Tahoe National Forest

Fishing - Nevada City District
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Interstate 80 Area

Crossing the western Forest boundary near Blue Canyon, I-80 continues eastward up the South Yuba River Canyon to Donner Summit. Numerous lakes can be accessed north and south of the Interstate in such areas as Emigrant Gap, Yuba Gap, Cisco Grove and Big Bend.

Lake Putt: This is a Nevada Irrigation District lake and access is permitted. It supports a smallmouth bass fishery and a brook trout fishery.

Lake Valley: Large bullhead population. A mixture of rainbow trout catchables and fingerlings will be planted.

Kelly Lake: Catchables will no longer be planted. Lake is on private land; limited public access.

Eagle Lakes: A good smallmouth bass fishery has been created to control the bullhead population. Smallmouth to four pounds are reported.

Lake Sterling: A brook and rainbow trout fishery. Fingerling trout are planted every year. Catchables will no longer be planted due to the success of the brook trout. The lake is artificially raised and lowered. Significant draw down is carried out by August of each year. A large Boy Scout camp is situated on the southwest side of the lake.

Fordyce Lake: Approximately 10,000 fingerling brown or rainbow trout are planted each year. This lake, administered by PG&E;, now sustains four to five age classes of trout. Public access is limited. No boat launching facilities. The lake is artificially raised and lowered; significant draw down by August each year.

North Creek: A rainbow trout fishery; browns also inhabit the creek.

Mossy Ponds: A series of granite potholes less than six feet deep. A small number of brook trout inhabits these ponds.

Sand Ridge Lake and Buzzard Roost Lake: 2,000 fingerling brook trout are planted every two years.

Paradise Lake: Rainbow trout inhabit the lake while brook trout of an average size of six inches live in the meadow pools.

Catfish Lake: Private lake. Public access is not allowed.

Huysink Lake, Salmon Lake and Loch Leven Lakes: Shallow granite lakes. A mixture of 500-3000 brook and rainbow trout fingerling per lake are planted every year. These lakes are very popular with the public.

Nancy Lake: A small number of natural brook trout inhabit the lake. No stocking occurs due to winterkill.

Natalie Lake: 1,000 fingerling Lahontan cutthroat trout are planted each year.

Fisher Lake: 1,000 fingerling brook trout are planted every two years.

North Fork American River: A large portion of the this river is designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Self sustaining populations of rainbow trout inhabit the river and the following tributaries: Granite Creek, Little Granite Creek and Big Valley Canyon. Burnett Canyon, a tributary of the North Fork of the American River, also has a population of rainbow trout. Some brown trout live in reaches of these waters. Popular area.

Monumental Creek: A small but healthy population of brown trout lives in reaches of the creek.

Blue Canyon Creek: A rainbow trout fishery. Rainbows up to ten inches inhabit the creek.

Bowman Road Area
F.S. Road 18

The Bowman Road intersects Highway 20 three and one half miles west of the Interstate 80 intersection. It travels north 16 miles to Bowman Lake, and leads to roads going to the Grouse Lakes Area, also described in this brochure. Six miles northeast of Bowman Lake is the Jackson Meadow area. Supplies are available in Nevada City and along I-80.

Canyon Creek: A small number of resident rainbow and brown trout inhabit the creek. Historically a very large stream, the flow is now regulated to a flow of five cubic feet of water per second below the diversion of Bowman Lake.

Fordyce Creek: A small number of natural rainbow and brook trout inhabit the creek. The area is popular with the public, especially in the Eagle Lakes area. However, access is difficult and requires 4-WD to the trailhead.

Fuller Lake: A California Department of Fish & Game (CDF&G;) target fishery for hatchery catchables. Twelve to fifteen thousand pounds catchable rainbow trout are planted each year with occasional plants of brown trout. Planting is on a regular basis throughout the season. Good access for bank fishing. Although a very popular lake with the public, camping facilities are extremely limited. Day use only is recommended.

Rucker Lake: Contains a special strain of rainbow called redband trout. Redband trout do well in the warmer water of shallow Rucker Lake. In 1985, 2,100 redband fingerlings were planted. Current reports indicate they are doing well. Although a very popular lake with the public, camping sites are very limited and there are no toilet facilities. Day use only is recommended. The roaded side of the lake is available to public access.

Blue Lake: Fingerling rainbows are planted each year. Occasional plants of brown fingerlings are made to control the growing number of bullhead catfish.

McMurray Lake: Planted with rainbow and brown trout catchables annually; plus periodic plantings of fingerling trout.

Weaver Lake: Fishing pressure is heavy from the Grass Valley Sportsmen's Club. The lake contains a native population of brook and lake trout. Catchable rainbow and brown trout are stocked, as are fingerling plants of lake trout.

