Tahoe National Forest

Fishing - Truckee Ranger District
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The lakes and streams in the Truckee Ranger District are inhabited by both native and introduced fish species. Of the trout species, the Lahontan cutthroat were once the only trout native to the east side of the Tahoe National Forest and northern Sierra Now the Lahontan are listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a threatened species. The other native fish species of the area are the tui chub, speckled dace, Lahontan redside, Piute sculpin, and Tahoe and Mt. suckers. These nongame fish are an important component of the Tahoe National Forest fisheries. They add diversity, food, and energy to the stream ecosystem and should be enjoyed and respected for their unique role in the streams. When caught, please return these fish gently to the water.

Interstate 80 Area

Interstate 80 crosses the western Forest boundary near Blue Canyon. It follows the South Yuba River Canyon eastward to Donner Summit. Continuing east past Truckee, it follows the Truckee River Canyon into Nevada. Numerous lakes and streams can be accessed north and south of the Interstate in areas such as Soda Springs, Norden, Truckee and Boca-Hirschdale.

Kidd Lake: One to two thousand fingerling brook trout are planted yearly. Public access is allowed on this private lake.

Long Lake: Five hundred fingerling rainbow trout are planted yearly.

Cascade Lakes: Three thousand fingerling rainbow bout are planted every two years.

Onion, Wabena, Chief, and Cedar Creeks: Native fisheries. Small, wild rainbow trout inhabit reaches of these creeks. Most of these creeks flow through private land and public access is limited.

North Fork American River: Small, native wild rainbow trout inhabit the upper North Fork. Many reaches of the river flow through private land and public access is limited or denied.

Lake Van Norden: Pacific Gas and Electric Company has selected this area for wetlands habitat improvement projects in the future. The area does not sustain a trout fishery.

Warren Lake: Five thousand Lahontan cutthroat trout are planted once a year. Accessible by hiking trail only.

Frog Lake: Private land. No public access.

Summit Lake: One thousand fingerling brook trout are planted once a year. Accessible by hiking trail or a very rough four-wheel drive road.

Negro Canyon Creek: A small population of brook trout inhabits reaches of the creek.

Donner Lake: A California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G;) target fishery for hatchery catchables. Catchable rainbow trout (70,000) are planted each year throughout the season. Historically, very large brown trout and Mackinaw (or Lake) trout populated the lake, but this fishery has steadily declined. Sporadic Mackinaw trout plants, up to 25,000 (3-5 inches long), have been introduced to stimulate this trout fishery. A small number of Kokanee inhabits the lake. This lake is very popular with anglers. Several piers and boat launching facilities are available to the public. A State Park is located on the south shore of the lake.

Donner Creek: Planting d this creek has been discontinued because of the low flows of water.

Cold Creek: This stream and surrounding property were recently acquired by the State. The State plans to restrict driving into the area. Public access will allowed by hiking trail. Rainbow and brown trout populate reaches of the creek. Brook trout inhabit reaches of the headwaters. Midsummer water levels are too low to support fish.

Stampede Reservoir: A CDF&G; target fishery for hatchery catchables. 20,000 catchable rainbow trout are planted each year. Three plantings of catchables are scheduled beginning in early spring. The last planting is completed by mid June. Brown trout have been planted in past years. Kokanee fingerlings were periodically planted. They are now 16 to 18 inches in size and weigh up to three pounds. In 1984 and 1985, 25,000 subcatchable Mackinaw trout were planted each year. These trout now weigh ten to twelve pounds each and help control the non-game fish in the lake. Non-game fish found in Stampede include the Tui chub, Tahoe sucker, and red-sided shiner. A few native whitefish have been caught and are often mis-identified by anglers as carp.

Boca Reservoir: Continued low water levels of this lake have dramatically affected the quality of the fisheries. Catchable rainbow trout (11,000) are planted each year. Kokanee have been planted over the years. A very small number of Mackinaw trout inhabit the lake. In previous years Boca Reservoir was a good brown trout fishery, but the numbers have been steadily decreasing.

Angela and Mary Lakes: Not planted. These lakes freeze in winter and kill any fish inhabiting the waters.

Devil's Oven Lake: Five hundred brook trout are planted once a year. Accessible by hiking trail only.

Upper and Lower Castle Creek: Small, wild rainbow trout inhabit reaches of these creeks.

Truckee River (City of Truckee to Stateline): There is very little public land along this section of the river. CDF&G; does not plant the river below the city of Truckee. The stretch of river from Truckee to Grey Creek is easily accessed from Interstate 80. This easy access makes angling very popular. Large brown trout and a small population of rainbow trout inhabit this reach of the river. A portion of this area is closed to the public. Because of popularity of the area, some special regulations apply:

  • From the confluence of Trout Creek to the Boca Bridge only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. There is a two-fish limit with a maximum length of 15 inches.
  • From the Boca Bridge to the confluence of Gray Creek there is a two-fish limit.

