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Fishing Lake Information - Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is in the Sierra Nevada mountains located along the border between California and Nevada. The lake is known for it's clear blue water, and beautiful panorama of moutains that surrounds the lake on all sides. Lake Tahoe is famous for it's large Brown Trout and large Mackinaw or Lake Trout that can be caught during most of the year.

Lake Tahoe is located off of hwy 80 and hwy 50 at an elevation of 6,225 feet. Hwy 50, 28 & 89 circle the lake.Lake Tahoe is surrounded by several different casinos. The casinos on the South Shore are Harveys, Harrahs, Bill's, MontBleu, Horizon, and Lakeside Inn. There are several smaller casinos located on the North Shore as well. The North Shore is more of a small town atmosphere, and less busy. Lake Tahoe is more than just fishing and casinos. There is also seasonal snow skiing, swimming at the popular lake beaches, and lots of interesting shopping experiences. Lake Tahoe has a partying night life with all the dance clubs, nice restaurants, and bars located inside of the casinos. There are a lot of areas where you can rent a boat or a jet ski. There are several good fishing charter services that will bring you into the hot fishing action as well. Lake Tahoe is well known for it's wonderful cabin and home rentals that many family's make it a yearly tradition to enjoy a week or two around this wonderful lake and all that it offers. If you find that you really enjoy it in Lake Tahoe there are also timeshares that you can buy into.

Several Boat Ramps
All boating allowed

There is camping all around the lake on both the California & Navada sides.There are also a number of privately operated is a list of the Marina's that are located on Lake Tahoe.

1. Kings Beach 530-546-7248
2. North Tahoe Marina-530-546-8248
3. Lakeforest Boat Ramp- 530-583-3796
4. Tahoe City Marina-530-583-1039
5. Sunnyside resort-530-583-7200
6. High & Dry Marina-530-525-5966
7. Obexers-530-5257962
8. Meeks Bay Resort & Marina-530-525-6946
9. Richardson's Resort,Anchorage Marina- 530-542-6570
10. Tahoe Keys Marina-530-541-2155
11. El Dorado Beach Public Boat Ramp-530-542-6056
12. Timber Cove Marina- 530-544-2942
13. Ski Run Marina-530-544-0200
14. Lakeside Marina-530-541-6626
15. Zephyr Cove Marina-775-588-3833
16. Cave Rock Public Launch Facility-775-831-0494
17. Sand Harbor- 775-831-0494

Fish Species
Mackinaw (aka Lake Trout), Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Kokanee.

How to Catch Fish on Lake Tahoe
The best fishing at Lake Tahoe is in deep water from a boat, and the right locations are not easy to find. I strongly recommend that you hire one of Lake Tahoe's experienced guides to learn the tips, techniques, and locations of what to use and where to catch fish.  For shore fishing, try places like Rubicon Point on the west shore or Cave Rock on the east shore.  Access by automobile to Rubicon Point may be made at D.L. Bliss State Park and to Cave Rock at the public boat launch there.  A day use fee is charged at both of those areas.

  • Avoid fishing during times of mirror like calm, unless fishing deep for Mackinaw.  Even a slight surface riffle will break up shadows cast on the bottom and will partially obliterate the angler from view.
  • Use a light monofilament line, or a less visible flourocarbon line
  • Use very long line for trolling or make very long casts if fishing from shore.
  • For Rainbow Trout - Use small lures when toplining and inshore fishing.  The best months for fishing are September through November and in May. Rainbows are planted throughout the summer.
  • For Brown Trout - Use night crawlers or lures.  Early summer and just before dusk is the best time to fish.  Try the west end of Lake Tahoe, shallow areas long piers, and rocky bottoms. You can also troll for Browns on Lake Tahoe, and for this it is best to use a large stickbait such as a Rapala or Cisco Kid.
  • For Mackinaw (Lake) Trout - Deepline troll at least 80 feet with large flashers.  You can also troll with large stickbaits such as Rapala or Cisco Kid. Drift fishing with live minnows or night crawlers also works.  Jigging with flashy lures can be effective.  Mackinaw are caught year around.
  • For Kokanee Salmon - Try topline trolling with a Wes Lane Rig or clusters of worms on size 4, 6, or 8 hooks.  Early spring and late summer provides the best fishing.  Most Kokanee are found in the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe with a few taken off of the Cave Rock area.  It is highly unlikely you will catch them from shore.
  • One of the more productive techniques is to use a stick bait like the Cisco Kid Lures. Whatever stickbait you use, you need to make sure that it is wobbling really good. The special technique is finding the Mackinaw, also known as Lake Trout, in about 160 feet of water or so. The Mackinaw will be stacked up at certain depths (usually at around 150-200 feet deep) Once you start marking them in good numbers on the fishfinder, you are in the right zone. Let out about 120 feet of line with a Cisco Kid Wrangler lure coated in Pro-Cure scent. Stop your boat. Drop the downriggers down until the downrigger ball hits the bottom, and then pull them up just a tad so they don't drag. Click your boat in gear and get your speed up to 2-2.4 mph. Vary the speed up a notch and down a notch, staying in those speed ranges, working the boat and the gas. This technique will help you to master Lake Tahoe. The sandy bottom of Lake Tahoe keeps hang ups to a minimal.

