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Expedition to Lake Tahoe, looking for intel


MassBass

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I am mounting an expedition to go to South Lake Tahoe first week of April. My father who lives in Carson City will be coming along for the adventure. I plan on primarily fishing air injected crawlers off the bottom, from the bank. I thought this presentation will work for the salmonids of the deep. On the Nevada side, it seems like Cave Rock would be a good spot for this. Are there any other bank spots/parks that drop off fast on the Nevada side? We could also try presenting blade baits and cast masters, but I think the nightcrawler presentation seems like a sure thing. I also have some floating powerbait trout worms and eggs. 

 

Our lodging will be near the borderline in South Lake Tahoe. I am not sure if I venture around the bank down there if there will be good water. Maybe bass?

 

On the California side it looks like Emerald Bay and the dl bliss state park to the North of it may be worth exploring. Is there access to the water around there? Back in Carson City I want to give the Carson River a try with lures. 

 

If you have any knowledge of spots or tactics here, or comments on bait/presentations, it would be welcome. Not planning on getting a guide. 

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I’ve only fished Tahoe from a boat so can’t comment much on access points.  Usually trolling was the most consistent way for us to catch fish though we have done well drifting night crawlers.  I’d imagine floating a crawler will do fine in the right areas.  I’ve also fished bass once out of Tahoe Keys.  My buddy knows someone who lives there and took their kayaks out and caught some around all the docks.  FWIW, when I visit my buddy up in Reno, we fish the feeder creeks/Trucker river and not from the shore in Lake Tahoe.  So if there are any around you I would not overlook them.

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Haven’t fished Lake Tahoe in decades. 

Truckee River outflow has a hwy bridge with big trout being feed by onlookers, can’t fish within 100 yards of the bridge but worth seeing.

Lake Tahoe is extremely clear and deep, over 4,000’.

From shore the water tapers slower out about 200 yards at about 100’, then drops off to 1,500’ deep ledge around the lake. Nearly all the trout locate near that 1,500’ ledge too far off shore to fish without a boat.

Rumors Smallmouth bass now populate Tahoe in small numbers.

I caught several big rainbow and Lake (Mackinaw) trout along the 1,500’ 1st ledge drifting live crawdads 150’ deep in the “purple”water at Meeks Bay. Caught the crawdads around the rocky shoreline.

Truckee River and Fallen Leaf Lake would be a better shoreline experience imo.

Tom

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Ive been a few times, Many different trout species are in the lake; and it is a huge lake. Even small populations of smb and lmb exist. Classic c rig with powerbait or worm has worked for nearly 100 years, and won't stop anytime soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expect it to be cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some trout strains perfer deep water, others perfer shallow, there is success commonly fishing from shore. Has lots of rocks to snag on also on the bottom, and is tremendously deep in some 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/26/2023 at 6:59 AM, MassBass said:

I am mounting an expedition to go to South Lake Tahoe first week of April. My father who lives in Carson City will be coming along for the adventure. I plan on primarily fishing air injected crawlers off the bottom, from the bank. I thought this presentation will work for the salmonids of the deep. On the Nevada side, it seems like Cave Rock would be a good spot for this. Are there any other bank spots/parks that drop off fast on the Nevada side? We could also try presenting blade baits and cast masters, but I think the nightcrawler presentation seems like a sure thing. I also have some floating powerbait trout worms and eggs. 

 

Our lodging will be near the borderline in South Lake Tahoe. I am not sure if I venture around the bank down there if there will be good water. Maybe bass?

 

On the California side it looks like Emerald Bay and the dl bliss state park to the North of it may be worth exploring. Is there access to the water around there? Back in Carson City I want to give the Carson River a try with lures. 

 

If you have any knowledge of spots or tactics here, or comments on bait/presentations, it would be welcome. Not planning on getting a guide. 

