LTFF Level 3 Lahontans at Heenan Lake!

  • 28 Sep 2024
  • 7:00 AM
  • 29 Sep 2024
  • 6:30 PM
  • San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area off CA-152
  • 0


  • Fishing from Saturday, Sept 28th at noon until dusk, and from 7AM Sunday until noon.

Join waitlist

This 2024 LTFF Level 3 fishout for Lahontan Cutthroat on Heenan Lake is scheduled for 12 Noon, September 28th to 12 Noon on September 29th, 2024 .   Heenan Lake is located off of Highway 89, 8 miles east of the town of Markleeville, California.

The limited spots in this fish-out date on September 28-29 are reserved for 2024 registered "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) Level 3 Students ONLY -- unless specifically announced otherwise.    

Registration will be limited to 6 students.   Registered students should also attend the Float Tube Safety Clinic by Jeff Hogan on August 24th at the GGACC ponds.  Please register for these LTFF-only events on the GGACC events calendar.   Ideally, you will have also attended the shooting head clinic led by Willy George earlier in 2024.

LTFF Level 3 students should consider these clinics as skills building classes for their class curriculum.

Students must bring their own (or rented or borrowed) personal watercraft for this fish-out.  A float tube is the recommended water craft for this fishout.  There are not any local rental shops that we know of in the Heenan Lake area.

Located in the Sierra south of Lake Tahoe, is 220 miles east of San Francisco.  Depending on traffic patterns leaving the Bay Area, you should plan for a 4 to 5 hour drive minimum each way.

The 135 acre Heenan Lake has been renowned for producing huge Lahonton Cutthroats up to 30" with the average being 16 to 20". The Department of Fish and Game have a station there that take some spawners from the lake for egg collections. These eggs are distributed to a number of other state hatcheries including the Hot Creek Hatchery and Nevada Dept of Wildlife. The hatchlings are restocked into Heenan and over 30 additional Eastern Sierra lakes. The Heenan Lake Lahontons are actually a hybridized strain of the original Lahonton Cutthroats that inhabited Lake Lahonton in prehistoric days. The regulations to Heenan Lake is a strict catch and release on barbless hooks on flies or artificial lures. The season opens on September 1st through November 30th. The tributaries to Heenan are also open to catch & release fishing at this time period. Heenan is ideal for float tubing but has received heavy fishing pressure recently due to its reputation for big trout. Trolling streamer patterns of Woolly Buggers, Leeches and Matukus in Black, Purple, or Olive from a float tube has been the favored method to fish Heenan. No gas-powered craft are allowed. It's shallow so an intermediate sinking line is sufficient. Dark colored nymphs in sizes 12-14 such as Pheasant Tails, Bird's Nests, and Prince Nymphs with an indicator also work well. Use a slow retrieve. Recently, using a chironomid pattern has become quite popular when used as a dropper below the nymph from 2 to 6 feet in depth. Allow the rig to sit with an occasional twitch. Generally, an intermediate sinking line is the best bet with a 7-8 foot leader. The Lahontans do not put up as rigorous fight as a similar-sized Rainbow so a leader of 4x to 5X should suffice.

The Lahontans cruise throughout the lake but a popular area is the inlet of Heenan creek at the east end. This is fairly shallow with plentiful weeedbeds. Try casting a nymph pattern into the weedbeds and retrieve slowly. The southern end of the lake is also popular with weed beds usually present..

Jeff Hogan will mentor this LTFF fish-out.  Jeff is one of our valued FFI certified GGACC casting instructors, and a frequent volunteer for LTFF events.  

Meet location/time:  We will meet in the Heenan Lake parking lot (there’s only one).  Vaulted toilets or port-a-potties are available, but no running water.  Please arrive in the parking lot on Saturday morning by 11AM so all can be prepared and ready to fish by 12 noon.
On Sunday morning the group should be in the parking lot by 7AM to get a solid fishing session in on Sunday before conclusion at 12 noon.

Safety:  Use of your own personal watercraft will be required for this fish-out, and wearing a PFD will be mandatory. Personal watercraft can be float tubes or Watermasters (either of these work best), pontoon boats, or kayaks.  

Gear required: There will be much more discussion on this during the Zoom meeting.

Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, 2024 CA fishing license, water, snacks.

Water craft:  Float tube, pontoon boat.    

Chest waders with belt, wading boots or booties.  A PFD is required by GGACC policy at all times.

Fins (with a tether system is highly recommended).

Landing net is highly recommended.

Fly rod tether or float system is highly recommended if using more than one rod.

Medium size dry-bag is recommended for snacks, water, storage for jacket, etc.

Rod:   A 9 1/2’ or 10’ rod that is moderate-fast action is ideal, but a 9' rod works extremely well.   6 wt is perfect for this trip.  Anything more than a 7 wt rod is not recommended.  If you only have a 5 wt and 8 wt, for example, bring the 8 wt., but landing one of these fish on a 5 wt in a float tube could be fun!  

Line:  Weight forward floating and Intermediate sinking line (integrated) matched for the rod is a nice 2 rod set-up but just a floating line will work fine. 

Leader:  5’ - 7' of 3X fluorocarbon (non-tapered) for stripping using the Intermediate line.  

For the deep-water indicator technique you can use an indicator/nymphing leader or build your own leader: 10’ 2X Indicator leader with ~5’ 3X fluorocarbon tippet attached with triple surgeons knot and a #12-#16 barrel swivel at the fly end.  Attach 2’-3’ 4X fluorocarbon tippet to swivel.  You can add a dropper fly off the swivel if you like.  Add fly of choice to end of 4X tippet.  The goal is to present the bottom fly 2’ off the bottom or weeds.

A Quick-Release indicator is required for this deep-water indicator setup and is attached to the butt section of the leader.

Flies: Chironomid patterns. #10-18 of various color and sizes.  Larger sizes, #10-12, seem to be most promenade.  Dark colored nymphs in sizes 12-14 such as Pheasant Tails, Bird's Nests, and Prince Nymphs are also very good.  Stripping (slowly) black, purple, olive woolly buggers, #6-8 leeches, #8-10 and Matukas, #6-10 is very popular.

Camping / Lodging:  There are lodging options in both Woodsford or Markleeville.

It is highly recommended to make your reservations ASAP as we know of at least one other club planning an outing in this timeframe.

The registration fee for this fish-out is $50.  This does not include meals, lodging or travel fee

For more information, contact:

Bruce Greenwood   650-387-5302

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

General Information:

Social Media:

Learn To Fly Fish Program:

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

Members! Be sure that GGACC emails do not end up in your spam folder. Add no‑ to your email contact list.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software