Kids Fishing Derby

This year marks the 29th annual Truckee Kids Fishing Derby on June 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Coldstream Pond behind Donner Memorial State Park. It is free to ages 12 and younger.

Many children from the community have participated through the years and are now fishing on his or her own and, in some cases, bringing their children to the derby.

When founder Bob Tilton started the derby, he was hoping to get kids outdoors, give them an alternative to getting into trouble and develop a lifelong passion for fishing. Judging from what we see, this event is having the desired impact.

Volunteers are needed to help the children are always welcome, including kids older than age 12. You do not have to be an expert to help set up the kids’ equipment and show them how to cast. For many family members, this may be their first experience with fishing.

Organizers ask that you sign up your child at ACE Mountain Hardware & Sports in Truckee, and get supplies there. While the event is free, sponsors need to get an idea of how many children to expect. A limited amount of equipment is available for kids at the event.

Here are some tips to help make the experience a good one:

  • Arrive early to get a good spot to park and fish.
  • Have plenty of snacks and liquids to keep kids hydrated. Rotary will have a snack bar selling drinks and lunch items. This money helps fund this event.
  • Have some other things, such as board games, to keep kids occupied before the beginning of the event.
  • Patience on the part of your child and you is a necessary component.
  • Before the event, check the fishing tackle. One of the most common problems that we see at events like this is not having an adequate amount of fishing line. Not having enough line gives you problems in casting and your child will not be able to reach the fish. Most people place 4- to 8-pound test line on their reels. While lighter line casts further, it is not as strong when it comes to playing a fish. I like 6-pound test line.
  • Old line can cause problems because it tends to be brittle. In fact, you can break old line while casting out your bait. Even worse is that it can break when your child has hooked a fish. Do not leave any monofilament line behind, it causes problems with wildlife. Dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
  • A spool of lighter line than the main line is recommended for a leader along with some weights. Split shot and egg sinkers are good.
  • Hooks, No. 8 to No. 12, are a good option.
  • Simple baits, Berkeley Powerbait and salmon eggs, are the easiest and most effective.

Sponsors are the Nevada County Fish and Wildlife Commission, Truckee Noon Rotary and Mountain Hardware.


Boca Reservoir | The road over the dam is closed until further notice. Inflow is at 605.9 cfs and the outflow is 500 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 and then only open until Sept. 30. 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 are fair. Most shore anglers use inflated nightcrawlers.

Little Truckee River | The flow is at 657 cfs. The flows have come down. Fishing at this level can be productive. 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 again the fall. Smallmouth bass are part of the fishery here.

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 is closed over the dam for construction and will remain so 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-fishers 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 1,030 cfs. The flows through Truckee are at 1,681 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 hooks. 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.

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.