Lake Tahoe

Map of Lake Tahoe

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The Washoe Tribe of Native Americans was the first inhabitants of the Tahoe Basin, and General John C. Fremont became the first of the white explorers to discover Lake Tahoe in 1844.  The lake was named Lake Bigler in 1870 and it was not changed to Lake Tahoe until 1945.  A dam was built at the Truckee River outlet in 1909 raising the lake an additional six feet.  The lake is known for its deep blue color and sits in a beautifully forested basin.  Lake Tahoe borders Nevada and California, with about 1/3 of the lake in Nevada.

Pertinent Information

Lake Tahoe, located in the Sierra Nevada, covers 192 square miles and has a maximum depth of 1,646 feet.  Several introduced sport fishes inhabit the lake including lake trout (mackinaw), rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, and to a lesser extent largemouth bass.  At times, Lahontan cutthroat trout have been stocked, but they are rare.  Mackinaw is the most caught and popular species and generally ranges between 16 and 25 inches.  Rainbow trout are the next most sought after fish that usually average from 10 to 14 inches.  Fishing success throughout the year varies, but fishing during July and August are the most productive times.  Cave Rock and Sand Harbor State Parks produce the best catches for small rainbow trout since they are stocked from these locations.  Shore access is limited around most of the lake due to private property and limited parking.  Standard shore baits include nightcrawlers, Power Bait, salmon eggs, and minnows.  Lures such as Mepps, Panther Martins, Rapalas, and Dardevles often catch active rainbow and brown trout.  Top-line trolling for rainbow and brown trout is the most productive method for boaters, while deep-line trolling, jigging, and fishing with live minnows are the most widely used techniques for mackinaw.  Numerous commercial guide services are available for anglers that lack the extensive fishing setups or angling knowledge required for catching fishes in Lake Tahoe.  Nevada Division of State Parks has two public boat launching facilities at Cave Rock and Sand Harbor State Parks.  Included are parking, picnicking sites, restrooms, and sandy swim beaches.


Stocking Updates


Nevada Fishing Regulations

Boating Regulations

Reduced Speed Areas: All boat harbors and other areas designated by buoys are areas in which a vessel must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake, but in no case may a vessel be operated at a speed in excess of 5 nautical miles per hour to include: Zephyr Cove, Cave Rock, Round Hill Pines Beach and Glen Brook Bay in Douglas County; Sand Harbor; Incline Village General Improvement District Boat Ramp, and Crystal Shores West in Washoe County. Boating Prohibited Areas: Vessels are prohibited in areas which are designated by signs or buoys as follows: the main beaches at Sand Harbor and Diver’s Cove within Lake Tahoe State Park; the swimming area of Incline Village General Improvement District and Burnt Cedar Beach; the swimming area of Galilee at the Episcopal Camp and Conference Center; the swimming area of the Lakeridge General Improvement District; the swimming area of the Glenbrook Homeowner’s Association; the swimming area of the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe; the swimming area of Zephyr Cove Marina; and the swimming area of Crystal Shores West; the swimming and beach area adjacent to Nevada Beach described in CFR 162.215. Motor Restrictions: There are motor restrictions (type) imposed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Authority (TRPA). Visit


From Reno, travel 10 miles south on Hwy 395 to SR 431, turning right and traveling 20 miles west to Lake Tahoe. From Carson City, travel 2 miles south on Hwy 395 to SR 50, turning right and traveling 14 miles west to the lake. Hwy 28 circumnavigates the lake.


  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Mackinaw Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon

  • Regions

  • Western Nevada

  • Counties

  • Carson City
  • Douglas
  • Washoe