With the very cold nights we've been getting in Lake Tahoe, the area has been ideal for some ice fishing. Many of the area's lakes have several inches of ice and they are a great introduction to the patience-required winter sport.
Since Tahoe itself does not freeze over, these five small lakes around the area are wonderful places to take children and newbie fisherman to try and catch a few of the area's trout.Before you head out onto any lake, please check to make sure they are safe first. 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 the best bait and lures for the area's fish.
Caples Lake is located on Highway 88 near Kirkwood on the south side of Tahoe and is a popular summer and winter fishing location. The best areas in the winter are the dam and spillway on the west side of the lake. The lake has a resort that is open during the winter and will have tips on the best lures or bait for the lake's pretty rainbow trout. For more information call the Caples Lake Resort at 209-258-8888.
Carson River, East Fork
This area near Markleeville from Hangman's Bridge to the state line is open for catch and release ice fishing. The Carson River Resort on Highway 89 is open for cabin rentals all year. For more information call 877-694-2229.
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 rainbows, brown and brook trout as well as Kokanee salmon. To access this lake from South Lake Tahoe, go 1.8 miles east of the Sierra @ Tahoe Ski Resort and look for the brown Berkeley Camp/Echo Lake sign. Turn left and continue about a half mile to Echo Lake Rd., 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 Rd. by about a 1/4 mile.
Boca Reservoir off of Highway 80 is regularly stock 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.
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 are not familiar with the lake. If the ice has broken up because of warmer temps, this is an excellent place to just do some regular cold weather fishing from the public docks on the north side of the lake.