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Lake Tahoe Fishing Seasons

Lake Tahoe Fishing Seasons

Lake Tahoe is synonymous with fun. Fun on the mountains skiing during the winter and spring. Fun hiking and exploring the lake and its surrounding areas during the spring, summer and fall. Fun at the numerous casinos and festivals throughout the spring and summer months. Fun on the lake swimming, waterskiing, jet skiing or doing one of the many other water sport activities. And for anglers in the know, fun fishing year-round. The waters never freeze, which makes for perfect conditions, no matter when you come. 

The lake is known for Mackinaw Trout, the largest and most voracious fish on the lake, which can reach 20+ pounds. Macks can also be fished year-round. The lake also has other trout species like Rainbow Trout, which are in season in fall, Brown Trout, which are best caught in early Summer, Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout and Golden Trout, which can all be caught primarily in the spring. Kokanee Salmon can be found on the lake in the summer and early fall before their spawning takes place. They are small fish, only 12-15 inches, but they are fighters. 

There are also Large and Small Mouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Goldfish and more. A day fishing on Lake Tahoe is a calm and relaxing day taking in the beautiful scenery that is Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, green forests and the blue water that is Lake Tahoe. But it is also a day with action-filled times hooking fish after fish after fish.

Spring Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Spring Fishing is some of the best times for big “Lakers.” The 20+ pound Mackinaw Trout are what anglers come to Lake Tahoe for. These large fish come up from the depths to start feeding on the smaller fish that also come to the surface. In spring, large-sized Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are also feeding in shallower waters, while Cutthroat, Brook and Golden Trout all frequent the rivers and streams and sometimes the lake. There are some Kokanee in the late spring, but the summer is really the time for these delicious fish. However, there are a large number of Bass during the spring, both Largemouth and Smallmouth in the Tahoe Keys area, as well as Bluegills, Crappies, and the occasional giant Goldfish. Spring is when the flowers start to bloom, and more importantly, it is when the fish come up from the cold depths to warmer waters.

Summer Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe summers are when the weather is hot, and the action on the water is even hotter. Large Mackinaw are still in the waters, just a little deeper because of the rise in water temperature. While the Macks are the most sought-after fish on the lake all year long, summertime is Kokanee season. The Kokanee Salmon are a relative of the Sockeye Salmon, but unlike its cousin, they do not grow as large, only 12-15 inches in length. Pound for pound, these fish are the most aggressive fish on the lake, and as a bonus, they are delicious. Rainbow Trout come closer to the surface during the day, and Brown Trout are found feeding at dusk, so these are the best times to hook them. Summer is a fun time to be in Tahoe. The weather is perfect, there is plenty to do and see, and the Kokanee are biting. Don’t miss the fun you can have in the sun on the blue Lake Tahoe water.

Fall Fishing Lake Tahoe

Fall is the time for change in Lake Tahoe. The leaves turn red, yellow and orange then drop to the ground, the flowers die to be reborn again in spring, the weather gets colder, and it is the time when the Kokanee season runs down while the fish make an incredible color and shape change as they ready for their last journey upstream to spawn and die. But it is not all gloom and doom. The ski season starts as the snow starts falling in early November, and it is Rainbow Trout season. The Rainbows are getting larger as they come closer to the surface, feeding for the winter when they will go deep into the lake. You can fish them at this time from the shore but having a boat is really the best way to fish them. You can still be land Brown Trout, but they are not as energetic as other times of the year. During these months, your boat will be full with Kokanee, lots of Rainbows, some Macks and the occasional Browns. It is a great time to come to Lake Tahoe to fish.

Winter Fishing in Lake Tahoe

Winter in Lake Tahoe is known for exceptional skiing. But the waters of the lake are still teeming with fish. Mackinaw Trout are your #1 catch during these months. They are found in all depths of the lake because they favor water temperatures of 54 degrees or colder, and while the weather outside may be freezing, the water on the lake never freezes. The coldest the water surface gets is in the upper 30’s, and the average temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and small-sized Kokanee can also be hooked during the cold of winter. The Kokanee are the younger fish that have not spawned yet and are also a tasty treat for the large Mackinaw. While you may think of Tahoe in the winter and immediately think of skiing and cold weather, there are plenty of sunny days and plenty of fun to be had fishing on the waters of Lake Tahoe.

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