With the very cold nights we've been getting in Lake Tahoe, comes ice fishing. Many of the area's lakes have several inches of ice and they are a great introduction to the patience-inducing winter sport.
Before you head out onto any lake, check first to make sure they are safe. As a rule, ice on a lake is only safe if there is at least 5-6 inches of ice out from the shoreline. Ice forms around the edge of lakes first and then progresses to the center, so the further you go out, the thinner the ice gets. The best tip is to look first for other ice fisherman and follow their lead. Of course, be sure to pick up your fishing license at various resorts and stores and ask about their recommendations for the best bait and lures for the fish.
Located on Highway 88 near Kirkwood, Caples is a popular summer and winter fishing location for rainbow trout. The best areas in the winter are the dam and spillway on the west side of the lake. // capleslakeresort.com/winter
Carson River, East Fork
This area near Markleeville is open for catch-and-release ice fishing and the Carson River Resort on Highway 89 is open for cabin rentals all year. // carsonriverresort.com
Lower Echo Lake
The road to Lower Echo Lake is closed in the winter, but if you can hike in, the ice fishing is excellent and teeming with rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon. To access this lake on foot from South Lake Tahoe, go 1.8 miles east of the Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort and look for the Berkeley Camp/Echo Lake sign. Turn left and continue about a half mile to Echo Lake Road, turn left again and continue to the end of the road. If you come to a U-turn at the California Alpine Club (it's a red building) then you missed Echo Lakes Road by about a quarter mile. // ohv.parks.ca.gov
Boca Reservoir off of Highway 80 is regularly stocked with browns and rainbows and has become so low over the past few seasons, that ice fishing is pretty good along the edges of the lake. // recreation.gov
Donner is a popular and well-stocked fishing lake all year long, but it's deep and drops off suddenly in places, so don't go out on the ice if you're not familiar with the lake. If the ice has broken up because of warmer temperatures, this is still an excellent place to just do some regular cold-weather fishing from the public docks on the north side of the lake. // donner-lake.com