Truckee River

Map of Truckee River

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The Truckee River was originally home to Lahontan cutthroat trout and cui-ui sucker. During normal years, adult fish ascended the Truckee and its tributaries (in the case of trout) to spawn. Each year, thousands of young fish returned as natural recruitment to Pyramid and Winnemucca lakes. It was probable that some young and adult cutthroat trout were found in the river throughout the year. With the influx of European settlers came water diversions, habitat degradation and over-fishing. Extinction of the Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout then occurred by the 1930’s. During the decline of the cutthroat trout fishery, many sport fishes were introduced into the river with varying results. Rainbow and brown trout have been the most successful.

Pertinent Information

The Truckee River originates at the outlet of Lake Tahoe and flows approximately 110 miles to Pyramid Lake. Approximately 40 miles of the river, between the California State line and the beginning of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, is managed by NDOW. This river is one of the most heavily fished waters in the state, supporting over 100,000 angler days per year. Anglers can fish for rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. Anglers generally average catching 2 to 5 fish per day. Water records include a 15 lb 10 oz brown trout (caught in 2008), an 8 lb cutthroat trout, a 9 lb 12 oz rainbow trout, the state record 34 lb 10 oz carp, and the state record mountain whitefish caught in 2011 of 3 lb 9 oz. High flows from runoff between March and June keep most anglers away during these months. However, once flows return to normal, the river becomes fishable. Some of the best fishing occurs in the late spring and early summer and again in fall. Fishing is best when river flows are between 300 and 400 cfs.


The Truckee River is scheduled to receive 50,000, 10-inch sterile rainbow trout between March and September at stocking locations along the entire Nevada section (excluding the trophy section).


Season is open year around, any hour of the day or night except for the area within 1,000 feet downstream of Derby Dam, which is closed to fishing. Limit is three (3) game fish.


The Truckee River has been designated a “navigable water” which means that the state of Nevada owns the bed of the Truckee River up to the “present ordinary permanent high water mark.” This means that the bed of the river is public land; however, individuals may not cross private property to get to the river.


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