Before I get ahead of myself with the headline, let’s talk about what we have going on with conditions right now locally. The Truckee and Little Truckee are experiencing  the biggest, most consistent runoff conditions in nearly a century.  Both rivers have been 5-10x flows for months and that’s only going to go up over the next 4-6 weeks. Current spring projections are big, really big. Can you imagine if Stampeede really releases 2,500 cfs into the Little Truckee in preparation for the runoff that’s about to happen? Did Squaw Valley really just hint they might stay open ALL Year?! There’s 15-35 feet of snow left at high elevations? This is what we’re dealing with, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

High water is the new norm around here and if you don’t adjust to the conditions, you’ll be telling “fish stories” at Bar of America every evening while sipping an Old Fashioned or PBR, angler’s choice. Here are a few things you have to consider this season when you’re fishing the ‘new Truckee’.

  • Be careful when wading. The water is high and fast and banks have eroded everywhere. You can go from 6 inches to 4 feet in one step.
  • Thankfully you don’t’ have to wade much, fish close to the bank and look for slow water. The fish are under your rod tip!
  • We’ve been fishing 3x-1x all spring. The fish are not at all leader shy, go heavy or go home. It will also help when snagging all the wood that’s accumulated on the bottom this winter. There are snags everywhere. You just gotta deal with it.
  • If you’re fishing two flies, go with one big and one small. Classic example, rubberlegs and a mayfly. There are bugs around, but the dry fly fishing hasn’t really happened at all. That said if you put your time if you will see a few noses eating baetis.

The big boys have come out to play in the high water.

Now, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Truckee and LT. If you’ve followed us at all on social media the last few months you’ve probably noticed a huge influx of huge browns taking over your feeds. It really is incredible what’s happened with our browns and the high water. They’ve let their guard down, moved into feeding lanes and have been chowing like crazy. Although the Truckee is famous for putting out big browns from time to time, the rate we’ve been getting them recently has been off the charts. The Truckee has always been a size, not numbers game. This has never been truer than right now. I just spent almost two weeks in Montana and on my first guide trip back every fish we landed was bigger than any fish from my road trip.

As challenging as the fishing has been, a two footer is a possibility in these flows.

That said it’s still the Truckee and we are absolutely working our asses off for fish in these conditions. The river is big, it’s intimidating, has color, and is absolutely ripping. But if you’re willing to put the time in you might just find yourself hooked into one of the biggest browns in the west and won’t have to tell a fish story after all.

Matt Heron

Jim had one request this week, to try and catch a brown. To say the least, he succeeded with flying colors!

One more gator nose for good luck.