Lake Tahoe

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Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most gorgeous fishing destinations in California. With over 190 square miles of exquisite fishing nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tahoe is a popular haunt of anglers from all over the country. And the best way to explore the abundance of the “Big Blue” is with a Lake Tahoe fishing charter.

In the lake’s notoriously cold, deep-blue waters you’ll find plenty of fish species worth your attention and most of them are biting year-round. The star of the show is Mackinaw (Lake Trout) – the beauty from the deep that can weigh anywhere from 2–20 pounds. Tahoe is one of the best spots in both Nevada and California to hook Kokanee, aka landlocked Sockeye Salmon, in the summer.

While Mackinaw and Kokanee action put the lake on the fishing map, there are many other species available. Go after Brown and Rainbow Trout and most of the year, and you’ll have a great catch to brag about. In the bays and estuaries, you might also hook into Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie, and Sculpin.

Seeing that 90% of the fish are swimming in just 10% of the lake’s water, the key is knowing where to look, and a professional guide can help you with that. Most Lake Tahoe fishing charters offer half day trips that are perfect to get a taste of local fishing and hook plenty of Macks to take home. These excursions are well-suited for kids, beginners, and pros alike.

Some of the best spots to find a guide include Glenbrook and Tahoe Vista.

Rules & Regulations

Lake Tahoe straddles the border of California and Nevada, but don’t let that confuse you when buying your fishing license. Anglers age 16 and older can bring either a California or Nevada fishing license – both are valid no matter where you fish on the lake.

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Lake Tahoe Fishing Seasons

Anglers concentrate on catching school size Mackinaw in the deeper reaches of the lake at this time of year. Surface temperatures are at their lowest, and the weather can cause cancellations.
As winter progresses, the fishing on Lake Tahoe is still focused on Mackinaw. You may also hook a Rainbow or Brown Trout, depending on where you fish.
As the water starts warming up, anglers switch to toplining for Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and trophy Mackinaw. Fishing deeper waters for school size Mackinaw is still productive, too.
The hustle and bustle of spring continue, with anglers reeling in all the local Trout species on a regular basis. Fishing the Tahoe Keys, bays, and estuaries could produce Bass, Crappie, and Catfish.
Kokanee Salmon are starting to make an appearance in Lake Tahoe, but are still a long way from their peak season. Trout fishing continues to be excellent, so whether you want Macks or Rainbows, you’re golden.
Warmer temperatures drive Mackinaw and Trout into the deeper waters of the lake. You might still hook a Trout here and there, but you’re most likely to catch Macks while trolling, drifting, and jigging.
The Kokanee season is in full swing come July. When you get your share of hard-fighting delicious landlocked Sockeye, head to the deeper waters in search of Mackinaw and go home with a mixed bag.
Summer fishing action on Lake Tahoe is on point, with stellar fishing and family-friendly events. Kokanee is still the favorite catch, and while Mackinaw might be hiding out in the deep, they’re hungry.
As temperatures start cooling off again, Rainbow Trout return to the shallows to feed. Many Lake Tahoe fishing guides switch to light tackle spinning, often catching more than a dozen Trout on a good day.
Fish the deep water for Mackinaw or cast a few lines in the shallows for Rainbow Trout. This month, locals celebrate the Kokanee spawning run at the Kokanee Salmon Festival in Taylor Creek, so definitely stop by if you’re in the area!
Salmon and Trout fishing are still strong in November. If you’re looking to unwind and have a productive day on the water, this is a good time to cast your line on the lake and enjoy the excellent bite.
The holiday season marks the beginning of many festivities in towns all around the lake. When you’re not busy celebrating, spend the day on these clear blue waters, reeling in good Mackinaw.

Lake Tahoe Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Lake Tahoe

Lake Trout

Lake Trout

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Salmon (Sockeye)

Salmon (Sockeye)