We have had great success trolling for Mackinaw with just about every color of the Cisco Kid Wrangler Lures. The top producers have been the Sucker, Walleye, Baitfish, and Smallmouth Bass colors. If you look at the Mackinaw board you will see plenty of pictures of our forum members success with using these lures. We also like to use a Dodger, the bigger the better. I usually use something around ten to twelve inches in White or Silver. Then we follow that with a spoon or a plain hook with a minnow soaked in Pro Cure scent.

Lake Tahoe Fishing Records

Species Weight Length Date
Cutthroat Trout 31 lb. 8 oz. Unknown 1911
Mackinaw (Lake Trout) 37 lb. 6 oz. 44 in. 6/21/74
Kokanee Salmon 4 lb. 13 oz. 25.7 in. 8/01/73

Fishing Season at Lake Tahoe:

Lake Tahoe is open for fishing year round, 1 hour before sunrise to 2 hours after sunset. Fishing is closed in the lake within 300 feet of its tributaries and upstream to the first lake from October 1 through June 30. The rest of the year the entire lake is open.

Live Bait: No fish may be used for bait or possessed for use as bait in Lake Tahoe unless taken from the lake. One of the best baits to use on Lake Tahoe is legal minnows from within the lake. Check regulations for any restrictions. We like to start out day by throwing out the minnow traps filled with a few pieces of bread for about a half hour, which will generally give us enough minnows for our whole fishing day. Once we throw out our minnow traps, we like to rip the shore line with a Cisco Kid Lure, trying to entice a few Browns as we wait for the minnow traps to fill up with enough minnows for the day.

Licensing Requirements:
California residents under 16 years of age or Nevada residents under 12 are not required to have a fishing license on Lake Tahoe. All other anglers must have one of the following:

A California or Nevada license may be used to fish anywhere on Lake Tahoe! Please verify the proper fishing regulations just to be safe.

Lake Tahoe Webcam
Want a view of Lake Tahoe? Click here for the Lake Tahoe Webcam.

Lake Tahoe Information from the California State Parks Website
Visit this site for more information:

Lake Tahoe Launch Ramps Inspection Fees
All boats will have to pay a fee and be inspected before launching to ensure that there are no aquatic invasive species. The fees for this inspection are shown below.

$0 Non-Motorized
$0 With Inspection Seal
$10 Up to 16'
$30 Over 16' to 25'
$40 Over 25' to 39'
$60 Over 39'
Additional $10 for vessels containing ballast tanks/bladders/live wells.
A 25% discount card will be available this summer for frequent launches.

Lake Tahoe Launch Ramps

South Shore

El Dorado Boat Ramp
Lakeview Ave. at Lake Tahoe Blvd., So. Lake Tahoe, CA

Lakeside Marina
4041 Lakeshore Blvd., So. Lake Tahoe, CA
Open mid-May through September, 8 AM - 6 PM Daily (9 AM - 5 PM, May & Sept.)
Launch Fees:  20 dollars each way
(530) 541-9800

Tahoe Keys Marina
2435 Venice Dr. East, off Tahoe Keys Blvd., So. Lake Tahoe, CA
Open Year-Round, 8 AM - 6 PM Daily (closed at 5 PM May & Sept.)
Launch Fees:  Ramp -- Round trip - 35 dollars; Season Pass - 600 dollars
(530) 541-2155

North Shore

Coon Street Boat Ramp
Coon Street, off Hwy. 28 in Kings Beach, CA
Closed for the 2009 season due to low lake level

Lake Forest Boat Ramp
Hwy. 28 at Lake Forest Rd. (near Coast Guard Station)  
Open 24 Hours Daily, Year-Round
Parking Fee - 10 dollars;  Launch Fee - None;  Season pass - 110 dollars
(530) 583-5544, ext. 7

Sierra Boat Company
5146 No. Lake Blvd. (Hwy. 28), Carnelian Bay, CA  
Open June through August, 8 AM - 4 PM Daily  (weekends only, Sept.-May)
Launching for boats with 30' max. length, 3' max. depth
Gantry Launch Fees (each way):
Boats to 24' - 55 dollars;  Boats over 23' - 65 dollars;  Sailboats - 9.25 dollars per foot
(530) 546-2551, ext.4

Tahoe Vista Recreation Area
Hwy. 28 (N. Lake Blvd.) across from National Ave.

