Monster crappie in the Tahoe Keys!

Recently due to the shorter days I have been exploring some fishing options closer to South Lake Tahoe. One place I have been spending a lot of time fishing is in the Tahoe keys. I fished the keys for the first time in May and was surprised to find that it is full of above average sized crappie, as well as some nice largemouth bass. Just a few nights ago my friend Ron landed this nice crappie on a black wooly bugger. This fish was around 14 inches and I have seen a few that are even larger. The last hour before dark and a few hours after dark have been the best time to catch crappie in the keys. A 3wt rod rigged with a small wooly bugger in black and brown works great for catching these scrappy fish. The areas near the inlets to Lake Tahoe in both the marina and residential sides of the Keys have consistently produced nice crappie as well as some largemouth bass and bluegills. For targeting the larger bass I use a 5wt rod and cast poppers and foam frogs along the edges of the docks and the walls of the inlet. Try chugging the popper for a few feet and then letting it sit. Often bass will aggressively take the popper while it is still. Topwater fishing for bass is a lot of fun and the takes can be as exciting as any trout fishing I have done. I have seen bass up to around 5 pounds and have heard of even larger ones in the Tahoe Keys. A float tube or kayak are both great for exploring this area. The only access to the residential side of the keys is by paddling from the marina side into Lake Tahoe and entering through the inlet or by having a friend that will let you use their backyard. On the marina side you can access by the boat launch. Be respectful of the boats coming by and use a headlamp at night so boat traffic can see you. Fishing the keys is a great way to relax and enjoy catching some fish close to home.

Mike O’Dell

Retail sales/aspiring guide

Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters