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Happy Hour with Mike Anderson | Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Pyramid Lake | January 23rd at 6:00

Many of you have gotten to know Mike by watching his On-the-Water reports from the shore of Pyramid Lake or the banks of the Truckee River. Or maybe when he his working in the shop between his guide days. Now you have a chance to ask him that one question you have had about Pyramid Lake over a beer or two.

Mike will be our guest during January’s third thursday Happy Hour. As always this is a low key event where our guests will share information on specific topics, maybe with a formal presentation or tie a few flies and answer questions. It is relaxed and casual with a bit of structure to make the most of everyone’s time.

Happy Hour and Q&A

When: January 23rd @ 6:00

Where: Here at the Reno Fly Shop

What it is: Mike Anderson, Guide/Instructor, will share some of his guide secrets on tips, tactics and techniques for fly fishing Pyramid Lake.

What to bring: This is a FREE event that will start about 6:00ish and go to about 8 here at the shop. We suggest you bring a drink if you would like one and questions/comments for Mike.

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Three Stillwater Fishing Tactics during Spring Runoff

3 Stillwater Tactics during Spring runoff

While the rivers on both sides of the Sierras continue to pump out a seemingly endless amount of water, there are late spring storms still adding to the record snow totals. Often anglers can lose their drive, retreating into their caves and completely forget about fly fishing altogether. While many sit on the sidelines waiting for a good report, late spring is ripe with opportunity on local lakes and reservoirs.

Within fifty miles of the shop here in downtown Reno, we have many lakes and reservoirs filled with fish ranging from ten inch brook trout to fifteen pound brown trout. In this article, these are the methods we us on some of our local lakes including Frenchman’s, Davis, Boca, Stampede, Prosser, Marlette, and Indian Creek.  I have compiled a list of helpful hints anglers should consider before hitting the water. While I am by no means a Stillwater pro, here are a few tips that often turn a good day into a great one.


While this may seem obvious, I think this may be one of the most important components of a successful day on the water. When fishing reservoirs, trout will often stack up in specific spots. (90% of the fish hold in 10% of the water is a maxim often shared). I will start by searching for drop-offs or rock structure that allow fish to cruise and ambush prey. The same thing can be said for weed beds in shallower water near shorelines. One of the most important pieces of gear can be an electronic fish finder. More importantly than seeing actual fish on the monitor, fish finders allow you to read structure on or near the bottom of the reservoir. If your fish finder is capable of mapping locations, even better. This takes the guess work and blind casting out of the equation and keeps your flies in high percentage zones of finding fish.


Choosing the right fly line to present a fly at an effective depth and speed is the most crucial key to success in lakes. Over and over again you will hear successful pro anglers stress this point. Listen to the Reno Fly Shop Podcast with Phil Rowley.

If possible, bring rods fully loaded and rigged with a few different density fly lines to achieve different depths. Often, a customer buys multiple spools and then loads the spools with varying fly lines. While this achieves the same goal, you spend more time fiddling around instead of fishing. It’s easier to have multiple full setups ready to go. On each reel it is best to have, at a minimum, the following lines:


A floating fly line is a great start and allows you to vary your presentation in many ways. Indicator rigs, dries, dry/dropper, and sinking leaders can all be fished on ONE fly line. As much as we’d all love to fish big foamy dry flies all the time, the reality is that most fish feed subsurface. When using a floating line, an indicator rig with multiple flies allows an angler to fish multiple depths at a slow speed retrieve. I prefer the Mastery Anadro/Nymph from Scientific Anglers or the Xtreme Indicator from Rio. Let the waves do the work. Sit back enjoy the view, maybe take a nap.


Moving on, an intermediate line is another versatile stillwater fly line. These fly lines often sink at an inch to two inches per second, and is designed to present the flies just below the surface (where a majority of feeding activity occurs). The main advantage with an intermediate line is that your fly line penetrates the water surface, eliminating the hinge created by a sinking leader on the end of a floating line. Damselflies and other nymphs such as callibaetis are typically fished on this line. I’m currently fishing the Sonar Stillwater Camo Intermediate from Scientific Anglers (Camolux Intermediate from Rio works as well). In the end, you stay tighter to your flies and can feel even the softest grabs.


