Fall is when the leaves change into scarlet red, burnt orange, vivid yellow and golden amber colors. It changes the beauty of Lake Tahoe, which now looks like a beautiful paint by number colored drawing. It is also the time for the weather to get colder, bringing with it the first snow of the season. By mid-November, ski slopes are open, anticipating a year of packed slopes. As the temperature falls outside, the lake starts to cool from the 68-degree Fahrenheit averages of summer slowly to the low 50’s by the end of November. This is great news for anglers worldwide because the colder temperatures bring the fish closer to the surface as they search for food and the right water temperatures.
For Mackinaw, the fish that Lake Tahoe is known for, that temperature is between 48 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, so they come closer and closer to the surface. The one drawback is the big 20 pound “Lakers” are fewer as the size diminishes slightly. The good thing is that while the best time to fish for Mackinaw is late spring to early summer, they are available year-round, and there are still significant numbers of them in the lake in the fall.
Rainbow Trout are another colder water fish, liking temperatures of 34 -67 degrees, and during the fall months, they move closer to the shallows to feed. Their size is larger than in the summer as they are feeding readily. You can fish them from shore, but you have a better chance from one of the many charter boats on the lake.
The season for Kokanee, the small landlocked relative of the Sockeye Salmon, is still in effect till October, when many go to Taylor Creek or other small creeks and streams to spawn and die. As they prepare for their last journey, they stop eating, but earlier in the fall, they are at their hungriest and largest.
All of these fish are fun fish to catch. They are all aggressive and are known for acrobatic leaps out of the water when you hook them. Except for some Rainbows near the shore, you really need a boat to catch any or all of them. During these months, on any given excursion on the lake, you could be reeling in great numbers of Kokanee, 10+ Rainbow Trout, some nice Mackinaw, and a Brown or two if you are lucky.
You can catch and take your own boat out if you are lucky enough to own one and are knowledgeable of the lake, but your best bet to be on the fish is to charter one of the many boats and guides on the lake. You can look into a large number of services on the lake or let us help you to the best charters on Lake Tahoe. We check and vet our guides to ensure you have an enjoyable and action-packed day you will not soon forget.