Frenchman Lake located northeast of Truckee is a favorite fishing lake. It is located just north of the small town of Chilcoot. Rainbow trout is the target here for anglers.
While not quite as popular as nearby Davis Lake with anglers, Frenchman has a loyal following of regulars. Davis has larger fish overall and is well noted by fly-fishers due to the legendary status of the damselfly hatch that typically occurs in June.
Frenchman has a damselfly hatch, as well, and it can also be quite prolific. And while the fish may not be as large, an angler can generally post better numbers. Who would not appreciate catching a bunch of 14- to 16-inch fish on flies?
The best time to fish Frenchman for us has been in the spring and fall. Great hatches of insects such as damselflies, callibaetis, blood midges and other midges can be found. In the fall, scuds are quite prevalent in the shallow weed beds. Flies imitating these insects in all of their stages can prove effective.
As a result of the record winter that we experienced, Frenchman is so full that it is spilling. At this level, fish will be spread out. Anglers should move until they find a concentration of fish. Typically, areas where streams enter the lake, weed beds or rocky areas are great places to start your search.
With cool water temperatures, spring angling from shore is a good option. Fish will generally be in shallow water near weed beds looking for food in the warmer water. We typically fish from shore, but fishing from a watercraft of some sort is also good. Fish seem to be well distributed during the early season, so it is your choice as to how you want to fish.
A boat launch is available at Frenchman Boat Ramp at the southeast end of the lake and at Lunker Point on the west side for those fishing from a boat.
Use of a No. 5 to No. 6 weight rod will be the best choice for angling this water. The No. 6 weight rod allows you the option of throwing the larger flies that you may fish.
The most effective lines for the early season are your floating line and an intermediate sinking line if you decide to strip nymphs or streamers, particularly if the wind comes up.
Fly selection is pretty simple during the early season. Variations of the pheasant tail nymph, blood midge larva and adult imitations and midge patterns, such as the zebra midge, and damsel imitations are the best early season flies. Nymph patterns can be striped or suspended under an indicator to catch fish.
With streams being so full this season, stillwater locations such as Frenchman provide anglers with an excellent opportunity to fish.
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 511 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 1,640 cfs. The flows through Truckee are at 1,670 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 beginning to show, as well.