Last but not least, dense sinking lines play a major role in targeting trout on lakes. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a brutally cold morning just after ice-off, sinking lines usually put your fly in front of the big boys. A fly line with a three to seven inch/second sink rate has numerous applications. I prefer the Sonar Seamless Density S1/S3 from Scientific Anglers (comparable to the Intouch Deep 3 from Rio) in these scenarios. In the early months of Spring, this line can be utilized to fish chironomids near the bottom of a reservoir where trout move methodically as they await warmer days. On the flip side, this line can be used to fish aggressive streamer patterns in the heat of the summer where fish concentrate to escape the heat.

Allowing yourself to adapt quickly and easily is key. Having a few full rod/reel setups that effectively fish different depths will help you keep flies in the zone longer. Don’t get caught swapping out a spool as the fish follow chironomids to the surface.


In my experience, fish in stillwater pay more attention to the presentation of a fly rather than the properties of the fly itself. When presented effectively, one fly may represent multiple invertebrates or fish. Depending on the forage in a given lake, you only need a few flies. More often than not the flies used on an indicator will bring fish to the net while stripping in when presented correctly at the right depth. For our local waters, a balanced leech is a confidence fly regardless of the fly line or leader length. This fly represents forage in lakes and reservoirs including damselflies, leeches, and the vast array of baitfish species here in Northern Nevada & Northern California.

Peacock Balanced Leech


High water on our local rivers is downright draining (pun intended). Even the most dedicated river anglers find themselves worn out this time of year. Personally, transitioning towards stillwater this spring has been a welcomed challenge. The fish have quite a bit more room to move around, forcing the angler to evolve and deploy different methods to catch fish. If you feel like you’re in a lull, stop by the shop, let us share our recent experience then break out the float tube and get out there.

We are ramping up our stillwater section here at the shop. We hand select gear to improve your stillwater experience. If you don’t find everything you were looking for, let a shop staff member know and we’d be more than happy to order anything you couldn’t find.

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Aden Breckner is a staff member at the Reno Fly Shop. Having grown up here in the Truckee Meadows he has spent more time becoming familiar with our local trout than many people twice his age. He is creative and innovative in his pursuit of trout and steelhead all over the western United States. If you haven’t met Aden yet reach out on social media @beadsnworms_ or swing by the shop. Aden is always more than willing to share his recent trip report and a new fly he is working on.

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5 Tips for Success During High Water

We are wrapping up the 2019 winter with a significant snowpack in the Truckee River watershed. Runoff really hasn’t started yet and the Truckee River at the Reno gage has been near or above 2,000 cfs for weeks. To help folks to wrap their heads around how best to fly fish the Truckee during high water I have prepared a short list of tips for success during high water.

I believe high water conditions on the Truckee River are when the flow is in excess of 1,500 cfs. That being said, all anglers should approach the river with the understanding of staying within their own limits and adjust individual approach based upon conditions day to day and location to location.


In high water events, fish will typically stack within one to ten feet of the bank. The swift current bombing down the river channel pushes the trout out of their usual holding lies and up tight to the bank. When walking along the flooded bank, try to avoid going deeper than the top of your boots. This allows you to sneak up on fish that are already in a shallow position. If the pocket or seam requires the angler to get into the water, an upstream presentation is almost always the best way to stay hidden and present flies effectively. This presents the angler with the opportunity to hook some of the biggest rainbow and brown trout the Truckee has to offer.


High water isn’t for the purists. Getting dirty requires the angler to deploy methods others frown upon… Its all about giving yourself the best odds of finding fish when the water looks anything but promising. This may include fishing pegged eggs, worms, mop flies, or soft plastics on a fly rod. If it’s legal, have at it. I prefer bright colored eggs and worms in orange, pink, and chartreuse (yes, chartreuse eggs n’ bacon) in water with less than two feet visibility. Stoneflies with lots of legs are a great fly to hang behind one of these attractors.


When targeting trout in high water, they often congregate in small pockets or seams. The inside edge of a river bend, a back eddy, or downstream side of structure such as woodpiles and boulders all provide habitat through high spring flows. These features break up the current along the bank and allow fish to expend a minimal amount of energy while feeding. Like all other seasons, trout will focus on edges that allow them to swim in slow water but provide them with a steady stream of meals (the bug buffet). As temperatures rise through the Spring fish will be more likely to move further for a fly. This allows the angler to make fewer drifts and get more grabs. High water is all about maximizing efficiency and keeping your fly in the water.


