I have often talked to people who fish Lake Tahoe and who are convinced that there are no fish in Lake Tahoe, because they couldn’t catch anything and there buddies couldn’t catch anything. I am here to dismiss that rumor and prove that there are fish in Tahoe, not only are there fish but there are very big fish in Tahoe, you just need to know where and how to catch them.
I’m mostly going to talk about Mackinaw fishing in Lake Tahoe as that is where the most people seem to have when it comes to catching fish. While there are Rainbow, Brown, and Kokanee in Lake Tahoe the most desired fish is the Mackinaw.
Here is some of the equipment that you are going to need to be successful at Lake Tahoe. The first and most important thing that you are going to need to catch a Mack is a boat. Mackinaw are generally deep water fish who very rarely but occasionally come into the shallows. I have caught Mackinaw on my from 80 feet deep all the way to 400 hundred feet deep. My happy median is about 210 feet seems to be where the most of the fish hang out at. When I choose my line for Mack’s I generally go with about 16 pound test, while there are other fisherman who swear by using steel line, I find it very hard and tiring to bring in Mackinaw, let along when you need to check your line. I generally like to use Needlefish lures, or minnow lures as my bait, I use down riggers on my boat so I put flashers behind the down rigger ball and then put the lure about 4-8 feet away from the flashers.
How to fish for Mackinaw. While you are fishing make sure that you are going a very slow rate while you are trolling, Mack’s generally like to follow the lure and don’t like to chase after it as high speeds, so make sure to go slow. One of the major things that you must do is find the bottom with your down rigger ball and your lure while you fish. Mack’s like to stay on the bottom. What I like to do is have the down rigger ball rub against the bottom and stay on the bottom the whole time I’m fishing that way it stir’s everything up, this will grab the Mack’s attention and hopefully bite on to your bait. Always make sure you are on the bottom while you are fishing, I have found that when I drag my bait for long periods of time is when the big fish will bite. The proper depth to stay at is up to you I like 210 but if your catching them at different depths stay with it.
What time to go. Winter time I feel that you don’t have to wake up so early so generally around 20 minutes before the sun comes up, while in the summer time I would recommend being out there as soon as legal fishing hours begin. The difference between summer and winter is that in the winter there are less bait fish around in the colder weather and the Mack’s are more likely to strike during anytime of the day, while in the summer there are more bait fish around and there is a select time of the morning when they are going to feed, and after that the bite is off.
Where to fish. I have found that there are big fish off of Cave Rock on the east side of Lake Tahoe, you have to deal with a lot of other boats but fisherman are rewarder with 20+ pounders there all the time. Cal-Neva point is also a good place to go, the fish don’t produce big hogs like Cave Rocks do, but if you know what your doing there is a good chance of catching a 10 pounder. Rubicon is another good area as there is always a good amount of fish to catch there.
Now that I have told you my secrets what are you waiting for go fishing. Mackinaw is one of the best tasting fish out there. In later blogs I will tell you how to properly cook a Mackinaw to perfection!