Directions: The Truckee River can be reached from I-80 out of Sacramento or from Reno. It is situated around the town of Truckee just north of Lake Tahoe. Hwy 80 follows the lower section of the Truckee to the Nevada border. M Below Truckee, Glenshire Drive provides access until it dead-ends. Further access is by way of pullouts along I-80 at most bridges. There are fisherman trails along both sides of the river.
The Truckee River is the only outlet for Lake Tahoe. It leaves Lake Tahoe near Tahoe City and continues along Hwy 89 to the town of Truckee. From there it follows I-80 northward towards Reno. The flyfishing portions of this river mainly occur between the turnoff to Alpine Meadows and where Gray Creek merges into the Truckee, 10 miles downstream from the Boca Bridge. There is no fishing allowed from the Tahoe City's "Fanny Bridge" downstream for 1000 feet. The average trout size is 9-12 inches. There are slightly more Browns present than Rainbows. The Browns can get up to 18-22" and the Rainbows to 16-20 inches. Recently, Lahontan Cutthroats, which originally inhabited the river, have been reintroduced. Your basic rod choice is a 9-foot 5 weight, moving up to a 6 weight during windy conditions. Leaders should be 9 foot 5x with a 5x tippet. Within California, the Truckee is open from the last Saturday of April to the 15th of November. High Stick Nymphing with or without an indicator is the preferred method to fish this stream and is the water is available year-round. The best water temps are 56-68 degrees.
The Truckee has an insect distribution of about 65% caddis, 20% mayfly and the rest mixed. Try a Olive X-Caddis or Olive Elk Hair Caddis (14-18) for the caddis as well as Blue Wing Olives and Pale Morning Duns for the mayflies. A Green Drake Hatch (size #8-10) is possible during mid-June as well as Golden Stones (size #4-6). #10 Winged Black Carpenter Ants are another good offer during June. The Little Yellow Stonefly hatch occurs in June and early July, try skating a Yellow Stimulator or Clark's Little Yellow Stonefly. Pale Morning Duns hatch in early July. A Burk's Hunchback Infrequens can be used for the nymph and a PMD Sparkle Dun for the adult. During June, July, and August, there are hatches of Green Rock Worm and Spotted Caddis. With the Caddis hatch, try an Emergent Sparkle Pupa or Caddis Emerger. Finally in late September to early November, the October Caddis (size #6-8) is around and the last hatches of the blue-wing olives will occur. BWO's (size #18-24) usually show up around mid-day for a couple of hours. A BWO Quigley Cripple works well, also try Pheasant Tail Nymphs before and after the hatch. Throughout the season nymphs are used such as Prince Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Bird's Nest, and Pheasant Tail Nymphs are favorites.
Wild Trout Section of Truckee: At the eastern edge of the town of Truckee where Trout Creek enters the Truckee, the Truckee River begins a "Wild Trout" section with restrictions of barbless flies and lures, a 2-trout limit of 15" or more. Most fishing this water embrace a strict catch & release policy . Most of this section is accessed by Glenshire Drive which parallels the river for 4 miles. The water is mainly riffles and runs with open areas for casting and easy wading. Just downstream from the Glenshire bridge is a private reserve owned by San Francisco Flycasters. This private water extends to the first bridge at I-80 at Prosser Creek. After the second I-80 bridge, there are deep pools, one known as "Horner's Corner" for Jack Horner, inventor of the Humpy fly. The "Wild Trout" section was extended from the confluence of Gray Creek to the Nevada state line in 2014. The best time to fish this area is after the Spring run-off has passed and the water starts to clear to the end of June prior to the hot July weather. Due to the large number of emerging caddis, a wet-fly swing of a Grey Hackle works as well as nymph patterns such as Bird's Nest and Prince Nymphs. The prime lies are the pocket water and heads of pools. Within this section about 20% of the water contains 80% of the fish.
Lower Section of Truckee: From the Boca Bridge to Gray Creek, about 10 miles, there are deep pools for streamer action. This area has large rainbows and smallmouth bass. It remains a 2-trout limit of 15" or more but not restricted to barbless flies or lures. The flows are somewhat greater due to released water from Stampede and Boca Reservoirs. Fishing this area during the Fall is much easier when water levels are lower. Fishing is best before 9:00am and after 3:00pm when the canyon is shaded. You can get access at Boca Bridge but most of this area is private and access is difficult. There is a railroad line for 7 miles to Floriston that you can follow alongside the river. The flow gauge is at Boca Bridge, typically at 250 to 740 cfs. The best fishing flows are 300 to 500 cfs. Check the link above for Current conditions.