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Fall-like temperatures powering Truckee bite

Another nice brown for the author from the Mogul area.
Another nice brown for the author from the Mogul area.
Photo by Brian La Rue

It's mid September and that means the football season is in full swing, kids are back in school and the area's fish are getting active again. All three factors mean good times to a fly fisherman. The Truckee, Davis and Frenchman's are all producing as water temperatures are dropping and fish are putting on the feed bag before bugs become scarce in winter.

This 21-inch brown hit a small custom pheasant tail/sheep creek special on the Truckee.
This 21-inch brown hit a small custom pheasant tail/sheep creek special on the Truckee.
Photos by Brian La Rue

I hit the Truckee three times the past two weeks in the Mogul/Verdi area and the trout were very active. From a 17-fish morning with 5 measuring 18-inches plus to a 14-fish morning with a couple browns running 18 and 21 inches, signs are there that this bite will only get better. Co-workers at Reno Orvis also caught browns to 26 inches and customers are reporting better results as well.

What are the hot fly patterns? Well, pheasant tails, Prince patterns, stripped down sheep's creek specials, San Juan worms, yellow and tan streamers and smaller crayfish patterns are working. Green and gold stoneflies are also producing as always, but don't count out an October caddis pattern either.

As for my specific mornings, I had success with a flashy San Juan as a lead fly trailed by the old school, slimmed down, sheep creek. The fly is so basic. It is a size 14 to 16 hook wrapped with olive peacock tied over some brown hackle--that's it. No wings, just brown hackle emerging from the top and tail. Some olive pheasant tails come close to it.

On all my trips I utilized an 11-foot leader with a Screwball indicator positioned about 7.5 feet from the top fly/shot. I think the San Juan worked as a great attractor, as only two fish were hooked on the worm pattern. The other hot worm patterns you will have good success on are equally flashy. The Get-Down-Worm is also a good choice. These basic worms work and rarely get caught on the bottom as well.

As for the stillwaters, Davis and Frenchman's have turned on for lake regulars Gray Bonanno and his pals. Brownish red blood midge-style bugs, Schmidt's Tungsten Goldies and pheasant tails are working well. Days are best with a little breezy as the small waves give life to your nymph/midge rig. Look for streamer patterns to turn on soon.

If you like to keep up on the local bite or learn about fly fishing events in the area, click on the subscribe button near the top of the page to receive updates every time I write a story. I also write a National Examiner Fly Fishing page where I review products and tackle national titles. All subscriptions are free! Thank you for your support. I will also be at Reno Orvis Oct. 5 as Orvis kicks off Fall Orvis Days with a free pancake breakfast. Come say hi and introduce yourself.