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About the Truckee River


The Truckee consists of just about every water category there is.  Much of it is freestone, with long runs of pocket water, punctuated by long wide flats.  Once the Truckee drops into the canyon section it turns into a necklace of very deep pools and runs separated by roily pocket water.  It’s not a big river so most of the time it is very wadeable. 


For most of its length the Truckee is for all practical purposes is what you would call a wild trout water.  Trout plants of hatchery fish (Rainbows and Lahontan Cutthroat) are limited to the upper ten mile stretch which runs from its outlet from Lake Tahoe to its confluence with Trout Creek located at the lower end of the town of Truckee where the special regulation (wild trout) section begins. 

The twenty miles between Trout Creek and the Nevada state line the special regulations limit tackle to artificial lures with barbless hooks. There is also a size and bag limit of two trout with a minimum size of 14 inches from the last Saturday in April through November 15th.  For the winter season which runs from November 16th through the Friday before the last Saturday in April, no fish may be kept. The wild trout water is home to Rainbows and Browns, some that get very large.


Access points are easy and numerous along the Truckee.  Though there is some private water (San Francisco Casting Club) along its length, there is plenty of U.S. Forest property in between so that you can always find a way to get to the water.  The upper section begins at the outlet from Lake Tahoe and is some of the most beautiful water one can fish, but unfortunately its beauty also has made this a very popular rafting run.


Springtime means run off and that can occur during various interval lengths beginning in the month of April and continue into June.  There is an old saying that when the water is high and roily, go big heavy and ugly so big and heavy. The spring transcending into summer season brings the beginning of significant hatches with one of the first most anticipated hatches being the Green Drakes.  March Browns also appear and Baetis continue during the early part of spring. 


With the arrival of summer the flows settle down and all of the bugs that we know and love show their faces.  Caddis, Golden Stones, Little Yellow Stones and Pale Morning Duns are the most common. Also of mention are terrestrials such as hoppers and very importantly the huge Carpenter Ants that blow up slope from the valleys below. 


Fall means fewer fishermen, particularly on weekdays, and cooler water temperatures.  Cooler water temperatures mean fishing will remain good all day and as with other waters located where there is a harsh winter environment, the trout’s feeding habits change from selective to opportunistic as they bulk up for winter.  The Baetis are beginning to show again and the October Caddis are preparing to leave the comfort of their pine needle homes to pupate into huge moth like creatures. 

Truckee River
Updated - 5/15/23

Scroll down to links for information about Lodging, Maps,
up to the minute Stream Flows and Hatch Chart

Conditions: 488 CFS in town and Steelhead green 2650 CFS at Farad.  Scroll down below to the link that will show you up to the minute flows

Fishing-Fair to Good in Truckee area:  Miles at the Trout Creek Outfitters fly shop in Truckee reports: "The Truckee has been fishing exceptionally for those familiar with high water fishing techniques. If this type of fishing is new to you, in short, look for walking speed water, 3-5 feet deep and ideally with some structure, such as a cut bank, or submerged boulder. Fly selection is also simple this time of year, large “high protein” flies such as stoneflies, worms, eggs, and crawdads will be hard for the trout to resist and will pair well with the 2x-3x tippet necessary to turn big fish in fast water. If the water seems clear and the fish don’t appear to be reacting to your big offerings, try downsizing your bugs with something small, but flashy, such as a Rainbow Warrior, Duracell, or a pink Juju Baetis, still using heavier than normal tippet such as 4x. Most of the river here in California has been fishing well in the last week, owing to the cooler weather, lower flows down and increased visibility. Recently, we have had some great days while searching as far down river as Reno in the last week."   


Much of the Truckee's adjacent shoreline property from a couple of miles upstream from Hirschdale bridge down about 4 miles has been purchased and posted as No Trespassing so when wading you must stay below the mean high water mark.  That doesn't mean that you won't get hassled by the hired gun  that works for the land owner and it also doesn't mean that the Sheriff will not write you a citation regardless.  Be careful.   We recommend that you stop by either Trout Creek Outfitters (530)563-5119 or Mountain Hardware (530)587-4844 to confirm boundaries of the posted shoreline.  


The Truckee still has plenty of good fishable water.  Now that rafting season is over, why not give the section between the lake outlet down to Glenshire a try. A little known secret is that there is some pretty good fishing right in town, plus you might have it all to yourself.  

Click here to see PDF of CDFW 2021/2022 Regulations

Generally Recommended Patterns for the Truckee
Click here to go to our Fly Catalog

Parachute/tan or pale yellow #16 & #18,  Split Wing Adams #16 & #18 Stimulator/#10 & #12,

Humpy/yellow #14 & #16, Adams Parachute #14, #16, #18, Royal Wulff #14, Renegade #14. Baetis Parachute #18, Elk Hair Caddis #14, #16, Fat Albert #8, #10 (pink, tan, yellow)


Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, Pat's Rubber Legs #6, San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Mercer's Epoxy Stone #12 & #14 Copper John/red or copper #14, #16, Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red. Near Nuff Crayfish #8,Micro Mayfly #18,  Black Rubber Legs, Kiene's Golden Brown Stone #8-#14, Vinci's Depth Charge Bird's Nest in natural.

Crawdads: Our guides recommend the Near Nuff Crayfish #8 or Creek Crawler #8.  

See Hatch Chart Below

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