Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Truckee River In A Drought No Doubt

Truckee River Canyon

Of all the rivers and streams in California that have been hit by the drought, the Truckee River has been hit the hardest. I don't understand how a long and fairly large river with several high sierra reservoirs plus Lake Tahoe feeding it gets reduce to barely a trickle. This trip was my second time fishing the Truckee River. I was at the right place at the wrong time.

Truckee River Drought
Truckee River
Waking up at 4am to get to the Truckee wasn't too bad. These indian summer days are great in the mornings but terrible in the afternoon. The drive from HWY 20 to I80 wasn't that bad either. An easy and scenic 2 hour drive from Yuba City.

Hirschdale Bridge

The Truckee flows are at 100 CFS below Boca Reservoir; bare minimum. This section of the river was even lower last year. Above Boca Reservoir the river is flowing at 5 CFS! I'm pretty sure I can fill up my tub faster than the river is flowing! I've never seen any river that low. It was just all rocks and puddles. Very sad.
I recommend not fishing that section until it gets some water. The fishing is probably extremely poor and the fish need all the help they can get. It'll take a lot of water before the fishing gets good again.

Watch Out For Trains In The Canyon

This trip I fished below Boca to see for myself how low the river was and how it was fishing.

My day started in Hirschdale in the canyon section. The water was murky and low here resembling more of a creek than a river. The water temperature was nice and cool which was good considering the hot summer the Truckee experienced. Warm water and trout don't mix well.
My objective this trip was to try and catch a brown trout therefore the majority of the day was dedicated to throwing streamers. Although nymphs were more successful throughout the day, most of the fish that I caught were small bows.
There were also a bunch of bugs hatching in the morning but very few small fish rising. 

Nice Big Streamer Eater

I covered a ton of water but found no browns, all bows this trip. The biggest fish was around 18'' taking a Hero Sculpin and the smallest was around 8''. There wasn't much fishable water to work with so I ended up hiking more than fishing.

Baby Truckee Bow

If you want to fish the Truckee I recommend that you go just to see how the bad the conditions are. Just experiencing this river in drought conditions will make you want keep off the river until more water comes through. I know I will.

Little Truckee River
This was my first experience fishing the LTR. I found several big fish in the LTR averaging about 14'' with the biggest looking around 20'' but they weren't eating. There weren't any redds yet but the fish  were probably in the process of staging.
I fished around the meadow section which had a lot of shallow slow moving water and aquatic plants. Extremely difficult fishing! Everything literally had to be perfect if I wanted to hook up. It didn't happen this trip.

Meadow Section LTR

I have a feeling that this section of the LTR is very hatch orientated; fish morning and evening and if your not matching the hatch exactly you weren't going to get any bites. Very challenging fly fishing.

The next time I visit I'll try fishing a different section of the LTR.

Yuba River
On the way home I stopped by the Yuba River. The flows are looking great at 682 CFS, much higher than the last time I visited. I tried fishing the evening dry fly hatch but failed to hook up. Oh well at least there's water here.

A Wet Relief!


  1. Thanks for the great report! Did you see any sign of egg bite at the Yuba?

    1. Thanks for reading!
      I've read reports that the egg bite has not happening as of yet.
      I threw an egg pattern for like five minutes before the bugs started to hatch and didn't get any hook ups. I'll probably check it out later this week.