Well, warm weather arrived in the Tahoe Basin and most of the northwest with some serious aggressiveness. Extreme heat and temperature records are being shattered all along the west coast, and our local salmonids are feeling these temperatures too. The Hoot Owl closure is in effect, so carry a water thermometer on the river with you.
When water temperatures reach 67 degrees or above, most salmonids are unable to de-stress after a fight. Meaning, although they may have swam off strong when released, they most likely are to die in the next couple days, the result of a condition called delayed mortality. Read more about drought, delayed mortality and this summer’s low water here.
Tahoe City to Truckee: 377
Truckee to Boca: 392
Boca to Farad: 450
Farad to Stateline: 492
In the cooler mornings, our guides have been finding fish on a variety of summer flies including caddis in sizes 14-20, yellow sallies and some golden stoneflies, some PMD’s, and some green drakes. Crayfish are also producing and will for the entire summer.
Remember if you happen to find some bugs on top there may be fish rising there too! The opportunity to land a fish on a dry fly on the Truckee is one that shouldn’t be missed out on. Dry droppers or hopper droppers are also working well in the mornings given their more subtle appearance, plus you can fish nymphs without giving up the chance at a dry fly eat!
With the warmer water temps, fish are moving into their faster, more oxygenated water. Don’t be afraid to fish riffles, and fish any bubble lines you come across. You never know where that Truckee trout is hiding. With the high temps and increased risk of delayed mortality, limit the fishes exposure out of the water. If you can’t hold your breath the entire time the fish is out of the water, you can be sure the fish is having an equally difficult time. Realistically, you only need a few seconds for a picture anyways.
Once water temperatures reach that 67 degree mark, that doesn’t mean you have to stop being outside. The Truckee-Tahoe area has lots of outdoor summer activities to offer, so once the water gets too hot you can try climbing, golf, mountain biking, disc golf, the list goes on. We also have some good fishing for warmwater species that aren’t as sensitive to these water temperatures.
Remember that the purpose of the Hoot Owl closure isn’t to limit fishing pressure; it’s to protect our fish. I encourage you to keep this in mind when you’re fishing, and to educate other anglers you meet out on the water about this as well. Tight lines everyone!
Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing