Fishing in the winter is not what people think about when you talk about Lake Tahoe in the winter/ It is definitely second fiddle to the incredible alpine skiing that the area is known for. But for those brave enough to face the elements, it can be a very rewarding day with lots of fish. The weather can be bitterly cold, and there can be strong winds, but the water on the lake never freezes, and there are always fish to catch year-round.
Chartering a local fishing guide will do two things. First, you will get an experienced, usually local, guide that knows the lake and the fish and can almost guarantee that they will put you on the fish. Second, these charter companies’ boats are all equipped with heated cabins so that you won’t freeze during your day. While you may think of days of snow dumping down on the area, and there are plenty of days like that here, there are also plenty of beautiful sunny days where you will be shedding some of your winter wear. A charter on the lake will not only give you an enjoyable and warm experience, they will also give you a fun day filled with reeling in fish.
The water temperatures average around 40 degrees Fahrenheit during December, January and February, and the fish in Lake Tahoe all favor colder water. The fish species you may hook up with are Mackinaw Trout or, as they are also referred to as Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Kokanee Salmon. You do have a higher probability with the Mackinaw, but all three of the others may be reeled in during your day on the water.
Photo ~ Mile High Fishing Charters
Mackinaw Trout are the most sought after, largest and most populous fish in the lake. Anglers worldwide come to try to land a “Laker,” a 20-pound fish or larger. But hooking up with a Mackinaw, no matter the size, they average around 10-pounds, is a thrilling experience. They are fighters and have been known to leap for freedom. During the winter months you may find school-sized Macks at depths of at least 150 feet. Larger fish coming to feed can also be landed in much shallower waters because the Mackinaw love water temperatures below 52 degrees Fahrenheit and the surface temperature stays around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the most.
While the season for Rainbows ends in November, there are still large fish in the winter months roaming the waters. They also enjoy colder water temperatures of between 34 degrees and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, so like the Mackinaw, they can be found in the shallower waters feeding as well as deeper down in the lake. However, while they are still in these waters and you may land them, they are not as prevalent as the Mackinaw. Whatever the time of year, Rainbow Trout are highly desirable for their aggressive fighting, acrobatic leaping, and being some of the most delectable tasting fish on the lake.
While they are not an everyday catch during the winter months, Brown Trout and younger Kokanee can still be caught.
Winter in Tahoe is a paradise for skiers worldwide, hitting the many world-class ski resorts that dot the lake. But it is also a great time to hit the lake too. There are still great conditions for excellent fishing. The crowds are fewer, but the fish are still abundant. While the weather sometimes is not favorable, and at these times, charters may be canceled, there are still plenty of great days on the water to be had. Come to ski during your vacation, but do not miss out on some great fishing action too. You will not be disappointed.