Exploring OUR Backyard: Truckee River fly fishing

Learn how to fly fish on the Truckee in the latest installment of "Exploring OUR Backyard."

Following our epic fishing trip to Pyramid Lake a few weeks ago where Bryan Samudio and I caught more than a half dozen Lahontan cutthroat trout, I was itching to get back out on the water and go fly fishing again.

Next on my bucket list was one of the best spots in the area - the Truckee River.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to join a day at the Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters Guide School. The seven-day course is one of the best in the country for anglers to learn the necessary skills to become their own guides.

Rick McGuire, instructor and school director, explains why the Truckee is such a great fishing destination.

"The Truckee for me is one of the iconic rivers, especially in our area," McGuire explains. "It's a challenging river to fish, but what it gives up in its resource of fish are beautiful wild fish."

"We have incredible fly fishing instructors and guides who want to share what they know and make sure the next generation of guides knows what they're doing. They're great instructors, great stewards of the environment, knowledgeable about the wildlife and passionate about the area."

We drove less than 45 minutes from the station toward Truckee, exiting at Hirschdale Road to meet up with Rick. Less than five miles from the interstate, we gathered with other instructors and students at a spot on the Truckee River that had good conditions for the day.

McGuire was joined by fellow Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters instructor Jay Swartley, as well as Matt Heron of Matt Heron Fly Fishing.

"The biggest draw for the Truckee by far is the size of the fish that we have and the beautiful landscape that we live in."

During the week-long course, students are taught everything from how to teach the mechanics of fly fishing from beginners on up to advanced anglers, as well as other skills like marketing and conservation.

Being that I am still new to fly fishing, I wanted to spend the day freshening up some of the skills that I had learned last month at Pyramid Lake. I learned very quickly that the skills needed to fly fish on a lake are much different than that of a river.

It was a fun new challenge.

Paired with Swartley, the two of us went into the river for some world-class instruction. One thing that I learned very quickly is that fish in the Truckee are much more difficult to land than out of a lake. That's part of the challenge that fishers love the most.

"The Truckee has a stigma for being a really tough river," Swartley said. "It's got nicknames like 'The Tricky' or 'The Tuffy' - it's one of those places that you come to really hone your skills and test yourself."

"The biggest draw for the Truckee by far is the size of the fish that we have and the beautiful landscape that we live in," said Heron. "The Truckee is known as a tough river but what we lack in numbers we make up in size. "

"We have some really quality fish here."

Swartly taught me the difference between trying to bring in a fish on a fly rod vs. a traditional rod, overhead casting, water-load casting, as well as how to properly strike.

It was a challeng, but with the help of these great guides we were able to land one beautiful rainbow trout. Seeing the fish up close made me understand why fishing the Truckee is so special. The color was stunning.

And how could you beat the scenery. Standing in the Truckee, with the sun shining down and trains passing by, where else would you rather be.

Another example of why I LOVE my backyard!


If you are interested in joining the Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters Guide School you can visit their website or call (530) 541-8208. You can also buy equipment from their store in South Lake Tahoe or booked guided tours to many of the areas lakes and rivers. Matt Heron Fly Fishing is based at Squaw Creek near Truckee and offers daily classes and guided trips - (518) 225 - 6587.

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