style has been an effective way to target this shallow water with a few takes on the Hopper dry. Fly selection for the dropper is small size 16-14 mayflies nymphs and caddis pupa. Golden stones are beginning to show up in California, but I have yet to see one on the Nevada side.
Carp fishing is an underutilized and exciting way to beat the heat. Carp will feed in the morning until the sun gets high and hot. We are fortunate to have Carp in the Truckee River, but also in local urban ponds and lakes making them a super fun target. Carp are a tricky fish to catch as they are extremely spooky and cannot usually be coaxed into eating. They are a blast and rewarding fish to catch with several reel spooling runs before they give up.
Here are a few tips to catch your first carp!
Consider booking a guide trip focusing on Carp. There is a lot of nuance to catching these fish.
Target only fish that are in shallow water, feeding with their nose down and tail up.
Fly presentation is key. Carp like the fly to drop vertically from the surface to the ground less than a foot in front of one of their eyes.
Watch the fish to know when they have eaten your fly. They should swim over to a well presented fly and “wiggle” that’s a sign that they may have sucked in your fly.