West Shore

Meek's Bay Marina
10 miles south of Tahoe City, off Hwy. 89
Open June through Sept.. 8 AM - 6 PM Daily
Launch Fees:  One way - 15 dollars; Round-trip - 25 dollars
(530) 525-5588

Obexer's Boat Company
Hwy. 89, Homewood, 6 miles south of Tahoe City
Open May through Sept., 7 AM - 6 PM Daily
Launch Fees: Ramp -- One way -12 dollars;  Round trip (same day) - 20 dollars;  Season pass - 250 dollars
Forklift -- Boats to 21' - 60 dollars each way; 22' - 25', 90 dollars each way; 26' - 29', 140 dollars each way
Travelift or Forklift over 30' -- 10 dollars/foot each way
(530) 525-7962

Sunnyside Resort & Marina
1835 W. Lake Blvd. (Hwy. 89), 2 mi. south of Tahoe City
Open June through September, 9 AM - 5 PM Daily (forklift launching only)
Launch Fees:  75 dollars minimum each way (adjusted for boats over 20 ft.)
(530) 583-7201

Tahoe City Marina
700 No. Lake Blvd. (Hwy. 28), Tahoe City, CA 
Open June through August, 8 AM - 6 PM Daily
Open Sept. through May, 9 AM - 5 PM, Tuesday -Saturday
Launch Fees:  Forklift -- 40 dollars each way, 75 dollars round trip
Travelift -- 200 dollars minimum to 25'; 12 dollars for each additional foot over 25'
(530) 583-1039

East Shore

Cave Rock
Hwy. 50, 3 miles north of Zephyr Cove, NV
Open 24/7, Year-Round
Daily Fees:  Launch and leave - 8 dollars; Launch and park - 12 dollars (includes round-trip ramp fee)
Invasive Species Inspection Fee: Under 16' - 10 dollars; 16' to 25' - 30 dollars; over 25' - 40 dollars
(No overnight parking permitted)
(775) 831-0494

Lake Tahoe Nevada (Sand Harbor) State Park
Hwy. 28, 4 miles south of Incline Village
Open:  June through August, 8 AM - 9 PM Daily
May and September, 8 AM - 7 PM Daily
October through April, 8 AM - 5 PM Daily
Daily Fees:  Launch and leave - 10 dollars; Launch and park - 15 dollars (includes round-trip ramp fee)
Invasive Species Inspection Fee: Under 16' - 10 dollars; 16' to 25' - 30 dollars; over 25' - 40 dollars
(No overnight parking permitted)
(775) 831-0494

191 sites for tent and RV at various locations around the lake

Directions to the Peninsula campground :
80 east Reno - From Hwy 80 take the Elm St. exit out of the city of Auburn, at the 1st light make a left, at your very next light you will make another left that is High St.  High St turns  into Hwy 49 you will travel on Hwy 49 for 10 miles towards the city of Cool. You will enter a small town called Pilot Hill from that small town you will turn right on Rattlesnake Bar Rd. that road will dead end into the campground in 9 miles.

Hwy 50 South Lake Tahoe - From Hwy 50 you will take the El Dorado Hills Blvd. exit go north on El Dorado hills for about 10 miles (at some point the road changes names to Salmon Falls Rd.) you will enter the small town of Pilot Hill you will make a left on Rattlesnake Bar Rd. which dead ends onto the campground in 9 miles.

Directions to the Beals Point campground:
80 east Reno - From Hwy 80 you will take the Douglas Blvd. exit out of the city of Roseville. Go east on Douglas for about 6 miles make a right on Auburn-Folsom Rd. go about 2 ½ miles until you  come to a stop light the sign will say Beals Point and you make a left.

Hwy 50 South Lake Tahoe - Take the Folsom Blvd. exit go north on Folsom for about 7 miles (the road will change names to Folsom-Auburn) you will come to a stop light, the sign will say Baals Point and you make a right.


Lake Tahoe Map

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Here's an example of the quality of fish that can be caught off of Lake Tahoe. MacDaddy caught this 19+ pound Mackinaw on Lake Tahoe on 12/26/2009. Full details of this catch, and more like it, can be found in our Fishing Forum. Click here to access the main fishing forum. Click here to access MacDaddy's forum post with this fish shown below.



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