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photo by Greg Vinci


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” Insta-
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 on.

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.