There are 3 different types of trout that reside in Lake Tahoe, they are:
Mackinaw or Lake Trout
Mackinaw are the most prevalent in the lake and can be caught all year long. These fish can be 30lbs or more and prefer to live in the deeper parts of Lake Tahoe.
The best way to catch them is to either jig for them with lead headed jigs or troll lures and attractants with a downrigger. The majority of fishermen like to use jigs because you personally feel the strike and then you set the hook. Downrigger fishing is done with heavy weights that are suspended off the boat with your line attached to the weight. Your rod is in a holder until the fish strikes; then you reel in the fish.
Lake Trout will put up a good battle and can put on a very long fight because of their size. You can’t just horse them to the surface; you need to keep tension on the line and work them up to the boat cautiously.
There are good numbers of Rainbow Trout in Lake Tahoe. They aren’t as big as Lake Trout and are typically fished for during the Spring and Summer months.
Unlike Lake Trout, Rainbows are mainly found in shallower water. When hooked these aggressive fish will put on a good fight, in many cases they will take the fight airborne jumping out of the water a number of different times.
Rainbows can be caught with many different types of lures and bait. Trolling can be very productive but also still fishing can be non stop in areas where they have congregated. Just because they are smaller don’t underestimate them, they can easily spool line off your reel and come unbuttoned at any time. Getting a Rainbow to the boat and then netted is a thrilling experience.
Lake Tahoe has a good population of Brown Trout and they can be found throughout the lake. Smaller than a Lake Trout and a bit bigger than a Rainbow these are fun fish to catch when you find them. They do hang in bit deeper waters than Rainbows and are many times when fishing for Lake Trout.
Also known as Bull Trout, these fish are strong and put on a decent fight of their own. Trolling is a common technique when fishing for Brown Trout.
Ways to Cook Your Lake Tahoe Trout
Lake Tahoe is such a clear and cold lake that any of the 3 species of trout we mentioned make excellent table fare.
If the fish are smaller then frying them in a skillet with butter and lemon is a popular method along with putting them whole on a BBQ.
Larger fish can be filleted and either baked or grilled. When baking fish make sure you use something to replace the fat and oils that will cook out of them. Butter, mayonnaise or even olive oil are good options. Sprinkling Salt and Pepper on them before cooking is a good way to enhance the flavor and if you are baking the fish then using Dill Weed and lemon wedges or juice is a good option. Some people like to stuff the fish with chopped onions, garlic, shallots and green pepper.
A unique way to grill larger fish is on a cedar blank placed on the rack of your BBQ. Soak an untreated cedar plank for 90+ minutes in water and place on the grill. Place your uncovered fish or fillet directly on top of the cedar plank. The water in the plank will lightly steam the fish as you are grilling it. If you are cooking fillets this way some people like to lightly coat the meat side of the fillet with real maple syrup, it will give it an earthy sweet taste this way.
If you are planning to come to Lake Tahoe anytime soon give Mile High Charters a call. Captain Joby will give you the low down on what is biting and what type of weather conditions to plan for.