These are some of our favorite places to fish and guide
Click on each river or lake name below to read a detailed summary. If you are looking for the most current fishing report, click here to jump to our frequently updated reports page.
The East Carson River has 40 plus miles of fishable river starting in the backcountry of The Carson-Iceberg Wilderness below Carson Falls reaching all the way to Lahontan Reservoir. From High Mountains down to High Desert, the East Carson River gives the fly fisher a lot of options from Trout in the higher elevations to great Carp fishing down in the Valleys.
The three sections we pay most attention to start below the Carson Falls down to where Wolf Creek flows into the East Carson River. This section is considered the backcountry portion and has mostly wild trout and no road access. The next section goes from Wolf Creek down to Hangman’s Bridge and is mostly paralleled by the highway. This portion is stocked heavily through out the summer months and can be some of the best beginner water for those just getting into the sport. The next section is from Hangman’s Bridge down to the Carson Valley. This portion is split by Nevada and California and is considered the Wild Trout section and is Catch and Release/Zero Limit throughout the California side. This section is where we do most of our guided fly fishing trips and it is one of the most beautiful rivers as well as having a Wild and Scenic designation.
Although we have caught trout as far down as the town of Dayton, there are mostly Carp from the Carson Valley section down to Lahontan Reservoir. The East Carson River can be floated in the Spring but most years it is too low to float by the end of June. Our guided trips on the East Carson River are considered Walk/Wade trips; we have access for everyone from roadside fishing to hike-in and overnight options.
Due to the mixed regulations on the river, here is a brief recap. Please check the appropriate CA or NV regulation pamphlets for updates or call the shop.
- The East Fork and its tributaries above Carson Falls are closed to fishing all year.
- Above Hangman’s Bridge, The East Fork of the Carson River is open from the last Saturday in April through November 15.
- The Wild Trout Section of the East Fork is from Hangman’s Bridge to the Nevada state line. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used and a zero limit applies. Rainbows make up the bulk of the catch, but Lahontan cutthroat and German browns also reside in this gorgeous stretch of river. This section is open to fishing all year.
- Nevada sections are open year-round.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the East Carson River
Located in Alpine County and running parallel to Highway 88 for most of its duration, the West Fork of the Carson River is a classic high mountain fishery with ample access and fishing opportunities for all levels of fly fisherman.
Although mostly known as a “put and take” fishery due to its popularity and location right next to a highway, the West Fork is also heavily stocked by both the DFG and Alpine County Chamber of Commerce. For those willing to get off the beaten path a little, finding wild fish is not a major task. This makes for a fun little fishery with plenty action for both stocked and wild fish. The West Fork of the Carson is a great place to learn fly fishing on your first guide trip or just tune your skills.
The junction of Hwy 88 and hwy 89 north is known as Pickets Junction. This is the decision point. The water to the west, upriver, is classic meadow fishing. Slow meandering turns with deep undercut banks and fast riffles. Long leaders and stealth approach are a must. Some larger fish can be taken in the meadow stretches but you will work for them. Also at Pickets junction is a DFG funded handicap fishing access point with paved walkways, cement platforms and bathrooms. The water to the East of Pickets Junction, downriver, is completely different. Here the water becomes much faster as it falls through Woodfords Canyon and becomes a collection of pocket water, plunge pools and broken runs. Fish the deep pools for the stocked fish and the small pockets and boulders for the wild fish. Fish all types of water and wade with caution as some areas have large boulders. The West Fork has good hatches during the season and can be fished most of the year with a dry dropper rig. Expect to catch wild and stocked Rainbow, Brown, Brooke and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Most fish will be in the 8”–12” range but larger fish can be found. Stop by the Fly Shop or call us for up to date flow and fishing information.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the West Carson River
The Truckee River is a tailwater that flows from Lake Tahoe for 120 miles ending at Pyramid Lake, NV. Although this river is technically a tailwater, at times it flows like a freestone stream and at others it will fish like a Spring Creek. The California Section fishes well between 80cfs and 300cfs, with hatches of Stoneflies, Mayflies, Caddis and Midges throughout the year. With an abundance of bait fish and crawdads, fish can reach over 20 inches in size. The Nevada side of the Truckee River generally flows at a higher rate and fishes best between 200cfs and 500cfs. The hatches are similar to the California section. Fish Species for both sections include Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lahonton Cutthroat Trout and Mountain Whitefish. The Truckee River can be very difficult at times, thus its nickname “The Big Tricky River”. A guide for both California and Nevada sections of this river is highly recommended.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the Truckee River
