Best 100: Truckee River

Location: Central California

Type of stream: Freestone

Angling methods Fly, Spinning

Species: Rainbows and browns

Access Easy

Season: Late April—mid Nov. Supporting

Services: Truckee

Short take: Wild bows and a few big browns

Handicapped access: None

Closest Chapters: Truckee, Feather River

In its uppermost reach, the Truckee River pours through a 12-mile valley beneath the Sierra Nevadas, slows and breaks east as it enters the Donner Pass and the village of Truckee, then makes a run for the Nevada state line. The entire route covers nearly 30 miles, much of it in the Tahoe National Forest. Those who know it divide the river into three sections: Lake Tahoe to Truckee, Truckee to the outflow from Boca Reservoir, and the mileage below Boca outflow.

From the dam to the confluence with Donner Creek west of Truckee is classic freestone trout water. Runoff from the high Sierras shoots through this section in May and June, turning most of the river the color of dirty chalk. Fishing deteriorates as the river courses through the town of Truckee. Downstream Trout Creek comes in and fishing improves. That marks the beginning of 14 miles of wild trout water that’s governed by artificial only, year ‘round fishing. During the season from late April through mid-November, only two-trout of at least 14-inches may be harvested.

Perhaps the best of the wild trout Truckee starts with the inflow of Prosser Creek. The river becomes faster and deeper. Access becomes limited to those willing to hike canyon trails or float. Wading can be challenging. But the benefits are there. Trout are less wary and will chase big streamers. The specially regulated section of the Truckee ends at Crystal Peak Park just inside the Nevada state line.


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