Most often, anglers assume that in order to be successful in high water, their rig must sink to the bottom as quick as possible. With most fish pushed up tight to the bank, I’ve found that heavily weighted flies snag debris much more often and rarely prove more effective. (Slots six feet and deeper would be a great place to deploy heavy rigs and long leaders). Instead of tying a squirmy worm or stonefly nymph on a 1/8 ounce jig, try one large tungsten bead or a big split shot instead. Split shot tends to be most effective since the flies hover just above the river bottom, reducing the likelihood of snags while presenting the flies in the strike zone. I prefer one large split shot (AB or AAA) with two to three unweighted bugs. Oftentimes, a fly that is heavily weighted loses the ability to move and flutter in the current. When trout are in fast water, it is not as big of an issue. Give yourself every possible advantage.

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During sustained high flows, a majority of the river will be moving very quickly. As soon as a fish is hooked in high flows, they bolt straight for the main current and turn broadside. Game over. Instead of letting the fish dictate the battle, give yourself the upper hand by using larger tippet when nymphing (1-3x) and streamer fishing (0-1x).Once you know it’s a fish and not the 19th snag of the day, stick it to them and don’t give an inch. The majority of fish that spit the hook in high water are a result of them running straight for the middle of the river. Lay into ‘em

And finally, have fun! Don’t take it too seriously. High water can be really tricky and frustrating at times. When the water clears for a few days, the fish push into deeper faster slots so they aren’t exposed. Allowing yourself to be adaptable will greatly increase your chances of hooking a Truckee River trout.

Aden Breckner is a staff member at the Reno Fly Shop. Having grown up here in the Truckee Meadows he has spent more time becoming familiar with our local trout than many people twice his age. He is creative and innovative in his pursuit of trout and steelhead all over the western United States. If you haven’t met Aden yet reach out on social media @beadsnworms_ or swing by the shop. Aden is always more than willing to share his recent trip report and a new fly he is working on.

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This Land is Our Land || Home Means Nevada

This Land is Our Land / / Home Means Nevada / / by Matthew Needs

There’s not much better than the extended fall season that we so often experience here in Northern Nevada. Cold mornings and sunny skies pretty much leave everything wide open until our first big moisture drops for the year (which creates a whole other set of opportunities), but while it lasts we are lucky to have abundant sunshine before we lock into winter’s deep freeze.

The only shame that comes with this time of year are the choices that all of us weekend warriors have to make. Unless you happen to be one of the fortunate few who spend more days outside then they do at work or tending to other responsibilities, it’s always a struggle choosing where to devote your time.

For my fellow Weekend Warriors I share in the struggle with you. This Fall was not different. The Truckee was great, as it has been for the better part of the year now. Fall fishing at Pyramid has been producing just as many and as big of fish as it ever has for me and the guys and gals I fish with. All of the smaller and lesser known rivers and creeks around the Sierras kicked out good fishing with stable flows the last few years. And not to mention, the allure of chasing birds whether its upland or waterfowl around the expansiveness of the Great Basin is just as appealing as it ever has been. So options are of no shortage, and its more so a matter of what you want to do.

One of my favorite ways to take advantage of Nevada, in the Fall is to fish in the morning and then head out after upland birds in the afternoon. We are so lucky that Pyramid is in the perfect location to do just that. While everyone has their theories about when the best bite is and what the go to fly at the moment is, for the most part it just comes down to being on the water whenever you can be. To save a bit of energy I got out to the lake about an hour after sunrise at 7 A.M. Per usual for Pyramid this time of year it was still cold, even after the sun had been up for a bit. Right off the bat I had a take on a nymph rig and lost the fish (Marabou Midge, Holo Midge, Balanced Leech). Some days this is a sign of great things to come and to others it seems like a curse. For all of you that have fished the lake a lot, I’m sure you know what I mean. Unfortunately for me on this day it proved to be a curse, fortunately for the guys I was wishing with however, it didn’t affect them at all. Normal suspects for flies included the always trusty chartreuse beetle and Midnight Cowboy for the stripping setups and olive balanced leeches with various sizes and colors of midges for those fishing the bobber.

Interesting note about the midge fishing, most people think of tying on the midge when it gets later in the Pyramid Season and closer to spring. But keep your eyes open and you’ll notice plenty of adult Chironomids flying around right now and when the wind dies down I’ve been having success downsizing flies and fishing relatively shallow. 

In the mid-morning lull while wind direction was switching, fishing small paid off for one of the guys I was fishing with, he landed a 13 lb. Pilot Peak on a zebra midge, the biggest fish of the morning by a margin of good 5 pounds or so.

 Brett Maur with the fish of the day

Once noon hit, it was my cue to head north from the lake and skip out on the afternoon bite to pick up the shotgun and chase some birds in the hills instead. It is prohibited to hunt on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, although once out of its boundaries there are some great Nevada countryside to explore that stretches  as far you are willing to drive and hike.

One of the best aspects of upland hunting is it’s simplistic nature. Regardless of experience level, all you really need is a shotgun, a good pair of hiking boots and the will to walk. I was fortunate enough to get into birds almost immediately and although my aim left something to be desired, before long I had a few birds in the bag. I suppose the early-season rust had to come off at some point.

If anybody has a good pattern that they like to tie up using chukar feathers please send it our way matt@renoflyshop. I know some of you have some secrets up your sleeve!

As always feel free to reach out to us here at the Reno Fly Shop any time for an updated report of our local waters. We are really excited for the rest the Pyramid Lake Season, upland bird hunting and what the holiday season has to offer. Give us a call at 775-323-3474 for gear advice, to talk fishing or book a guide trip!

Matt Needs is a student at the Univ. of Nevada studying Geological Engineering. When not in class, Matt is fly fishing and hunting all of our local waters and upland hills of the Great Basin.  Matt has been a fly fishing guide in Montana and during most summers will be found on the oars of his drift boat with clients throwing dry flies. Late summer and Fall/Winter Matt is available to share his experience and enthusiasm of the Truckee River as a Reno Shop guide.
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FREE Fly Tying Demo and ESN Discussion with Dec 3 with Brandon Mena



BRANDON MENA – @feather_flinger

What: FREE Fly Tying Demo with Brandon Mena

When: Monday – December 3rd at 6:00

Where: Reno Fly Shop (238 S. Arlington Avenue, Reno)

Details: Brandon Mena (IG Feather_Flinger) from and Fly Fish Food will be in the shop to do a fly tying demo on some “advanced” ESN patterns and techniques to effectively fish them.

Brandon is fishing Pyramid Lake for a few days and we convinced him to show us how he ties some of the amazing patterns you might have seen on his Instagram account, his website or by watching one his videos on the Fly Fish Food YouTube channel.

This will be a super low key and social event. Much like other Happy Hour events we have hosted this will get going right after we close the shop and Brandon will start tying about 6:30. This is a BYOB event.

Brandon will tie about 4-5 flies. Brandon will tying and talking about fishing Micro streamers, dry dropper using tag competitive style dry flies etc. and the reliable ESN patterns like the Funky Flex.

Again this is a FREE fly tying demo/Happy Hour event and the first monthly event we are planning through the winter in the Reno Fly Shop. If you have any questions or need more details give us a call or drop us an email.


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Becoming a great nymph angler – article by George Daniel

Fall is in the air and this time of year usually means we are getting ready for George Daniel to teach a couple of on-the-water clinics using ESN and streamer tactics. Due to some calendar conflicts George won’t be here this year, however George hasn’t been home sitting on his porch…

In the past year George has authored a new book on fly fishing, Nymph Fishing, New Angles, Tactics and Techniques, travelled the country fly fishing and presenting to groups and keeping up on his blog While the following isn’t close to having George in person, it is always great to follow his writing and adventures from afar.

George Daniel Clinic on the Truckee River

The following article does a great job breaking down one way that you can take your nymphing game from good to great. It was originally posted at George’s blog. George continually puts up great content and is worth checking back there often.

Also check out George’s two episodes on the Reno Fly Shop Podcast.

Episode 36 – George Daniel on Streamer Techniques and Blending Fishing Styles to Catch more Trout

Episode 18 – Dynamic Nymphing Approach and Techniques

“Becoming a great nymph angler”

My mentor Joe Humphreys will often ask anglers, “what is the difference between a great nymph angler and an okay one?” Then he’ll quickly answer his own question with the following answer, “one split shot”. What he means by this statement is, getting your nymphs to the strike zone is key to nymphing success. Good pattern selection is helpful but it doesn’t matter how good your pattern is if you aren’t presenting it at the fish’s feeding level. I was reminded of this lesson a few days ago while fishing a mountain stream near Yellowstone National Park with several friends. In this case, all it took was switching from a 7/64” brass bead head to a 7/64” tungsten bead to begin catching fish.

