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Guide to Fall Fly Fishing in Truckee-Tahoe

Scott Keith
October 27, 2022
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With beautiful fall foliage as your backdrop, fly fishing is the perfect activity to enjoy quiet time by the river as our mountain town transitions from summer to winter. During the fall months, Truckee-Tahoe’s uncrowded lakes, rivers, and streams bring new excitement to those who are eager to keep active. Fortunately, fly fishing is a 4-season game here in the Sierra, and fall is widely considered one of the best times of year to be on the water.

Search for Browns on the Big Truckee

As the weather cools down, and days get shorter, time on the Truckee River becomes more precious. It’s these months that our more elusive Brown Trout become increasingly aggressive as they near their annual spawn. Overcast or rainy days create a better opportunity as well, as the fish are less on edge and more active when weather is present. This is when we bring out our Streamers and start walking downstream instead of upstream, casting across the river and swinging these larger offerings in front of the more aggressive, predatory browns. 

A grab from one of these browns while stripping your line through the current is something you don’t forget. It’s a shock, and if not managed well, can lead to another ‘one that got away’ story. Make sure your gear is ready for bigger browns this fall, like an 11’ 4 wt. trout spey rods and heavy tippet.

Jason Shields, Trout Creek Outfitters

Early Season for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

Most people know that the Truckee River starts in Tahoe City, as the only outflow for Lake Tahoe. But many do not know that the river’s terminus is Pyramid Lake, after meandering 120 miles through the Sierra and into the great basin of Nevada. Pyramid Lake is home to our native trout, the Lahontan Cutthroat, and this lake holds all of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) records for the largest Cutthroat caught. Over the last few years, the average size of the fish has been getting larger and larger which has helped make Pyramid the premier Cutthroat fishery in the world.

On October 1st, Pyramid Lake opened for the season and we adjusted our schedules to make sure we can visit ‘the salty pond’ in search of a 20+ pound monster. Early season at Pyramid is all about getting deep to get onto the fish. Shooting line from the shore is common but getting out on a float tube or boat using fast sinking lines with heavy streamers will work the best early in the season. These fish will often be keyed in on the bait balls of Tui Chub and if you can find these schools of fish you will likely find some fat cutthroat gorging on these baitfish.

Miles Zimmerman, Trout Creek Outfitters

October Caddis on the Truckee River

This time of year also brings a literal fall of activity from the sky. The October Caddis event is not to be missed if you enjoy surface fishing for rising trout. Sometime in late September through early November, one of the last hatches of significant proportions will occur, causing more activity on the river. These larger winged bugs tend to create a more aggressive surface take from Rainbows and Browns, a perennial highlight of every Truckee river fly angler. Another major hatch of the fall is Blue Winged Olives commonly known as BWO’s, and what they often lack in size they make up for in quantity, often blanketing the surface of the water in such significant numbers it’s no wonder why they are one of the go-to offerings in the area.

Jason Shields, Trout Creek Outfitters

Fly Fishing on Local Lakes

Fall fishing on the local Truckee region lakes is always a great bet as water temperatures drop and the trout come up higher in the water column. Both fishing from the shore and out of a boat or float tube can be excellent, and using dry flies, nymphs and streamers all work close to equally. One great thing about fall still water angling is the lack of recreation happening, often making for a quiet day with just you, the fish and the beautiful fall colors. With the abundance of lakes in the Truckee area, one could spend a lifetime exploring them all, so why not start this fall?

Article provided by Trout Creek Outfitters, Truckee. For more information about Fall Fly Fishing in Truckee, reach out to Trout Creek Outfitters in historic Downtown Truckee or visit

Trout Creek Outfitters is one of 50 Truckee merchants that accept Sustainable Truckee Gift Cards, an e-gift card that supports stewardship and shopping local. The perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves Truckee!

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