Mid Winter options 2020

Fly Fishing with Victor Babbitt January 2020


The Winter season is in full swing with mild conditions for now which has created some pretty fun opportunities to wet a line! Last year at this time we were pretty much buried and the fishing opportunities were far and few between. The East Walker is happening but the flows are at a minimum which pods up the fish. The Truckee is looking perfect for Winter conditions particularly in the Nevada sections. The East Carson continues to be accessible and the flows are in good shape. Pyramid is still kicking out some larger fish but not the numbers. Topaz opened on the 1st and Steelhead fishing opened on the American River! All these fisheries are within an hour or two and fun to fish during the Winter months.

The East Walker below Bridgeport Reservoir and into the Nevada sections has been fishing well with Midges and Baetis as well as a few opportunities with Streamers. I like fishing the slower pools with depth which tends to hold more fish than the runs until we start to see more water. Dry fly opportunities are best on cloudy days and can be had at the cooler temperatures as in frozen rod days. A size range of Parachute Adams from 18-24 can be good this time of year. As for Nymphs, small dark and with a little flash can be deadly. A pink San Juan Worm can get the job done if nothing else is working.

The East Carson River below Hangman’s Bridge has had some Midges hatching and the occasional Baetis as well. On this River, due to its’ Freestone structure, can be good with a Stonefly Nymph added with a Zebra Midge or small Baetis Nymph. Rarely do the fish get up on dries this time of the year but once in awhile the fish will get up on a Midge hatch. Streamers can be effective but you need to put it right in front of them as they will not move far to eat in these colder waters. Again look for the slower moving water for best action.

The Truckee River in California has good flows and good access as long as we don’t get too much snow on any particular storm. Parking can be challenging if not impossible right after a good storm. The Glenshire lot tends to be best for access and can be fished upstream from the bridge. Look for the pockets and fish smaller nymphs like the Baetis or Zebra Midge options. This in another water that a Stonefly will work as a bottom fly with a smaller dropper above. Cloudy days might bring some dry fly shots during the middle of the day so keep your eyes peeled and take a look around!

The Nevada Truckee is on the comeback trail and has been fishing a bit shy of the glory days but should be well worth a fish. Swinging streamers is effective otherwise I would be looking for dry fly eaters for the best entertainment value. The Baetis hatches can be blanketing on a warmer/cloudy day. There are numerous walk wade options but better fished from a raft for access. Look at the longer/slower runs for swinging or for pods of fish eating dries.

An old favorite of mine is Topaz Lake which can be a lot of fun from a float tube on the South end of the lake. Look for Midge hatches and fish up on top. Also good for indo fishing from a boat with Chironomids and a bit more comfortable. Pyramid is continuing to be hit and miss but the big boys are still around and worth a shot! Steelhead fishing has been good this year and the American below Sailor Bar is now open which offers a close to Tahoe option and a fun spot to swing up a Steelie.

For further information on any of these fisheries or any others in the local area, stop by the shop or give us a call as we will be glad to help in any way we can! We are located at 2705 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in the center of South Lake Tahoe or we can be reached by phone at 530-541-8208. Thanks for reading and good luck with your fishing!


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