Although known for being easy to fish, small mountain streams will offer situations when trout are not willing to move higher in the water column to eat. Trout are not overly intelligent, but their sharp survival instincts have allowed them to live for millions of years.  As it relates to their feeding habits, there are times during the day or during a specific season when trout will actively move laterally to feed on emerging nymphs. These are the few days of the year when it doesn’t seem to matter how shallow or deep your presentation is-trout are going to move to eat it. However, the angler needs to fine tune their weighted rig for the other 95% percent of the time, when trout are feeding horizontally-not vertically. I’m not talking about the exact precision a carpenter uses to make fine English furniture, but we need to be in the ballgame when it comes to presenting nymphs.

This brings me back to fishing with two friends on a mountain stream near Yellowstone National Park. A typical high gradient mountain stream, this body of water has deep pockets and averages two feet in length, which meant the drift were short.  Several near freezing nights made for challenging morning fishing. With basically no dry fly action in the morning, we needed to nymph in order to catch fish so we went with a dry dropper rig with the hopes of switching to dry flies once the trout began to show interest in our suspender dry fly. I was optimistic that my presentation didn’t need to be rolling near stream bottom so I attached a #14 brass bead head (7/64” to be exact) nymph and dropped it 20 inches off a #12 bulked up X Caddis. By “bulked up” I mean tying in a liberal amount of deer hair to make the dry fly more buoyant and capable to suspending heavier nymphs.

This exact rig worked great the day before in a very similar scenario along a neighboring body of water, which contained similar water. The only difference was a small hatch of drakes and olives had fish eating higher in the water column and on the surface. My nymphs didn’t need to riding deep since trout were looking up for food and the brass bead head nymph had just enough weight to get into the strike zone. With no signs of hatching insects and after going 15 minutes without a strike, I switched to the exact same nymph pattern but this one had a 7/64” slotted tungsten bead. NOTE: I now exclusively use slotted tungsten beads rather than the traditionally drilled beads. This way I can easily distinguish the tungsten beads from the brass beads by locating the slotted section on the bead. After the first cast with the tungsten nymph, the dry fly suspender drifted significantly slower in the pocket and I immediately began catching fish…just like with a simple weight adjustment. Then I switched back to the brass bead head to see if the additional weight was the factor. And again, I went fishless in the next five minutes with the brass bead, then began catching fish the moment I switched back to a tungsten nymph.

It’s not hard science but it was enough proof for me that a small difference in weight can make a difference while nymphing. While fishing a small mountain stream, I feel pattern choice isn’t all that important. What was important was that my rig was riding deeper in the column, which made it easier for lethargic fish to eat. And this is why I’ll often tie one size nymph (e.g. #14 pheasant tail) but I’ll that same size pattern with vary sizes of brass and tungsten beads. Although you can use split shot to add weight, I try to avoid adding split shot to dry dropper rigs as I find myself getting tangles when casting (not lobbing) the rig to a target.

When your nymphing rig isn’t producing-make a weight change. Such a weight adjustment will only take a minute to make but can add hours of enjoyment to your fishing. This is just another example of why I enjoy fly fishing-it’s an activity that requires troubleshooting. If you want to go from being an “okay” nympher to being a “great” one, maybe the only thing that’s stopping you is a slotted tungsten bead.

Good Fishing

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George Daniel – S. Fork American River

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European Style Nymphing on Steroids

When I turned 16 I started competing in bass fishing tournaments. To get better I owned every book, vhs, and cassette on the pro’s strategies and techniques. I figured if you wanted to catch more fish more consistently why not look to the people who make a living doing it? They have evolved and perfected techniques out of necessity. Fourteen years later I use the same philosophy in fly fishing. Though competitive fly fishing is a smaller market with more rules that dictate technique the same principle applies. As competitive fly fishing has grown so has the tactics and techniques. Because of its effectiveness, efficiency and consistency most competitive anglers us variation of European Style Nymphing (ESN or Euro Nymphing).  


In the past couple years the Truckee River has seen a significant increase in these techniques hitting the water. Euro nymphing has several advantages that lend themselves to the Truckee River.

