Webber Lake opens to the public

Webber Lake located in Sierra County is about 45 minutes northwest of Truckee. It is located on Henness Pass Road that goes to Jackson Meadows Reservoir off Highway 89.

It used to be a small private lake. Campers and fly-fishers would purchase memberships to use it. Large fish were planted by the membership each year. Generally these were rainbows and there are additional naturally reproducing brook and brown trout.

The lake had been in private ownership since 1854. The Truckee Donner Land Trust purchased this outstanding property in November 2012 from Clifton and Barbara Johnson. The Land Trust continued to lease the lakeshore to the private fishing group for an additional five years, an arrangement that ended in 2016.

The lake will open to a limited amount of public camping starting on Aug. 1 and the California Department of Wildlife is responsible for the fishery. This means that it will take over planting fish. Check the current regulations to see what the updated ones will be. A grand opening is planned when the extensive improvements are done in 2018.

Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers has had the good fortune to fish this lake for several seasons as guests of a couple of members and the caretakers, Ken and Joan Bretthaurer. The Bretthauer’s have agreed to stay on to manage the property.

Fishing this lake requires some kind of watercraft. Most fly-fishers tend to use tubes, pontoon boats or small prams. Conventional fly-fishers use boats and most seem to be trolling for the large rainbows. We have seen more people fly-fishing during our days on the water out there. This is due to the fact that this method seems to work well.

While it is a small lake, it is best fished with a small boat. We have used float tubes and pontoon boats but it is work to get from one end to the other, particularly if the wind comes up. A boat or pram that is motorized is a much better option.

The lake has lots of established weed beds and as a result, good hatches of insects. The usual midges, mayflies, caddis and terrestrials are available to the fish. Baitfish is also in the mix.

Typically, most fly-fishers fish 4- to 6-weight rods with floating lines, 9- to 15-foot leaders tapered to 3x or 4x. The floating line is used for surface feeding fish and for nymphs under an indicator. A clear intermediate line for stripping nymphs and a type III line is great for stripping streamers when the fish are deeper.

This is a great opportunity for anglers and campers to experience another recreational location right in our back yard. For more information, visit tdlandtrust.org.

FISHING REPORT

Boca Reservoir | The road over the dam is closed until further notice. Inflow is at 531 cfs and the outflow is 441 cfs. Powerbait, nightcrawlers and lures are all working. Fly-fishers have been catching some fish near the inlet with nymphs, streamers and dries.

Donner Lake | Fishing has been fair to good. Kokanee fishing has been fair to good. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Mackinaw fishing has been good. Fly-fishers are catching some fish with streamers.

Lake Tahoe | All tributaries are closed to all fishing until July 1. Fishing has been fair to good for mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Most shore anglers use inflated nightcrawlers.

Little Truckee River | The flow is at 558 cfs. The flows have gone up. Fishing at this level can be a bit of a challenge. Nymphing is your best bet at these flows. Hatches are similar to the main Truckee.

Martis Lake | Zero kill. Catch and release only with barbless artificial lures or flies. Fishing is best early in the season and the fall. Smallmouth bass are part of the fishery.

Prosser Reservoir | Fishing has been fair. Anglers using bait, lures and flies have all caught fish. Fly-fishers have done well near the inlet areas. Bass fishing has been fair.

Stampede Reservoir | The road will be closed over the dam for construction this season and next. Access to the boat ramp will be through the Hobart Mills side. Fishing has been fair from shore. Nightcrawlers, Powerbait and lures have all produced from shore. Fly fishermen have been doing well near the inlets with nymphs and streamers. The kokanee fishing has been fair to good. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair.

Truckee River | The flow out of the dam in Tahoe City is at 1,210 cfs. The flows through Truckee are at 1,560 cfs. While it has come down some, the flow remains high. Fishing has been good for those working hard. Most anglers are using San Juan worms, egg patterns and large stonefly imitations. Baetis, March Brown, Caddis imitations and streamers are also good this time of year. This water is special regulation, artificial only with barbless hook. Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged, but an angler may keep two fish with a minimum size of 14 inches during the regular trout season.

Davis and Frenchman lakes | Both are full and spilling. Boat, shore and fly anglers are catching fish. Reports from Davis are only fair. Blood midge, callibaetis and small midges are the main insects to imitate subsurface. Frenchman fishing has been fair. Damsels are now on the menu at both lakes, as well.

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Bruce Ajari
Bruce Ajari is a long-time area fly-fisherman and past president of Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers.