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Tips & Trivia

Truckee River Smallmouth Bass

They're Heeeeeeeer!

About 8 years ago some Neanderthal planted smallmouth bass in Prosser and Stampede Reservoirs. It is likely that the voracious smallmouth will deplete the wild trout of both reservoirs; however, the short growing season will produce only a mediocre smallmouth fishery. Shaver Lake outside of Fresno experienced an illegal plant of smallmouth and its once famous trout fishery has been replaced by a lake overpopulated with stunted bass.

On the good side, the smallmouth have filtered out of the lakes and have established themselves in the Truckee. My feeling is that the Truckee's trout and the smallmouth will occupy slightly different niches and will probably co habitate quiet well. Smallmouth are well adapted to severe winter temperatures and though they will dine on the Truckee's fish they tend to prefer a diet of nymphs and crayfish.

There aren't a lot of bass in the river yet but I have one friend who caught three during an evening trout flyfishing trip. Expect to encounter smallmouth anywhere you might find brown trout. Smallies have a preference for slow to moderate current adjacent to rip rap, rocky walls and ledges. Much of the water between Boca and Verdi is perfect smallmouth habitat.

The following flies are proven smallmouth getters.

Birds Nest size 8-12,
Gold Ribbed Hares Ear size 8-12,
Red Squirrel size 4-10,
Tangerine Dream size 4-10.
Bunny size 10 and larger,
Clouser Minnow size 8-2,
Goblin size 10-2,
Matuka size 10-2,
Woolly Bugger size 10-4

Truckee River smallies are here to stay and we might as well treat them as the superb game fish that they are (most people would agree they hit harder and fight stonger than any trout ever did). Catch and release these guys and handle them with care and respect. We have to keep in perspective that ALL of the trout living in the Truckee are descendants of planted fish . The only game fish native to the Truckee is the mountain whitefish.