North Lake Tahoe is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering pristine waters, diverse fish species, and breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re casting a line in the Truckee River, Donner Lake, or the expansive Lake Tahoe, this region promises an unforgettable fishing experience! 

No matter what kind of fishing experience you’re looking for, you can find incredible homes right near all the action with Tahoe Signature Properties! Our comfortable and conveniently located accommodations provide easy access to the best fishing spots, ensuring your trip is both relaxing and rewarding.

Dive into this guide to discover why North Lake Tahoe is the ultimate fishing destination!

Why Lake Tahoe is a Great Place to Fish

North Lake Tahoe is a premier destination for anglers, offering a rich variety of fishing opportunities amidst stunning natural beauty! 

Truckee River Fishing

Flowing out of Lake Tahoe and through the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Truckee River is renowned for its trout fishing. Anglers can expect to catch brown trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout in its clear, cold waters.

Donner Lake Fishing

Located just a short drive from Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake is another excellent fishing spot. Known for its kokanee salmon and lake trout (also known as Mackinaw), Donner Lake also offers opportunities to catch rainbow trout and brown trout.

Lake Tahoe Fishing

The lake itself is a treasure trove for anglers. With its deep, clear waters, Lake Tahoe is home to a variety of fish species, making it an ideal location for fishing year-round!

Types of Fishing in North Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe offers incredible fishing no matter what you’re looking for! 

Fly Fishing: 

The Truckee River is a fly-fishing haven, with its fast currents and abundant trout population. The area’s streams and rivers provide perfect conditions for this challenging and rewarding sport.

Boat Fishing: 

Lake Tahoe’s vast expanse is best explored by boat. Fishing charters are available for those who want to venture into deeper waters to catch large lake trout, kokanee salmon, and more.

Shore Fishing: 

For those who prefer to stay on land, there are numerous spots along the shores of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake where you can cast a line and enjoy the scenery.

Fishing Hot Spots

While there are plenty of places to cast a line, these are the top three spots perfect for anglers of every skill and age!

West Shore: If you’re looking for a bank fishing spot, this is a great option! You can usually catch rainbow and brown trout on worms, small spinners and eggs.

Sawmill Lake: You’ll find excellent lake fishing at this 10-acre private lake inside Northstar, California, renowned for its “fighting rainbow trout.” You will need to call or email ahead to book your day on the lake but we promise, it’s worth it! 

Martis Creek Lake: This catch-and-release spot means that you’ll have to use single, barbless hooks and spinner bait at this reservoir off Highway 267 between Truckee and Northstar.

Best Seasons for Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Fishing in North Lake Tahoe is a year-round activity, but certain seasons offer distinct advantages:


As the ice melts and the waters warm up, fish become more active. This is a great time for trout fishing in the rivers and lakes.


The warm weather and clear waters make summer a popular time for all types of fishing. Early mornings and late evenings are ideal to avoid the midday heat.


Fall is prime time for catching kokanee salmon as they prepare to spawn. The cooler temperatures also bring trout closer to the surface.


Winter is an excellent time for fishing large lake trout and the Truckee River is an excellent spot for winter fishing.

For a full list of places and species by month, check here

Fishing Safety and Planning Ahead

While fishing in Lake Tahoe can be a memorable experience, safety always comes first. Given the high elevation and unpredictable weather, it’s essential to be prepared!

Check the Weather: Ideal conditions can change fast so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest forecast and pack gear to keep you comfortable in the elements.

Carry Safety Equipment: Whenever you head out into nature, you’ll want to make sure you’re always prepared! Be sure to have life jackets when you’re on or near the water, bring a well-stocked first aid kit and fully charged, working communication devices!

Know Your Gear: Make sure you know how to properly handle all the gear that you’ll be using! Inspect kayaks and be sure to know how to use one, be sure to follow the rules of the lake in a boat and keep your hooks and fishing line safe and away from small children and pets! 

Tell A Friend: It’s always best to head out with a friend but if you’re planning on heading out alone, be sure to tell someone where you will be and when you’ll be back! Sharing your location can be a great way to stay safe so you can be found if things go awry out in the woods! 

Get Your Boater Card: If you’re planning to head out in a boat, you may want to take a boater safety education class to learn essential maritime skills.

Types of Fish in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe and its surrounding waters are home to a diverse array of fish species:

Lake Trout (Mackinaw): These deep-water fish are among the most sought-after in Lake Tahoe.

Rainbow Trout: Found in both lakes and rivers, they are a favorite among anglers for their fighting spirit.

Brown Trout: Known for their elusive nature, brown trout are prevalent in the Truckee River and Donner Lake.

Kokanee Salmon: These landlocked sockeye salmon are abundant in Donner Lake and certain parts of Lake Tahoe.

Cutthroat Trout: Native to the region, cutthroat trout can be found in the Truckee River and some smaller streams.

Best Places for Gear and Supplies in North Lake Tahoe

For a successful fishing trip, you need the right gear. Here are some top spots in North Lake Tahoe to stock up:

Trout Creek Outfitters

 10115 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 1-530-563-5119

This store provides everything from fishing rods and reels to bait and tackle, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any fishing trip.

Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters

500 Rd, Truckee, CA  | 1-530-541-8208

Whether you’re looking for gear and some tips or you want to book a guided fishing expedition, this is the place to go near Kings Beach! 

Mountain Hardware and Sports

910 Tahoe Blvd #103, Incline Village | 1-775-831-2020

You’ll find a comprehensive selection of rods and reels, flies, bait and all of the accessories you need to maximize your fishing experience!

Fishing in North Lake Tahoe FAQs

Q: Do I need a fishing license to fish in Lake Tahoe?

A: Yes, you need a valid fishing license from either California or Nevada, depending on which side of the lake you are fishing.

Q: What is the best time of day to fish in Lake Tahoe?

A: Early morning and late evening are generally the best times to fish, as fish are more active during these cooler periods.

Q: Can I fish from the shore in Lake Tahoe?

A: Yes, there are many accessible spots along the shoreline where you can fish without a boat.

Q: Are there any fishing restrictions in Lake Tahoe?

A: Certain areas may have specific regulations regarding catch limits, sizes, and types of gear allowed. Always check local regulations before fishing.

Q: What types of bait are best for fishing in Lake Tahoe?

A: Popular baits include worms, minnows, and various artificial lures designed to mimic the local aquatic life. If you’re not sure which bait to use for different types of fish, the knowledgeable staff at the outfitters will be able to give you great tips and tricks! 

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the region’s diverse environments and well-stocked waters promise an unforgettable fishing experience! With Tahoe Signature Properties’ incredible selection of vacation rentals, you can find an ideal home base for your fishing adventure!