The Little Truckee River starts at Weber Lake and winds through the Tahoe National Forest and under highway 89 on its way to Stampede Reservoir. Between Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir is the Tailwater section that has become famous for its crowds as well as its Big Fish. The River then flows out of Boca Reservoir and on to its confluence with the Truckee River. The upper sections of the river above Stampede Reservoir can fish well in the Spring; this section of river is a mix of private property and Forest Service land. Below Stampede reservoir is the wild trout section, this is about three miles long. This section of the Little Truckee is a year round special regulation catch and release fishery for anglers using barb-less artificial flies or lures only. The Little Truckee has good sized Brown and Rainbow Trout that fight strong in its cool waters. Good hatches of Midges, Mayflies, Caddis, and some Stoneflies keep these fish strong and fat. In late Spring and early Summer good hatches of PMDs and a few Green Drakes can make for some fantastic dry fly fishing. This river fishes well with streamers, indicator nymphing, and dry flies. With tall pines, willows and sagebrush, the scenery here is beautiful with abundant Wildlife. A typical day could have you catching a few nice fish while seeing Deer, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Coyotes and more. Spend a day on the Little Truckee with one of our guides and you won’t be disappointed.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the Little Truckee River
The East Walker River starts in the Sawtooth Range of the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s North of Bridgeport, California. The tailwater section of the river, just below Bridgeport Reservoir, known as “Miracle Mile” fishes like a true Tailwater where small flies catch big fish during the Fall, Winter and Spring months. The East Walker River has Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat Trout to go along with some Mountain Whitefish and Carp throughout its many miles of river starting in California and ending at Walker Reservoir in the desert of Nevada. With good hatches of Midges, Mayflies, Caddis and Stoneflies as well as Perch Fry, the River supports a healthy population of fish. The lower sections of California fish more like a freestone river as does the Nevada side of the river. The East Walker has something for everybody with good nymphing, dry fly and Streamer fishing. Stonefly hatches in the lower river can offer some classic big dry fly fishing. We guide this scenic high dessert river all year; The East Walker is one of our best winter fisheries in both California and Nevada. With over twenty miles of river to enjoy and all the wildlife to go with it, this is a great place to spend some time trying to find an East Walker Monster Brown Trout. We guide both the Califonia and the Nevada portions of the river as well as a private section of the river called the Sceirine Ranch.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the East Walker River
A typical freestone stream the West Walker can have some great fishing, but can also be hit hard with runoff. Pockets, pools and riffle’s define this river as it meanders down from the mountains by Hwy. 108 through Pickle Meadows. Later by Hwy. 395 the river runs into a canyon offering excellent pocket water fishing. Eventually the river flows through some ranch land where access is tough and into Topaz Lake. Browns and rainbows mostly inhabit the river and there is some stocking through the season. In California the river opens the last Saturday in April and closes on November 15. Bait and barbed hooks may be used with a five fish limit, but we encourage catch and release whenever possible. Be sure to check our website for up to the date fishing reports and stream flows.
Click here for current fishing conditions on the West Walker River
Indian Creek Reservoir is a small reservoir in Alpine County, CA at the end of Airport Road. It can be fished from a boat, float tube or shore. Indian Creek Reservoir has the best easily accessible Damsel Fly hatches in the Lake Tahoe area. The stocking program for Indian Creek is very successful and there are many large fish. During the peak of the hatch, it is a lot of fun to watch the bigger fish wake after a Damsel and suck it in. When guiding and can get away with it, Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters guides use 3x or 4x in order to hold on to the larger fish. Indian Creek Reservoir also has a decent Blood Midge hatch with a majority of the hatch being #14 or #16. These are big midges and the fish come to the surface. It is great to see a 4 or 5 lb. trout crash the surface for a dry fly. This fishery is best fished from ice out to around July 1st.
Click here for current fishing conditions at Indian Creek Reservoir
8 miles east of Markleeville on Hwy. 89 at Monitor pass, Heenan Lake is one of the few remaining places to catch a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Heenan sits down in a little bowl at 7200 feet. The regulations are a little complicated so be sure to be familiar with them. Starting on the Friday of Labor Day weekend and going until the last Sunday of October, Heenan is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset. No bait is allowed, only barbless hooks may be used, and all fish must be released. The eggs from Heenan are being used at hatcheries around the United States in an attempt to bring back the cutthroat. The fish here can be big sometimes pushing 30 inches!! But Heenan can also get crowded. Shore fishing can be tough due to weeds, so bring a float tube or boat. No gas motors allowed. Be sure to check our fishing reports for up to the date information on what is working on Heenan.
Click here for current fishing conditions at Heenan Lake
Red Lake, in Alpine Co., CA, is an alpine lake with easy fishing access. It is full of Brook Trout and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. It can be fished from shore, in a float tube or even a boat. It is best fished with an intermediate sinking line or with nymphs under an indicator. There is some dry fly fishing as well. The wildlife around the lake is great. There is usually a Bald Eagle or an Osprey around for aerial entertainment. Red Lake also has some of the best ice fishing in the Lake Tahoe area as it has a paved parking area very close to where you want to place your holes. Let your Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters guide do all of the hard work drilling the holes through the ice. There is nothing like pulling a trout out of a dark abyss in the Sierra Nevada ice.
Click Here for current fishing conditions at Red Lake
Caples Lake is located 1 mile East of Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Hwy 88 and about 45 minutes from South Lake Tahoe. At an elevation of 7800 feet this 600 acre lake sits in an historic area with beautiful mountains and open wilderness.
While Caples Lakes provides some of the best ice fishing in the region during the winter time it is the summer and fall months when this lake really comes alive. With a mix of rainbow and brown trout along with the Mackinaw Lake Trout, Caples has angling opportunities for both the spin and fly fisherman. Float tubing by the dam or the spillway with sinking lines can be really productive using buggers and small nymphs. Early morning and late afternoon can provide good dry fly fishing when the wind dies down. Another great option is to stalk fish from the banks. Walk slowly and take advantage of high points to look for fish cruising the shorelines. Try using small dry fly patterns or a small nymph with a slow retrieve on a dry line.
Some really big fish have been landed from Caples Lake using both these strategies and the lake is widely regarded as one of the better Fly Fishing Lakes in the area. Pay attention to the wind direction as this can have a large affect on which strategy you use. Stop by the shop for more information and up to date information.
Click here for current fishing conditions at Caples Lake
Hinkson Slough is one of a series of fishing/waterfowl ponds on Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (located in Mason Valley, 7 miles north of Yerington, NV). It has quite a stocking program and trophy trout are raised there with a Hinkson Slough trophy book entry of over 5 lbs. for a Rainbow trout. Blue Gill, Channel Catfish and largemouth bass are also present. The best time to fish Hinkson Slough is mid-February through spring. It is a great place to get away from the blizzardy climes of Tahoe and enjoy a great midge hatch. This body of water can also be combined with a planted bird hunt for a cast and blast experience.
Click here for current fishing conditions at Hinkson Slough
Nestled under its Golden Trout headwater lake in nearby Mokelumne Wilderness Area, and the Wild Trout Section of the East Carson River, lays Pleasant Valley. Pleasant Valley is only 35 scenic miles from South Lake Tahoe in Alpine County, California’s least populated county.
Pleasant Valley is one of the most beautiful locations in the Eastern Sierra; it is referred to as “Little Yosemite” by visitors. Flowing through this alpine valley, Pleasant Valley Creek fly fishing offers casting for trout in the meandering meadows while the lower stretch serves up some excellent pocket water action. Over three miles of mountain streams are available on the 900 + acre preserve.
Click here for current fishing conditions at Pleasant Valley Fly Fishing Preserve
The Sceirine Ranch is located at the base of the Sweetwater Mountains at 5,800 feet and is a 4th generation working cattle ranch. 2½ miles of the East Walker River run through the ranch and this section of river is loaded with beautiful rainbow and brown trout.
The ranch is located 11 miles North of Bridgeport, California on Hwy 182 and 28 miles South of Wellington, Nevada on Hwy 338. The ranch is strictly “Catch and Release” fly fishing with barbless hooks and is limited to just 4 rods per day, this helps the fishery maintain its trophy quality angling for your return trips!
Click here for current fishing conditions at the Sceirine Ranch on the East Walker River
Sawmill Lake is a secluded 10-acre reservoir surrounded by a high country Ponderosa Forest. Sawmill Lake is centrally located to the Lake Tahoe area and amongst the ski runs of Northstar at Tahoe. The lake has Rainbow & Brown Trout and is reserved for “Catch-and-Release” fly-fishing only. This lake offers a perfect opportunity for float tubing or Stalking fish from the shoreline. Fishing at Sawmill Lake is limited to 4 rods at a time and reservations are required.
Click here for current fishing conditions on Sawmill Lake @ Northstar