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Little Truckee's rainbows, browns looking up

The author fishing the Little Truckee early near Lighting Tree.
The author fishing the Little Truckee early near Lighting Tree.
Photo by Barrett La Rue

When flows on the Little Truckee or cut to a quarter of what they were overnight, it takes a toll on the fishing. The fish need a couple of days to find new hiding place, feeding lanes or simply new areas to call home to avoid anglers like you and I. Well, the flows on the Little Truckee between Boca and Stampede just dropped from 230 CFS to about 70 CFS, but fish are looking up.

The author prepares to release a nice Little Truckee rainbow.
Photo by Barrett La Rue

I recently hit the LT on Thursday. My son and I were the first ones in the lots as the sun rose over the Eastern Sierra. A deer welcomed us down on the water to kick things off. We used a combo of dries and nymphs to catch a few small fish, but it wasn't until about 8 a.m. when things really began to turn on. We also bumped into a friend and guide Mike Curtis from Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters and he said I should use a larger size 10 Royal Wulff if I wanted to capitalize on the PMD, Drake hatch that was beginning.

We were below Frustration when we talked and my little one and I could see feeders above. I took his advice and switched from a size 16 Wulff to a size 10 and began to inch up Frustration. For starters, I have no idea why it's called Frustration because after about 1 1/2 hours, I think I'll just call it a "sure thing." By the way, where's the Money or Sure Thing Hole because if Frustration made our morning, I'd love to try one of those other spots.

I started throwing a Wulff paired with a size 14 green drake and from the first rising form to the last, every fish seemed to want a piece of the Royal Wulff. I started off with a 12-inch rainbow. It had beautiful colors and was pretty feisty. After returning him to the water, I noticed a couple larger fish feeding just up another 10 feet. The first cast to the fish in the shadows produced an 18-inch rainbow. Another beauty who gave me a fun little run upriver on my H2/Mirage combo with 6X.

Then a few other buddies walked down the trail. Lew Webb and Frank Pisciotta of Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers were on their way to fish below my son and I. They said hi and we were quickly back at it. I saw at least one more sizeable fish and decided to give it another flip just ahead of his last rise. Sure enough, another 18-inch rainbow took the Wulff seconds after it hit the water. I was fishing upriver to avoid being detected in the low flows and there was nothing frustrating and Frustration.

I then handed off the rod to my 8-year old. He managed to land another four trout including browns and rainbows in the next hour before we called it a day. There was one more nice hooked on the green drake, the only one on the drake in the shallow, shady bank. The fish ran down river and managed to rub the line on a rock during his run. We never got to see him, but I figure he was about the size of the other two 18 inchers.

If you need a size 10 Royal Wulff or would like more pointers on how to fish the Little Truckee, visit us at Reno Orvis or hire a guide for the day like Brian Slusser from Four Seasons Fly Fishing or Mike Curtis of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.