    • Better feel and Strike Detection
    • More Accurate placement of flies
    • Minimal drag and optimal strike zone saturation
    • Control of the depth of fly through the entire drift

As I’ve practiced this technique it has evolved to better suit my style of fishing the Truckee and targeting large trout. When I think ESN, I think Ivan Drago. Same ESN technique just on steroids. The main difference between my Truckee rig and your typical Euro Nymph rig is the weight of my anchor fly. My anchor fly will always be either a heavily weighted crayfish or sculpin pattern. The benefits of this abnormal amount of weight are

  • Allows for a more diverse fly selection for the upper fly
  • Targets large fish
  • Gets down deeper and faster
  • Casts further for longer drifts

Flies:  Most euro nymphs have one thing in common. They are designed with a slim profile to cut through the water. Since ESN typically does not use split shot the weight must be tied into the fly itself. Therefore each fly is a blend of weight and slim design to cut through the water quickly. Normally one of the flies on the rig is more heavily weighted and is called the anchor fly. Admittedly I take this to the extreme. I use either a crawdad/stonefly pattern called a Stonedaddy or a jigged Slumpbuster. These extra heavy flies get down quick and provide a large meal for the alligator like brown trout lurking in the Truckee River. Generally your anchor fly is used more to get your other flies down into the strikezone, but in my experience more often than not, my strikes from bigger fish come on the anchor fly. I’ve come to view it as I am fishing for my trophy fish with my anchor fly and the smaller upper flies I have tied on are more to catch the occasional small fish to keep me interested. I will carry the Stonedaddy in several different sizes to match the depth and speed of water.


I was introduced to the Stonedaddy pattern by Doug Oullette, Reno resident/angler/guide. Though it may not look like your text book image of a crayfish due to its lack of the signature claws I think it is the perfect imitation. Again using my bass fishing background where crayfish are more popular I found evidence that supports the effectiveness of the stonedaddy pattern. Studies done by the Berkeley lure company one of the largest lure manufactures in the industry found that crayfish imitations without claws or legs triggered almost 3x as many strikes as an anatomically correct imitation.  It seems large claws can be a deterrent to fish since they can be seen as a large defense mechanism and are also harder to digest. However when most fly fisherman troll the fly bin they pick out the pattern with large claws.  The stonedaddy has small claw imitations which in my opinion and research adds to effectiveness. I used the stonedaddy as my anchor fly exclusively for my first year of ESN the Truckee. However through necessity my strategy evolved as I prepared for my annual trip to Montana.  

Andrew Richter and a Truckee River local

I travel to Montana every year for 10 days with my dad and family friend.  I was particularly excited to apply my new ESN technique on the Madison where I knew the technique would thrive. However the Madison does not have crayfish in it. Therefore my trusty stonedaddy would not be as effective as it was on the Truckee. So I sat at my vice trying to decide what else I could tie. I am a huge streamer fisherman who can be found tossing big articulated streamers in Montana each October. So I was trying to find a way to blend my streamer fishing and big fish passion with the euro nymphing method I believed would be so effective on the Madison. I settled on using a Slumpbuster as my anchor fly and used a 90 degree jig hook to minimize snagging on the bottom.  The setup proved effective in Montana and allowed me to come back to the Truckee with a new approach. Now I could fish a streamer and a nymph at the same time. By adding a streamer to my rig I also was minimizing the need for a dead drift. Drag doesn’t impact the effectiveness of this rig as much since a sculpin actively swims, though not well. I have since made some adaptations to the fly to further blend the line between a sculpin and a crawdad imitations so it can be seen as both. I now use this pattern during the seasons when crayfish activity is minimal. My choice of color is based on whatever color the substrate is. For example, in weeds or algae covered rocks I choose olive, stone; natural squirrel, and in off colored water, brown.

Stonedaddy and Slump Buster

These large anchor flies allow me to use any type of nymph as my second fly since they have more than enough weight to get them down. You don’t have to use specific tactical nymphs available in shops. Any modern or traditional nymph will be a great choice as you second (upper fly). This beefed up approach to euro nymphing also negates the need for thin line to get flies down deep. The added weight to the anchor fly allows me to use 3x, which comes in handy when you find that 26 incher on the business end of your rig. The large flies I’m using also get me down to a depth of water that most fisherman aren’t even close too. Longer casts and a quicker descent can get me down as far as 10 ft, whereas normal euro nymphing is built for the shallow to medium depth range. In some cases I am fishing for an entirely different fish than the angler next to me.  

