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Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Most of us like to fish lakes in the summer months, to escape the heat of the lowlands and to enjoy the beautiful mountain weather and cool night. However, those large trophy sized brown and rainbow trout are much more active in the early spring and late fall. You won't catch them from shore at noon, regardless ho how fishy the lake looks, and that is why they grow to trophy size! You may want to check out our fishing secret hideaway spots for some of the best trout fishing.

The Lakes

There are over 20,000 surface acres of lakes in the Tahoe National Forest. They range in size from small, high mountain potholes to large reservoirs that store water for domestic uses.The lakes which are capable of supporting fisheries on the Forest primarily contain cold water fish, such as the trout, About one quarter of the lakes (e.g., Bullard's Bar and Sugar Pine Reservoirs) provide fishing for warm water gamefish.

Each lake on the forest is managed for its own fishery. CDF&G and Forest biologists check the lakes, and the fish, to determine whether management or stocking plans need changing. Planting may be discontinued if fish are found to be reproducing naturally.
Many of the lakes within the Forest boundaries are privately owned. Ownership of private land, and access to lake shores, can change from year to year. Permission may be denied to fish a lake which once was open to the public. Trout are stocked by CDF&G only in waters affording free public access and free public fishing from shore. Check with your local Forest Service office for updated information on access to the lakes on private land, and please respect the right of private landowners.

The Streams

There are more than 1,500 miles of streams and rivers to fish on the Tahoe, The great majority of forests streams do not receive planting of trout but support limited "natural' trout fisheries.
Yes there is a lot of places to go catch a trout.
Historical uses of many of the streams and water has affected the quality of fish habitat and reduced fish populations. The Tahoe National Forest is committed to protected and maintaining all existing fish habitat, and to improving that habitat through rehabilitation and improvement projects. The techniques you use are up to you, but here are some recommended fishing techniques for the area.

Several streams on the Forest flow through sections of private land. Again, please respect the rights of private landowners. Forest streams with difficult access and year-round cool stream flows support good fisheries for bright and colorful native rainbows. Lavezzola creek, on the Downieville ranger District, is one such stream and it has been designates as a Wild Trout Stream by CDF&G. Fishing licenses are required at all times.

Fishing Season

The numbers of people fishing the lakes and streams vary with the access and amenities (stores, campgrounds) available at the sites. Realize that some lakes with good, roaded access probably receive much greater public use than the more remote lakes. The same applies to streams and stream crossings. Those with developed campgrounds receive greater use, and those which receive plantings of catchable rainbow receive the greatest use. Sites such as these include Jackson Meadow Reservoir, Fuller Lake, French Meadows Reservoir, and the Indian Valley Campground complex along the North Yuba.

The streams on the Tahoe are open from the last Saturday in April to November 15. The lakes are open year round unless otherwise specified, However, many of the lakes become inaccessible from November to May due to snowfall. Some of the larger and deeper high elevation lakes with paved road access provide excellent winter fishing through the ice. Please be aware that winter conditions require much more caution fishing in summer. Some lakes with good winter fishing include Prosser, Boca, and Stampede Reservoirs on the east side of the Forest.

These companies are experts in the area.


Incline Village
Porters Ski and Sport
885 Tahoe Blvd
Incline Village, NV 89451
775-831-3500

Kings Beach
Tahoe Daves
8299 North Lake Blvd.
Kings Beach, CA 96143
530-546-5800

Olympic Valley
Mountain Mikes Sports
1602 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
530-581-4707

South Lake Tahoe
Heavenly Sports
Stateline Avenue & Hwy 50
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
530-544-1921

The Sportsman Sporting Goods
2556 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 


Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters
2705 Lake Tahoe Blvd,
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150


Tahoe City
Alpenglow Sports
415 North Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, CA 
530.583.6917

Truckee
Granite Chief Sporting Goods & Rentals
11368 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161
530-587-2809




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