Lake Tahoe's Game Fish
are four fish we chase around this lake of ours. They are the Kokanee
Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout (Mackinaw), and Rainbows. The catch is
limited to any combination of five fish per person including a maximum
of 2 Mackinaw.
The Kokanee is a landlocked version of the Sockeye Salmon. It has
adapted well to Lake Tahoe and spawns regularly in Taylor Creek during
the fall. Kokanee typically have a four year life cycle and the average
catch is about 1.5 lbs. They typically school near Taylor Creek at
certain depths with comfortable temperatures. The Kokanee season is
from July through October.
Rainbows are among the most common fish in the Sierras due to the large
amount of plantings from the Department of Fish and Game. There is
typically a pink irridescent band down the middle though those from
Lake Tahoe tend to be more silvery. Rainbows are caught in Tahoe up to
25 lbs. There are typically dark brown spots over the upper half and
the entire tail.
Often referred to as German Browns, this trout is also common in Lake
Tahoe and it's tributaries. Similar in size and shape to the Rainbows,
Browns can be easily identified by the halo effect around the spots,
especially on the gills. The skin color is golden brown and the spots
can be both red and brown.
Mackinaw (Lake Trout)
The Mackinaw is the grandaddy of Lake Tahoe's fish. The average catch
is about 4 pounds with fish twice that size being common. The
California state record for a Mackinaw is a 37 pounder caught right in
Lake Tahoe. Electric downriggers are used for Mackinaw fishing since
they are known to inhabit the deep waters of the lake.