The stretch of the Little Truckee River discussed here is the tailwater section below Stampede Reservoir downstream to Boca Reservoir. This is not big water and the wading here is generally very mellow. Special regulations have allowed this fishery to maintain a large number of trophy trout, many in excess of 20 inches. These same regulations also account for the large number of anglers who fish this water throughout much of the year. Once a well kept secret, the Little Truckee is definitely “on the map” these days.
Winter – From mid December to mid March the Little Truckee is often inaccessible by automobile due to snow accumulation on the only access road, which is not plowed by the county. When it is accessible, there is some excellent fishing to be had. Blue Wing Olive mayflies (size 18-22) hatch throughout the year on this stream but it is usually the wintertime period (especially cloudy days) when the hatches are best. Midges (size 18-26) are also common and hatch in good numbers throughout the winter. Once snow is on the ground, dark winter stoneflies (size 16-18) appear and can provide some excellent dry fly fishing as well. Many of our rainbows spawn during this time period. (See note at bottom of page!) Flows during winter are generally 40-120 cfs.
Spring – From mid March to mid June the Little Truckee continues to fish well. BWO and midge hatches continue, the first caddis (size 14-18) hatches of the season arrive. Nymphing is the most effective method during much of this period as we often experience high water in the Little Truckee from late April through early June due to snow melt and the ensuing runoff. One of the many attractions to fishing the Little Truckee is that even during the height of the runoff, this stream runs very clear and is often fishable when other area waters are not. During high water fish the edges where trout can hold out of the raging current. Wading can be a mistake as where you are standing is often where the fish want to be. Carpenter Ants (size 10 -12) begin flying out of the trees in late May in large numbers and the fish go nuts for them. Spring flows can range from 100 – 600+cfs.
Summer – Mid June to mid September is definitely the “busy” season on the Little Truckee. While the number of anglers increases dramatically, so does the bug activity. Evening caddis (size 16-20) and little yellow stone (size 16) hatches occur during this time period. Mid day activity often includes a few BWOs, pale morning duns (size 16-18) and the large green drakes (size 10-14). Sporadic hatches of mahogany duns (size 14) and tricos (size 20-22) also occur as well as morning and evening spinnerfalls of various mayflies. Terrestrials such as ants, beetles and hoppers (especially in Aug and Sept) round out the summer menu. Summer flows are generally in the 100 – 300 cfs range.
Fall – Mid September to mid December sees the return of the BWO hatches. Other bugs present during this time period are little green stoneflies (size 14-16) and remnants of late summer caddis and mayfly hatches. In late September the first of the spawning Kokanee enter the river from Boca Reservoir. These 8-16″ fish can be fun to catch but more importantly their eggs and flesh provide nutrients for the trout as winter approaches. October caddis (size 8-10) are in the Little Truckee and emerge in the fall. While this hatch is often sporadic, the fish eat october caddis imitations readily. By November the brown trout are spawning (see note below!) and you have the opportunity to see some truly huge trout in this relatively small stream. Flows during this time period are usually in the range of 50-150cfs.
Spawning Fish – It is not hard to find fish on their spawning redds during Oct./Nov. and Feb./Mar. in the Little Truckee as the water is gin clear and usually fairly shallow. PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!! Besides the obvious unsportsmanlike nature of catching fish off of redds, you are only hurting yourself and your fellow anglers by harassing these fish as they attempt to create the next generation of wild trout in the Little Truckee River.