The busy summer season at Lake Tahoe isn’t set to start for another month or so, unless you’re a fisherman.
Several California streams within casting distance of the Lake Tahoe Basin will open to fishing for the summer on Saturday. Tributaries running into Lake Tahoe remain closed to fishing until July 1.
Changes in past years allowing year-round fishing on certain streams in the Tahoe region have lessened the significance of the state’s opening day to the area, said Victor Babbitt, owner of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters. But the angler said he expected a busy weekend at popular fishing spots like the west fork of the Carson River through Hope Valley and the East Fork of the river above Hangman’s bridge in Markleeville. Both forks of the Carson River were stocked with trout earlier this month, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish planting schedule. The Nevada Department of Wildlife also stocked the east fork in April.
The Eastern Sierra, south of Lake Tahoe, is also expecting between 5,000 and 8,000 anglers in search of there first trout catches of the year, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“It should be a pretty epic weekend,” Hughan said.
Clear skies and slow runoff have made for good fishing in the areas that are already open to anglers. Warmer water gives fish additional time to eat and add weight between winter and opening day, according to a release from the California wildlife agency. Sunny weather has also provided early access to spring fishermen.
“Warm weather has been melting snow and ice on lakes that often are still frozen in late spring, giving anglers more access to lakes, streams and waterways for the Saturday, April 27 season opener,” according to the release. “Lakes below 8,000 feet have already thawed and higher lakes could thaw considerably more prior to opening day.”
If mild temperatures and gradual runoffs continue, fishermen can expect what has been a notable couple of months to continue, Babbitt said.
“We’ve already had a great season. It’s been early for us,” Babbitt said.
“In the fly-fishing world we’ve come off one of the best March/Aprils we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” Babbitt said. “I can’t tell you why, but it’s been a pleasant surprise,” he added.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff are scheduled to stock trout in the Silver Fork of the American River near Kyburz, as well as Markleeville Creek in Alpine County next week.
Anyone older than 16 is required to possess a California fishing license while fishing in the state. Anyone over the age of 12 fishing in Nevada 12 is required to have a Nevada license, with some exceptions for non-resident anglers under the age of 12. Either a California or Nevada fishing license is valid for fishing on Lake Tahoe.