Author: Donald Zimmerman

Send In Your Pictures


Photo courtesy of the Nevada Department of Wildlife


We’d love to keep updated information about the river conditions.  If you take pictures of any stretch of the Truckee River, send your pictures in over at the contact page. We’ll post them here for all to see what’s going on, and not just hear about it.

We’re hoping to see some precipitation in the next week.  In the mean time, hike the river with a garbage bag and make a dent in pushing back years of abuse.  Thank you to those of you who have already chipped in.  Your time hauling out plastic means more than any blog post or trophy shot.  See you out there!



October Update


An interview with partner guide Jan Nemec:

Thanks Jan for joining us today.  The river seems to be having a banner year in terms of difficult conditions.  That said, no more 100 degree days are forecasted this year.  Are we in the clear?
In extreme conditions like what we have now, air temperature is only one factor.  Escaping the extreme high temps of summer is near.  Yet with the flows as low as they are, particularly on the Nevada side, the fish are stacked on top of each other and highly stressed currently.

Is it ethical to fish for concentrated schools of trout when Truckee flows are extremely low (below 70 cfs)?

I believe the answer is no.  Let me explain.

The term ‘fish in a barrel’ is never used to describe an honorable attempt at fishing. What we are currently left with is trout and bait fish populations that flourished when flows had been high. Now, low flows have that same large population condensed into very few livable areas. Much of the food has also dried out, stranded in stagnant pools and left along the receding shoreline.

Picture this: a 10 square mile city gets condensed into a few city blocks.  With that kind of concentration, crime is up, people are combative, and stress levels soar.  For the fish, this is their reality on the Nevada side currently.

Why not thin the population and take some fish to insure some don’t starve to death? Until we see a drop in baitfish, the best approach is to leave the trout alone.  If the bait-fish disappear too, then taking fish may be a better option.  Bait fish populations remain strong both west and eat of Reno. These will likely dwindle as they get eaten and poor water quality elements start to play their part.  In fact, the water quality right now is of major concern.
Why does dirty water come with low water conditions? 
Simply put: the normal flows help flush the water system.  When flows are down, small sources of pollution become major factors. Our recycled waste water isn’t clean like snow melt or spring water.  Many parasites and bacteria are also always present in the Truckee becoming more concentrated just as the trout are. When flows are reduced those parasites and diseases find hosts much easier. As of now only a few fish show signs of infection, this could increase greatly if stress is put onto the fish. Its also good to remember that every time a fish is handled it also wipes away its natural antibacterial slime coating. In normal conditions, that’s not helpful.  In these conditions, that’s devastating.

At what flow should fisherman consider stressful for trout on the Truckee River?
Around 100 cfs and below is the short answer.  Until water temps become closer to the trout’s preferred water temperature of 49-53 degrees they aren’t able to fight attacking infections and parasites.  In the mean time, try the Cali side in places where flows are steadily over 100 cfs.
Thanks Jan for your time and for helping us protect the resource we have.

Hoot Owl Closure: Update 1

This is what it looks like when the Watermaster drops the river by 250 CFS in 90 minutes.

This is what it looks like when the Watermaster drops the river by 250 CFS in 90 minutes.


First and foremost, we want to thank you all for using the internet for what it does best, getting the word out!  We’ve had an overwhelming and supportive response from trout lovers near and far: CalTrout, Moldy Chum, and Lost Coast Outfitters to name a few.

Secondly, many of you have emailed asking about the Reno Fly Shop appearing in local press talking about the “hoot owl closure”.  To be clear, we haven’t been contacted by the Reno Fly Shop and they were not involved with any aspect of our video or this blog.  While it’s confusing why they would take credit for what the small but scrappy readership of this blog has done, the main thing is that the word gets out and we give the trout a fighting chance.

If you want to fish the Truckee, hire a seasoned guide to help you find stretches where they have enough water to safely catch and release.  Alternatively, here is a good post over at one of our partner blogs describing other options to scratch your fishing itch.

We are deeply grateful for your support and voice!

Water temps are up on the Truckee River


Everyone who lives near the Truckee River knows water is down and temps are up.  So what?

Well, the word is out that the ol’ watermaster will be dropping flows on the Truckee River real soon.  The wildlife of the Truckee are a hardy bunch, but flows below 100 CFS as expected will be devastating for the trout.

We’re asking that all you who fish the river would join us in a voluntary “Hoot Owl Closure”.  For the months of July and August, get off the river before noon strikes, and avoid fishing in the afternoons and evenings.  The collective effort of even 100 of us banding together to protect the  treasure we have in our backyard can make a huge difference.  Watch this video for more information.


A Proposed Hoot Owl Closure on the Truckee River from Catch, Snap, & Release on Vimeo.


Will you join us? 
Tell the world you’ll support the trout of the Truckee River by simply commenting here, and we’ll shoot you a free TRK bumper sticker and put you in the monthly drawing for a free hat.