LTFF Step 3 Intermediate Fish-out - Truckee Rivers

  • 07 Oct 2017
  • 7:00 AM
  • 08 Oct 2017
  • 6:00 PM
  • Boyington Mills Campground, Little Truckee R. off I-80 east of Truckee, CA
  • 0


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LTFF Step 3 Intermediate Fish-out - Truckee Rivers

October 7-8, 2017

Cost: $100 / person

Registration limit:  6 Intermediate students from 2017 class

Overview: This trip offers fly fishing on two famous wild trout rivers near Lake Tahoe - the Big and Little Truckee Rivers. Both tailwater rivers hold big rainbow and brown trout up to 20" and more. The education fish-out includes a 1 to 2 hour long "on the water" nymphing demo and clinic from a local guide that has 25+ years of experience on the Truckee.

Day 1: (Big) Truckee River

The 'Big T' is a Sierra tailwater river that flows 121 miles from the weir at Lake Tahoe before emptying into Pyramid Lake north of Reno, NV.  Pyramid Lake has no outlet so the Truckee is one of the only major rivers in the West that doesn't eventually flow into the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Truckee does have a reputation for skunking even the most seasoned fly anglers who haven't learned the secrets to how to fish it. With only about 400 fish per mile, you'd wonder why anyone would even bother with this river. But all it takes is one grab from these powerful beasts and you'll understand why this river has a cult following among both locals and visitors alike. As Ralph Cutter tells many disheartened souls, if you don't believe they're in there, just swim the river. Ralph's famous "Bugs of the Underworld" DVD was filmed in the Truckee River.

Proper technique and choosing the right flies is a must for being successful on this river.  Most fish are caught in the Truckee by indicator nymphing, stripping streamers, or "Czech nymphing", one of the various forms of tight-line nymphing. For this fish-out we'll be focusing primarily on indicator nymphing, but don't be afraid to try a streamer or a Czech nymph (a heavily weighted nymph pattern that gets down quickly without the use of split shot, usually tungsten beaded and often lead-wire wrapped under the body).  

We'll start the day off with a demo of the perfect indicator dead drift. The goal is to 'tick the bottom' of the river, adjusting your depth and weights until you are in the zone. If you're not ticking the bottom on the Truckee, you're not fishing. After practicing this, we'll then break up into small groups and drive to separate locations with your mentors, switching up locations after a brief lunch. 

It's fun to carry two rods rigged with different flies, leader lengths, or even for different techniques (eg. streamer or Czech nymph) so that you can cover the same hole twice without re-rigging. (Just be sure that you pay careful attention to where you set down that 2nd rod!  They have a way of disappearing in the brush.) Although it's rare to see hatches that warrant casting dry flies on the Truckee, the occasional riser will surface, sending anglers scrambling for the right fly to catch a trophy on a dry. We'll keep our eyes open for BWO hatches in the afternoon.

Day 2: Little Truckee River

The 'LT' is a picturesque tailwater that stretches roughly 3-5 miles from Stampede Reservoir to Boca Reservoir which is north of the town of Hirschdale and east of Truckee. At first glance, this smaller river gives off the appearance of easy fishing after a day on the Big Truckee, but don't let this river fool you. The large brown trout that inhabit this river are some of the most selective trout in the state and, no wonder, since they receive lots of pressure from skilled anglers. 

At this time of year we'll be on the tail end of the BWO hatch with some potential for caddis and stone flies. The trick to catching large trout on this river is the proper use of emergers and even drowned BWO dries. Sculpin streamers are also extremely effective under deep-cut banks.

Camping: We'll car camp along the Little Truckee river at Boyington Mills Campground. Our group has 3 sites (#7-9) reserved for Friday and Saturday nights right on this river, offering sunrise and sunset fishing opportunities.

Equipment: We'll provide a dozen for more flies but feel free to supplement yourself with extras (doubles) or different patterns that fly shops recommend. Don't be surprised if you lose 6-12 flies a day on the Truckee. 

Sample flies and rod setups by river:

  • Truckee River:
    • Rod(s): It helps to carry two pre-rigged indicator rods, a 6 wt and maybe a 7wt, with one rigged for greater depth. This way if you lose your rig you're still in the game, or if you are maxed out on depth with one rod, you can quickly change rods vs. re-rigging. Switch rods (2-handed rods under 12' lg.) are also fun and great for distance casting and swinging or stripping streamers. Czech nymphing rods (typically sgl.-hand rods 9-1/2' or longer) are also a perfect secondary rod for pocket water.
    • Flies: Pat's Rubber Legs (black, coffee), tiny egg patterns (yellow, the smaller the better), dead-drift crayfish (red, orange, blue), San Juan worms (red/pink), squiggly worms (red), Zebra midges (green, black). jigged Prince Nymph (size 12-14), various streamers.
    • Leaders: 9 foot 4X tapered mono leader; flour tippet in sizes 4X & 5X
    • Indicators: small and medium sized Airlocks may be best.
    • Weights: AAA  & BB split shot
  • Little Truckee River
    • Rod(s): A 9 foot 5 wt is perfect and all you should need. However, I prefer to carry two rods to try different techniques (dry fly / indicator nymphing / streamers / Czech nymphing). If you are walking with a buddy you could each bring two rods to cover four techniques.
    • Flies: BWO emerger, BWO dries (size 18), caddis dries, caddis puppa, pheasant tails, stone patterns (yellow, black), and sculpin streamers
    • Leaders: 9 foot 5X tapered mono leaders, fluoro tippet size 6X

You'll also want to bring standard wading equipment (waders, boots, wading staff, etc.) and gear for camping / cooking at the campsite.  For the Big Truckee, you might be more comfortable wading with an inflatable PFD if you have one.

Lunch will be provided each day, however students will need to bring their own breakfast and dinner items to prepare in camp.

Additional reading and research for the overly ambitious (not required):

  • Watch Ralph Cutter's "Bugs of the Underworld" DVD - provides great footage of the Truckee river, the resident trout there, and of course the bugs. Contact if you need to borrow a copy.
  • Watch Youtube videos by Kelly Galloup on indicator nymphing techniques and rigging set-ups
Contact person for any questions:  Steve Golebiewski 

Questions? Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate mail box:

General Information:

Rondy Program:

Our Mailing Address:  Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club  ·  P.O. Box 591476  ·  San Francisco, CA 94159

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