So when you’re shopping the fly bins at the Reno Fly Shop don’t shy away from those flies that are too small to be streamers but too big to be nymphs.  Reach for the kind of flies that when they hit your rod on the back cast your looking for your warranty card. In my experience you will start meeting fish on the Truckee you only saw in pictures.


Andrew is a California native who has been fly fishing for over 15 years.  He takes a scientific approach to angling thanks to his Fisheries Biology degree from the University of Washington.  He specializes in euro nymphing and intentionally targets large trout throughout California and Nevada.

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Three Tips to Put Truckee River Brown Trout in the Net

Three Tips to Put Truckee River Brown Trout in the Net

-Matt Needs (@mg_needs), staff at the Reno Fly Shop

In no specific order here’s a quick list of tactics that will improve the odds of getting your hands on a nice brown trout this fall/winter. While it can be hard to ignore the gravitational pull that Pyramid and its monster cutthroat provide, the river in our backyard is fishing well, the big browns are lurking, and yes they do keep eating flies through the late fall and winter.

Fish the big bug

When I say fish the big bug I mean tie on a streamer. And more importantly when I say fish the streamer I mean hunt that fly. The streamer game usually isn’t about numbers. It’s more a quality over quantity type of thing. Have confidence in your technique and in your flies — that’s always key. Know that you probably won’t hook a ton of fish, but that you are truly hunting that one big eat.

Mike Curtis visiting Brown Town

As our beloved Truckee River browns move from spawning season into the post-spawn of early winter we are swiftly approaching a golden window of opportunity. A time when the browns are still aggressive and amped up from the fall mating season, but have moved back into the runs and structure actively looking for a large meal to replenish themselves with before the cold really kicks in.

Jigging, stripping, dead drifting, and swinging all have their place on the Truckee River. My favorite? Has to be swinging and stripping up through the slots in the river. A lot of times streamer fishing is about finding the right fish that’s willing to eat. Swinging is a great way to accomplish this and cover a bunch of water effectively. Nothing like a big grab on the streamer mid-swing.  Plus it doesn’t require too much work from the hands when it’s cold out.

In the net

Have the right gear

Just like anything else, the right gear built for a specific purpose can make all difference. No doubt, the trusty 9’ 5 weight and standard weight forward floating line will get the job done. However, if you’re going to seriously pursue the largest fish in the river system you may reconsider that decision.

Treat yourself and fish a rod that’s going to make it easier on you casting those bigger streamers. Look more towards a 6 or even 7 weight rod. The easier it is to cast, the more time your fly will spend in the water instead of in the air or stuck in a bush.  The more efficient angler you are, the better chances you have to tangle with a big fish. Plain and simple.

The Sage Accel in 6/7 weights has become a favorite for this style of fishing and matched with a Rio Outbound short this setup is extremely versatile and easy to cast. In all honestly, it’s one of the better streamer rods I’ve had the chance to play with recently and if nothing else it’s worth taking a look at. If one things for sure it’s that the fish won’t eat your fly unless you put it down in front of them.

Put in the time

It seems pretty obvious, but you’ve got to be on the water to catch fish; put in the time and you are likely to be rewarded for it. Anyone can get lucky occasionally, but to put a couple of those pumpkin orange Truckee brutes in the net a year you’ve got to be dedicated!

To satisfy your optimistic angling dreams of catching large trout make sure you’re on the river when those fish are most expected to eat. For our browns and regardless of time of year that’s typically early in the morning and late in the afternoon during lowlight conditions. In other words, the early and late bird get the worm or brown trout in this case. These conditions make our fish a little more willing to play along and can also be replicated during storm days or shots of runoff coming down the river.

RFS Head Mike Curtis with a Truckee River Brown

Nonetheless, be methodical in your approach and learn as much as possible every time you’re on the river. Like with anything worth doing it rarely comes easy. Fishing more can only expand your overall understanding of Brown Trout and doing so can only get you that much closer to landing that big fish!

Closing note

So let’s see what we’ve got and put it to use.  Learn as much as you can, fish flies that entice bigger browns, have and correctly use the right equipment, and be on the water at the right time—Do all these things and you’ll be well on your way to improving your success on the often demanding Truckee River.  Stay out there, get after it, and don’t stop until you get that big old fish in the net.

Swing on by to talk some fishing and check out the new gear we have rolling into the shop for the holidays. Reno Fly Shop is open Monday-Saturday at 10 a.m. to answer all your streamer rod, line, and fly questions.


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.