Little Truckee River: The Little Truckee River originates at Webber Lake and flows eastward about 16 miles until it meets Stampede Reservoir. The Little Truckee River landscape is known for its beautiful wide valleys and high Sierra meadows. The Little Truckee supports healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout as well as native fish species. Many sections of the river flow through private lands, and land ownership needs to be checked carefully against a current map prior to attempting river access for fishing. After leaving Stampede Reservoir the Little Truckee River flows to Boca Reservoir, then on downstream off the east side of the Sierra into Nevada and Pyramid Lake.

In previous years the reach of the river between Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir was planted with fingerling rainbow trout. The fishery has been improved by the completion of various habitat restoration projects and regulated flows of water. Planting will now be discontinued. Brown trout are reproducing naturally. Rainbow trout also inhabit the creek. This reach of river is being considered by CDF&G; for"Wild Trout" stream designation.

Highway 89 North Area

This portion of Highway 89 extends north of Interstate 80 from Truckee, 24 miles to Sierraville and the National Forest boundary.

Prosser Reservoir: Fingerling rainbow trout (100,000) have been planted each year since 1978. Catchable rainbow trout (20,000) are planted each year. The brown trout are reproducing naturally.

Alder Creek and Prossor Creek: Generally a spring-time fishery as water levels are low by mid-summer. Small numbers of native brook and rainbow trout inhabit reaches of these creeks.

Sagehen Creek: Small, wild rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout inhabit reaches of the creek. Above Highway 89 bridge some special regulations apply:

  • From the bridge to the Sagehen Creek gauging station there is a 0 limit using only artificial lures.
  • Above the gauging station Sagehen Creek is closed to fishing.

Highway 89 South Area

Truckee River: This section of the Truckee River has a good amount of public land administered by the Tahoe National Forest. CDF&G; plants 10,000 catchable rainbow trout each year throughout the season, depending on drought conditions. Nine sites are selected for planting, ranging from one mile below the dam at Lake Tahoe to one and one half mile upstream from River Road. Anglers will have the best luck early in the morning. The upper reach of the river is popular with rafters.

Cabin Creek and Deep Creek: A small population of rainbow trout inhabits reaches of these creeks. By mid-summer the water flow is low.

Sliver Creek: Small populations of rainbow trout and brook trout are found in upper reaches of the drainage.

Squaw Creek: Historically an excellent brown trout fishery. Brown trout up to four pounds were once reported, but the fishery is now poor. Recent stream habitat improvement projects may increase fish populations. A few rainbow trout currently inhabit reaches of the stream, but no fish are found above the valley floor. Current uses of the water and habitat have caused the decline of the fisheries. Limited public access.

Bear Creek and Deer Creek: Small populations of brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout can be found in reaches of these creeks.

Needle Lake: A high elevation lake (8,500 feet). Six thousand fingerling lake trout are planted each year. This is a small, shallow lake. The lake is on the border of Granite Chief Wilderness area and cannot be accessed by motor vehicle.

Little Needle Lake: Although fingerling brook trout were planted regularly in the past, wilderness management objectives support not stocking this lake in the future. This lake is in the Granite Chief Wilderness area and can be reached only on foot or by horseback.

Middle Mildred Lake: Similar to Little Needle Lake, wilderness values and management objectives support not stocking this lake in the future. Located within the Granite Chief Wilderness area, Mildred Lake can be reached only by hiking or horseback.

Highway 267 Area

Martis Reservior: Special restrictions apply and all fish, when caught, must be released. Only artificial lures with single, barbless hooks may be used. This area is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Martis Creek: All Martis Lake tributaries are closed year round to fishing. Fishing is allowed downstream from Martis Dam, but public access is limited. Low water flows limit the fisheries.

Five Lakes And Barker Creek Areas

Barker Creek: Numerous small brook trout inhabit this stream, particularly in the meadow reaches.

West Meadow Creek: Numerous small brookies.

Bear Lake: Five hundred fingerling brook trout are planted every two years.

Fern Lake: Five hundred fingerling rainbow trout are planted every two years in this small but deep lake.

Five Lakes Creek: Native rainbow trout occupy the lower reaches: brook trout are found in the upper reaches.

Five Lakes: These lakes are located within the Granite Chief Wilderness and receive excessively heavy use from summer recreationists. The lake shores are in a degraded condition, and options to correct use problems are being reviewed. Please use established Forest Service trails and consider fishing at other lakes as part of the Forest's efforts to reduce use in this area.


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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