Webber Lake to open to 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 of Highway 89.

It has been a small, private lake that campers and people fishing would purchase memberships. Large fish were planted by the membership each year. Generally, these were rainbows and there are naturally reproducing brook and brown trout.

A calm, early morning at Webber Lake. | Bruce Ajari

The lake has been in private ownership since 1854. The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, the Truckee Donner Land Trust purchased this outstanding property in November 2012 from Clifton and Barbara Johnson. A four-year lease was given to the prior owners so longtime members would have time to ease out. After October this year, the lake will become public. The campgrounds and lakeshore remains closed until 2017.

“The lake has lots of established weed beds and as a result, good hatches of insects.”

It is scheduled to have a public campground in 2017 and the California Department of Wildlife (CDFW) will be responsible for the fishery. This means that they will probably take over planting fish.

The end of an era at this lake is coming and a new one is beginning. The Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers have 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.

Fishing this lake requires some kind of watercraft. Most fly-fishers tend to use tubes, pontoon boats or small prams. Conventional fishermen 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.

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-fishermen 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.

When the lake goes public next year, the fishing should still be quite good. There will be large hold over fish from previous plants. Once these fish are gone, fishing will depend on how the CDFW manages the lake from this point on.



Boca | Inflow is at 30 cfs and the outflow is 46 cfs. Powerbait, nightcrawlers and lures are all working. Fly-fishers have been catching some fish near the inlet with nymphs, streamers and dries.

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

Lake Tahoe | 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 fishermen use inflated nightcrawlers.

Little Truckee River | The flow is at 30 cfs This is too low to fish in my opinion. The LT has been busy this season. With the water at this level it is best to avoid this water.

Martis Lake | Zero kill. Catch and Release only with barbless artificial lures or flies. There are still a few nice fish in this lake that has severely declined. Smallmouth bass are now part of the fishery. Given this, it is fall and the weeds will be dying back with cooler weather. You might just want to give this a try.

Prosser | Fishing has been fair. The lake level is rapidly dropping. Anglers using bait, lures and flies have all caught fish. Fly-fishermen have done well near the inlet areas. Bass fishing has been fair.

Stampede | Fishing has been fair. There are still not many reports from this water. Nightcrawlers, Powerbait and lures have all produced from shore. Fly-fishermen have been doing well near the inlets with nymphs and streamers. The Kokanee should be getting ready to spawn. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair to good.

Truckee River | Not flowing out of the lake at Tahoe City. The flows through Truckee are at 15 cfs. While the water is cooling, I do not recommend fishing at this water level through the town or Truckee to Boca. Remember fish are stressed at low water levels. Below Boca it is running at 154 cfs, so this stretch to state line is where to best fish. Small mayflies along with streamers are your best bet now. There are still a few hoppers around. This is special regulation artificial only with barbless hook water. Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged in this section, but an angler may keep two fish with a minimum size of 14 inches during the regular trout season (last Saturday in April to Nov. 15).

Other Waters | Davis and Frenchman are beginning to pick-up. Good reports coming out of Frenchman and Davis. While there are not great numbers of fish being caught at Davis, the ones being caught are very large. Frenchman has producing good numbers of fish in the 16- to 18-inch range.

Bruce Ajari

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