Good luck with your trip @MassBass and the suggestions by @camman, @WRB, and @PressuredFishing are great advice. I know you didn’t plan on hiring a guide, but you might give Pyramid Lake and its monster Lahontan cutthroat trout some consideration. On YouTube, Wilderness with Amani would be a good resource posts a lot of content fishing Tahoe (and other Sierra lakes and rivers) with a c-rig using powerbait or a nightcrawler to catch rainbow and brown trout. 
I hope this helps a little bit and enjoy your time fishing ‘cause we want to see some pictures!

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36 minutes ago, PressuredFishing said:

Yeah some even fish on ladders there due to the shape on the bottom, never actually casted a line in myself tho

My understanding as well. I’ve never fished there either. My neighbor took his boys up there last year and they had 50 fish days in the 5-8lb range. I just wanted to give @MassBass some options even though his Dad lives up there and probably knows about it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You really shouldn’t go to Tahoe without some way to access the waters. Float Tube/Kayak for the Keys, Kayak/Skiff for the Main lake. Otherwise shore fishing is very limited. On the other hand, the Cutthroat in Pyramid cruise the shorelines chasing huge Minnows. Much better experience, no license required. Quality Trout. Throw 3/4 oz Spoons, or Bobber and Flies, Swimbaits. Cruise the shoreline in your car, look for Parking lots with Fishermen. Fish are near.  

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13 hours ago, bendopolo said:

You really shouldn’t go to Tahoe without some way to access the waters. Float Tube/Kayak for the Keys, Kayak/Skiff for the Main lake. Otherwise shore fishing is very limited. On the other hand, the Cutthroat in Pyramid cruise the shorelines chasing huge Minnows. Much better experience, no license required. Quality Trout. Throw 3/4 oz Spoons, or Bobber and Flies, Swimbaits. Cruise the shoreline in your car, look for Parking lots with Fishermen. Fish are near.  

my friend did well with smaller jerkbaits.  he killed them.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the advice. The trip went well with one day of 'killing it' making up for skunked outings on the bank. I hit cave rock twice, both days there was a strong and cold North wind. A couple locals were there just sitting in their truck with lines out. Said they got a big Brown recently, but nothing on the days I talked to them, I had no takes either. A recurrent issue was the oldness of my old man. Before we made the crossing to Tahoe, we went to Washoe lake. I tried dilly dallying here and there with a night crawler. I had an idea, to walk far up the windblown shore with a spinner, which was casting well against the wind, but he wanted to leave already. It was a similar story at the Carson River, but I could not get a bite there despite my best efforts. 

 

Back at Tahoe, after a fishless outing to the Sand harbor area, I knew I had to call the professionals. We went out with Tahoe Sportfishing on an afternoon outing. The deckhand Andrew was a cool guy and a good fisherman. He asked if I had ever caught a lake trout, I said 'its on my bucket list.' He goes 'well you came to the right place!' They were using what you would probably call a bottom bouncer rig, with three flashers on the leader to a small shiner threaded through a treble. The first drift two people lost a fish. The second drift we were just dragging along, no bites yet. I was watching the deckhands rod, and it was really pop pop, jerk jerk of the rod. I started mimicking the action he was giving the rig, then bam, I was on, good fish. Then I kind of got away from that action, trying to feel the bottom and the flashers (they use braid), but when I picked up the jerk jerk action again, I got some more bites. It was my father and I, and three others, a dad and his two teenage sons. The boat caught 11 fish, but personally I did well with two of the bigger sized fish and three smaller ones. I was able to net my dad's fish at the end which was classic. We kept, and I baked them the next day and it came out well. 

 

In the hotel In south Lake Tahoe I did more research, about stocked waters and Pyramid Lake. I think if I was on my own with a different pace I would have gone up there. I found a stocked pond complex near Reno to hit on the last day. We showed up in the morning, and I immediately noticed diving cormorants. They were hunting the stocked trout! I stared with a spinner, covering water, seemed kind of fishy. At one spot I casted the spinner, and a flock of pigeons flew right in front. I hooked a pigeon and it fell to the water. I thought oh ****. I brought it in and then up to the dock/deck I was on, then I kind of panicked and took out my knife and cut the line. Then the pigeon starts scurrying off, with the spinner dangling behind it. It wasn't actually hooked, just tangled in the line. It was a bad look and I couldn't leave it like that, so I chased after the bird, and then it freed itself and left the spinner, leader and swivel on the concrete. After that ordeal I decided to set up with a powerbait. I had a bite, tap tap. Then it dropped before I set. At another spot, same thing. Then at the end I had a crawler out, I had a tap, then I pulled it- nothing. I think I was dealing with 10" or so stockies, and my terminal was kind of big for that. So, nothing to show on my own gear, but a great time with the guides. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, MassBass said:

Thanks for all the advice. The trip went well with one day of 'killing it' making up for skunked outings on the bank. I hit cave rock twice, both days there was a strong and cold North wind. A couple locals were there just sitting in their truck with lines out. Said they got a big Brown recently, but nothing on the days I talked to them, I had no takes either. A recurrent issue was the oldness of my old man. Before we made the crossing to Tahoe, we went to Washoe lake. I tried dilly dallying here and there with a night crawler. I had an idea, to walk far up the windblown shore with a spinner, which was casting well against the wind, but he wanted to leave already. It was a similar story at the Carson River, but I could not get a bite there despite my best efforts. 

 

Back at Tahoe, after a fishless outing to the Sand harbor area, I knew I had to call the professionals. We went out with Tahoe Sportfishing on an afternoon outing. The deckhand Andrew was a cool guy and a good fisherman. He asked if I had ever caught a lake trout, I said 'its on my bucket list.' He goes 'well you came to the right place!' They were using what you would probably call a bottom bouncer rig, with three flashers on the leader to a small shiner threaded through a treble. The first drift two people lost a fish. The second drift we were just dragging along, no bites yet. I was watching the deckhands rod, and it was really pop pop, jerk jerk of the rod. I started mimicking the action he was giving the rig, then bam, I was on, good fish. Then I kind of got away from that action, trying to feel the bottom and the flashers (they use braid), but when I picked up the jerk jerk action again, I got some more bites. It was my father and I, and three others, a dad and his two teenage sons. The boat caught 11 fish, but personally I did well with two of the bigger sized fish and three smaller ones. I was able to net my dad's fish at the end which was classic. We kept, and I baked them the next day and it came out well. 

 

In the hotel In south Lake Tahoe I did more research, about stocked waters and Pyramid Lake. I think if I was on my own with a different pace I would have gone up there. I found a stocked pond complex near Reno to hit on the last day. We showed up in the morning, and I immediately noticed diving cormorants. They were hunting the stocked trout! I stared with a spinner, covering water, seemed kind of fishy. At one spot I casted the spinner, and a flock of pigeons flew right in front. I hooked a pigeon and it fell to the water. I thought oh ****. I brought it in and then up to the dock/deck I was on, then I kind of panicked and took out my knife and cut the line. Then the pigeon starts scurrying off, with the spinner dangling behind it. It wasn't actually hooked, just tangled in the line. It was a bad look and I couldn't leave it like that, so I chased after the bird, and then it freed itself and left the spinner, leader and swivel on the concrete. After that ordeal I decided to set up with a powerbait. I had a bite, tap tap. Then it dropped before I set. At another spot, same thing. Then at the end I had a crawler out, I had a tap, then I pulled it- nothing. I think I was dealing with 10" or so stockies, and my terminal was kind of big for that. So, nothing to show on my own gear, but a great time with the guides. 

 

 

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Great write up, don’t see a bridge like that every day! Just about any trout will react positively to some crazy erratic action , even if it’s just following something they had previously been ignoring. They are playful creatures 

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