6 places to go ice fishing at Lake Tahoe
Our mountain lakes may be frozen, but underneath the ice there is a whole lot of life swimming around.
Ice fishing is popular at Lake Tahoe and it doesn’t take a lot of equipment, mostly motivation to be out in the cold. All you need is a fishing pole, bait, an ice auger to cut through the ice and a shovel in case there is snow covering the ice.
You can bring a cooler and barbecue and make a day out of it.
Victor Babbit, owner of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, recommended some places to go.
1. Red Lake in the Carson Pass region is one of the most popular spots for ice fishing. On a bluebird day, people can be seen ice skating, playing hockey and ice fishing on the lake. Babbit says at Red Lake you can catch several fish but they are generally smaller in size. Red Lake is easily accessible. Fishermen will often fish close to the dam and on the south side of the lake.
2. Caples Lake near Kirkwood is another top spot to ice fish in Lake Tahoe. Babbit says that at Caples, one typically catches less fish, but bigger fish.
“Chances for catching a Mackinaw are better,” he said.
3. Twin Lakes is a great backcountry spot to ice fish if you have a snowmobile, Babbit said.
4. Blue Lakes is 12 miles south of California State Route 88 in Hope Valley. This is another spot where you are going to want to pack your supplies on a snowmobile to get to the lake.
5. Silver Lake is just past Caples Lake. Babbit says that while Silver Lake is a good spot, Caples is just as good and closer to South Lake Tahoe.
6. Spooner Lake is another option for ice fishing and is accessible throughout the season. About 10 miles from Incline Village, this lake has rainbow, brown and large cutthroat trout.
Babbit recommends drilling a hole by an outlet or inlet. He says that while it sounds like an oddity, sometimes he fishes close to the shoreline where it may only be about 3 feet deep.
Babbit says he will also fish in areas where the water is 10-15 feet deep.
“You’re trying to figure out where and how deep they [the fish] are,” he said.
For bait a piece of a worm, cooked bay shrimp, salmon eggs, Power Bait or mealworms can be used.
Babbit says he prefers a ⅜ ounce Kastmaster fishing jig. All bait, other than the shrimp are available at his shop.
Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters rents and sells ice augers (they are currently out of stock, but more are on the way), tackle and all the rods anyone would need.
Babbit says if you don’t have an auger or are unable to get one, if you bring $5-10 or even a pack of beer, usually another angler out on the ice will drill a hole for you, especially if you go to the popular areas like Red Lake.
This is the first time in years, Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitter will not be offering ice fishing tours this year.
Note: Venture at your own risk. Make sure the ice is solid before attempting to walk on. Also, the ice can be very slick, especially before snow falls on top. Bring ice grips for shoes. Life jackets and ropes are always a good idea and bring a friend. Make sure to have a valid fishing license. Respect local wildlife and leave no trace.
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