The Truckee River seems to be the best game in town for moving water in the north state, and it just keeps getting better despite the high flows. As you are well aware, the spring runoff is under way, but the bulk is yet to come. We may see it peak at the end of May if the region does not experience a huge jump in air temperatures, big wind, and continued sunshine. If that happens, watch out. There is still a huge snowpack at the upper elevations, even on south facing slopes. Water temps are still in the mid 40’s, colder in the afternoons from snow melt, or below feeder creeks. I have noticed a slight increase in water clarity in the last week, enough to be able to see fish holding in the soft side water. Remember if you can see them, they can see you. It’s been busy on the river in the more popular access areas, and an angler will do better fishing water that has not been pounded on.
I had a special day on Monday the 3rd with a long time guest of mine where he got into a great session with double digit numbers of fish, a feat not often accomplished on the Truckee River, especially for a first time high sticker. The key for success that day was changing locations, and we fished 6 different areas and kept moving. The bulk of the trout are podded up, and if you catch one in a certain slot, keep hammering the water, there will be more. Try different flies and stance positions within the same slot, it really makes a difference.
We also had three different rods, a tight line rig, an indo rig with a three fly set up, and a streamer rod with a heavy sculpin pattern. I really like the RIO Versi-Tip for streamer applications, both the clear 1.5 ips, and the green 3.0 ips are really all you need. I tie on a #12 swivel at the end of the tip, and then run 3 feet of 12lb. floro. You still have complete control to your fly with more sensitivity due to a direct line down to your fly. As always there are nine different ways to achieve the same principal in fly fishing, if a guide tells you there is only one way to do such – doubt them.
One common mistake novice anglers make when tight lining is they try to probe the bottom right away. A “sighter” section on your leader also becomes a depth indicator from that point to your bottom flies, take a mental note of the distance and apply if directly. When I approach a slot during high water I will focus on the middle water column, then slowly drift deeper with each successive presentation until I’m bouncing off the bottom. Effective flies have been worms in flesh, red, and sparkle tan, Golden stones, black rubber legs, larger hare’s ears, and #10 eggs in natural roe, and peachy roe. No matter what rig you choose, set the hook often as the “takes” are very light.
More wet weather is upon us with a downgraded atmospheric river of moisture that is currently slamming northern California on Friday through Sunday, with lingering precipitation heading into next week. Current models are in conflict with rain and snow totals, as with mountain weather, we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way this next system is impressive for the month of April. If you want to learn more about how to fish big water, don’t mind hiking and dropping down steep banks, while visiting multiple locations, give me a ring at 530.228.0487, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a trip with me. I do have a few days available in both April and May.