Bowman Lake: In 1982 Bowman Lake was drained to allow the Nevada Irrigation District to make repairs on the dam. Over 20,000 pounds of large brown trout were netted and relocated to other nearby lakes. Ten to twenty thousand fingerling rainbows and browns are planted each year. Larger browns are found in various locations on the lake and boat anglers will have better luck than those fishing from the shore. Easy access from the Bowman Road. 4-WD not necessary, but the road is very rocky. Trailers not recommended.

Sawmill Lake: Sawmill Lake is entirely on private land; however, fishing is allowed. Fingerling rainbows are planted every two years.

Faucherie Lake: A mixture of rainbow and brown fingerlings are planted every year. This is a very scenic lake.

Carr Lake: Brook and rainbow fingerlings will be planted every two years.

Feeley Lake: Rainbow and brown fingerlings are planted every year. A small number of natural brook trout inhabit the lake as well as larger bullheads, six to eight inches long.

Lindsey Lake: Bullhead catfish have overpopulated this lake. Rainbow and brown trout fingerlings are planted annually to provide a limited trout fishery. Grouse Lakes Area

The following lakes are within the Grouse Lakes Motor Vehicle Closure Area and are accessible by hiking trails only. Trailheads can be reached from two locations: Grouse Ridge Road (F.S. Road 14); and Carr/Feeley and Lindsey Lakes (take F.S. Road 17 and follow the signs). Both roads intersect east off the Bowman Road, six and eight miles, respectively.

Penner Lake: Fingerling rainbows (1,500) are planted every two years.

Shotgun Lake: Fingerling rainbows are planted every two years. Grayling have been planted in the past; however, their survival is unknown.

Culbertson Lake: Fingerling rainbows are planted yearly in this large, deep lake. The rainbow population is increasing.

Crooked Lakes: Overpopulated with stunted bullhead catfish. No trout known to inhabit lakes.

Big Island Lake: Lake trout which were planted in 1978, 1984 and 1985 are reproducing naturally. These fish can get large, eight to ten pounds, but are difficult to catch by bank fishing. Also managed with annual stocking of two to five thousand rainbow and/or brown trout fingerlings. Very popular with the public.

Little Island Lake: Brook trout are reproducing naturally. Fifteen hundred rainbow fingerlings are planted every year. Popular with the public.

Hidden Lake: A self sustaining population of brook trout inhabit the lake.

Round Lake and Milk Lake: Fifteen hundred rainbow fingerlings are planted once a year. Popular with the public.

Long Lake: Fifteen hundred rainbow fingerlings are planted once a year. Popular with the public.

Five Lakes Basin: Three of the lakes are planted with fingerling rainbows.

Glacier Lake: Five hundred Golden trout are planted each year.

Sanford Lake: A thousand rainbow fingerlings are planted every two years.

Loney Lake: No longer planted. A small population of brook trout inhabits the lake.

Downey Lake: Receives little use because the lake is not on a trail. Rainbows are planted every two years. Some trout reach 22 inches.

Highway 20 Area

Highway 20 runs east from Nevada City, 26 miles to its intersection with Interstate 80. It provides access to the South Yuba River in the vicinity of the town of Washington; access to the Bear River near Bear Valley; and access to numerous lakes in the Grouse Lakes area via the Bowman Road. Supplies are available in Nevada City, Washington, and along I-80.

South Fork of the Yuba River: Catchable rainbow trout are planted on a yearly basis. Like many large western Sierra streams, the South Fork of the Yuba has experienced a decreasing trout fishery. Historical use of the river water and mining has favored the increase of squawfish and suckers. The South Fork of the Yuba is easily accessed near the town of Washington.

Poorman Creek: A small population of rainbow trout inhabits the creek. Lower reaches of the south fork of the creek are very steep.

Bear River: The river access at Highway 20 crossing is planted with a few rainbow trout catchables every year. Pacific Gas and Electric Company now leases the land for grazing which limits the success of the fishery. Fishing is still permitted. Small numbers of native browns and rainbows should continue to exist in this reach of the river.

Lake Spaulding: Recreational facilities are administered by PG&E.; Steep terrain makes bank fishing difficult. In the past the lake was planted with catchable rainbows. Due to limited access and underuse of the planted stock, the lake is planted with fingerling rainbow and brown trout. Native rainbows as well as browns and brook trout, carp, and pond smelt are found throughout the lake. The browns in this lake can attain trophy size, from ten to fifteen pounds, and are seasonally caught near the upper end of the lake.

Chubb Lake: The lake now supports a smallmouth bass fishery. The lake is not planted with trout species. Private land and a Boy Scout Camp make public access difficult.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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