Truckee flows south out of the Eastern Sierra into
Stampede Reservoir, then upon exiting below the Stampede Dam flows through
about a three mile meadow section and a canyon to eventually dump into
Boca Reservoir. Once it leaves Boca it travels another one hundred yards to
its confluence with the Truckee River. The “special regulations or
trophy trout section” between Stampede Dam and Boca Reservoir is the
magnet that draws fly fishermen to what is primarily a wild trout fishery
though it’s supplemented by hatchery that find their way up from Boca
Reservoir. Though it’s called a
“river” it actually resembles a large creek and consists of riffles,
and pools. The geology
of the river bottom and surrounding area is volcanic, which is typical of
eastern Sierra watersheds. In
fact, the porous nature of the volcanic rocks of the river’s bottom
contributes greatly to its ability to host a huge variety of aquatic
insect’s which contribute to the fertility that makes the Little Truckee
very attractive to trout. The
large variety of bugs however, can make fishing tougher as the fish have
lots to choose from and can get quite finicky at times.
The aquatic life is typical of the east slope of the Sierra. Blue Wing Olives, March Browns and Green Drakes start off the
season then come the Pale Morning Duns, Little Yellow Stones and Caddis.
Towards the end of summer hoppers become a significant food source
for the trout, and then the year finishes off with Blue Winged Olives
making reappearance. Chironomids
are omnipresent throughout the year.
Because the water is
relatively shallow a hopper-dropper style rig is very effective. Early in the season (May/June) a big Green Drake Cripple with
a small (#16-#20) bead head nymph or midge larva, tied to the end of about
two feet of 6X fluorocarbon is deadly.
Later in the summer switch the Green Drake Cripple for a hopper or
Stimulator style dry. Dropper
patterns can range from the venerable bead head Pheasant Tail that covers
many mayfly species such as Blue Wing Olive and Pale Morning Duns, to
Hare’s Ears, Bird Nests and Prince’s which will cover Caddis and
Stoneflies. If you
elect to use a conventional two fly indicator rig, select a large heavy
pattern for the anchor fly, for example a #12 bead head Green Drake for
the early season, or a more generic pattern such as a #12 bead head Prince
or Bird’s Nest for the balance of the season.
The dropper can be any of the patterns already mentioned above for
the hopper/dropper rig. Some of the new heavy double bead patterns such as those of
the “Depth Charge” series work great as anchor nymphs.
The Little Truckee is narrow enough so that tight line nymphing techniques
can be employed or if one prefers using an indicator, a small one will
due. I like to rig a 3/8”
Set or Pop-Top Indicator about three feet above the split shot and
begin fishing the closer slots or holding areas using a straight line or
high stick technique. Because I am targeting fish that are no more than
ten feet form my position, the indicator is not used as a float but
primarily acts to keep me abreast of the relative location of
my fly/weight. Once I
begin fishing slots that are further away (and usually deeper) from my
position I can allow the indicator to float and detect strikes. Light fluorocarbon tippets can get you more strikes as these
fish get wise after being pressured all summer.
Four and five weight rods are perfect for the Little Truckee though
this can be a great place to fish your three weight when the hatches are
If you are planning a
fishing trip to the Truckee area, by all means consider trying out the
Little Truckee. Missing out
on fishing this interesting water would be kind of like planning a trip to
fishing the Roaring Fork (near Glenwood Springs, Colorado) and not giving
the Frying Pan a try too.